I’ve done a little looking into the root causes of WWI, and I’ve determined that 7 men are responsible for the resultant decline of Western Civilization caused by their entry into that war. 7 men.
7 men who could have stopped the madness, and maintained our sanity, and who instead chose war, spawning a chain of events that lead to the deaths of untold millions, and loosed on this Earth the worst evils we’ve seen since the dark ages. Now, I understand that most of these men had congresses and parliaments backing them, but any one of these men could have talked sense into their parliament, and none did. They chose war.
They had no good reason to choose as they did. There was no good cause for war. There was no real reason for entire nations to fall into conflagration – for several entire generations of young men to be butchered like cattle.
It was ego; arrogance; belligerent nationalism and nothing more. It was an intertwined web of treaties that ensured that the actions of one bumbling assassin resulted in the deaths of millions of people, and all because 7 men chose war.
And any of these men could have said “STOP! This is not right, what we’re doing here, and we need to keep our heads!”
But none did.
They all chose war.
In doing so, they chose a series of events that lead to fascists and communists coming to power. Without the defeat of the current heads of state in WWI, neither ideology would have moved outside the minds of a handful of crackpots and fringe-thinkers, but with the utter ruin and chaos that ensued, both ideologies found their day in the sun. Hitler, Stalin, and Mao collectively killed hundreds of millions of people, and an entire second world war was fought (and a third, through proxy theaters in the form of the Cold War) all as a result of 7 men being too proud to stop themselves as they lead the world to ruin.
Korea and Vietnam would have never been known for being places where there were wars, because communism would have never come to power. The Soviets and Americans wouldn’t have been on the edge of total destruction for 60 years, Kim Jong Il and Un wouldn’t be playing their current brinksmanship games, and the world may have never seen the horror of nuclear weapons being used against each other (or maybe even nuclear weapons, at all), and all because 7 men chose war.
Israel would not exist, inflaming the ire of a billion Muslims. The mujadeheen would not have been a thing because the Russians would have never invaded Afghanistan, and as a result, Al Qaeda and terrorism might not have ever come to be.
The Twin Towers might still be standing if only one of these 7 men had just chosen peace.
On this day – Memorial Day – let us pause to remember not only the men who died in these wars, but also that it was their governments that turned them against each other. Let us remember that French and German farmers and factory workers probably would have never met each other in 1916, much less come to blows, and even less likely gassed and shelled each other by the millions, if it weren’t for the arrogance and ego of the men that held the power in the governments that ruled them.
Understand, gentle reader, that hundreds of millions died in the 20th century, alone, because governments were granted too much power to wreak havoc and destruction in the lives of the people that they governed. Understand this when you give the government more power over your life, your security, and your personal decisions. Realize that you have far less to fear from a criminal with a gun, than you do a government with all of the guns. You have far less to fear from being in debt to a hospital for the care they’ve given you, than you do going without the care at all because the government decided it to be so. If the 20th century has taught you anything, it should be that your government should not ever be trusted. The graves of millions of soldiers, who we remember and honor on this Memorial Day, should be your constant reminder that government is more often than not the root of evil, not the vanquisher of it; the cause of problems, not the solution.
Ask their children, who they left behind, if it was worth it. Ask their wives, who lost their loved ones, if it was worth it. Ask the millions of children who have never been born, and the cure for cancer that was never developed, and the trillions of dollars in wasted treasure if supporting the arrogance of 7 men who held the reins of power in 1914, and the congresses and parliaments that backed them, was worth all they gave in doing so.
None would say “yes.”
On this Memorial Day, let us honor their memory by doing everything we can to not fall into that trap ever again. Let us eye our government with suspicion and mistrust, as it was designed to be by our Founding Fathers. Let us honor the memory of those who pledged everything that they had, and gave it, by making sure that no government, ever again, has the power to send us to slaughter for the better part of a century because their egos couldn’t handle peace.