The centenary of the end of the war to end all wars

Today has been the hundredth anniversary of the moment the Great War – now known merely as World War I – came to an end on November 11, 1918. And what I find depressing is how little regard there is for the lives and sacrifices made that century ago. It was probably ever thus. We fight our own battles in our own time. What our descendants will make of what we do a century from now is unknown, but almost certainly they will give us hardly a moment’s thought.

But that is no reason for us not to try to shape the future. There are many a pathway before us whose fulfilment I would not wish to bestow on anyone. Everywhere that totalitarian ideologies of every sort have taken hold they have left a bitter residue of poverty, misery and tyranny. That Australia remains one of the freest most prosperous and open societies the world has ever seen is the result of the countless men and women of the past who have left us the country in which we live, and the ethic of tolerance, independence and self-reliance upon which our social order depends. They have thrown the torch to us. To preserve what we have is part of the debt we owe to those who have come before.

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16 Responses to The centenary of the end of the war to end all wars

  1. jupes

    What our descendants will make of what we do a century from now is unknown, but almost certainly they will give us hardly a moment’s thought.

    Let’s hope not because if they did, we would be a huge embarrassment to them. A generation of idiots.

    But only if our nation can halt its current downward slide into socialism and/or the caliphate.

  2. the not very bright Marcus

    Sadly … this somehow inspires me to up my quota of arguing with lefties

  3. max

    If any question why we died, tell them, because our fathers lied.

    by Rudyard Kipling (1918)

    Up until the war Kipling had glorified the British empire and army and wars in many of his works. When the war came, he encouraged his son to join the army, and even pulled a lot of strings to get him admitted despite his physical disabilities. His son was killed in France in 1915, at the age of 18. These facts lend added meaning to the epitaph at the head of this column.

    Prowar imperialists such as Theodore Roosevelt and Rudyard Kipling changed their minds once their sons were killed in World War I. Grieving, TR went to an early grave.

  4. jupes

    I went to the Remembrance Day ceremony at Kings Park today.

    Not bad, certainly much better than the Anzac Day ceremony earlier in the year. At least they brought back Christianity to the service which was missing from the Anzac Day ‘service’. They even played Abide By Me. (Maybe my abuse of the CEO of the WA RSL had an effect – we’ll see next April).

    The only downside was Governor Beazley’s speech with its now mandatory acknowledgement of the Abo elders. Otherwise not a bad speech and at least there wasn’t the galling ‘Welcome to Country’.

  5. max

    The War Prayer
by Mark Twain
1904

    “You have heard your servant’s prayer – the uttered part of it. I am commissioned by God to put into words the other part of it – that part which the pastor, and also you in your hearts, fervently prayed silently. And ignorantly and unthinkingly? God grant that it was so! You heard these words: ‘Grant us the victory, O Lord our God!’ That is sufficient. The whole of the uttered prayer is compact into those pregnant words. Elaborations were not necessary. When you have prayed for victory you have prayed for many unmentioned results which follow victory – must follow it, cannot help but follow it. Upon the listening spirit of God the Father fell also the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words. Listen!
    “O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle – be Thou near them! With them, in spirit, we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it – for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.

  6. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    The only downside was Governor Beazley’s speech with its now mandatory acknowledgement of the Abo elders

    Off topic, I know, but what is supposed to be the particular wisdom, that the tribal elders were supposed to have had?

  7. Critical Mass

    “‘By Oppression’s woes and pains,
    By your sons in servile chains!
    We will drain our dearest veins,
    But they shall be free.

    Lay the proud usurpers low,
    Tyrants fall in every foe,
    Liberty’s in every blow!
    Let us do or dee.”

  8. RMR

    I am in the UK for a couple of days. There is a real reverence here for those who fought for country and liberty. Perhaps because it was so close to them and so many fell, the British seem to have a stronger understanding of the significance of today. Lest we forget

  9. Anon Mahnà

    “the hundredth anniversary of the moment the Great War […] came to an end on November 11, 1918.”

    No, the Armistice marked the end of hostilities between the German Empire and the Allies. The war ended later.

  10. iain russell

    ‘…how little regard there is…’?! Cob, everyone I know has the utmost regard. I went to the ceremony yesterday in Gregson Park, Hamilton, Newcastle, NSW and was struck by the numbers and the solemnity. You need to find a new bunch of scaley mates.

  11. max

    The Stupidest, Most Tragic War
    By Eric S. Margolis
    November 10, 2018

    We are now before the 100th anniversary of World War I, the war that was supposed to end all wars.  While honoring the 16 million who died in this conflict, we should also condemn the memory of the politicians, officials and incompetent generals who created this horrendous blood bath.

    The continuation of this conflict, World War II, killed more people and brought more destruction on civilians in firebombed cities but, at least for me, World War I holds a special horror and poignancy.  This war was not only an endless nightmare for the soldiers in their pestilential trenches, it also violently ended the previous 100 years of glorious European civilization, one of mankind’s most noble achievements.

    Amid all the usual patriotic cant from politicians, imperialists and churchmen about the glories of this slaughter, remember that World War I was a contrived conflict that was totally avoidable.  Contrary to the war propaganda that still clouds and corrupts our historical view, World War I was not started by Imperial Germany.

