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USO Canteen FReeper Style....Rocky Versace Tribute.... July 28,2002
Thank you Coteblanche for the Capel and Faraday for the research .......Snow Bunny

Posted on 07/28/2002 1:31:09 AM PDT by Snow Bunny



If you know a Veteran, someone in your family,
friend of the family, neighbor, who served their
country, take a brief moment of your day to thank them.
Thank them for the sacrifice they made
for the better good of their country.

We at Free Republic, and the USO Canteen FReeper Style,
are thankful for every service member
in our military, who has served our great nation.

So, to the men and women who answered the call,
in both times of war and peace, thank you.


Although we are always aware
that the Canteen is operating
in Cyberspace, we want the troops
and anyone who is on the receiving end
of prayers at the Canteen,
to know that these prayers are very real.

I hope the troops and Canteeners
alike, will view this Canteen Chapel,
as a place where you might go in times of
trouble, or times of joy, to be with your God.

"Come unto me all ye who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest." (Matt: 11:28).

Amazing Grace


We at the Canteen Salute Rocky Versace
“He traveled to a distant land to fight to bring freedom.......”

The highest award for valor in action against an enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States

Unlike the Air Force, Navy and Marines, the Army never before has awarded a Medal of Honor to a POW from Vietnam for heroism during captivity.
Versace's heroism spanned almost two years

"His is a story of a remarkable, unyielding spirit and an uncompromising fierce defiance -- the courage never to submit or yield," Shinseki said. "It is the story of a soldier who, in the worst of circumstances, demonstrated all that is best about our profession and our values. It is a story about a man subjected to the most relentless atrocities who persevered -- and in doing so, revealed an unwavering strength of character that inspired all who witnessed his triumph over his tormentors."....... Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric K. Shinseki

An Alexandria native, Capt. Versace, 25, was a few days away from joining the priesthood when he was captured by Viet Cong guerrillas in October 1963 as he accompanied an operation near U Minh Forest.

Captain Versace remained optimistically defiant as a POW

Army Captain Rocky Versace spent 23 months as a prisoner of the Viet Cong. Being the ranking officer in the prison camp, Versace loudly and defiantly demanded humane treatment for his fellow captors. Captain Versace only had two more weeks of duty left before he could leave Vietnam but was among those caught in an ambush.

He was held captive in bamboo cages, 6 feet long, 2 feet wide and 3 feet high.

After trying to escape , Versace was shackled. He was kept flat on his back and often gagged in a tiny, dark isolation cage. The captors often paraded the prisoners around the villages, pulling them by a rope tied around their necks. Versace, his head swollen, his hair white and skin yellowed by jaundice, was pulled around villages.

Versace's defiance grew even as his condition worsened, infuriating his captors.

Versace's untreated leg became badly infected, but within three weeks he tried to escape, dragging himself on his hands and knees. Guards soon discovered him crawling in the swamp. Back in camp, they twisted his injured leg.

Three times, after receiving tips about Versace's whereabouts, U.S. advisers launched helicopters to rescue him, and three times they came back empty-handed, taking heavy casualties on one occasion.

His youth shows early signs of being the man be became.

Living with his grandmother and aunt, Versace spent his senior year at Catholic High while the rest of his family was stationed in Germany.

Strong-willed was the common way friends and loved ones described Versace.

Born on July 2, 1937, he was the oldest of five children. His father's career in the Army meant the family moved often. Versace filled the void left by his father's regular absences, his family said.

``He could pretty much drive anybody crazy,'' said Stephen Versace, a professor at the University of Maryland. ``There was no gray for Rocky and he lived that way. Right is right. Wrong is wrong.''

He attended Frankfurt American High School in Frankfurt, Germany, during the 1953-54 school year, a member of the class of 1955 though he actually graduated in 1955 from Norfolk Catholic High School

As the end of high school approached, Rocky Versace struggled with a choice: West Point or the priesthood.

He picked the Army.

The first call to rise at West Point came every morning at 5:45, said Gurr, who is now retired outside Charlottesville. Most of the cadets slid back toward their bunks after the first rise and shine.

Not Versace. He'd walk over toward the chapel.

``Into the cold, dark winter,'' Gurr remembered. ``And there he goes.''

At 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds, Versace excelled at sports, too, winning the intermural wrestling championship at West Point.

Capt. Humbert Roque "Rocky" Versace receives his 90-day combat infantry badge from his father, Col. Humbert Joseph Versace.

Versace's father, Humbert Versace, died brokenhearted within a few years of his son's death His mother, author Tere Versace, never stopped believing her son would emerge from the jungle.

"My mother, she never gave up," said one of Rocky's brothers, Dick Versace, president of the National Basketball Association's Vancouver Grizzlies. "Until she died, she thought he'd come walking out of those jungles any day."

