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Old Oct 20, 2014, 09:02 AM   #4276
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Indeed, I have never before been in a country where one could rouse the bar (security) staff at 3 a.m., (stumbling in after the completion of the count and the tabulation of the results) and they would blearily fetch a beer and prepare a flawless espresso…..and serve both with a smile, resuming their resting place, curled up behind the bar, somewhere…….
Does that include Italy?
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Old Oct 20, 2014, 09:21 AM   #4277
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Does that include Italy?
Oh, yes, it does.

Travel Note 3: But the Balkans…….

I first visited the Balkans - Bosnia, to be precise, - in 1997, and 1998, on a number of occasions, to supervise a series of elections - (the first elections) - held after the war.

At that time, the entity was crudely split in two, with messy borders, boundaries, barriers, between them, and scruffy, somewhat menacing, characters in camouflage, guys with unshaven faces and Kalashnikovs, sometimes manning them.

Those boundary posts were home to some of the dodgiest black markets I have ever seen, places bursting with illicit and illegal and downright dangerous activities and goods, places where cars with strange (and subsequently illegal) registration numbers from dubious micro-republics of doubtful legality, (or none), faced each other. There was a sense that tumbleweed would inevitably succeed this atmosphere of a temporary gold rush on a Bosnian mountain top, complete with rough coffee shops, frontier bars, swinging creaking signs, baggy and scruffy camouflage uniforms, guns, smuggled animals and everything else - the minute the forces of law and order moved in and tamed this uncomfortable - yet functioning - commercial communion of murderers, smugglers, black-marketeers, and thieves.

In 1997, I was driven - slowly - through this - we didn't dare stop - and instructed to study it and remember what it looked like.

At the time, with the war a very recent memory, fertile fields were untilled and overgrown, as they were still full of mines, most of which were unidentified; houses and towns were ruins, bullet holes in facades; I saw people queue to wash their clothes and trudge to fill pails of water at a tap. Roads were uneven, and sometimes dangerous, and bridges - where they existed - were built by western forces, functional and military, with none of the beauty of some of the medieval masterpieces which had been destroyed by war. Electricity was sporadic.

Once, in Croatia, two years later, I slept - fully dressed, with my sheepskin coat over me (and I slept well) in a hotel room, in Osijek, near Vukovar, in early January where the window was of myth and memory and the temperature was below zero…….

Nearly twenty years later, the transformation is extraordinary.
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Old Oct 20, 2014, 09:51 AM   #4278
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Wow, that is certainly an, ahh, interesting, experience to be sure. And through all of that, you still found better espresso than in Italy? Simply amazing!
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Old Oct 20, 2014, 10:10 AM   #4279
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Wow, that is certainly an, ahh, interesting, experience to be sure. And through all of that, you still found better espresso than in Italy? Simply amazing!
Travel Note 4: Yes, strangely enough, I did.

But, Bosnia is coffee heaven - it was impossible to have a poor espresso, and - in fact - all were excellent. Coffee is a religion……..as I said, woven into the fabric of life, where coffee shop culture is an art form, warmly embraced by the entire population, and every encounter, meeting, or exchange, is buttressed by the drinking of a cup of espresso…….(and the cappuccino is extremely good, too, as are any other coffees which are served)….

Here, the coffee culture influence comes from two separate (but related) sources - the Ottoman Empire (the Turks), and later, the Habsburg Empire (the Austrians). Each left their mark…..

Twenty years on, the roads are paved, medieval bridges painfully put back together again, houses and towns rebuilt. Yes, there are war ruins, but they are overgrown now, rather than raw. Mines are cleared, (mostly), fields tilled.

Those awful boundaries, borders, barriers are dismantled and one can drive swiftly between the entities, where passage is marked by nothing more than a road sign, (and different alphabets and police uniforms in the respective entities when you arrive). Police and local authority officials were uniformly helpful, - in both entities - and the locals were very open, and generally supportive of the process. Electorally, there was no fraud, just……..electoral counts and processes unencumbered by experience, and possibly marred (slightly) by excessive enthusiasm. And I was served coffee while observing the process……..again, excellent.

