All That Vanished Glory

One hundred years ago this morning, in a railway carriage parked on a siding in the Forest of Compiègne in France, an armistice was signed between the Allies and Germany, officially ending the Great War. The signing took place at 11am French time, so that the occasion is commonly identified as the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918. The signatories of the agreement were Marshal Ferdinand Foch (representing France), Admiral Rosslyn Wemyss (representing Britain), and Matthias Erzberger (representing the new republican government of formerly Imperial Germany).

By the time these men gathered to sign the document, four great empires had ceased to exist: the Russian, the Austrian, the Ottoman, and the German. The sole remaining empire, that of the British, hung on for another thirty years or so before its piecemeal dissolution.

More than a year passed after the Armistice before a permanent peace treaty was signed at Versailles in January 1920. Its draconian terms all but guaranteed that the Great War would eventually resume, which it did less than twenty years later. Just think how brief the period “between the wars” was — looking back the same amount of time (7,599 days) from today, we see January 1998, when Paula Jones had just accused President Bill Clinton of sexual harassment and the Monica Lewinsky scandal was waiting in the wings, poised to dominate America’s television screens for the next year or two. As a matter of interest, earlier that month Ramzi Yousef was sentenced to life in prison for his part in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Remember all that? Not very long ago, was it?

The time between the wars was so short that any number of men served in both wars. A soldier born in 1900 and conscripted in 1918 had not yet turned forty when Hitler invaded Poland. By military standards he was a bit long in the tooth, but not too old to serve in the new war, especially if he was a career soldier.

So we could say that in a way the Great War lasted 31 years, from 1914 to 1945, with a twenty-year ceasefire in the middle. A ceasefire that gave the continent of Europe two precious decades of peace. During those twenty years of peace — despite the assertion that the Great War had been “the war to end wars” — there was a widespread feeling, especially after 1933, that another war was on the way. Looking back at the literature of the time, one detects a sense of impending doom. And, despite all the efforts of the great statesmen of the day to stave it off, doom eventually came.

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The conflict of 1914-1918 stands as the Great Divide of our time. Looking back from the twenties, the period before 1914 seemed a golden idyll in retrospect. Not that all the signs of cultural rot weren’t already in place before the war — one has only to look at French literature from the fin de siècle or the antics of the British aristocracy during the Edwardian period to realize that decadence and ennui were rife among the literate classes long before Gavrilo Princip fired his pistol at Archduke Franz Ferdinand and blew the old world away.

But all those forces of cultural destruction were given a power assist by the Great War. Lytic processes that had been in their infancy in 1914 were fully mature by 1920. Consider this partial list, beginning with the most important:

Bolshevism. Communism and other forms of revolutionary socialism were already a concern for the intelligence services of Russia and the West in 1914, but the Great War gave them such a boost that they became unstoppable. Assisted by the German general staff, Lenin was able to return to Russia and seize the moment, taking advantage of a society and state that had been severely debilitated by three years of trench warfare.

Once they had consolidated their hold on power, the Bolsheviks and the Soviet Union became the vanguard of International Socialism, attempting to export the revolution to the entire world. In the process they spawned their evil twin, National Socialism, through their violent conflict with various other socialist sects. By funding and infiltrating activist groups in the West, they undermined and discredited traditional societal structures — nations, churches, schools, families — to further the destruction of bourgeois values and hasten the revolution.

The forces unleashed by the Bolsheviks survived the death of the USSR and are currently regnant throughout the major institutions of the Western world — the most fateful legacy of the Great War.

Women’s Lib. Female suffrage was already trending in 1914, but the Great War guaranteed that the suffragettes would prevail. The war broke up traditional arrangements between men and women, sending women to work in the factories while men were blown to pieces on the Western Front. Women who had been apolitical became activists and agitators as a result. It’s no coincidence that major Western countries granted women the vote in 1918 and shortly afterwards.

Bobbed hair, short skirts, female employment, sexual emancipation. The “free love” movement existed long before the war — think of the Fabians or the Bloomsbury Group — but after 1918 it spread from the upper and upper middle classes to the rest of society, ushering in the licentious hedonism of pop culture that has become the norm throughout the West.

Women’s suffrage enabled the feminization of our culture. The resulting emasculation has left our political institutions unprotected against the arrival of the legions of Mohammed.

World government. The horrific slaughter of the Great War gave birth to the idea that nations and nationalism were to blame for the conflict. Communist agents in the West shrewdly enhanced and promoted this notion, funding and infiltrating organizations that advocated for an end to national sovereignty and one form or another of world governance.