After graduation, he went to Korea, then Vietnam in 1962 as a military adviser. He asked for and received a six-month extension of his Vietnam tour in the Mekong Delta.

Versace immersed himself in Vietnamese culture and the delta town of Camau. He created dispensaries, procured tin sheeting to replace thatch roofs and arranged for tons of bulgur wheat to feed family pigs, Price said. He wrote to schools in the United States and got soccer balls for village playgrounds.

``He was so eager to accomplish his mission of gathering intelligence that it was bound to get him into trouble sooner or later,'' retired Lt. Gen. Howard G. Crowell Jr., who bunked with Versace, told a historian preparing the Medal of Honor application.

In a 1962 Christmas letter to his family, Versace wrote from Vietnam: "I am convinced that your taxpayers' money is being put to a very worthy cause-that of freeing the Vietnamese people from an organized Communist threat aimed at the same nasty things all Communists want-at denying this country and its wonderful people a chance to better themselves.... Many among the poor and remote people are responding to a government that can and does help them and protect them. I have found villagers and ordinary soldiers and farmers to be wonderful people."

By 1963, Capt. Versace had had enough. Scheduled to return home, Versace planned to leave the Army and study to become a priest with the Maryknoll Order missionaries.

But Versace was captured on Oct. 29 by the Viet Cong, sustaining three bullets to one leg, shrapnel wounds and a blow to his head.

As the senior member of the imprisoned Americans, Versace insisted that his captors follow the Geneva Convention rules on humanitarian treatment, according to his fellow prisoners.

He sang popular American songs to lift morale. He berated his guards, who in turn shackled and gagged him.

``He wouldn't just say nothing,'' Gurr said. ``Rocky's nature was combative and stubborn. He would yell and curse. They were wrong, communism was wrong and he wasn't afraid to say so.''

Adding to the Viet Cong's ire, Gurr said, Versace rebuked them in French and Vietnamese. ``And he paid the price,'' Gurr said.

H e was kept hungry. His captors placed him in a tiger cage, its bamboo walls only 6 feet long, 2 feet wide and 3 feet high.

`Like a coffin,'' Gurr said.

For other prisoners, the guards thatched only the top to beat back the heat. For Versace, they covered the sides to turn up the temperature.

``He went from 185 pounds down to something over 100,'' Gurr said. John Gurr, one of his classmates from West Point and a member of the grass-roots Friends of Rocky Versace.

He attempted to escape three times. But in September 1965, North Vietnamese radio announced that he and another American prisoner had been executed in reply to the death of three terrorists in Da Nang.

The villagers stated that CPT Versace not only resisted the Viet Cong attempts to get him to admit war crimes and aggression, but would verbally and convincingly counter the VC assertions in a loud voice so that the villagers could hear. The local rice farmers were surprised at CPT Versace's strength of character and his unwavering commitment to his God and the United States.

CPT Versace's tenacious and heroic adherence to the Code of Conduct was in keeping with the absolutely highest standards of the United States Army and centuries of Ranger tradition. At no point from capture to execution, despite torture and isolation, did CPT Versace provide his captors with any information other than name, rank. Serial number and date of birth.

CPT Versace fought to protect his comrades until seriously wounded by BAR fire. He was about to literally sacrifice himself by attacking the Viet Cong with his remaining seven carbine rounds when wounded. In captivity he was willing to accept death rather than compromise the Ranger Creed, Code of Conduct, and the ideals of Duty, Honor, and Country. As senior American POW, CPT Versace deliberately forced his captors to focus their harsh treatment on him rather that the other American prisoners. His Ranger training, his unshakable belief in God and Country sustained him throughout his captivity until his death.

Villagers added that the worse he appeared physically, the more he smiled and talked about God and America.

His remains have never been found.

"Freedoms Song”

Artist Matt Hall specially commissioned for the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, depicting Captain Versace singing to while a POW.

President Bush Awards Posthumous Medal of Honor to Vietnam War Hero


For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:
Captain Humbert R. Versace distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism during the period of 29 October 1963 to 26 September 1965, while serving as S-2 Advisor, Military Assistance Advisory Group, Detachment 52, Ca Mau, Republic of Vietnam.

While accompanying a Civilian Irregular Defense Group patrol engaged in combat operations in Thoi Binh District, An Xuyen Province, Captain Versace and the patrol came under sudden and intense mortar, automatic weapons, and small arms fire from elements of a heavily armed enemy battalion.

As the battle raged, Captain Versace, although severely wounded in the knee and back by hostile fire, fought valiantly and continued to engage enemy targets. Weakened by his wounds and fatigued by the fierce firefight, Captain Versace stubbornly resisted capture by the over-powering Viet Cong force with the last full measure of his strength and ammunition.