Twenty years ago, they would have tried to offer me slivovitz instead (genuine hospitality warring with the wild desire to ensure that too close an eye was not kept on some aspects of the wider electoral process…..) I drank the coffee but had declined the slivovitz…..

Of course, the war is not forgotten, - vignettes and memories are offered unprompted - indeed, people are still defined by it, but not ruled by it.

The local department stores have stupefying large and well stocked coffee sections; more shelf space devoted to coffee than anything I have seen anywhere else (including Italy) - with a wider range of products (including local coffee). Inevitably, there is Nescafe, in its own corner, and local variants on the theme of instant coffee. Then, there are international brands (LavAzza) in packets and tins, lots of them; finally, taking most space, a truly impressive and incredible range of local coffees, some of which I was assured are excellent. I bought a few. They take their coffee very seriously here………

In Sarajevo, I bought an old coffee grinder made from copper and brass, the old sort where one ground the coffee beans by hand…………I was informed that before the war, most people in Bosnia had these and used them, that the manual grinding of the coffee before preparing and serving it to a guest (done several times a day) was part of an elaborate and much cherished ritual of hospitality, now in danger of dying out. People seemed to remember their parents and grandparents preparing coffee this way (in the old Turkish copper pots), but prepared somewhat differently to what was called 'Turkish' coffee; this is because the Bosnians had their own variant.

Now, I was informed, somewhat sadly, that with urbanisation, the war, less time, most people prepare coffee with a French press, or espresso…….rather than the old, elaborate hand ground method……..


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Old Oct 20, 2014, 10:19 AM   #4280
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Wow. Quite a history there and very interesting - especially about the coffee! At least, though, if the old tradition is fading away, they're at least using Press to prepare coffee and not automatic's!

I'm also happy to hear that the country is doing well these days and rebounded from the horrible war.
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Old Oct 20, 2014, 11:55 AM   #4281
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Wow. Quite a history there and very interesting - especially about the coffee! At least, though, if the old tradition is fading away, they're at least using Press to prepare coffee and not automatic's!

I'm also happy to hear that the country is doing well these days and rebounded from the horrible war.
The elections included two for the overall federation of Bosnia (the Presidency and parliament of the country) and two each where the electoral contest was confined to the respective entity ('Republika Serbska and the 'Federation of BiH'), so, four elections per entity, two federal, and two with entity specific mandates.

This made for a rather long, convoluted, complicated, and error-prone electoral process. Still, the smell of fraud is very different from that of sheer over enthusiastic confused………occasionally shambolic mess. But the coffee, pleasant atmosphere, good cheer, and patience of the locals made up for it…...

Of course, we had some days in Sarajevo (the capital) both at the beginning and at the end of the trip.

Needless to say, the old town of Sarajevo is very interesting and well worth visiting, a warren of small, cosy, streets, full of atmosphere thick with history. Again, coffee shops are to be found everywhere, along with some bars, restaurants, Europe's oldest mosque, and a place where the cobblestones were worn smooth with the footfall of thousands of feet over hundreds of years.

The tourist board had a hilarious (and very impressive) gable wall, where tours were advertised. If you have such a history, it makes sense to make it work for you.

Anyway, Ancient Sarajevo featured - as did the history of Ottoman Sarajevo, along with Jewish Sarajevo, and Habsburg Sarajevo, all with their own tours. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Heir to the Throne of Austria-Hungary, in June 1914, had its own tour, as did Sarajevo WW1 and ('German Occupied') Sarajevo WW2. Of course, the more recent conflict featured as well, with one particular tour (called The Tunnel Tour) devoted to exploring the tunnels which kept the city supplied during the civil war of the 1990s. Other tours also marked the more recent conflict.

However, by background, training, profession and - for quite a long time - I was a teacher of history and would still regard myself, first, and foremost, as a historian, even though, these days, I do not darken classroom doors. In any case, given the year that it is, one anniversary above all others called to me.

