Friday, June 27, 2014

ArchDuke's and Armageddon

There is a lot in this article which repeats myths about the First World War on what will be tomorrow the 100th anniversary of the assasination of Arch Duke Ferdinand. But the First World War did destroy Europe and usher in the two worst kinds of Socialism, National and International. I tend to believe that the Germans were so hellbent on domination that war was inevitable but was that war inevitable? If the Agadir crisis of 1911 had triggered instead would the same stalemate have occurred? The period 1914-1945 was in some sense another 30 years war and it left Europe ravaged. I remember World War I veterans and their stories (my grandfather was one). But the living memory of it is gone now. I recommend to anyone who wants to get the flavor of the mood after the war the original "Saint" novels (not the Roger Moore T.V. show). In those books The Saint is always trying to stop a shadowy arms dealing villain from Central Europe from restarting war for the purpose of selling armaments. It was not industry or profit that caused the war, they just made it more terrible. It was the centrifugal forces nationalism. That nationalism was often "progressive" in character. Think Wilson and his 14 points and a nation for every people. The call the 20th Century the "short century" from June 28, 1911-to 1991 and the fall of the Soviet Union. It ended well but quite a brutal interval.


Dave S. said...

Two quick questions:

1) The Archduke's what?
2) What article?

You will be shocked to learn that I disagree with you on the causes of WW1. I would rank them as German fear of Russian rearmament, a lockstep alliance system whose wheels were greased by poor communications and irresponsibility, and the Serbs being too clever by half. I would submit that Wilson (not, by the way, anywhere near my favorite president) was trying to harness/put the best face on the nationalistic movements already underway by giving them a "progressive" framework.

My paternal grandfather was also a WW1 veteran and got gassed into the bargain. I brought home some mementos of his service and may post pics of them here at some point.

JCC said...

"That nationalism was often 'progressive' in character."

I believe that JJV just tried to blame liberals for WWI. C'mon - that's either satire or a rewrite of history worthy of Chekhov (Pavel, not Anton).

One thing that I've marveled at is that so many cite the dangers of appeasement running up to WWII but no one seems to recognize the dangers of reflexive militarization that took a backwater assassination and rampied it into the death of millions.

Dave S. said...

JCC, I took that assignment of blame as a given. I'm only surprised that he didn't go all in and call it a "Democrat war."