Saturday salon 5/7


An open thread where, at your leisure, you can discuss anything you like, well, within reason and the Comments Policy. Include here news and views, plus any notable personal experiences from the week and the weekend.

For climate topics please use the most recent Climate clippings.

The gentleman in the image is Voltaire, who for a time graced the court of Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great. King Fred loved to talk about the universe and everything at the end of a day’s work. He also used the salons of Berlin to get feedback in the development of public policy.

Fred would only talk in French; he regarded German as barbaric. Here we’ll use English.

The thread will be a stoush-free zone. The Comments Policy says:

The aim [of this site] is to provide a venue for people to contribute and to engage in a civil and respectful manner.

Here are a few bits and pieces that came to my attention last week.

1. ALP (57.5%) increases lead over L-NP (42.5%)

From Roy Morgan:

If a Federal Election were held today the ALP would win in a landslide (57.5%, up 2%) cf. L-NP (42.5%, down 2%) on a two-party preferred basis according to today’s multi-mode Morgan Poll conducted the last two weekends – June 21/22 & 28/29, 2014.

Morgan has the ALP primary vote at 36.5% and the LNP at 35%.

The Greens support is 12% (unchanged), support for the Palmer United Party (PUP) is 7% (up 1.5%) and support for Independents/Others is 9.5% (up 1.5%). PUP polled 13% in Qld.

2. Abbott falls further behind Shorten in latest Newspoll

Here’s the poll.

Shorten leads Abbott 44 to 34 as preferred prime minister.

Labor leads 55-45 TPP up from 53-47.

… the Coalition would attract 35% of the primary vote if an election were held now, compared with 37% for Labor, 13% for the Greens, and 15% for others.

3. First World War centenary

It seems we could be celebrating this one for the next four years.

Radio National has a series of special broadcasts.

Quiggin reckons we’ve learnt nothing and have been fighting ever since.

Kelly Higgins-Devine looked at some big battles held in July, mostly in Europe.

4. Battle of Leipzig

Did you know that the battle of Leipzig in 1813 which ended the Napoleonic Wars as such involved over 600,000 soldiers, making it the largest battle in Europe prior to World War I.

The French had around 160,000 soldiers along with 700 guns plus 15,000 Poles, 10,000 Italians, and 40,000 Germans belonging to the Confederation of the Rhine, totaling to 225,000 troops on the Napoleonic side. The coalition had some 380,000 troops[2] along with 1,500 guns, consisting of 145,000 Russians, 110,000 Austrians and Hungarians, 90,000 Prussians, and 30,000 Swedes. This made Leipzig the largest battle of the Napoleonic wars, surpassing all of the wars’ past battles of Borodino, Wagram, Jena and Auerstadt, Ulm and Dresden.

Bigger also than Waterloo.

Casualties on both sides were astoundingly high; estimates range from 80,000 to 110,000 total killed, wounded or missing. Napoleon lost about 45,000 killed and wounded.

Out of a total force of 430,000, the Allies suffered approximately 54,000 casualties. Schwarzenberg’s Bohemian Army lost 34,000, Blücher’s Silesian Army lost 12,000, while Bernadotte’s Army of the North and Bennigsen’s Army of Poland lost about 4,000 each.

There is every possibility that my ancestors would have fought in the battle. It was only 35 years later that my great grandfather left Silesia. Memories of the napoleonic wars would have still been very alive, and perhaps a reason for departing to safer climes after the revolutions of 1848.

From memory, the Prussian population was depleted by about 11% during the Napoleonic wars.

5. What you don’t want to read

I already knew that visitors to this site read climate posts in fewer than half the numbers reading political posts.

This week I found out that most people really don’t want to read about Gillard and Rudd any more.

9 thoughts on “Saturday salon 5/7”

  1. Brian. 4. Leipzig. Yep, one of my ancestors picked up an award that day – funny thing is, he was of French descent. At one time, Brandenburg-Prussia welcomed a lot of French.

  2. Another funny thing was the Saxons, who were fighting on the side of the French, That is until they changed sides and started shooting the French behind them.