Thus, I walked to the corner - a surprisingly tight corner, on the quays, where a lovely old (rebuilt) bridge crosses the river, and where a junction leading down almost immediately into the Old Town is at right angles to the road along the quays itself; this is the spot where the open topped car driving the Heir (Presumptive) to the Throne of the Empire of Austria and the Kingdom of Hungary, (the Austro-Hungarian Dual Monarchy), Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Countess Sofie Chotek, took a wrong turn on the afternoon of June 28, 1914.

Quite a few years ago, the excellent British historian AJP Taylor wrote a wonderful (short, and exquisitely written and exceptionally well argued) book on the First World War. It opened with a characteristically arresting and thought-provoking sentence which read something as follows: "The Archduke Franz Ferdinand was a very unpleasant man, but he had one redeeming quality: He truly loved his wife."

The book proceeds to explain how theirs was a genuine love match, but the antique protocol (dating from the time of the Spanish Habsburgs) which governed relationships within the Imperial & Royal family decreed that one could only marry someone of similar rank. Thus, when they married (in defiance of the wishes of the Royal family), Franz Ferdinand was obliged to make a morganatic marriage, which meant that his wife could not share his royal rank - or titles, or precedence - at official State functions. As a 'mere' countess, Sophie Chotek, was treated as such, and regularly snubbed, which rankled with Franz Ferdinand (and although she was subsequently elevated to a higher peerage, it still remained lower than that of her spouse).

However, as a military officer, (and he was obsessively interested in matters military) his spouse would be treated as though she held his rank ('Frau General' and so on), and viewed and treated as his social equal, and so, he sought engagements where his wife could accompany him in his capacity as colonel-in-chief, or commander of regiments. This is the background to the reason why he was in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914. He came to review regiments and garrisons - a ceremonial series of functions with a military flavour, where his wife would be accorded his rank, and treated as his equal.

As is well known, radical Serb nationalists (viewed with horror by most of the actual Serbian political and military elite, but not by a special section of Serb military intelligence) had long plotted against the authorities in Bosnia. The country itself had been annexed by the Austrians in 1908, having been ruled and occupied (with international agreement) by them since 1878.

Earlier that morning, one of the conspirators had hurled a bomb at the cavalcade of cars transporting the Archduke and his party; Franz Ferdinand saw the bomb coming, and swiftly deflected it with his arm, (where it then bounced on the bonnet on the following motor-car, and exploded, seriously injuring some of the occupants). The conspirators fled and dispersed, the bomb thrower, meanwhile, easily captured after trying - unsuccessfully - to throw himself into the river, which - after an incredibly warm summer - was rather low.

Franz Ferdinand proceeded to a formal meeting at the City Hall, accompanied by his wife, shocked and incandescent with rage, where he furiously berated the Mayor and assembled local officials for their casual and utterly unprofessional attitude to security related matters. Photographs of the day show him livid with fury striding out of the meeting which was hosted for him by local dignitaries, cramming his shako on his head.

The official tour proceeded, and the car containing the Archduke took a wrong turn (what a metaphor, for life, for conflict, collapse) on the quays along the river, where the quays run parallel to the old town. This error was quickly realised - the rest of the entourage still on the quays - and the driver stopped, seeking to put the car into reverse gear, to reverse back out onto the quays, a few short metres (yards) away.

One of the conspirators from the morning's botched assassination by bomb-throwing was sitting, sipping coffee, feeling very sorry for himself, (but as yet unarrested, unlike his other colleagues) when the Archduke's open-topped car ground to a halt in front of him, the driver fumbling for the reverse gear. Gavrilo Princip, 18 years old, tubercular, (already turned down for formal terrorism activities by Serb military intelligence on the grounds of inexperience, possible incompetence, immaturity, youth, and ill-health) couldn't believe his eyes or his luck. He rose from his seat, leapt onto the running board of the momentarily stationary car, and poured the contents of his revolver into the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, the Countess Sophie Chotek who both sat in the wide back seat, side by side, and who gamely tried to protect each other. They both were killed, (Franz Ferdinand crying out 'Sophie - don't die - live for the children').

