No Man’s Land

Cheshire_Regiment_trench_Somme_1916

I read somewhere recently that you are to write what your readers want to read. Further, they noted that if you do not, then you might be the only one reading your blog. But, who out there knows that I love World War II history? I said all of that to say, because of this WWII thing, you have to know that if at any time I learn any new information, or find a new show on television I have to share. Well….did I ever find a new series. It’s on the History Channel entitled “World Wars,” have you seen it? Since I just found it, I have to play “catch up.” Last Sunday, I watched the first episode which began with WWI in 1914. Were you aware that although many countries were to blame for beginning this war, Germany too, played a part. What I learned in this show, and the fact I need to share set my head spinning. Of course, this is concerning the most infamous monster of the early twentieth century, Adolph Hitler. Unfortunately, I do believe this had to serve as the very first incident that proved providence in this fiend’s mind.

Have you heard the name Henry Tandey? I had not, because I’ve never watched, or read anything really with regard to WWI. I did read A Farewell to Arms, but that had nothing to do with history. This Ernest Hemingway story simply involved a love affair, with WWI as a backdrop. Moving on, Mr. Tandey served as a foot soldier in a British regiment, and received a Distinguished Conduct Medal, and a Victoria Cross for his service. I sat, mouth agape as I listened to the happening involving Hitler and Tandey. Hitler, in case you didn’t know served as a messenger during this war; having to run notes, and orders, or what have you to the different stations in an elaborate labyrinth of trenches. These ditches served as sleeping, and eating quarters for the soldiers – foreign as well as for the allies. The grounds up above, and between the two canals were called “No Man’s Land.” Hitler moving through No Man’s Land carrying a message, runs into Henry Tandey. Henry had his rifle aimed, and from what I understand, Hitler never raised his gun. After a few seconds, what did Henry do? He lowered his rifle, allowing every future event we know of, fruition. The historian explaining the event said, “Imagine how history would have been changed if he (Henry) had only pulled the trigger.

Then, my brain began running all of the different scenarios on just how everything would have been different, and wondering what he thought later on once the atrocities began. Think about it. I would love to know if there were any journals, or letters belonging to Henry putting his emotions to paper. I have to say, put yourself in his position. Would you get to a point where you couldn’t even turn your head to peek as you walked by the mirror? Would you have this conversation with yourself on a daily basis,

“Could I have prevented this? Why didn’t I pull that trigger? But, how could I have known? What made me spare his life? Could it have been divine providence? But, how could a direction of human affairs by God involve such violence?”

Unfortunately, none of us will ever know, and I must say – I am very happy I never had to live with something of this magnitude on my conscience. Can you imagine? But, as I think more about it, could Henry have not known? At first I thought there may have been the possibility he didn’t connect any of this. But, it had to be him that informed someone – yes? So, he had to have known. Which takes me back to my original observation. In some way, I would have almost experienced guilt as though I had a small part in all this, wouldn’t you think? Like the driver of the trains, almost. All I can add here is the old adage, “Sorry it was you Henry, but glad it wasn’t me.” Any thoughts?

Info courtesy of History Channel, Wikipedia & Amazon