I have just watched an episode from the excellent documentary series about the First World War; the episode begins in March 1918, when the Germans launch a massive attack against the British and French lines on the Western Front. The Germans advance deep into France, further than at any time since the first few months of the war, they can now send bombs into Paris. Yet at home in Germany, they are starving, sick of the war, wanting it to end, they feel they are living in a military dictatorship, socialism was rising.
Watching that episode just made me laugh, in 1918 the Germans knew who their enemy was, it wasn’t the British or the French, it was the German Army, and forced slave labour, due to having no food, no resources whatsoever, because everything including men, were in the war fighting and dying. Yet by 1939, only twenty one years later, they felt the exact opposite. Or at least a warped version of the opposite, twisted and manipulated, by clever, deceitful, controlling, violent, people. So the worst war of all wars, the Great War, as it was called. The War to end all Wars, in itself created a far more dangerous beast, and this beast then hypnotised a nation into believing a total falsehood, he inveigled his ignorant subjects; he made them fantasise about a nation that did not actually exist.
I then thought further, even now, with the knowledge of the First and Second World Wars, and the devastation they caused throughout the world, we still fight wars. Yes you could say they are not in the same league as the big two, but then I bet they would be if we did not have the overwhelming fear that it would be a nuclear war, which would destroy everything. If we did not have these extremely dangerous restraints, then I would bet World War Three would have started by now. When I was a child, everyone talked about how long it would be until WW3 started, it just seemed definite inevitability, we all waited with a sense of foreboding. Yet finally, the memories from the First dreadful war took they toll, and communism ended, the fat lady started to sing. The final act seemed to be played out, ironically in the same setting as its birth, Serbia, Bosnia, and Croatia.
Were we finally to learn from our terrible century, as the century drew to a close? NO!
Once one dangerous threat was extinguished, another quickly raised its head and now instead of the killing fields of Europe and the Far East; now the new death match was being played in the Middle East and central Asia. Yet the same situations show themselves, we are in a depression, there is not a great amount of money, we are fighting wars, we cannot afford to fight. We are losing value resources fighting these pointless wars, people are disenchanted, we have been deceived into thinking we were something we are not anymore. There is too much poverty, considering the standards of living we should appreciate now in the 21st Century. We may feel we are not in the same situation as one hundred years ago, but we are.
Still we never learn; we always remember, and we never ever forget, but when will we finally realise it is meaningless, until we figure out how to learn from it.