Monday, August 4, 2014

100th anniversary of the 20th century

Hard to believe that World War 1 started a hundred years ago today. Although in theory a century begins or ends with its actual numerical quality, it's cultural impact is rarely so cut and dry. The 19th century really starts in full when the Napoleonic Wars end in November 1815, and the 19th century really stretches on until WWI, whose start - culturally - marks the beginning of the 20th century.
Look at photos of people from WWI. The dress, the hair, etc, they're really not all that different from how a lot of folks look today, whereas a picture from five year earlier seems like a whole different era... because it is.
I'll throw some WWI history y'all's way over the next few days. It's a very misunderstood war, less cut-and-dry than some others, but to me it's extremely interesting because it really does mark that big shift. I mean, you start the war with horses and end with airplanes, in an extremely short span of time. It really is the crucible in which our modern era was forged.
Here's a couple of guys to start off the week, A stormtrooper and a Tirailleur Senegalis.

This is a WWI Stormtrooper. That's right, SW kids, there were real stormtroopers, and they were terrifying. Poisonous, burning mustard gas would be launched into trenches, and then, from the haze, these guys would appear to royally mess you up. To make things even more terrifying, sometimes they'd be riding blanketed horses and stabbing with lances. There aren't many things scarier/more intimidating than a horse in a gas mask.

Here's a Tirailleur Senegalis.  Time in the trenches often lessened sctrictness over uniforms. I had this guy paint the Yellow Kid on his helmet, because he would have been a cultural icon to the folks fighting, the same as someone putting the Tasmanian Devil or Spongebob on the side of a tank.

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