The process that began between the wars and accelerated after 1945 is now approaching its endgame. The Great Migration Crisis in Europe and “caravan” approaching the southern border of the USA are designed to be the death knell of the nation state in what was formerly known as Western Civilization.

Pacifism. In understandable reaction to the charnel house on the Western Front (and once again encouraged by communist agents), a large number of people began to oppose all forms of warfare. Pacifist movements gained ground, and their increased political clout during the 1930s is one of the reasons why the Great Powers in the West were unable to muster the will to stop Hitler while he was still stoppable.

The pacifist ideal is with us today, as strong as ever. Notice the apparent contradiction seen in the glorification of violence by the “anti-fascists” and their ilk, who arise from the same political milieu that opposes any form of war. There is no real contradiction, however: what is being opposed is any attempt by the nation state to defend and preserve itself by military means. This is what is meant by “war”. Violence to end the patriarchal oppression imposed by the national state is an entirely separate matter.

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Modernity — not to mention post-modernity — began in the trenches of the Western Front, sometime after 1914 and before 1918, at Verdun or Passchendaele. An estimated nine million soldiers, sailors, and airmen were killed during the war. An entire generation of “war spinsters” came to maturity without any hope of finding a husband.

The general understanding of what happened was recorded and propagated by literate people of the middle and upper classes. Well-educated men from the best families became officers and were among those slaughtered in No-Man’s Land. The survivors and families of the slain preserved and passed on accounts of the Great War in memoirs and letters.

Rapid cultural changes after the war thus began among the litterateurs and seeped into the governing classes. The nihilism and anti-patriotism that now dominate our culture became endemic, and have spread through the whole of society.

When nihilism takes hold of a culture, is there any way it can be reversed without a complete societal collapse? The fall of the Roman Empire is the only model easily available to us, and it doesn’t inspire great optimism.

For a general discussion of the impact of the Great War on Western culture, I recommend a book entitled The Great War and Modern Memory by the late Paul Fussell. Further reading is suggested by Algis Valiunis in an essay written for the Claremont Review of Books, “On the Slaughter Bench of History”, which was written in the summer of 2014 for the centennial of the outbreak of the war. I’ve read both books by Barbara Tuchman that are mentioned in the essay, and they are definitely worth your time.

The memory of the Great War — and of the influenza epidemic that was a direct consequence of it — remains embedded in the collective psyche of the West. It doesn’t have to be conscious to influence the course of events, to inform our worldview, our way of thinking, our understanding of ourselves as a culture and people.

For better or worse, it is how we ceased to be who we were and became what we are.

I’ll close with one of the many poems that were written during the Great War. The poet who wrote it did two tours of duty on the Western Front and was killed on November 4, 1918, just one week before the Armistice:

Parable of the Old Man and the Young

by Wilfred Owen

So Abram rose, and clave the wood, and went,
And took the fire with him, and a knife.
And as they sojourned both of them together,
Isaac the first-born spake and said, My Father,
Behold the preparations, fire and iron,
But where the lamb for this burnt-offering?
Then Abram bound the youth with belts and straps,
and builded parapets and trenches there,
And stretchèd forth the knife to slay his son.
When lo! an angel called him out of heaven,
Saying, Lay not thy hand upon the lad,
Neither do anything to him. Behold,
A ram, caught in a thicket by its horns;
Offer the Ram of Pride instead of him.
But the old man would not so, but slew his son,
And half the seed of Europe, one by one.

Hat tip for the CRB essay: WRSA.

55 thoughts on “All That Vanished Glory

  1. Wow, Baron! Superb analysis and such brilliant prose! I find myself wondering what happened to the people’s faith. “Decadence” and “ennui” contributed to the corruption of the intellectuals. But what made the folks lose their faith? Was it the Job-like suffering that made them feel betrayed by our Creator, turn their backs on Him and stop reading their Bibles?

    • The senselessness of the slaughter — the destruction of so much human life for no discernible reason — helped turn people into atheists.

      As Wilfred Owen said in another poem, “The love of God seems dying.”

    • Debra, read some WWI history, digest it, and move on to WWII. You’ll see how it all began falling apart in 1915.

      BTW, very few Americans are aware of the horrific toll among our ‘doughboys’ by the so-called Spanish Flu. It killed more than three-quarters of a million Americans in six weeks, but the biggest loss was among the young and healthy soldiers in thousands of camps…

      SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – In September 1918 there were two killers in the world.

      World War I, which would claim 20 million lives by its end, and the flu pandemic known as the Spanish Flu, is estimated to have killed between at least 50 million people.

