They were fat but none too happy

“It is difficult today not to sympathize with the condemnations, worse or better informed as they have been, of the generals of the First World War. In no way—appearances, attitude, spoken pronouncement, written legacy—do they commend themselves to modern opinion or emotion. The impassive expressions that stare back at us from contemporary photographs do not speak of consciences or feelings troubled by the slaughter over which those men presided, nor do the circumstances in which they chose to live: the distant chateau, the well-polished entourage, the glittering motor cars, the cavalry escorts, the regular routine, the heavy dinners, the uninterrupted hours of sleep. Joffre’s two-hour lunch, Hindenburg’s ten-hour night, Haig’s therapeutic daily equitation along roads sanded lest his horse slip, the Stavka’s diet of champagne and court gossip, seem and were a world away from the cold rations, wet boots, sodden uniforms, flooded trenches, ruined billets and plague of lice on, in and among which, in winter at least, their subordinates lived.” – John Keegan, The First World War

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