Within days, the Austrian Government had dispatched an ultimatum to the Government of Serbia; after some thought, the Serbs accepted all sections of the ultimatum, with the exception of one. That was not considered sufficient. Within six weeks, Europe was at war, a war that became known as the First World War.



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Old Oct 20, 2014, 12:19 PM   #4282
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Wow! What a back story. I had no idea, really, how WWI started. What a run of bad luck, and wrong turns, as you put it. I mean talk about being at the wrong place at the wrong time! And to think that the perpetrator was just calmly sipping come coffee when his target arrived directly in front of him. Just amazing.
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Old Oct 20, 2014, 02:22 PM   #4283
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Wow! What a back story. I had no idea, really, how WWI started. What a run of bad luck, and wrong turns, as you put it. I mean talk about being at the wrong place at the wrong time! And to think that the perpetrator was just calmly sipping come coffee when his target arrived directly in front of him. Just amazing.
Actually, I had really wanted to visit Sarajevo this year - given that it is the centenary of the start of the First World War - and Bosnian colleagues had recommended it to me as a wonderful city. Despite having spent a lot of time, (and observed, monitored or supervised a good many elections) in the Balkans between 1997 and 2008, until this year, my travels had never taken me to Sarajevo. When the opportunity arose, I was delighted to be asked to travel there.

To me, it was extraordinarily interesting to walk those streets, seeking out the place where this happened, and to stand there, wonderingly, amazed and awed, at that very junction, where the surprisingly tight corner leads down from the quays into the Old Town, while the lovely old bridge leads away from it across the river into the newer sections of the late 19th century part of the city.

Astonishingly, and almost inexplicably, Gavrilo Princip himself survived the war almost unscathed - just about. He died in hospital when his tuberculosis killed him in 1918.

The Serb Government was appalled at the assassination (not least because they had a fair idea of the form the reaction would take, namely, a declaration of war against them and they knew that would not turn out well - indeed, they took horrendous losses in WW1) and tried to bring their more or less entirely independent military intelligence wing under full State control, and also, after a deep breath, argued that it was best to accede to the humiliating terms of the proffered Austrian ultimatum (with one exception).

However, radicals on both sides - above all, the so-called 'war party' in the Austrian administration - which, ironically enough, had been ferociously backed by the assassinated Archduke himself, who detested Serbia and the forces of nationalism and decentralisation, and who has been described, accurately enough, as a 'choleric conservative' - and which was dying for the opportunity to teach the Serbian Government a lesson - did their best to ensure that saner counsels could not prevail, and that a full military conflict was the only possible outcome. An ultimatum crafted in deeply humiliating terms was deemed the best way to set about trying to achieve this……..

Other matters, such as the systems of alliances between the states, the compulsion of planned train timetables (timetables, which, incredibly, could not be subject to change or amendment for war plans - I'm serious!), the arms race at the time, imperialist delusions, nationalist dreams, all contrived to topple Europe into war within six weeks.

At the time, they all thought it would be a short, sharp war, a war that would be over by Christmas, on the lines of the brief conflicts the German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck used to wage successfully in the 1860s and in 1870. They were wrong. The war lasted four years, with untold casualties, and the political and social order which had prevailed in central and eastern Europe for half a millennium was utterly destroyed with the simultaneous collapse of four empires.
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Old Oct 20, 2014, 02:32 PM   #4284
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So going back a bit, the assassination was the catalyst that led to war right? it would seem that there was an underlying tension between the two countries prior to that as well, correct?
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Old Oct 20, 2014, 03:08 PM   #4285
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So going back a bit, the assassination was the catalyst that led to war right? it would seem that there was an underlying tension between the two countries prior to that as well, correct?