Taken prisoner by the Viet Cong, he exemplified the tenets of the Code of Conduct from the time he entered into Prisoner of War status.

Captain Versace assumed command of his fellow American soldiers, scorned the enemy's exhaustive interrogation and indoctrination efforts, and made three unsuccessful attempts to escape, despite his weakened condition which was brought about by his wounds and the extreme privation and hardships he was forced to endure.

During his captivity, Captain Versace was segregated in an isolated prisoner of war cage, manacled in irons for prolonged periods of time, and placed on extremely reduced ration.

The enemy was unable to break his indomitable will, his faith in God, and his trust in the United States of America.

Captain Versace, an American fighting man who epitomized the principles of his country and the Code of Conduct, was executed by the Viet Cong on 26 September 1965.

Captain Versace's gallant actions in close contact with an enemy force and unyielding courage and bravery while a prisoner of war are in the highest traditions of the military service and reflect the utmost credit upon himself and the United States Army.

“Good afternoon, and welcome to the White House. It's a -- this is a special occasion. I am honored to be a part of the gathering as we pay tribute to a true American patriot, and a hero, Captain Humbert "Rocky" Versace.

Nearly four decades ago, his courage and defiance while being held captive in Vietnam cost him his life. Today it is my great privilege to recognize his extraordinary sacrifices by awarding him the Medal of Honor.

I appreciate Secretary Anthony Principi, the Secretary from the Department of Veteran Affairs, for being here. Thank you for coming, Tony. I appreciate Senator George Allen and Congressman Jim Moran. I want to thank Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defense; and General Pete Pace, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs; Army General Eric Shinseki -- thank you for coming, sir. I appreciate David Hicks being here. He's the Deputy Chief of Chaplains for the United States Army.

I want to thank the entire Versace family for coming -- three brothers and a lot of relatives. Brothers, Dick and Mike and Steve, who's up here on the stage with me today. I appreciate the classmates and friends and supporters of Rocky for coming. I also want to thank the previous Medal of Honor recipients who are here with us today. That would be Harvey Barnum and Brian Thacker and Roger Donlon. Thank you all for coming.

Rocky grew up in this area and attended Gonzaga College High School, right here in Washington, D.C. One of his fellow soldiers recalled that Rocky was the kind of person you only had to know a few weeks before you felt like you'd known him for years. Serving as an intelligence advisor in the Mekong Delta, he quickly befriended many of the local citizens. He had that kind of personality. During his time there he was accepted into the seminary, with an eye toward eventually returning to Vietnam to be able to work with orphans.

Rocky was also a soldier's soldier -- a West Point graduate, a Green Beret, who lived and breathed the code of duty and honor and country. One of Rocky's superiors said that the term "gung-ho" fit him perfectly.

Others remember his strong sense of moral purpose and unbending belief in his principles.

As his brother Steve once recalled, "If he thought he was right, he was a pain in the neck."…. "If he knew he was right, he was absolutely atrocious."

When Rocky completed his one-year tour of duty, he volunteered for another tour. And two weeks before his time was up, on October the 29th, 1963, he set out with several companies of South Vietnamese troops, planning to take out a Viet Cong command post. It was a daring mission, and an unusually dangerous one for someone so close to going home to volunteer for.

After some initial successes, a vastly larger Viet Kong force ambushed and overran Rocky's unit. Under siege and suffering from multiple bullet wounds, Rocky kept providing covering fire so that friendly forces could withdraw from the killing zone.

Eventually, he and two other Americans, Lieutenant Nick Rowe and Sergeant Dan Pitzer, were captured, bound and forced to walk barefoot to a prison camp deep within the jungle. For much of the next two years, their home would be bamboo cages, six feet long, two feet wide, and three feet high. They were given little to eat, and little protection against the elements. On nights when their netting was taken away, so many mosquitos would swarm their shackled feet it looked like they were wearing black socks.

The point was not merely to physically torture the prisoners, but also to persuade them to confess to phony crimes and use their confessions for propaganda. But Rocky's captors clearly had no idea who they were dealing with. Four times he tried to escape, the first time crawling on his stomach because his leg injuries prevented him from walking. He insisted on giving no more information than required by the Geneva Convention; and cited the treaty, chapter and verse, over and over again.

He was fluent in English, French and Vietnamese, and would tell his guards to go to hell in all three. Eventually the Viet Cong stopped using French and Vietnamese in their indoctrination sessions, because they didn't want the sentries or the villagers to listen to Rocky's effective rebuttals to their propaganda.

Rocky knew precisely what he was doing. By focusing his captors' anger on him, he made life a measure more tolerable for his fellow prisoners, who looked to him as a role model of principled resistance. Eventually the Viet Cong separated Rocky from the other prisoners. Yet even in separation, he continued to inspire them. The last time they heard his voice, he was singing "God Bless America" at the top of his lungs.

