Jewish World Review July 31, 2014 / 4 Menachem-Av, 5774
WWI, the not so great war
By Cal Thomas
While the match igniting the "war to end all wars" was lit by the assassination of
The observance will begin with a worship service led by the former Archbishop of
It is a truism that wars are started by old men who send young men (and now women) to die. What was then called The Great War turned out to be "great," but only in its carnage. The figures, though still in dispute, are staggering even to this day. According to figures compiled by the
Contributing to the slaughter was
Of all the wars, this one may have been the least predictable. As historian
"The war had not been precipitated by popular nationalistic fervor, but by the decisions of tiny groups of individuals in seven governments." He quotes the
Hastings writes that this war might have offered lessons for the wars and conflicts that followed: "So extravagant was the sentimentality with which the war was promoted in its early months that in due time, as its human cost soared, a lasting revulsion emerged among some of the audience, who felt that they had been duped. The genuine merits of the allied cause became profoundly tarnished by the baroque language and spurious religiosity with which it was marketed, especially in the eyes of the generation that would do most of the dying that made victory belatedly possible."
The British Archives and other sources are now publishing letters sent by soldiers to their loved ones. They are poignant and typical of what you might expect from men unsure of their futures. The most heart-wrenching are from soldiers who promised wives, sweethearts and parents they would be home soon, only to be killed days or weeks later.
Hastings contends the major cause of the war was
Was the war worth it? Yes, in one sense, because if
A satirical song that challenged the jingoism of the time was, "Oh! It's a Lovely War." As the lyrics convey, it was anything but lovely for the millions who fought in it and for those they left behind to mourn.
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