World War One was the death of a prosperous, relatively happy world. If you read the biographies of people who fought in that war, you’ll see something very familiar – The loss of a world of youth, and its replacement by a hideous world of ideologies and political insanities. Everyone who fought in that war resented it, and what it did to their lives in so many ways.
The sheer madness of World War One was a guide to the future in so many ways:
Ridiculous basis for a war: The Archduke who was shot and triggered the war was one of the progressives, trying to address the issues for which he was assassinated. It was a sad event, certainly, but not a good reason for an estimated 20 million deaths and four years of mass human misery. There was no reason for this war at all, on any rational basis. One authority comments that the most striking cause for the war was the sheer mediocrity of the people involved, office boys with no clue about warfare or its possibilities, or how to stop a war from happening.
Maniacal conduct of the war: Even those who assumed a war was inevitable never predicted the results. The sheer slaughter of World War One is still statistically as bad as later wars in terms of massacring combatants, usually to achieve absolutely nothing of military or political value. People were walking in to literal hails of machine gun and artillery fire, and they just kept doing it. Millions were killed, and many more maimed for life. The only people who benefited were the arms manufacturers. Everyone else lost.
The most vague political concepts of the war: By 1915, Europe and Russia were annihilating their soldiers at thousands per day, with no clear view of what was to be achieved except “victory”, at the price of an entire generation. Even the Vietnam War doesn’t quite reach this level of mindless obsession.
Social catastrophes: The Russian Revolution, the creation of a maimed and barely viable Germany, and the legacy of Britain’s horrendous war costs were the catalysts for a disgusting, politically corrupt future and the endless local wars of today. 1918 was the benchmark for political failures of all kinds, and the predecessor of “austerity”, that worldwide obscenity, in its first form.
Hijacking democracy: The rise of Fascism, Nazism and Communism date from 1918, too. Ultra-capitalism in the US the early “1%” and the Depression consolidated capitalism in the West as the so-called antithesis of the anti-democratic movements. In practice, capitalism enforced another form of anti-democracy, the hijacking of government by the big capitalists. The New Deal dealt only with the physical problems, not the venal, verminous mindsets which contaminate the world now.
Propaganda and disinformation: Fake news is nothing new. During and after World War One, it became a science, and the basis for Orwell’s 1984. By 1946, it was a standard tool of governments. Some people still fail to recognise that Big Brother is a stagnant, self-limiting, self-oppressing society, dedicated to preserving its owners, not the society.
Ideological warfare in war and peace: The ideologies which sprouted like diseases from World War One’s gigantic cemeteries were arguably worse than the war. These were the excuses for genocide, fire bombing, mass executions, and the vast human disasters in Europe and Asia. Even colonial genocides didn’t reach these industrial scales of mass murder.
Yes, World War One is your problem in 2018
If you’re one of those people who believes that nothing which happened before you were born is relevant to you, you’re very wrong. The map of human misery as it now exists was made in 1918. A war which never needed to happen at all caused it all.
There’s no reason to believe that so many prosperous countries would have torn each other, and themselves, to pieces and set the scene for the 20th century’s hideous “entertainments”. The Holocaust, the Great Depression, and the Cold War could never have happened without World War One.
Germany, a middle class country in normal times, could never have been the scene for Nazism without the Treaty of Versailles which sent it broke even before the Depression. Global colonialism would have come and gone on its own. Social changes and improvements for the poor were already happening in the West, and percolating to the East. Before World War One, there were no fanatics running nations. Even when the Russian and Chinese Revolutions first happened, they were led by moderates and academics, not fanatics and criminals.
Science couldn’t have been so easily diverted to military industrial uses, either. World War One turned basic technologies in to high value commercial assets. War, in effect, became truly profitable, and easy to distribute, worldwide. No prizes for seeing the modern parallels and their equally repulsive ramifications.
The same methods, the same stupidity and same basic mindsets are still in play. They’re like some sort of rotting corpse centre stage at a wedding which never quite happens. For some reason, these ugly bastard children of World War One are still calling the shots, a century later.
World War One As Part of Your Life? Yes. Lucky You.
Those who don’t learn from history are fools at best, traitors to humanity at worst. Look and learn. History is the greatest horror stories ever written, and you’re in it, whether you like it or not. NONE of the problems have been solved. If you don’t recognise history as a threat, you may well become history well before your time.
Readers note: Having some database issues with the blog, which is why it’s been off and on recently. Hopefully fixed now, but will believe when I see it.