  3. I’ve just watched Novak Djokovic take out Roger Federer to win Wimbledon in five sets. In the end a poor service game for the Fed and it was all over.

    One might say that Federer had no business being there at age 32. And Djokovic at 27 is at the peak of his powers. Djokovic’s game looked the more solid all night, but at 2 sets all and 2 all in the fifth the stats showed they had won exactly the same number of points.

  4. Finished Richard J. Evans’ The Third Reich at War. Evans’ trilogy on Nazi Germany is a remarkable achievement, certainly the best and most comprehensive history I’ve ever read of the Third Reich.

    Now reading Adam Tooze’s The Deluge. The Great War and the Remaking of Global Order Its certainly interesting. Will say more perhaps when I’ve read more.

    Annoyingly the bookbinding for this hardcover was substandard. While the book isn’t falling apart (yet) the stitching makes the pages in one section unaligned from the rest when the book is opened if you know what I mean. Does distract a little from my concentration and thus enjoyment, now and then.

  5. Paul B I look forward to anything you have to say on the Third Reich!

    On another topic, I’ve put up a post about Four Corners tonight, which is about the energy revolution taking place elsewhere in the world which the Abbott Government is seeking to ignore.

  6. Brian,
    Tooze’s book is about WWI and the 1920s up to the Great Depression in the 1930s.
    His best known work, which I haven’t read yet, though its on my bucket list, is The Wages of Destruction, a ground-breaking economic history of the Third Reich.
    Re The Deluge his treatment of the connections between Wilhelmine Germany and the Bolsheviks after Brest Livotsk is illuminating and astonishing. If the war hadn’t ended the Bolsheviks would have ended up totally discredited, he suggests. The British/American/Japanese Intervention in the Russian Civil War was aimed not at the Bolsheviks but the Germans, he argues.
    And that is just a hint of the many remarkable things in the book.

  7. Hi folks,

    Brian called earlier today and asked me to let everyone know that he is currently having another broadband outage. Telstra say they are working on it, so he’ll be back as soon as they are successful.

    Brian mentioned Field Marshall Blucher above. While I was in Poland recently, I was fortunate to be offered a guided tour of the ‘house’ that he and his family lived in during the period that he led Prussian troops against Napoleon, including at Waterloo. I found the story of the early as well as recent history of this building (more like a palace, or a castle than a house!) extremely fascinating. Once I have completed all of the other posts that I have saddled myself up to regarding my recent travels, I may do a post on what I heard and saw. I think it’s a story to gladden any heart!

  8. Thanks, Len. Back now after a 22 hour outage. Something to do with the cable in this suburb.

    On Blucher, Christopher Clark reckons Wellington would have got done over if Blucher hadn’t attacked Napoleon’s flank, going into battle directly after a 2-day forced march to get there!

    Len, perhaps ‘manor’ is the equivalent English term you are looking for.

  9. Len Bahnisch @ 7: Definitely looking forward to that. 🙂 Sorry, I’ve been too preoccupied with other issues to give your posts the attention they really do deserve.

    Brian @ 8: Welcome to The Other Australia – a no-bars, or maybe-bars, service area. As the Duke of Edinburgh said in another context many years ago “Look out Third World; here we come”.

    Battle of Leipzig: It’s funny how important battles and campaigns and even wars are overlooked in the Anglosphere. Not just Leipzig in 1813 but the T’aip’ing “Rebellion” in Manchu China and a couple of huge battles (almost wars in themselves) during the Chinese Civil War; Lettow-Vorbeck’s initial defence then his many miraculous escapes in East Africa during the First World War; the Russo-Polish War in 1920; the Winter War between Finland and the USSR; any number of important battles during the Russian Civil War; the invasion of Iran by Britain and the USSR during the Second World War. Yes, there are a few English-speakers who have written on each of these conflicts but their works are generally hidden away in little nooks inside research libraries and so the general reading public is usually does not know such conflicts happened, let alone being aware of the impact they may have on how the 21st Century world evolved. Well, Brian, take a bow – in mentioning Leipzig, you are lifting at least one curtain. :-).

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