    Prof Clark clearly shows how the French and British maneuvered poorly-led Germany into the war.  The Germans were petrified of being crushed between two hostile powers, France and Russia.  The longer the Germans waited, the more the military odds turned against them.  Tragically, Germany was then Europe’s leader in social justice.
    Britain kept stirring the pot, determined to defeat commercial and colonial rival, Germany. The rush to war became a gigantic clockwork that no one could stop.  All sides believed a war would be short and decisive.  Crowds of fools chanted ‘On to Berlin’ or ‘On to Paris.’
    https://www.lewrockwell.com/2018/11/eric-margolis/the-stupidest-most-tragic-war/

  12. Tim Neilson

    Amid all the usual patriotic cant from politicians, imperialists and churchmen about the glories of this slaughter, remember that World War I was a contrived conflict that was totally avoidable. Contrary to the war propaganda that still clouds and corrupts our historical view, World War I was not started by Imperial Germany.

    Prof Clark clearly shows how the French and British maneuvered poorly-led Germany into the war. The Germans were petrified of being crushed between two hostile powers, France and Russia. The longer the Germans waited, the more the military odds turned against them.

    What a complete fuckwit.

    As if anyone talks about “the glories of this slaughter”.

    If Germany was so concerned about France and Russia, the sensible thing to do would have been to maintain the longstanding friendship it had with Britain throughout the 19th century. [Cf GK Chesterton’s quote from the 1920’s – I don’t have it to hand but it was something like “…the Germans, from who we were descended up until shortly before the war and from who we now show signs of being descended from again…”.]

    Instead Kaiser Bill set about building a navy that, given the nature of the ships in it and the geographical realities, could serve one purpose and one purpose only – to fight against Britain. And of course Germany didn’t need a navy to defend itself against Britain – see Bismarck’s comment that if the British army landed in Germany he’d send for the police. It was solely a calculated deliberate threat to Britain.

    It was Kaiser Bill’s insane hatred of Britain, exploited and popularised by Germany’s self-aggrandising naval chiefs, that pushed Britain into an alliance with the old enemy France (and Russia along with it) which ratcheted up Germany’s need to lock Austria-Hungary into a military pact.

    All the events happened as they did because the Germans had meticulously assembled all the pieces.

  13. max

    Sir Humphrey Appleby: “Minister, 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?”

    James Hacker: “That’s all ancient history, surely.”

    Sir Humphrey Appleby: “Yes, and current policy. We had to break the whole thing [the EEC] up, so we had to get inside. We tried to break it up from the outside, but that wouldn’t work. Now that we’re inside we can make a complete pig’s breakfast of the whole thing: set the Germans against the French, the French against the Italians, the Italians against the Dutch. The Foreign Office is terribly pleased, it’s just like old times.”

    Cecil Rhodes
    Confession of Faith 1877

    “I contend that we are the finest race in the world and that the more of the world we inhabit the better it is for the human race. Just fancy those parts that are at present inhabited by the most despicable specimens of human beings what an alteration there would be if they were brought under Anglo-Saxon influence, look again at the extra employment a new country added to our dominions gives. I contend that every acre added to our territory means in the future birth to some more of the English race who otherwise would not be brought into existence. Added to this the absorption of the greater portion of the world under our rule simply means the end of all wars….”
    Why should we not form a secret society with but one object the furtherance of the British Empire and the bringing of the whole uncivilized world under British rule for the recovery of the United States for the making the Anglo-Saxon race but one Empire.
    Africa is still lying ready for us it is our duty to take it. It is our duty to seize every opportunity of acquiring more territory and we should keep this one idea steadily before our eyes that more territory simply means more of the Anglo-Saxon race more of the best the most human, most honorable race the world possesses. To forward such a scheme what a splendid help a secret society would be a society not openly acknowledged but who would work in secret for such an object. I contend that there are at the present moment numbers of the ablest men in the world who would devote their whole lives to it…. What has been the main cause of the success of the Romish Church? The fact that every enthusiast, call it if you like every madman finds employment in it. Let us form the same kind of society a Church for the extension of the British Empire. A society which should have its members in every part of the British Empire working with one object and one idea….”

  14. Tim Neilson

    max
    #2862307, posted on November 12, 2018 at 12:03 pm

    Cecil Rhodes included Germany in his Rhodes Scholarship scheme. More evidence that there was a natural alliance there for Germany to maintain if it wanted to – but they threw it away deliberately.

  15. max

    Mr.Tim Neilson:

    I was born in SFRY ~ 50 years ago.

    communist teach me approximately this:

    Tito is God No.1
    Communist Party of Yugoslavia is God No.2
    SFRY is God No. 3

    well now I know better.
    once bitten twice shy
    Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me

    most important thing in this life is who are you getting your education from, who are you going to trust

    well investment Warren Buffet.
    economy, politics — from mises.org, lewrockwell.com, fee.org
    religion — Gary North, Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

  16. Richard Bender

    And what I find depressing is how little regard there is for the lives and sacrifices made that century ago.

    Spot on. Absolutely disgusting that President Trump refused to turn up to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery because of a little bit of drizzle.

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