      The flu struck an estimated 500 million people, some 28% of the world population.

      American combat deaths in World War I totaled 53,402. But about 45,000 American Soldiers died of influenza and related pneumonia by the end of 1918.

      More than 675,000 Americans died of influenza in 1918. Based on today’s population, that would be the equivalent of 2.16 million Americans dying.

      • I first discovered the soldier deaths from Spanish Flu when walking through local cemetaries here in Canada.

        I noticed many head stones of young soldiers who died in 1918. I thought it was strange that they were buried here if they had died in the war in France. After research I learned that Spanish Flu had killed them immediately after returning from the War.

        I was heart broken. How very, very sad that so many young lads had fought through all the hell and gruesome carnage to finally come home alive only to die soon after from a disease.

        If I was alive at the time and had a son who went through all this, perhaps I also may have become an atheist. My faith is only what the Lord gives me the ability to have; such horror and death makes it impossible, with only his own strength, for a man to believe in the love of God.

        • my mother’s mother had the Spanish flu while she was pregnant with my mother. She had caught it from my mother’s father who was a hotelier. The flu shortened her father’s life as the result of dealing with tuberculosis. As for my mother, the flu permanently damaged her health and according to some her sanity. Her case was not an isolated one as the enlistees for World War II were subjected to health screenings and medical histories. Some still wonder if the Spanish Flu was the Lord God’s response to all the unwarranted butchery in Europe from 1914-18. Of course, there was the first Christmas when peace broke out as the soldiers remembered Jesus Christ and forgot their orders to shoot and kill. I wonder what life would have been like had the soldiers told their officers to go fight their own war as they were too busy enjoying peace.

  2. Excellent article. May I make one small but important suggestion, to note that national socialism was International socialism’s EQUALLY evil twin.

  3. The Gods of the Copybook Headings by Kipling

    AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
    I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
    Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

    We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
    That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
    But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
    So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

    We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
    Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
    But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
    That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

    With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
    They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
    They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
    So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

    When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
    They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
    But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”

    On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
    (Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
    Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.”

    In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
    By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
    But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”

    Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
    And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
    That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

    As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
    There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
    That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
    And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

    And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
    When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
    As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
    The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

    • As the Elites’ debauchery has taken unprecedented proportions, its consequences may well be worse than WWI and even WWII. And why only the Elites? All the middle and even lower classes of the more affluent nations of the world seem to be living only for a new and improved version of “bread and circuses” according to the “eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow you’ll be dead” principle. Après nous le déluge? I am afraid there is very little “après” left for the poor little “nous”.

  4. To me WWI was the beginning of the end of Western Civilization in Western Europe.

    Today you have Euro-Trash countries led by the UK, Ireland, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain, Portugal and Scandinavian countries committing suicide by not having children, embracing Socialism and Police State tactics all the while compensating for its killing of Jews by importing evil Islam through unlimited Muslim immigration and abandoning Christianity. Having learned zilch from the Holocaust, they attack Israel – every single one of them.

    As I married a European from one country and have family in two other Western European countries including my grandchildren, I have skin in the game, as Nassim Taleb would say.

    Canada, NZ, Australia are trying their best to mimic this pattern. The US is that last holdout along with the exception, Thank God, of the Visograd countries.

    I thank Gates of Vienna for its courage and wisdom to try to find a way out of this mess by educating us and at least in my case by shoring up my backbone.

    • Actually, Oswald Spengler wrote a book, “The Decline of the West” which was published after World War I, but which, as he describes in the preface, he had essentially written before World War I had begun. In other words, Europe was subject to the same general process of decay that virtually all other major civilizations had undergone.

      Why is there the cycle of growth and decay? My own feeling is that a lot has to do with the actual genetic deterioration of the population, due to technology and the conveniences of civilization removing the selection stresses of the environment. An example of this is state welfare supporting the birth and survival of children who are physically damaged and whose parents were unable or unwilling to raise them on their own. These children go on, in many cases, to have children of their own, in many cases also completely dependent on living assistance and advanced medical technology.

  5. In my opinion it was the war at the peak of Western Civilisation: I mean Diesel engines, gas engines, AC current, Airplanes and Cars, Skyscrapers, Cinema, Color Photography – All that was invented before the war – and since then – we are only refining and improving what was invented then – not now…

    …maybe there are few exceptions, like Transistors, but other than that – principles of mechanical computing were invented before the war as well.

