Would the world be a better place if Germany won World War 1? (Part 1) – YouTube

An interesting take on “alternate history”!

Many people either instinctively realize or have discovered through study that the defeat of the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria) by the Allied Powers (Britain, France, Russia, and eventually the United States) – and especially the draconic surrender terms insisted upon by the French – led directly to the rise of Hitler and the Nazis in Germany, and everything that followed.

(World War One, of course, was a completely unnecessary and horribly destructive “brother’s war” which accomplished absolutely nothing positive and much to the contrary, and the negative effects of this debacle continue to ripple through Europe and the world on many levels to this day. But I digress…)

But what if the Central Powers had won? Not just attained a negotiated peace (which would almost certainly have happened, were it not for a violent Communist insurgency within the Fatherland itself which forced Germany to sue for peace – it strains both language and credulity to claim that Germany “lost” the war when its troops were inside enemy territory on all fronts), but actually won outright?

Unlikely, perhaps, but not inconceivable – especially if the United States had stayed out, as we would have been well-advised to do. Allied propaganda aside, would the world have been a worse place… or a better one? This videoPart 2, and Part 3 suggest that the latter scenario is the more likely. Despite my pride in my paternal grandfather, who fought for the U.S. in WW I, I am inclined to agree. These three videos (the second and third are embedded below) do a very good job, in my opinion, of explaining why.

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Who’s To Blame for World War One?

Source: Who’s To Blame for World War One? – LewRockwell

Imperial German Army staff officers
Prussian officers, prior to the First World War.

The conventional answer to this question, of course, is “the Central Powers, and especially Imperial Germany.” But the conventional answer is not always or necessarily the right one, and the linked paper by Paul Gottfried points out the error of choosing to “attach overwhelming responsibility to the losing side while making the Allied governments look better than they were.”

The victor writes the history, of course, and so it has largely been in the hundred years, or nearly, since the “Great War,” the “war to end all wars,” finally came to an end with the defeat of those Central Powers  by a coalition (the Allied Powers) consisting primarily of France, Britain, Russia (until the Bolshevik Revolution took it out of the War), and eventually, the United States.

But what I have come to discover, in recent years, and what this article makes clear, is that the truth is much more complex; and a fair-minded look at the political maneuverings, prior to the War, takes some of the shine off the Allies. As Gottfried notes,

“The charge that Germany was the unprovoked aggressor should have rung hollow by 1914, given the intrigues that had gone before. Of course, no one is denying that Germany’s catastrophic blunder furnished the casus belli. But as the historian Thucydides noted thousands of years ago, a true historical study examines the genesis of events. Such an account is not limited to the immediate causes of a war nor to the pretext or excuse (prophasis) that is given for one when it breaks out.”

Furthermore, during the War itself,

“France and the US suppressed civil liberties more than their adversaries… In 1914 Germany and Austria permitted more, not less, academic freedom and free expression of political views than now exists in such ‘liberal democratic’ citadels as Sweden, Canada, and the German Federal Republic. These state-of-the-art ‘liberal democracies'” – unlike the Central Powers in WW I – rigorously punish so-called hate speech and monitor politically correct behavior, of course in the name of ‘democracy.'”

Ironic indeed!

World War One was a tragedy, plain and simple. It did not have to happen; it was the result of blunders and miscalculations on both sides, but also – as this article makes clear – of calculated and long-standing plans to bring down Germany. And the horrific casualties, including some 11 million European military personnel on all sides, and about 7 million civilians, was a catastrophic loss that continues to resonate to this day.

It is said that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. But we cannot learn from it properly if the lessons are obscured by ideology. A more clear-eyed and balanced view of the roots of the First World War might help us to avoid similar missteps, and similar catastrophic consequences, today. Or so one may hope!

The Christmas Truce of 1914 (as portrayed in Sainsbury’s Christmas 2014 Ad)

I absolutely love this ad, and even more, the historical episode it portrays: the Great Christmas Truce of 1914, which for a few brief, shining hours, stopped one of the most horrific and destructive wars in history – certainly in European history – in its tracks. Before they were forced back to killing each other by their “superiors,” the ordinary soldiers of the British and German Armies enjoyed a brief respite from the fighting… and a brief vision of one another as fellow humans, and European brothers.

If only the spirit of that moment could have somehow taken hold, been built upon, perhaps the terrible destruction and loss of the flower of European youth – the “death of a generation” – at Verdun, the Somme, and other battles, might have been prevented. And perhaps, just perhaps, the continued suffering and loss which has followed – World War Two, the Cold War, and Europe’s present crisis – might also have been prevented…

A heartwarming, yet heartbreaking, story.

Train journey remembers fallen of WWI – British Army Website

Source: Train journey remembers fallen of WWI – British Army Website

“100 years after British Troops left in their hundreds of thousands on trains to fight in the First World War, modern soldiers from the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers gathered on the platform at King’s Cross to meet another important train representing those who never made the journey home. The railway helped Britain’s forces to mobilise and The Fusiliers were among the first soldiers to leave for the front as part of the British Expeditionary Force.

Coinciding with the centenary of the eve of the end of the Battle of the Somme, Virgin Trains ran a special Remembrance themed locomotive across this morning’s East Coast route.”

The Great War’s damage to the English soul and church – Covenant

The English church is still wrestling with the consequences of a terrible demographic, psychic, spiritual, cultural, and philosophical catastrophe.

Source: The Great War’s damage to the English soul and church – Covenant

“North Americans, especially Episcopalians, hold onto dated, romantic perceptions of England and the English. They tend to view Britain through a Downton Abbey lens, but that country has long since ceased to exist, its lifeblood drained out in Flanders Fields. Yes, we should admire the courage and tenacity of the 20th-century British, but let us never forget that the price of standing firm was beyond what the nation could afford.”

Perhaps the saddest thing of all is that the Great War, and for that matter its “second chapter,” never had to happen… foolish choices, some rooted in arrogance, some in idealism, brought this upon England, Europe, and the world. Will we ever learn?

Remembrance Sunday: Queen leads the nation in honouring war dead at the Cenotaph

A two-minute silence led by the Queen has been held to honour the war dead as the nation’s leaders gathered at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday.

Source: Remembrance Sunday: Queen leads the nation in honouring war dead at the Cenotaph

As Big Ben struck 11am, the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery fired their First World War-era guns to mark the beginning and end of the reflection in the heart of Whitehall. The Last Post was then sounded.

Dressed in black, the Queen laid a wreath of poppies at the memorial for “The Glorious Dead” while Mrs May and leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn followed suit.

In keeping with tradition, the Queen was joined by senior members of the royal family including the Duke of Edinburgh and Prince of Wales, who also laid wreaths.”

Battle of the Somme: Royals at Somme centenary commemoration – BBC News

Somme Centennial - Theipval Ceremony

Thousands of people, including members of the Royal Family, have attended a ceremony in France to mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme.

Battle of the Somme: Royals at Somme centenary commemoration | BBC News

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry attended a vigil at the Thiepval Memorial on Thursday evening.

Prince William spoke of European governments “including our own” who failed to “prevent the catastrophe of world war”.

“We lost the flower of a generation; and in the years to come it sometimes seemed that with them a sense of vital optimism had disappeared forever from British life,” he said.

“It was in many ways the saddest day in the long story of our nation.”

Royal Family - Thiepval - Somme Centennial

At the Westminster Abbey service on Thursday, the Queen was joined by the Duke of Edinburgh as she laid flowers at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior.

HM The Queen - Battle of the Somme Centennial