The War to Give Birth to Other Wars

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No one expected a renewal of war in the lifetime of the generation that had known its horror and its squalors.

Winston Churchill, The World Crisis:  Aftermath

 

Indy Neidell of The Great War looks at the wars that followed in the wake of World War I.  The Allied slogan of The War to End War may be forgiven as the type of puffery that states engaged in huge wars will often resort to in order to mobilize their populations.  However, the fact that so many people believed it demonstrated that a strong element of the irrational entered into the West during World War I.  Few people looking at the world in  1914 thought that humanity was on the verge of eternal peace, certainly not those at the heads of great powers.  By the end of the War many statesmen were actually thinking that  a world without war was an attainable goal.  Utopianism is always a poor basis for governmental action, and so it turned out after World War I.

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2 Comments

  1. World War I was unavoidable…just my lousy opinion.
    Austria-Hungary was on its last legs, ruled for 60+ years by one man. The Age of Empires was coming to an end. Things were not so hot in Russia and the Ottoman Empire was a carcass.

    The fact that Lenin seized control of Russia can be laid at the feet of the Germans, the long-standing bully of Central Europe.

  2. Penguin:
    I agree that conflict of some sort was inevitable, since the Slavs were not happy being ruled by Germans and Russians, and if Charles IV had come to the Austrian throne earlier and had Frederik and not Wilhelm II ruled Prussia, the fighting might have been more restricted and limited to Central Europe. We would never have been involved. Willy was the key villain, and without his prodding the war would never have gone West.
    (Speaking as a descendant of Rhinelanders: please don’t blame all Germany for the bullying of Prussia and the Teutonic Knights before them.)
    The folly of Versailles was to fail to follow the example of Vienna (1815). Napoleon was as much a bullying aggressor as any German leader of WWI, yet the allies then simply exiled him and changed France’s leadership and did not punish the French people. France kept her dignity as a nation (and her colonies) and surely that made a difference.

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