    I think one can see it even in the architecture: Some of the most beautiful buildings were erected just before the war – I like Art Nouveau for its freedom in search of beauty 😉

  6. Bolshevism, Women’s Lib, World Government. All these things seem to have something in common. I can’t quite put my finger on it though…

  7. Thanks for this thought-provoking article. At this somber time of year many of us are deeply moved in remembering the sacrifices of the the two World Wars. We ask, as we do every year, Why did this happen? How could the world have been swallowed up in such horror—not once, but twice?

    Thanks for the suggested readings. Perhaps there are some answers there. But sometimes it seems that we humans are caught up in events and are swept along, willingly or unwillingly, with no more chance to escape than ants caught in a flood.

  8. The Treaty of Versailles was hardly “draconian”. To say that is to repeat German propaganda, and particularly Nazi propaganda.

    In comparison to the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk which the Germans had shoved down the Russian’s throats in February of 1918 it was extremely mild. It was also mild in comparison to the various other Treaties that Berlin had imposed on its victims over the preceeding 60 years. Look at what they did to their fellow German States, to France after the Franc0-Prussian War, and to Denmark after the Prussian-Danish War.

    A very good argument can be made that it was too mild, given that Germany was able to start, and prosecute for 6 years, another European war that went world wide in less than one generation.

    Gutting the Ruhr and the Saar, marching an Entente Army down the Unter den Linden, and breaking up Germany into 3 or 4 separate States as was proposed by some delegates would have been draconian.

    Merely making them give back Alsace and Lorraine to France and hitting them with a fairly soft reparations bill was mild compared to the damage they had done in France and Belgium, where they systematically destroyed the industrial infrastructure in the Franco-Belgic industrial heartland as they withdrew. That damage was greater in value than the entire reparations bill they were hit with.

    • They did gut the Ruhr, fact, and BTW, France had taken Alsace and Lorraine from the german empire few hundred years before. It is often forgotten, that the main evil wars were instigated by absolutist France. And speaking of ” mild” reparations: the last payment would have been due 1983, had not WWII created new deals. Even british and french politicians and military had predicted a new war within the next 20 years as consequence of the presumably ” mild” conditions.

      • The German Empire came into existence in the 1860s.

        Up until 1790 there had been the Holy Roman Empire, which was none of Holy, Roman, nor an Empire.

        Alsace and Lorraine had actually been part of Burgundy, and historically the Dukes of Burgundy owed fealty to the Kings of France, not the the HRE.

        And France did not get the Ruhr, although there were French and British occupation forces there. Its production still continued to serve mainly Germany, and its plant wasn’t stripped out and shipped back to France to replace what the Germans had destroyed.

    • Even Lord Grantham of Downton Abbey thought we (the Germans) were treated so harshly that another war became probable. Hardly the source to expect “Nazi propaganda” 😉 You might read a few books about WWI and especially the Treaty of Versailles before you talk about things you obviously know very little about.

    • A pity that Turkey was treated in a less draconian fashion, which allowed it to butcher millions of Christians and to rebuild itself. Now it is a force to be reckoned with. And it has hardly become more humane since the genocide of Armenians (plus Greeks, plus Assirians…).

  9. Thank you for such great insight. I had not before connected the relationship between the flu epidemic,women’s suffrage, and the war. One more root cause I would offer; that is evolution, the hypothesis. The world grabbed onto it, predating Darwin (he was just the lucky and timely author). The whole world loved the idea. A presumably scientific basis for racism and cruelty: What could be better better than that? Marx was transformed, as was Germany (and America largely for that matter). Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, all believed in what they were doing: Eliminating undesirables was good for the whole.

    That idea hasn’t gone away, but morphed. Nations (along with free speech) may have replaced races as the undesirables. Funny, that only the Bible gives us the true answer to racism; that there is no such thing as races, just humans. But to believe in that one must be simple-minded; for to believe in a global flood, followed by a confusion of languages; come on, do you not know your science?

    Actually, the battle is not between science and religion, but between scientism (a religion filled with assumptions that allow for only naturalistic processes) and the Bible: Man’s word vs. God’s word is what it boils down to. The church has largely failed and compromised, but God’s word is what will matter in the end. Real science; genetics, geology, chemistry, biology, etc (that which is observable and testable) is demonstrating the truth, but the world isn’t listening. The world (or maybe better put as the power behind the scenes) desperately wants evolution to be true and so continues to hide it’s carnage. In the end, God’s word will win. In the meantime, however, I think we’re seeing the divide between God and the world increase.

    • Interesting. Where does the bible say there is no such thing as race?