Yes. The assassination was the catalyst for the (eventual) outbreak of war (though if it hadn't happened, I strongly suspect something else would have supplied the trigger).

And yes, the relationship between the Austrian Empire and Serbia (the only one of the Balkan countries which was independent at the time, having won its independence early in the 19th century, and which was looked upon, by some of the others, as a sort of role model) was fraught. Very fraught.

However, more to the catastrophic point, both countries were also further entangled in an utterly absurd network of insanely linked inter-locking alliances which brought the whole system crashing down.

This was because the Russians (the Tsarist Empire) had guaranteed Serbian independence (seeing them - Serbia - as fellow Slavs, fellow Orthodox Christians, with strong emotional and cultural ties.) Russia, in turn, had a treaty of mutual support with France, which had one signed quite late in the day with Great Britain, which, as it happens, had never trusted France all that much, and so felt obligated to guarantee Belgian (independence) from anyone intending to, or threatening to, or planning to, or actually trying to invade that country (and, obviously, they thought - haunted by the memory of Napoleon Bonaparte, that the culprit in this instance, could only be France. They were wrong.) Train - and war - timetables, immutable war and train timetables - put Belgium at risk from another direction and quarter entirely.

Austria, meanwhile, had a treaty with Imperial Germany. Imperial Germany's mad military planning meant that any European war - especially a local conflict intended to teach Serbia a sharp lesson not to support Balkan or Bosnian terrorists - had to start with an invasion of Belgium (because that is where the trains were supposed to go when they had first planned all of this after the wars of 1870-71 - and no, writing it all down does not make it any less ludicrous).

In essence, the German plan (and they were dragged into this by Austrian intransigence and refusal to accept an abject Serb apology) was to invade France (and Belgium) rapidly and knock them out (as had happened successfully in 1870 - so, it wasn't entirely improbable), while banking on Russia (which would support Serbia) taking several weeks to mobilise in support of Serbia, by which time the Germans hoped to be in a position to deal with the Russian allies of the Serbs when they themselves would have been able to supply support to the Austrians. (And no, it still looks ludicrous, written down).

Now, of course, a railway timetable where the trains headed east, - instead of west (through peaceful, neutral but-in-the-way Belgium on the way to making mincemeat of France) might have been worth thinking about, but the German military couldn't see their way around that conundrum, as flexible reactions (rather than timely reactions) were not considered worthwhile doctrines in Berlin. Indeed, it would have been entirely possible - just about - to seek to contain the conflict within the Balkans themselves - after all, there had already been two Balkan wars since 1911, and one could have argued that this was another of those silly little local conflicts. Russian involvement in the Balkans, as Serbia's fairy godmother, wouldn't necessarily have served to make it a European, let alone a world, conflict……..

In any case, it is said that the aged Emperor of Austria Franz Josef, (the man whom Franz Ferdinand had hoped to succeed) recognised that this was all perfectly dreadful. He is thought to have deeply disliked the Austrian 'war party', who were egging on a sense of national hysteria hoping to have an excuse to annihilate Serbia.

Actually, in one way, this was all a bit ironical, really, as most people who knew him couldn't stand the murdered heir to the throne, Franz Ferdinand, who was, as mentioned earlier, a deeply unpleasant man, and the idea of going to war to avenge his assassination would have struck some of the more moderate section of Austro-Hungarian society as perfectly ludicrous. Anyway, Emperor Franz Josef felt that signing the Instrument of Declaration of War would lead to an unmitigated disaster (as it did) and was most reluctant to sign it. He is said to have muttered words to the effect that he 'was not lucky in wars'. He wasn't; moreover, by his mid 80s, he had outgrown his own youthful infatuation with guns, uniforms, and bonkers battles.

While in Sarajevo, I debated buying a copper coffee set, which would have included copper tray, copper pot, and utensils, and little copper bases complete with handles for the lovely porcelain cups. (And, by that, I mean that I seriously debated buying a coffee set - next time, I shall succumb). However, I did buy a copper/brass manual coffee grinder…………a beautiful piece of equipment, but not, alas, I suspect, a burr grinder……..

