World War 1 was the most disruptive event in the history of human civilization that was man made when war erupted in August 1914 and is the most influential legacy that affects our history today in so many ways. This particular blog cannot possibly contain everything that happened in those 4 years of carnage as literally hundreds of books have been written on the subject but we wish to bullet point what we feel was our points of reference regarding the common denominators THEN that permeate into current world affairs NOW.
“If you want the present to be different from the past, study the past.” – Baruch Spinoza
Three words surge to the forefront in our perceptions that resonate over the 100 plus years from the end of THE GREAT WAR on 11 11 1918 at 11AM, THE WAR to end all wars that actually spawned another 20 years later. Those words are EMPIRE, NATIONALISM and most importantly TREATIES. World War 1 was not planned per se but rather a situation that got out of control and fed on lingering hatreds and ambitions that had been building for decades prior. Seeing as the 3 major protagonists, King George 5th The Kaiser of Germany ,and Czar Nicholas of Russia ALL were related by blood thru Queen Victoria you would think defusing the conflict would have been a peace of cake. But the lesson here is disparate events can trigger responses amplified by TREATIES that FORCE engagement and not to get into a historical dissertation but suffice to say we see the evolving situation in Ukraine POTENTIALLY headed in same direction.
Part of the reason World War 1 started was because there had been 2 minor wars fought in the Balkans in 1911 and 1912 that were settled so no one took Austria Hungary serious when they threatened Serbia with war after Franz Ferdinand & wife Sophie were whacked in Sarajevo on June 28th 1914 and the shooter Gavrilo Princip was accused of being part of the BLACK HAND, a Serbian terrorist group. Germany backed Austria Hungary in their demands to Serbia which outrageous as they were got accepted anyway and they STILL declared war, Russia stepped up to “protect” The Slavs” in Serbia and stage was set. After that France allied against Germany because of their treaty with the Czar and when Germany violated Belgian neutrality by invading to attack France, Britain jumped in and stage was set.
One has to realize NATO today mirrors the role of the Allies in the Great War, as Russia is cast as the protagonist Central Powers. After The USA let Russia take Crimea in 2014 with no response, one could
assume Putin could have been emboldened to go for Ukraine when he saw the feckless leadership of Biden in the White House as compared to Trump. And just like WW1, the build up of military hardware and troop readiness by NATO now at 300,000 is hurtling toward a potentially major military confrontation in Europe that could be sparked by ANY of the 29 countries in NATO, because an attack or violation on any one of them is an attack ON US and therein lies the treaty danger. And unlike WW1, both sides maintain a nuclear weapon option, a final solution upping the odds dramatically as all parties involved acutely aware of EMPIRE
Just like WW1 the stage is set. Let us hope the lessons of history prevail by highlighting and avoiding a nightmare scenario. If you wish to DEEP DIVE more on WW1 we advise the excellent book ARMS OF KRUPP by William Manchester, his last book written before his death. And we are posting an exceptional historically accurate documentary on the war below based on the Pulitzer winning book GUNS OF AUGUST by Barbara Tuchman