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Q: What is the origin of the quote, "Bleed them white"? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: What is the origin of the quote, "Bleed them white"?
Category: Relationships and Society > Government
Asked by: grthumongous-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 08 Feb 2004 17:19 PST
Expires: 09 Mar 2004 17:19 PST
Question ID: 304832
What is the origin of the quote, "Bleed them white"?  
Who said it, when, with some context.
Subject: Re: What is the origin of the quote, "Bleed them white"?
Answered By: tutuzdad-ga on 08 Feb 2004 17:58 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Dear grthumongous-ga;

Thank you for allowing me an opportunity to answer your interesting question.

The phrase can be attributed to a number of people since, but the
earliest I can trace the saying ?bleed them white? is to World War I,
and more specifically to German commander-in-chief Field Marshal Erich
von Falkenhayn.

In 1916, while planning what would eventually become the 'Battle of
Verdun' in the Lorraine region of France, and the longest and most
ferocious battle of the entire war, von Falkenhayn developed what he
called his ?bleed them white? strategy, whereby he hoped to inflict
such great looses upon the French Army that it would not only
annihilate them but it would also seriously compromise the country's
British and Russian allies (both literally and psychologically). While
his other commanders were under the impression that von Falkenhayn?s
primary objective was to capture the town of Verdun, in actuality was
the absolute and utter destruction of the French forces that he was
obsessed with.

Presumably then, the original intent of the phrase ?bleed them white?
refers to a strategy designed not only to win, but also to thoroughly
destroy your opponent.

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grthumongous-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $3.00

Subject: Re: What is the origin of the quote, "Bleed them white"?
From: pinkfreud-ga on 08 Feb 2004 18:08 PST
Here's an interesting tidbit:
"Venesection was used to treat horses as well as man. In 1825 White
stated, 'In almost all the internal diseases of horses bleeding is the
essential remedy; and the earlier and more freely it is employed the
more effectual will it generally be found.' 'Bleed 'em White,' as he
became known, indicated his liberal views on bloodletting."

The 'White" referenced above was Dr. James White, author of "The
Veterinary Art," published in 1825.
Subject: Re: What is the origin of the quote, "Bleed them white"?
From: grthumongous-ga on 08 Feb 2004 23:25 PST
Thank you for insight. An aptly named doctor for sure.... and what a
word, "venesection".  Which reminds me of a NBC-TV Saturday Night Live
skit with Bill Murray in which this treatment was employed with great

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