Monday, August 04, 2014

100 years since the start of WWI. Lessons learned?

In past I've touched on the Remembrance Day, which was derived from Armistice Day. It was the day used to remember Great Britain's entrance into World War I.

With the advent of World War II we often gloss over the first Great War. The War to End All Wars.


But it was a brutal time and experience that is one to not loose sight of. And today has been the day the anniversary of the day the British Empire (bringing in it's dominions and colonies) finally entered the war of the side of the Allied Powers. It joined with the French Third Republic and the Russia Empire (Over time it would also include the Empire of Japan, The Kingdom of Italy, Serbia, the United States of America, Belgium, Nicaragua, Brazil, and various other nations with interests.) in the growing war with the Central Powers (Austria-Hungary, Germany, Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria).

Map of the War - Source
A map can really hide the toll behind places on a map, like Gallipoli or Verdun. By war's end over 16 million were dead across battlefields and cities (And soon Spanish Influenza would strike.). 20 million more were wounded or disabled. Bombs. Amputations. Mustard Gas. A generation was struck in a way that shaped the next decade. But it didn't give the kind of post war wisdom to not lay the ground work for the next harder war.

If you want to appreciate a lot of the stupidity and single-mindedness that brought this war into being, I would suggest listening to Dan Carlin's Hardcore History. Start with Blueprint for Armageddon I (then continued through II and III) and listen to how dumb luck lead to an assassination. How for the sake of efficient battle plans, Germany invaded Belgium pressuring the whole of the British Empire to enter the war.

Germany provoked war with England, because they needed to pass through Belgium, so they could attack France, so they could beat it in time to go and meet Russia on the battlefield. All so they could go an deal with Serbia. How is this not all mental!

So, remembering the day and hour Britain entered the war, in order to follow through with it's defense treaty with Belgium, the British had a quiet national moment.

It's been 100 years today. Have we learned our lessons yet? It can be worth looking back 100 years and see for yourself.

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