On September the 26th, 1965, Rocky's struggle ended his execution. In his too short life, he traveled to a distant land to bring the hope of freedom to the people he never met. In his defiance and later his death, he set an example of extraordinary dedication that changed the lives of his fellow soldiers who saw it firsthand. His story echoes across the years, reminding us of liberty's high price, and of the noble passion that caused one good man to pay that price in full.

Last Tuesday would have been Rocky's 65th birthday. So today, we award Rocky -- Rocky Versace -- the first Medal of Honor given to an Army POW for actions taken during captivity in Southeast Asia. We thank his family for so great a sacrifice. And we commit our country to always remember what Rocky gave -- to his fellow prisoners, to the people of Vietnam, and to the cause of freedom.

Steve Versace holds up the Medal of Honor that President George W. Bush presented to him on the behalf of his brother, Army Captain Humbert "Rocky" Versace, during a ceremony in the East Room, Monday, July 8. Executed in a POW camp in Vietnam, Captain Versace is the first serviceman awarded the medal for bravery as a prisoner of war.

The award citation credited Versace for scorning the enemy's exhaustive interrogation and indoctrination efforts despite isolation, privation, hardships and extremely reduced rations. "The enemy was unable to break his indomitable will, his faith in God and his trust in the United States of America," stated the citation.

During interrogation sessions, Versace stuck to giving just his name, rank, social security number and date of birth as required by the Geneva Convention, according to fellow prisoners. Often he would divert the enemy's inhumane treatment of fellow prisoners onto himself, they recalled.

From the Army reception at Fort Myers for the family, friends, and classmates of Rocky. The first photo is President Bush making remarks at the ceremony in the East Room of the White House.

Other Medal of Honor recipients who attended.

President Bush presenting the MOH to Rocky's eldest brother Stephen Versace.

Paul Wolfowicz Assistant Secretary of Defense speaking with Medal of Honor winner, Capt. Roger Donlon (retired).

Michael Haisley, Roger Donlon, and General Gurda (Army Special Forces)--Mr. Donlon is holding the Medal of Honor.

Rocky was active with orphanages in VietNam. He would hit up his fellow officers to help support their work.

He planned after his tour of duty (scheduled to end literally days after his capture) to enter the Catholic Maryknoll seminary to become a priest; he then planned to return to VietNam as a missionary.

Rocky's brothers (from left to right) Michael,Stephen, and Dick.

These are the two Vietnamese children who modeled in the making of the statue.

According to SFC Pitzer "Rocky walked his own path. All of us did but for that guy, duty, honor, country was a way of life. He was the finest example of an officer I have known. To him it was a matter of liberty or death, the big four and nothing more. There was no other way for him. Once, Rocky told our captors that as long as he was true to God and true to himself, what was waiting for him after this life was far better than anything that could happen now. So he told them that they might as well kill him then and there if the price of his life was getting more from him than name, rank, and serial number".

"Rocky was our friend. He was a soldier," retired Army Brig. Gen. Pete Dawkins, a West Point classmate of Versace's, said in the keynote address. "He was killed because honor, duty and country meant more to him than life."

......."The last time any of his fellow prisoners heard from him, CPT Versace was singing God Bless America at the top of his voice from his isolation box.".......

TOPICS: Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: usocanteen
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To: SAMWolf
As long as America can produce men like Rocky Versace, we'll survive and prosper as the greatest nation on the planet.

Agreed. I just wonder if America can produce enough of them.

51 posted on 07/28/2002 6:51:05 AM PDT by Euro-American Scum
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To: Snow Bunny

Great thread. Thanks for honoring a real hero. Captain Humbert R. Versace

52 posted on 07/28/2002 6:52:05 AM PDT by Militiaman7
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To: JustAmy
The Columbia folks have a FReep in August 17 and I am going to get to join them. Bluesagewoman is going to take pics so I am going to ask her to crop mine and show only the neck down. LOL.
53 posted on 07/28/2002 6:56:30 AM PDT by Bahbah
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To: MeeknMing
Good Morning, Meek! I forgot to putyou on my ping list for a post o made on the America The Right Way, thread. if you want to see it it is post #14. God Bless you and have a great day!
54 posted on 07/28/2002 6:58:41 AM PDT by Pippin
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To: Bahbah
I think it is so great that FReepers all over the country are getting together to show support of our troops. We out number the peacenicks by a LONG shot! WOO HOO!!!! Have a great time, and smile so we can see your beautiful face. :)
55 posted on 07/28/2002 6:59:20 AM PDT by SassyMom
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To: ClaraSuzanne
Good Morning, Clara! I 'm sorry that I have to post and run. I'm getting ready for church. I will see y'all later this afternoon.
56 posted on 07/28/2002 7:00:36 AM PDT by SassyMom
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYatchClub
Howdy do, Mr. Tonkin!! Wonderful Sunday we're having here in the Capitol of the Confederecy.