      Anyway, evolution is an observable phenomenon. We have tremendously persuasive evidence for the evolution of species, but directly observable evidence for evolution within species. The tendency of hospital bacteria to become antibiotic resistant is an example of evolution, using the survival of the fittest in a stressed environment described by Darwin.

      By the way, do you deny the efficacy of dog-breeding? Professional dog breeders maintain the quality of their breeds by selecting only the best pups for future breeding. Do you think the technology of dog breeding, or cattle breeding, or horse breeding, goes against the teaching of the bible? Or, do humans have a different inheritance mechanism from the rest of the organisms on earth?

      Is it necessary to deny biology to observe faith? Is it necessary to deny the very real, very observable, very heritable differences between groups of people with a common inheritance (race) in order to observe biblical principles?

      And how does evolution cause carnage? Do you deny an experimentally provable fact of biology simply because it has consequences you don’t like? In the same vein, can we deny the existence of bacteria, of the AIDS virus, of smallpox. because their existence results in massive numbers of death?

      • Thank you Ronald B; you saved me the effort of saying the exact same things.

      • “…..the Bible gives us the true answer to racism; that there is no such thing as races…..”

        I suspect this is a reference to:

        Colossians 3:11

        If so, Paul was refering to the relationships between Christians and how they ought to view each other within their Christian communities. It is not a call to ignore racial or cultural differences but rather to avoid bringing into the Church views and actions of the secular world. That is, we must not treat each other according to those things that are based on pure misinformation, resentment, personal desire to use for gain any class or social position etc. etc. Those things which could be called true racism, class oppression etc.

        So, I don’t think Col. 3:11 implies that races and their differences do no exist.

        • No, Genesis actually. Although Col 3:11 is a great verse, and will be the normal reality in the new heaven and earth (contrasted with the groaning creation we now have). We all truly descended from Adam and Eve, who were created (not evolved). And they were created with tremendous genetic capability and diversity, ready to spring forth. They were probably brown skinned. After Babel (post-Flood), people groups (not races) dispersed and populated the earth. Those with lighter skin did not do very well migrating South and East, and those with darker skin not so well migrating North. The Ice Age lowered sea levels so much that people and animals could migrate to the Americas and Australia. But the sea levels rose afterwards and isolated them, for about 3,500 years. Imagine what happens in 3,500 years. Much. Think of what’s happened in the last 500 years.

          See my reply to RonaldB also, and thanks.

      • Speciation, yes. Rapid in fact. Lots of change, and when beneficial, allows more reproduction. But adding new genetic information, language, and complexity? No. Has never been observed. It’s a downhill slide. Devolution, not evolution; dog breeding a prime example.
        The Bible never mentions races. It clearly states we came from one couple. We are all cousins, demonstrated now by genetics, observable and testable, real science. Cultural differences? Yes. Cultural isolation? Yes, post Babel and post Ice Age. Genetic differences? Only minor, those which helped survival in the harsh post-Flood environment, and those which developed from cultural isolation post Ice Age.

    • I want to respect our hosts for allowing comments, and not drift too far from topic. I answered Bible topics in my other replies, but to the point at hand: Communism was born from the evolutionary hypothesis. Karl Marx wrote inspired by evolutionary ideas. Communistic religious persecution was based on evolution: no miracles from God, He never played a role, worshipping Him was useless. Slaughtering people was OK as it furthered the evolution of mankind; sort of like natural selection on steroids. All the major 20th century human slaughterers were avid evolutionists (Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot). In their thinking, they were doing the society a favor by culling out the undesirables. That was my point. Thank you hosts:)

      • Let me reply to one assertion.

        Stalin an evolutionist? Stalin hated evolution, didn’t understand the concept, and supported Lysenko, an ignorant self-promoter who denied the existence of genes, caused the death of millions by starvation requiring the use of his out-of-the-hat methods in agriculture, and was instrumental in throwing real geneticists into work camps.

        So, tell me again how evolution caused communism and inspired Stalin, who put real evolutionists into slave camps.

        • The article supports my point.
          “Lysenko promoted the Marxist idea that the environment alone shapes plants and animals. Put them in the proper setting and expose them to the right stimuli, he declared, and you can remake them to an almost infinite degree.”
          He persecuted real scientists who disagreed with him, not evolutionists. Marxism is based on evolution: that you can improve via radical manipulation. Genetics says “No you can’t”.

        • It could be said that evolution in its simplest meaning is only a record of change. It need not be positive or negative. That people study the process of change and attribute their perceptions as the mechanism, is clearly limited, even if not wrong per se. Science narrows to a detail then expands its discovery to insinuate a law, but equally misses what it does not provably measure, that is to say it presents an interpretation based on facts but cannot divine the whole. So it has the effect of misguiding people when it is misrepresented as totality.

