Sunday, November 11, 2018

The Centennial of the Armistice

1. A hundred years ago today, World War I ended. It seems like the day should be marked. It was a stupid war, a testament to fallen human nature. Of course all wars are stupid. All wars are a testament to fallen human nature.

Nevertheless, because of fallen human nature, wars must be fought. I am sad for the British, French, and Germans who died in this ego war between kings with too much testosterone for their own good. Some 50,000 Americans died too.

2. America entered the war because the Germans kept sinking passenger ships with Americans on them. The last straw was the Housatonic. We only entered the war in 1917, but it seemed to be a tipping point. The war ended November 11, 1918.

Hitler and others were incensed that the Germans gave up. And the war reparations were unbearable on Germany. These factors were not the whole cause of Hitler's rise to power, but they were factors.

3. Both my grandfathers registered on September 12, 1918. It must have been required since they were in different counties. But of course the war was over less than a month later.

4. The war was fought because of a cascade of treaties between nations, triggered because of an incompetent assassin and an equally ridiculous crown prince. Then the chest beating began. Chemical weapons, trench warfare, the evolution of artillery, U-boats that sunk ships--all lovely developments of WW1. See Wonder Woman for some additional events that didn't happen.

We are not beyond such wars. There are still world leaders who wouldn't give a second thought to send the youth of their nation to their deaths. There are still world leaders who care for little more than themselves and their own egos. The masses are still easily manipulated and large numbers can easily be convinced that it's time to fight a war.

One hundred years on and humanity is exactly the same.

1 comment:

Martin LaBar said...

If we have learned anything from history, it's that we don't learn anything from history.