Hope it's nice out west, too...MUD

57 posted on 07/28/2002 7:00:43 AM PDT by Mudboy Slim
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To: SassyMom; All
Morning, Sassy!

Got the dreaded
"YOUR'RE NOT GONNA SPEND ALL DAY ON THE COMPUTER ?" yesterday. Got stuck going "shopping"........
DID get a new car out of the deal (That'll learn her, right?)

Now I gotta run over to the car store & buy some "accessories" for the new car.........#1 thing to buy: US FLAG stickers for the window & POW sticker!
58 posted on 07/28/2002 7:02:42 AM PDT by tomkow6
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYatchClub
Hey, Tonk. God bless you and have a great day at work or wherever.
59 posted on 07/28/2002 7:02:53 AM PDT by Bahbah
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To: MeeknMing
I shall include your neice in my prayers, my FRiend...I pray she shall have a full recovery!! Thank God that they're tough li'l buggers at that age.


60 posted on 07/28/2002 7:08:07 AM PDT by Mudboy Slim
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To: Snow Bunny
Hey, Snow Bunny ! Ming says breakfast is ready. And I'm HAWNGRY! LOL!
61 posted on 07/28/2002 7:08:53 AM PDT by MeekOneGOP
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To: tomkow6

Good Morning, My Friend!

62 posted on 07/28/2002 7:12:40 AM PDT by Pippin
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To: tomkow6
ROFLOL...... Well congratulations on the new car. Can you spend the day on the puter today??????
63 posted on 07/28/2002 7:13:21 AM PDT by SassyMom
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To: tomkow6
Tom There is something to be said for living alone! Hope you can spend some time with us today.

Congratulations on getting that new car.

64 posted on 07/28/2002 7:19:20 AM PDT by Pippin
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To: SassyMom
hi, Sassy! See you after church!
65 posted on 07/28/2002 7:20:23 AM PDT by Pippin
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To: LindaSOG
754 Pope Stephen II makes Pepin the Short King of France

Pepin the Short, «PEHP ihn» (714?-768), also called Pepin III, was the first king of the Frankish Carolingian dynasty.

The Franks were Germanic peoples who gradually gained control of much of present-day France and Germany and other parts of Western Europe during the early Middle Ages.
In 742, Pepin and his brother Carloman jointly inherited from their father, Charles Martel, the title of Mayor of the Palace. Since the late 600's, mayors had held greater power than the Merovingian kings, who ruled the Franks in name only. As mayors, Pepin and Carloman extended Frankish rule to parts of Saxony and Bavaria. After Carloman became a monk in 747, Pepin ruled alone as mayor. In 751, with Pope Zachary's help, Pepin deposed the last Merovingian king, Childeric III, and became king of the Franks.

As king, Pepin aided the pope against the Lombards, a Germanic people who had conquered much of Italy. Pepin seized some of the Lombard lands in Italy and gave them to Pope Stephen II in 756. This so-called Donation of Pepin is often seen as forming the core of the Papal States, a territory controlled by the pope until the 1800's. Pepin also added Aquitaine to his kingdom. His son Charlemagne became one of the most powerful rulers in European history.

66 posted on 07/28/2002 7:27:26 AM PDT by Valin
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To: Snow Bunny
Good morning, Bunny! This is a very interesting thread that I am so glad you posted for us! It is good to know more about this American hero!

Thank you also for the beautiful Chapel which is so perfect for the Canteen! And the pledge graphic is fantastic!

67 posted on 07/28/2002 7:35:15 AM PDT by MistyCA
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To: MistyCA
Howdy, Misty!
68 posted on 07/28/2002 7:37:14 AM PDT by Pippin
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To: Snow Bunny
Did you see the miracle Souris performed on my little car? She fixed the suspension! Now maybe I can catch up to you when I am working during the day! YIppee! :)))))
69 posted on 07/28/2002 7:38:32 AM PDT by MistyCA
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To: Valin; LindaSOG
Good morning!

Thank you both for the histories you post.

70 posted on 07/28/2002 7:39:36 AM PDT by Pippin
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To: LindaSOG
1914 Austria-Hungary attacks Serbia, igniting WW I

The July Crisis
The so-called "July Crisis" actually spans the period from the assassination of the Austro-Hungarian heir to the throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, on 28 June 1914, to the general declaration of war in early August.

Elements within the Austro-Hungarian government had been itching to strike at Serbia during the immediate pre-war years, but had lacked a credible excuse to do so. Nationalist pan-Slav agitation within Serbia, and which Austria-Hungary suspected was encouraged by the Serbian government, served only to destabilise Austro-Hungarian influence in the Balkans.