          How did evolution cause communism?

          Well from a scientific viewpoint it might be argued that communal society is ancient and its reason understood. It is the division of labour and allocation of property that led to a more complex and productive society, the creation of a politi and governance of that new order, which eventually was challenged as unfair,
          that due to imbalances of social power and related prosperity more than to it not functioning as a workable system. That is human greed and vanity for you.

          So the evolution of a political “science” that would promise a return to more simplistic origins but in a modern state organised setting carried some appeal.

          Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) you cannot meddle with natural and traditional communal sentiment from a non communal vantage point, for example state, be it via majority rule or communism. Patriarchal or matriarchal acceptance only works within the closely familiar, say tribe.

          State, it being an imaginary not human concept, has the tendency of trying to eliminate differences, so as to prove “its” theory : ” Look, it all works as promised, everyone agrees “, and people being people they use some foul ends to achieve the semblance. That is why I think accepting different countries and races, their natural enclaves of existence, is tolerant and moral, but that the globalist enforcement “all the same” is an abomination, it is a travesty of a notion that does exist, but preferably at a distance or in very slow motion as far as different peoples are concerned.

          That is how evolution caused communism, but it is not the answer to the question you meant, maybe.

          • Thank you for your pleasant and thoughtful response, but if you don’t mind please let me respond to it. Evolution is not a record of change, it is the idea that all life evolved from an original single-celled organism. In the 19th century it sounded scientific, and it fed into the Euro-American sense of superiority over other races, which essentially is racism. I should have used the word “Marxism” more (and “communism” less), for we all have an attraction to “communal” living, and in the new heaven and earth it will certainly be reality. But Marxism and National Socialism are what we’re really talking about. Marx was enthralled with Darwin’s book and it inspired him to write his manifesto. Much of Europe was likewise inspired, especially Germany, and many people began thinking about applying “artificial selection” techniques to improve society, rather than relying on natural selection (an observable scientific process) which was too slow. They wanted to see results.

            The academies will deny this vehemently. Evolution is now taught as fact, not theory, to pre-schoolers on up. They will not tolerate associating evolution with the mass murders of the 20th Century. Now real science is catching up, but they are not open to any evidence that contradicts evolution. Scientists can perform their work without regard to evolution (testing, observing, building new beneficial technologies). But the academy will not tolerate any scientist stating a view on origins that contradicts evolution. That scientist will be fired, not tenured, and offered no research grants. This is where I drift from topic a little, but only to show that the forces behind evolution are strong (as in Hitler’s time), and strive to eliminate any contrary viewpoint.

            Yet solid science provides evidence against it, such as biology showing that cells and genes are so complex with machinery, programming, libraries of information and language to read that information, all built in. Mutations do not add any new machinery, programming, language, or information. Mutations are copying errors and only delete or take away from what was already there. Sometimes mutations are beneficial, as in speciation, or that antibiotic resistant bacteria which didn’t gain anything. It mutated away the sensitivity to antibiotics (a net loss), and can only survive in hospitals. Put it out in the real world and it dies, but it can live in a bottle of disinfectant. I have to stop. Thank you.

  10. Thank you Baron for a thoroughgoing analysis. I was halfway through some thing similar but you completed yours first and, as ever, yours was better anyway. Back to the drawing board.

  11. The armistice was signed early on the morning of 11 November to take effect at 11am. The Treaty of Versailles was signed June 28, 1919. In my opinion it was not hard enough. It left Germany by far the biggest country in area and economy in Europe. Allowing French occupation of the Rhineland, which ended in 1930, was not enough. Clemenceau wanted small states on the left bank controlled by France, but Lloyd George and Wilson disagreed. A huge blunder in my view.

    • Germany should have been split into three.

      A Rhenish state west of the Rhine and east of there the country divided roughly horizontally between the Protestant north and the Catholic south.

      In many ways the most realistic and sensible people during the negotiations for the ToV were Tiger Clemenceau and Billy Hughes.

  12. For an excellent description of the events that led to the two wars, my one suggest Christopher Jon Bjrknes book “Warnings to the Jews-Premonitions of the Holocaust”… The writer is Jewish himself and it does not deny the Holocaust but gives a fine rendition of the real causes- the same oiks that are destroying us today. Cannot recommend his work enough, Well balanced and thoughtful and should end the idiocy of the Holocaust deniers. In fact it was far, far worse.