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Old Oct 20, 2014, 04:51 PM   #4286
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Fascinating read SS, fascinating. Thank you for the history lesson today! I always like reading about history, and usually its about WWII rather than WWI when I get into books of the genre.
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Old Oct 20, 2014, 05:47 PM   #4287
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Fascinating read SS, fascinating. Thank you for the history lesson today! I always like reading about history, and usually its about WWII rather than WWI when I get into books of the genre.
I actually think that they thought this war might follow the model of the brief wars fought by Bismarck in the 1860s, and that of 1870-71, where a short sharp conflict was followed by a treaty which redefined matters, borders, boundaries, balances of power….... almost everyone (initially) thought it would be over by Christmas.

(Actually, a far better model to have borne in mind, which nobody remembered, was that of the American Civil War, a war which ended up devouring everything - above all, utterly destroying the vanquished, militarily, socially, politically and economically - mobilising the victorious economy and society, and transforming and industrialising warfare, reinventing the concept of 'total war' and also kickstarting technological invention, - war, medicine, telegraphy, ships, photography, and so on - while also transforming entire societies and economies while doing so…….)

In 1914, the problem was that for most states the stated war aims - neither in terms of cost of time, manpower, resources, nor in actual desired outcomes - were not finite or clearly defined in advance (unlike the wars that Bismarck had fought in the 1860s and 1870s, where his desired outcomes - a tweaking of existing systems, with Germany invariably better off as a result - were finite in time and actual political, economic and military aims. In his conflicts, he set out to achieve qualified - not total - victory. This allowed his opponents to crawl away from the fray beaten, but not destroyed).

European military elites did not realise that you cannot expect a Bismarkian timetable (short, sharp, sweet) to unfold, when you are not seeking Bismarkian qualified outcomes, but hubristic total outcomes.

That meant, in turn, that as timetables went awry, (Germany did not manage to subdue Paris in six weeks, and therefore, Russia did manage to get time to eventually mobilise, however shambolically)- and the war became a stalemate - and costs (in manpower, resources, and time) mounted stratospherically, (because military killing technology had improved, and defenders were able to inflict far heavier losses than heretofore) the cost of suing for peace became progressively higher for each belligerent, the longer the war went on. It became its own insane logic, with no end in sight.

Therefore, the potential cost of being seen to have been the 'loser' (even with a minor or major redrawing of boundaries) along with a Treaty to confirm outcomes came to be seen to be far too high, and politically - and militarily - unacceptable, and not just to the political (and military) elites, but to the ordinary populations who were (initially at least) fervent supporters of the war.

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Old Oct 20, 2014, 05:51 PM   #4288
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I actually think that they thought this war might follow the model of the wars of the 1860s, and that of 1870-71, where a shot sharp conflict was followed by a treaty which redefined matters, borders, boundaries, balances of power….... almost everyone (initially) thought it would be over by Christmas.

The problem was that for most states the stated war aims - neither in terms of cost of time, manpower, resources, nor in actual desired outcomes - were not finite or clearly defined in advance (unlike the wars that Bismarck had fought in the 1860s and 1870s, where his desired outcomes - a tweaking of existing systems, with Germany invariably better off as a result - were finite in time and actual poetical, economic and military aims. In his conflicts, he set out to achieve qualified - not total - victory. This allowed his opponents to crawl away from the fray beaten, but not destroyed).

European military elites did not realise that you cannot expect a Bismarkian timetable (short, sharp, sweet) to unfold, when you are not seeking Bismarkian qualified outcomes, but hubristic total outcomes.

That meant, in turn, that as timetables went awry, (Germany did not manage to subdue Paris in six weeks, and therefore, Russia did manage to get time to eventually mobilise, however shambolically)- and the war became a stalemate - and costs (in manpower, resources, and time) mounted stratospherically, (because military killing technology had improved, and defenders were able to inflict far heavier losses than heretofore) the cost of suing for peace became progressively higher for each belligerent, the longer the war went on. It became its own insane logic, with no end in sight.