An Excuse for War

The assassination of Franz Ferdinand provided the Austro-Hungarian government with a ready made excuse to launch what it believed would prove a limited war against the manifestly weaker Serbians. Ferdinand's death was in any event not greatly mourned either by the government or by the Emperor himself, Franz Josef, with whom he had never been close and with whom he was frequently in political disagreement.

The Austro-Hungarian Chief of Staff - and Commander-in-Chief - was Conrad von Hotzendorf. For years he had been pressing for 'surprise' attacks against Austria-Hungary's enemies, i.e. Serbia and Italy. With the murder of Ferdinand he pressed the Foreign Minister, Count Leopold von Berchtold, to declare a state of war with Serbia. Both were united in requesting Franz Josef and Prime Minister Tisza to launch an attack against Serbia without first declaring war in early July, thus guaranteeing an element of surprise.

Tisza however argued that retribution against Serbia - whose implication in Ferdinand's murder had not (and even today has not) been proven - should be sought via diplomatic channels. Tisza was aware of the possibility that war with Serbia could rapidly escalate into a general European conflict as a consequence of the treaty system.

One Treaty after Another

For Russia was bound by agreement with Serbia to protect her in the event of attack. Further, the Dual Alliance between Germany and Austria-Hungary stated that if either found itself at war with Russia the other would enter the fray to provide assistance.

Similarly, the Franco-Russian Military Convention of 1892 provided for French assistance should Russia find itself at war with either Germany or Austria-Hungary. And Britain was in effect (as the result of a number of agreements) - although not technically - bound to aid France should she be at war with Germany.

The Austro-Hungarians were inclined to believe, however, that Russia would limit herself to diplomatic vacillations rather than go to war with Austria-Hungary (and therefore with Germany, etc). Nevertheless, Tisza was keen to ensure that, should the unthinkable occur and Austria-Hungary actually found herself at war with Russia, Germany would prove willing to honour her treaty obligations.

Germany's Blank Cheque

Germany, who to all intents and purposes appeared to be spoiling for confrontation, offered what became known as "the blank cheque" to Austria-Hungary on 6 July. In this diplomatic communication from the German Kaiser, Wilhelm II, Austria-Hungary was promised unconditional support from Germany regardless whatever action Austria-Hungary decided to take in punishing Serbia.

There is little doubt that this note from Germany was the first clear indication that Germany was agreeable to war with - at least - France and Russia; she hoped however to avoid war with Britain.

Much encouraged by this emphatic show of support, Austria-Hungary issued an ultimatum to Serbia on 23 July that effectively revoked Serbia's national sovereignty. The ultimatum, which was nominally intended as a means of apprehending Franz Ferdinand's murderers, was confidently expected to be rejected by the Serbians.

An Ultimatum to Serbia

Consequently plans for war began to be set in place in Vienna. The Austro-Hungarian Emperor, who understood what issuance of the ultimatum inevitably meant, had to be reluctantly persuaded to approve its despatch.

Astonishingly however, Serbia consented to virtually all of Austria-Hungary's demands bar a number of minor clauses. Dissent on these however was seized upon by Austria-Hungary as the necessary pretext for a formal declaration of war on 28 July 1914.

The Month of Holidays

It was unfortunate that events took place during the month of July - a holiday month when politicians and diplomats were away from their desks. By the time the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum had been issued on 23 July - and after a cooling-off period had been allowed by the Austro-Hungarians, who remained anxious to avoid a general conflagration - both the French Prime Minister, Rene Viviani, and President, Raymond Poincare, were away from France on a diplomatic mission to Russia. There, at St. Petersburg, they reaffirmed their support for the Tsar, Nicholas II, in his backing of Serbia.

Another power - Italy - was, as a signatory of the Triple Alliance, supposedly bound to assist Germany and Austria-Hungary in the event of war, but had separately signed a secret alliance with France that effectively removed her from the equation. In any event, both she and Turkey gave every indication of being unwilling to become involved during the course of July.

British Disinterest?

With the dominoes starting to fall, it remained unclear what position Britain would take. The German Kaiser was inclined to believe that Britain would look to her interests first and foremost and remain above the fray - after all, she had no obvious quarrel with either Austria-Hungary or Germany, at least in this matter.

Nevertheless, Britain was practically committed to France's defence; and the French went to some lengths to ingratiate themselves with the British during July. Yet the British government was aware that in order to enter the war a better reason than vague commitments to France would be necessary in order to convince British public opinion.

In the event Britain's guarantee to maintain Belgian neutrality - agreed at the 1839 Treaty of London - served its purpose. Although there was much disagreement within the British political elite concerning war, it was this guarantee that brought Britain into the war on 4 August.