  13. I don’t think your analysis of women’s liberation is very fair. Under the domestic production system, the men depended up on the women’s labor to a great extent and were producing as part of the family team. While cash always mattered, much of the production went to family needs and much barter went on. However, with the spread of factories, men became less attached to home, and many wasted their wages on alcohol and amusements. Meanwhile, having large families did not fit in with urban living. Many women were forced to work in factories, but husbands could take their wages or will the family’s money all to children of previous wives. Much of the women’s liberation movement came from men acting against the interests of wives and children. The initial drive for women’s suffrage was based on a desire to decrease alcohol consumption, abolish slavery, stop unsafe factories conditions and improve urban sanitation etc. Unfortunately, many of the women became decadent and embittered against men. However, it was the bad domestic conditions caused by men that led to women’s liberation movements. Initially the women wanted things like the right not to be beaten, fewer saloons or the right to keep wages earned or an inheritance from parents. Unfortunately, the women’s liberation movement rapidly went from common sense goals to revenge against men and a repudiation of traditional morality.

    • The freedoms that women originally fought for were voting rights. Their aim was universal suffrage for every adult, not just men. What the suffragette movement ultimately devolved to ended up being suicidal.

  14. Dear Baron, Thank you for your excellent essay about the effects of World War One. I’m going to read/listen to some of those books recommended in Valiunis’s article.

    I would sum up WWI as the main catalyst for the decay that followed, rather than the main cause. The more I reflect on corrosive, collectivist movements like Boshevism, Fascism, feminism, and world government, the more I think they can be traced to self-serving state power. Particularly central banking and the opportunities it affords for otherwise unaffordable programs like welfare and warfare. So I think they would almost certainly have come about anyway.

    Put simply:
    Central banking + dictatorship =>> war
    Central banking + democracy =>> welfare

    By 1914, central banks in Europe were coming into their own, and democracy wasn’t. And the big four empires spawned separate conflicts that congealed into one big War: Austria v Serbia, Russia v Austria, Germany v. Belgium, Germany v Warsaw, France v Germany, Italy v Morocco – these are well outlined in episode 6 of a good YouTube series:

    As to how to stop war, I think there is only one way: the good guys have to stand up forcefully to the bad guys, high and wide. And hammer the message that the bad guys will lose. The bad guys want to believe that war will pay, and will find any excuse to conclude that the good guys won’t fight. See WWI, WWII, The Cuban Missile Crisis, The Vietnam War, The Falklands War.

    The BBC drama series “37 Days”, about the month between the assassination and British declaration of war, illustrates the point very well: It shows that the British mistake was our gangling reasonableness, when what was needed was forceful explanation to Germany that they could not win against Russia, France and Britain, and that talk of knock-out-blows was bilge. Think Nixon v Kruschev, or Reagan v any Soviet leader.

    If I’m right, this bodes ill today, because we are repeating the same error, only much worse. Our self-serving attempts to cower to Islam guarantee bloodshed this time too. And the more it continues, the higher the tide will be.

    • I see a bit of a contradiction in what you are advocating.

      On the one hand, you, I think correctly, criticize centralization of power and influence, like central banking, the welfare state and the huge military industrial complex encouraging government spending through political influence.

      On the other hand, your solution to aggression is to form huge, global coalitions. Let Germany know it can’t win against Britain, France and Russia. I presume you would support NATO firmness against Russia, letting Russia know it can’t win against combined US, Germany, France, Britain, and the Scandinavian countries.

      One claim which seems valid to me is that World War I was becoming a stalemate between the Allies (Britain, France, Italy, and Russia) and would have petered out without a definite victory had it not been for the entry of the US. I actually don’t see any lasting reason for the US to be involved in the war. The Germans goaded the US into the war through unrestricted submarine warfare, perhaps one of the stupidest strategic decisions on record, not to be matched until Germany declared war on the US in 1941 for no reason, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor for mystical reasons, and Germany attacked Russia in 1941 just when it was decisively losing the Battle of Britain. Actually, there is another stupidity match, when Jefferson Davis attacked Fort Sumter, mobilizing and inflaming the vastly more industrial and populous North to make war against the Confederacy.

      Anyway, perhaps a solution is not a global coalition of right against wrong, but a series of strong but limited regional governments maintaining both strong identities and strong borders towards each other. As horrible as the North Vietnamese communists were, and they were pretty horrible, did the US really have an interest in engaging in a major war to keep North Vietnam from overrunning the south, distasteful as it is? If Sweden chooses to abolish itself, are we better off intervening, or walling it off?

      • A major factor in breaking the stalemate in the trenches of WW1 was the technological innovation of the tank.