Therefore, the potential cost of being seen to have been the 'loser' (even with a minor or major redrawing of boundaries) along with a Treaty to confirm outcomes came to be seen to be far too high, and politically - and militarily - unacceptable, and not just to the political (and military) elites, but to the ordinary populations who were (initially at least) fervent supporters of the war.
This is all just fabulous coffee talk! I love it.

So, at what point and for what reasons did the United States enter WWI? I'm kind of vague on that, and vague on a lot of WWI history.
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Old Oct 21, 2014, 03:48 PM   #4289
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This is all just fabulous coffee talk! I love it.

So, at what point and for what reasons did the United States enter WWI? I'm kind of vague on that, and vague on a lot of WWI history.
Before giving this matter the deep contemplation an appropriate answer merits, I thought I would first let the thread know that I tried some of the Bosnian coffee I had brought back with me this morning.

Anyway, in the department store I wrote about several posts back, at the delighted prompting of our local staff, I bought two types of coffee which our local staff stressed were the best available locally; a few pre-ground (yes, yes, I know, but convenience sometimes - nay, often, trumps, caffeine perfection) which came in somewhat smaller packets (I was thinking of space and my small suitcase) and a massive (1kg) bag of coffee beans.

This morning I opened one of the pre-ground packets, - pre-ground to espresso grind, although, I was assured warmly that I could 'easily' prepare it in a French press, or whatever other method I fancied. So, this morning I fancied a cup (rather a mug) of coffee made with my Hario (ceramic) filter cone. Our Bosnian staff were right. It was perfectly possible to make a mug of coffee from this pre-ground (espresso grind) standard in a Hario filter ceramic cone. The resulting coffee was smooth, sweet, and silky, - and a lot less sharp, or acidic than some others I have consumed. Very interesting, and very, very drinkable….
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Old Oct 21, 2014, 03:55 PM   #4290
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Sounds like you had a winner of a mug! I prefer the less acidic tastes myself and for the most part, I think the majority of the coffee I've had has been that way too.
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Old Oct 21, 2014, 04:47 PM   #4291
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Sounds like you had a winner of a mug! I prefer the less acidic tastes myself and for the most part, I think the majority of the coffee I've had has been that way too.
Yes, I have discovered that I, too, prefer the smoother, softer, and yes, sweeter and silky versions (the less roasted versions) of coffee to the more acidic - and sharper - offerings.

As it happened, the Bosnian coffee was both smoother - and less robust (i.e. less strong - although I had compensated for that, and had already put in a little more coffee into the filter paper than I would have normally - judging by the colour of the coffee) than what I had thought it would be and was less robust - but a lot smoother - than some of the coffees I have had in other locations.

And, it was also less roasted, (i.e. less burnt, to be frank) than I have experienced elsewhere, too, which I actually realised I liked. Still, a smooth, sweet, relaxing, lovely cup (um, mug) of coffee…...
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Old Oct 22, 2014, 05:15 AM   #4292
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a smooth, sweet, relaxing, lovely cup (um, mug) of coffee…...
Those are my favorite kind of cups, err mugs! ☕
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Old Oct 22, 2014, 06:56 AM   #4293
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And, on the matter of the preparation of further cups (ah, mugs) of Bosnian (pre-ground to espresso grind) coffee (once again with my ceramic Hario filter cone) I can report that the Bosnian coffee is still smooth, easy, silky, soft, and utterly quaffable….

A very, very, nice cup of coffee indeed…...
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Old Oct 22, 2014, 08:06 PM   #4294
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Received these beans today, I'm keeping the fudge, the other is for a chum of mine. I'll be trying out the fudge later today...
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Old Oct 22, 2014, 08:25 PM   #4295
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Seems I have some catching up to do in this thread.

Nice to see you back from Bosnia SS, and you found some local coffee on your adventures? Fascinating!
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