Public Disinterest

The general populace was, in most cases, largely unaware of the imminence of war until the end of the month. Enjoying the warmth of a golden summer, Europe's citizens turned their attention chiefly to news of more local importance.

However, with Austria-Hungary's ultimatum of 23 July - and her declaration of war with Serbia five days later, the approach of war was rapidly hastened. The day after Serbia received Austria-Hungary's declaration of war, 29 July, the capital Belgrade was placed under bombardment.

Mobilisation of Armies

Russia mobilised the following day, 30 July, as did Austria-Hungary. The French, unwilling to start hostilities themselves, and painfully aware that this might serve only to alienate British sympathies, chose to withdraw their troops some 10 km all along the German border.

On 31 July Germany demanded of Russia that she immediately demobilise, while requiring from France - with an answer expected within 12 hours - a declaration of neutrality in the event of war with Russia. Germany's justification - that of self-defence - was regarded dimly by the French government, who replied that France would act in accordance with her own interests.

Panic across Europe

With no answer received to Germany's ultimatum the next day from Russia, both Germany and France ordered mobilisation on 1 August. Stock exchanges panicked and many were closed. Later that evening Germany formally declared war with Russia, despite Wilhelm's twelfth-hour panicked decision to try and abort the German invasion of Belgium and France (ignored by his Chief of Staff Helmuth von Moltke).

Germany delivered an ultimatum to Belgium on the evening of 2 August, requiring that she remain neutral while German troops occupied the country while en route for France. The following day the British Foreign Secretary, Sir Edward Grey, announced to Parliament that Britain would fight to defend Belgian neutrality if necessary. At last Britain had openly stated her position.

The Belgian King, Albert I, declared on 3 August his rejection of Germany's ultimatum. The next day, 4 August, German troops invaded Belgium. Britain demanded a "satisfactory" explanation from Germany to be delivered by 11pm (UK time) for her decision to march into Belgian territory at Gemmerich. When it was not forthcoming at the appointed hour, Britain completed the European line-up by announcing a state of war with Germany.

Popular Enthusiasm

Initial reaction to the news of war among the European populace was overwhelmingly enthusiastic, far more so than expected (particularly in Austria-Hungary, where the various nationalities came together in an unexpected show of patriotic unanimity).

The war was, by general, agreement, likely to be over by Christmas.

"Coffin Nails" was a term used by British soldiers to describe cigarettes.

Original Material © Michael Duffy 2000-02, SafeSurf Rated

71 posted on 07/28/2002 7:41:30 AM PDT by Valin
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To: Snow Bunny
What a beautiful and moving presentation, Snow Bunny.
It strikes responsive chords in all true Americans as we think of Rocky and all those like him,
who place country first and self last.

We owe so very much to men and women who are willing to give all that they are
to preserve our freedom and that of others.

May God bless them and their families today and every day ~ ~ ~

72 posted on 07/28/2002 7:45:40 AM PDT by LadyX
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To: Aeronaut
How are you doing? Hope you are having a super terrific day! :) I am so excited that Souris fixed my little car! She is awesome! :)
73 posted on 07/28/2002 7:51:01 AM PDT by MistyCA
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Comment #74 Removed by Moderator

To: 68-69TonkinGulfYatchClub
Wow! I love those beautiful Roses! They are so delicate! Thank you, Tonk, and thanks to all those service men you represent! :)
75 posted on 07/28/2002 7:57:07 AM PDT by MistyCA
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Comment #76 Removed by Moderator

Comment #77 Removed by Moderator

To: MeeknMing
Oh, Meek, I am so sorry that your little niece is having to experience such trauma in her life. That is just awful that the seat did not withstand the force of the accident. But I am so glad to know she survived! I am not Jewish but I will say a prayer for your niece.
78 posted on 07/28/2002 8:02:26 AM PDT by MistyCA
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYatchClub
As always, Tonk, your flowers are lovely, and your heart beautiful ~ ~ ~
79 posted on 07/28/2002 8:03:29 AM PDT by LadyX
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Comment #80 Removed by Moderator

To: MeeknMing
Joining you in prayers for this precious child, Meekie ~ ~ ~
81 posted on 07/28/2002 8:07:01 AM PDT by LadyX
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To: ClaraSuzanne; SassyMom
Good morning, again!

As far as today goes, I wanna get some "armor-all" protectant on the new leather seats & the the dash board; also, we're supposed to have another 95+ day again here in Chicago, which will make working in the garage a "sweat" shop; not that I mind! I love the hot weather & high humidity!

I'll check in from time to time, when I come in for some "liquid" refreshment!
82 posted on 07/28/2002 8:14:55 AM PDT by tomkow6
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To: Euro-American Scum; SAMWolf; Snow Bunny; 68-69TonkinGulfYatchClub; LadyX; Victoria Delsoul; ...