        In WW2, according to a senior German general interrogated by the Soviets, the Nazis’ failure to subjugate Britain led Hitler to attack Russia a year earlier than he’d intended (so when insufficiently prepared), as well as leaving these islands as a launching pad for the British and American bomber fleets.

  15. After reading a few comments about the treaty being too soft:

    Wasn`t it Marshall Foch of France who said: “That is not a peace treaty. That`s a cease fire for twenty years.”
    So I ask the heretical question: Did the Allies wanted a World War 2, were they that desperate for a second round of slaughter?

    And for those who want Germany to be carved up:
    When France under Louis XIV or Napoleon ran roughshed over the other european countries, was France carved up?

    And when France was finally beaten, was the table in Vienna not round and France sat as equal among all of them?

    And the endless question:
    Germany and France were once one Country (Charlemagne anybody?).
    Afterwards how many times did France invade Germany and vice versa?
    Wasn`t there a French General who liked to torch german cities so much (under Louis XIV I I remember correctly) that the torching of cities was namend after him?

    And why did France and Germany did not understand they were just puppets to England and their “Balance of power”.
    When France was strong, the British supported Germany.
    And when Germany got strong, the British supported France.

    A state has no friends, just interests. And sometimes they align with those of another state.

    • I think they wanted to – first of all – destroy Germany, or “central Europe” if you will. Something similar, yet different, was the ideological attack on Russia, which was also financed from the west. Maybe the Great War is a result of the fruition of scientific approach to “International Relations”. Kings and Queens of old had to give way to secret services, secret societies, and “information management”.

      In the words of Jesus Christ: “Take heed that no man deceive you!”

      For if Europe were truly Christian – they wouldn’t fight those wars.

    • thanks for putting in their place some of the lesser informed ” historians” in this thread. Only the common politeness here on GoV keeps me from calling out names.

      • Actually, for myself, there’s nothing I want more than to be corrected if I get something wrong. I myself don’t hesitate to point out errors in fact or logic. But, I always address the statement and not the person. That is, I might say “, your statement contains a contradiction”. And, of course, I detail the contradiction. I actually value corrections because sometimes I’m too lazy to look something up before stating it, and it always bites me.

        But then, if I get a major fact wrong, I have to reassess my overall view of an event. In the case of this discussion, many commenters assume the Treaty of Versailles was horrendous and led to World War II. Some others say no, in fact, it wasn’t particularly punitive, especially in light of other treaties demanded by Germany itself. So, this motivates a closer look at the Germany between wars. There was certainly panic and hyperinflation of the Weimar Republic, but re-industrialization, militarization, and full employment under the Nazis. If so, what drove the Nazis and Hitler to undertake a military expansion subsequent to re-arming the country and, I presume, achieving a much better economic situation.

        An additional factor in this question is the fact that Germany actually had a rather poor industrial and technological base for war, compared to England and Russia.

        Anyway, calling out errors actually increases the value of the conversation.

        • Ronald,
          Alex Lund is the one here who has got things right. Until the Vienna Congress the principle of ” oblivion” was the base of all peace treaties: forget it and let’s start a new. The German Reich broke this habit by enforcing huge reparations on France (the reasons for this harsh policy were mentioned before, hatred and revenge) after the war of 1870/71 which France fully paid in very few years. The ones imposed on Germany in Versailles would have lasted 53 years!
          As for what pushed the Nazis into ( premature) warfare – the plan was 1940, not 39- there was a hidden endebtment of cosmic dimensions by which the industry and military power was enhanced. All those projects led to more jobs in industry, but most of all in state institutions.

          Why did nobody notice the mega inflation, one would ask? All was paid via bills that were edited by a cover up ( scam) state company. Those bills were passed to the national bank who discounted those bills on order of name it, so the companies got high interest rates for their money due and did not cash the bills that were prolonged eternally.Do you get the picture of that avalanche of debts? So that scam could not go on forever as the chairman of the national bank, Hjalmar Schacht, called it quits.
          He was the only person acquitted of all charges in the Nuremberg trials.

          Excuse the length, but it is in a nutshell!

  16. France and the UK and the rest of Europe were seeing, in the early 1900s, the tranformation of Germany into something that was scary. Before the Franco-Prussian war and in the early 1800s, Germany had been many little states run by what were called princes. There were actually several hundred jurisdictions. After the F-P war and in the early 1900s, Germany had been unified—Bismarck was key here—and had become the greatest military power on earth including the building of about 18 battleships. These latter frightened the British especially.

    Thus, the recent shift in the European balance of power was an especially apt cause of WWI.

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