As we remember the guns of August, 100 years ago, we should also remember the stunning carnage that wiped out the professional armies of Europe in the first few months of World War I.
The first three months of the war killed just about every British soldier who was already in uniform before the shooting started on July 28, 1914.
In August of that year, the British army was rejecting recruits who were less than 5 feet 8 inches tall.
By October, British recruiters were taking every man at least 5 feet 5 inches tall.
In October, about 30,000 Tommies died on gruesome European battlefields.
In November, khaki uniforms were being handed out to enlistees who were at least 5 feet 3 inches.
I guess you know the rest of the story….
Source: Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States:1492 – Present. (New York, HarperPerennial Modern Classics, 2005), 360.