I have been studying World War One for a very long time……it has been 100 years since the end of this war and what have we learn?
To be honest…we have learned very little.
To Europe the war was a “Big Deal” because they lost so many young men that a whole generation was damn near wiped out.
It is not so important to us Americans…..but since we did participate in this conflict then what was the deadliest battle for our troops?
A century ago, the first shots were fired in one of the most important American military engagements ever — and the deadliest battle in U.S. history.
World War I’s Meuse-Argonne Offensive, which involved more than a million American soldiers and claimed the lives of 26,277, was launched in northern France on Sept. 26, 1918 to push the German army out of the country and reclaim a rail network vital to supplying enemy troops. The fight lasted a grueling 46 days and generated scores of stories of heroism and sacrifice.
But most notably, it helped bring an end to The Great War.
World War One, The Great War, The War To End All Wars, was considered by many as an accident brought about by events that spiraled out of control…..but to others including myself think that the war was NO accident…..
Not surprisingly, this has brought all sorts of stories and op-eds discussing the disastrous events that killed some 16 million people and wounded an additional 21 million others.
To this day, most observers continue to claim that World War I was an inadvertent war: that is, that none of the countries involved particularly wanted war but war came nonetheless. Some claim it was the major armament programs and offensive military doctrines adopted by European countries in the run-up to the war that made WWI inevitable. Others claim it was the hypernationalistic populaces that caused the war. Still others blame the tight alliances that European nations formed in the years prior to WWI, which created an environment in which the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand by an anarchist could plunge the entire continent into a bloody war. And then there are those that blame the situation on the irreconcilable interests of a rising Germany and a declining Great Britain. Regardless of the particular explanation invoked, most seem to agree that the war was an accident.
AS I have said…I studied WW1 because of the scope….others study WW2 because of its result……as they say Idealists study WW2; realists study WW1…..
Scenario one: a dominant superpower, serving as the unquestioned head of an international alliance, and possessing unmatched military and economic strength. This superpower appears exceptionally led at the military, political, and bureaucratic levels, and possesses the time and space to conceptualize a focused strategy against a specific threat.
Scenario two: several powerful nations operating in a multipolar world, pursuing divergent interests, with none possessing an absolute advantage over the others. Exceptional political and military leadership is lacking, and the rapid pace of change means these nations are carried forward by events over which they exercise little control. Few are certain what a future threat or strategy may resemble.
Our first scenario describes the world of 1945; the triumphant United States at the head of a new international order and poised to combat a clear challenger. Our second describes the world of 1918: victorious powers fighting over diverging interests, squandering their opportunities of peace, but convinced in their conceit that the world could be ordered in their image.
“I Read, I Wrote and now You KNow”
“Lego ergo Scribo”