Tuesday, March 18, 2014

World War One: Who is to Blame?

From Once I Was A Clever Boy:
Was the Great War an accident, or was it an accident waiting to happen, or was it some sort of conspiracy? I doubt the last explanation, as may already be clear. If it was a chance accident or an ever more likely one to happen it is a terrible warning. It may also be somewhat futile to be still trying to pin the blame on one or another country. Governments reacted as they might have been expected to do - perhaps as, by the light of the times, they should have, but perhaps also not - and the tragedy may be that no-one in the right position had the ability to see the way things were heading. In that situation that failure to restrain policy or offer mediation led to terrifying disaster.
However if it comes to responsibility we should not look to the Foreign Offices and General Staffs of Europe. Given the delicate balance of advantages and alliances maybe, just maybe we need to recall what set the engine of destruction in motion. Not a grand conspiracy, not a failure of diplomacy, nor a failure of a civilisation. No, we come back to a vile little oik engaging in gesture politics with a loaded gun when a freak of chance gave him the opportunity. Never mind the captains and the kings - locked within a complex system and unable to break out of it - put the blame on Gavrilo Princip. (Read more.)

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