"As long as America can produce men like Rocky Versace, we'll survive and prosper as the greatest nation on the planet."

"Agreed. I just wonder if America can produce enough of them."

EA, I used to worry about that, too.
I'm from the old Corps, and I worried that our military was so contaminated by liberal thought that we might not be able to turn out men like Rocky Versace.
What I failed to consider was the roots from whence our military men and women sprang.

This nation was built on God, guts and guns, and it will be protected and nourished the same way.
I have no doubt that there are many thousands in our military today who would sing, "God Bless America", as they were being led to the executioner.
They are all heroes in my book.
May God bless 'em all!!

83 posted on 07/28/2002 8:16:42 AM PDT by COB1
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To: COB1
"This nation was built on God, guts and guns, and it will be protected and nourished the same way. I have no doubt that there are many thousands in our military today who would sing, "God Bless America", as they were being led to the executioner."

It took a long time to wake us from our complacency, thinking every American was as gung ho as we were and are.

However, we no longer 'assume' anything and are becoming vocal and banding together to ENSURE we are heard, and effective in our collective voice!

We - and our beloved America - WILL PREVAIL and succeed with God's help.

84 posted on 07/28/2002 8:26:55 AM PDT by LadyX
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To: COB1
God morning, Cobby!

I saw were Snow Bunny posted your picture last night.

Looking good, COWBOY!

85 posted on 07/28/2002 8:28:58 AM PDT by Pippin
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To: COB1
Thank you so very much for that sentiment Cob! As the Mother of a 16 year old girl, and an 11 year old boy, I am often hurt by comments of those who claim the youth of today is worthless and will never live up to expectations.

My children are both patriotic, Christian kids who love our President, our Country, and their flag. They appreciate the sacrifices through the years of our Veterans and they, and those like them - of which there are many - hold the future of our Country in their hearts....... they won't let anyone down.

86 posted on 07/28/2002 8:32:28 AM PDT by WhyisaTexasgirlinPA
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To: tomkow6
good morning, Tom!
87 posted on 07/28/2002 8:39:09 AM PDT by MistyCA
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To: LindaSOG
I hope you are feeling better today, Linda! You take care of yourself and get plenty of rest! :)
88 posted on 07/28/2002 8:40:23 AM PDT by MistyCA
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYatchClub
Ohhhhh .. Tonk
What beautiful flowers! Thank you, I will enjoy them all day.
God Bless America!
89 posted on 07/28/2002 8:40:51 AM PDT by JustAmy
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To: larryjohnson
Good deal !

90 posted on 07/28/2002 8:42:39 AM PDT by MeekOneGOP
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To: SassyMom
Hiya, Sassy! HOpe you are having a good day! I am trying to get myself up and busy around here, but this nice comfy bed is just too good right now! There is a definate chill in the air this morning. Keisha is on one side, husband on the other.....both snoring! :)
91 posted on 07/28/2002 8:43:16 AM PDT by MistyCA
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To: ClaraSuzanne
"Looking good, COWBOY!"

Thank you, CS!
I just wish I hadn't used that red dye on my hair!

92 posted on 07/28/2002 8:45:49 AM PDT by COB1
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To: MistyCA
"Nice picture, Cob! That ought to get a few responses to your email! :)"

It really did, Misty!
My box is full!
I really didn't expect so many pictures of nekkid women!
I don't understand, though, why they all want me to get a three day trial membership for $2.99!

93 posted on 07/28/2002 8:49:30 AM PDT by COB1
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To: Bahbah
I like to crop my own but too often someone else owns the camera.
Have fun at the August FReep. After a Rally, everyone goes home with a warm place in their heart. An I did something kind of feeling.

94 posted on 07/28/2002 8:49:55 AM PDT by JustAmy
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To: COB1
LOL!! You're cute on the inside as well as on the outside!
95 posted on 07/28/2002 8:50:30 AM PDT by Pippin
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To: MeeknMing
Hi, Meek! Love the picture. Of course, The Subject of the photo's not bad either! :^)
96 posted on 07/28/2002 8:53:53 AM PDT by Pippin
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To: souris
LOL! Yippee! Thanks! :)
97 posted on 07/28/2002 8:55:53 AM PDT by MistyCA
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To: JustAmy
Thanks! I bumped the Fresno FReep article!
98 posted on 07/28/2002 8:58:49 AM PDT by MeekOneGOP
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To: MistyCA; souris
Cute car! Glad Souris fixed it for you.
99 posted on 07/28/2002 8:59:43 AM PDT by Pippin
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To: COB1
Oh, are incurable! :)
100 posted on 07/28/2002 9:00:24 AM PDT by MistyCA
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