For me, a very necessary war because:
- We were the superpower of the day and, therefore, had to intervene as the policeman, judge and jury of the world.
- In 1914, UK had seen centuries of warfare on the mainland of Europe, anyway. More war there would not seem unusual.
- Britain had a culture and tradition of war and, war first and foremost. Churchill's magnanimity in victory and jaw, jaw came much later.
- Patriotism, militarism and nationalism were also the norm.
- Every citizen knew Britain was right and on the side of upholding civilised values throughout the world.
- It had always been unheard of not to do your patriotic duty to King and Country.
- Throughout every country in Europe and Russia, every subject of these monarchs believed their kaisers, czars and kings were God's representatives on earth and, therefore, knew best. When they wanted war, war it had to be.
- It was widely believed in the readership of the penny dreadfuls and the ever so popular 'Daily Mail' that the Germans were less than human - Gerhuns not Germans. They were evil and had to be fought when they invaded our fellow industrialised and colonial power of Belgium.
- We had to honour our alliance with France and Russia. We always honoured our treaty obligations and we were always men and women of our word. "Perfidious Albion" was a disgraceful slur on our nation.
- Better to die gloriously as a hero with your name engraved in stone for ever, than risk being ruled by Germany.
- Violence was the done thing; non-violence was non-existent in European thinking and absent from the English vocabulary (still to this day)
Ten million combatants and a further ten million non-combatants were killed in the industrial slaughter that was the 1 WW of four and a quarter years. This was the price that Max Hastings (in the one hour long documentary on BBC2, 'The Necessary War') and everyone of his interviewees agreed was worth paying and that made this war necessary to stop German hegemony in Europe and to maintain the British Empire. In addition, each side believed God was on their side. The poor, deluded Empire soldiers were killing and being killed for the noble and glorious cause of God, King and Country - and to avoid any chance of coming under Berlin's control. Why God should ever want to have anything to do with such a stupid creation does make me doubt the wisdom of such an all powerful and all knowing God of justice.
Dear Mr Weller,
Thank you for this.
I agree with some but by no means all of your views. Ultimately, Britain fought the First World War because Germany posed a threat to its security.
Sent from my iPhone
Dear Prof Gary
Sent from my iPhone
Dear Prof Gary
Thanks so much for reading my piece, that was partly tongue in cheek - and for having the decency to reply.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, I know but, could Britain not have waited until it was obvious that Germany was moving to invade our shores and then launched a pre-emptive attack of self defence? Our island location should have given us a tremendous advantage in being the last to be invaded (if we ever were) by the Germany of 100 years ago. Was not Kaiser Bill pre-occupied with conquering certain countries on the European mainland?
Thankfully, that bloodbath and this century's attacks on weak Iraq and Afghanistan have given us such a bloody nose that we have not gone in, with all guns blazing, in Syria or Crimea.
I think, as has the SNP, the UK as a whole would be wise to learn from Norway as regards both energy (North Sea oil and gas) policy and peacemaking.