war to end all wars
great war until second war
does world go again
World War One for a long time was known simply as the either ‘The War’ or the “The Great War.”
Woodrow Wilson named it, “The War to End All Wars” and came to the Versailles Treaty meetings with a 14 point paper that would prevent future wars. This document brought the Prime Minister of France, Georges Benjamin Clemenceau, to comment that Moses himself had only 10 points.
It did not become World War One until World War Two came along.
In the book The Winds of War, Herman Wouk has one of his characters saying, “World War Two… You know, Time has been writing about ‘World War Two’ for months. It always seemed so unreal, somehow. Now here it is, but it still has a funny ring.“
For centuries the Foreign Policy of Great Britain had been to keep things in Europe as muddled up as possible so that all the European countries would be arguing amongst themselves and no one would notice what Britain was doing around the world.
As Sir Humphrey Appleby put it, “Britain has had the same foreign policy objective for at least the last 500 years: to create a disunited Europe. In that cause we have fought with the Dutch against the Spanish, with the Germans against the French, with the French and Italians against the Germans, and with the French against the Germans and Italians. Divide and rule, you see. Why should we change now, when it’s worked so well?“
In 1914, Europe tried to sort their own problems and their solution was to act like kids at recess playing football.
The two biggest kids named themselves as Captains and then they chose up sides.
Once they had teams, everyone on each team agreed that they would be good team mates and come the aid of any other team mate who might be in trouble.
History books tell us The Great War started over an incident in the city of Sarajevo in Serbia.
Austro-Hungry claimed control over the country of Serbia.
Russia claimed an interest in ethnic Russians living in Serbia.
To calm things down, the Austro-Hungarians sent the Archduke Franz Ferdinand Carl Ludwig Joseph Maria of Austria on a tour of the Serbia.
While in Sarajevo, the Archduke was shot and killed by a assassin which brought on a war between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Serbia.
Serbia was on the Russian team so Russia was in.
Germany was the Austro-Hungarian team so they were in.
France and Britain were on Russian’s team so they were in.
And so on and so on an so on.
Wikipedia says, “The Balkans remained a site of political unrest with teeming ambition for independence and great power rivalries.”
And we all get into The Great War.
That is one story anyway.
When talking about the early 1900’s and great power rivalries in Europe, you come down to the two biggest kids on the playground, Britain and Germany.
The Germany of Kaiser Wilhelm II, the grandson of Queen Victoria and the cousin to the then current King of Britain, George V.
Britain had a big navy.
Wilhelm II wanted just as big a navy and built one.
A problem with big navies is that if you don’t use them, they rust up and sink on their own.
It was pretty much a given that once Wilhelm II had his big navy, he would want to put it to the test against the other big navy on the block.
Kaiser Bill was that kind of guy.
He would start a war just to show that he was that kind of guy.
This is the guy who reportedly had a desk chair that was a saddle mounted on chair legs as he felt his brain worked better when he was on a horse.
(This brings to mind the Civil War General John Pope who dictated reports with the dateline, HEADQUARTERS IN THE SADDLE – meaning they were on the move – He sent off some many reports this way and was such a failure that Mr. Lincoln said that General Pope had his headquarters where his hindquarters should have been)
When Wilhelm II started on his big navy building scheme, one of Britain’s leading Admirals made a predication.
Germany’s biggest naval base, Kiel, is on the Baltic Sea and the Imperial German Navy would have to make its way up and around Denmark to get into the North Sea and attack Great Britain.
In 1907, Germany began work to deepen the Kiel Canal that cut across the bottom on Denmark and would let the Imperial German Navy get into the North Sea both quicker and secretly.
British Admiral Jackie Fisher, the man who invented the big gun battleship, said that as soon as that canal project was completed and Germany could get their fleet into the North Sea, Kaiser Bill would finally start his war.
The Kiel Canal was completed on June 23, 1914.
The Great War started that August.
Now Mr. Putin wants to start a war.
Why does Mr. Putin want to start World War One all over again?
Maybe he cares about all those ethnic Russians in Ukraine.
Maybe he worries about all the offenses those poor Russians in Ukraine have had to put up with since the USSR went away.
And maybe, Mr. Putin is just that type of guy who wants to start a war to prove that that is the type of guy he is.