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The senselessness of the war was captured by the satirical paper The Onion in their "dumb century" book. Their (fake) headline for 1914 is
WAR DECLARED BY ALL

Austria declares war on Serbia declares war on Germany declares war on France declares war on Turkey declares war on Russia declares war on Bulgaria declares war on Britain

Ottoman Empire Almost Declares War on Itself

Nations Struggle to Remember Allies



A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 11th, 2005 at 07:44:01 AM EST
There was a similar bit of "satire" (the scene was not satirical) on the show, The West Wing, a few years ago, when Bartlett steps aside temporarily, after his daughter's kidnapping, and Speaker Walken, played of course by John Goodman, is trying to tell everyone to get it together.  (I'm not sure if the show is played anywhere in Europe, but I hope it is, because, at least during Aaron Sorkin's time as head of the show, it had some of the most incredible writing in t.v. history.)

107 years old.  God bless him.  That's amazing.  I've actually never met a veteran of the World War I.  My grandfather was a Marine in the South-Pacific during WWII -- a tailgunner and an "island-hopper".  To this day, he likes to joke that Roosevelt (whom he, obviously, never met, being only 17 when he enlisted as a poor kid from Philadelphia) refused to allow him to fight in Europe, because his last name was "Rausch".  His other great war joke was that his only Purple Heart came after cutting his thumb on a beer can. :)

But he loves to tell stories about how senseless the entire fight was, and that he hated the fact that, because of the war, he couldn't enjoy the Japanese countryside.

I'm glad that we learned enough of the lesson of WWI to realize that nobody wins in these brutal wars, and that, at the end of the day, helping Germany to recover was, despite the anger that I'm sure existed among many and perhaps most, the right thing to do in the long run.  If only Wilson, Clemenceau, and Lloyd George has listened the first time.  (In fairness, I believe Wilson was not "all there," having just endured a stroke.)

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Nov 11th, 2005 at 09:47:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm glad that we learned enough of the lesson of WWI to realize that nobody wins in these brutal wars
How can you said anything was learnt after all the death and destruction of the second half of the 20th century? I assume by "we" you mean the US? One would think that the only thing the US did learn from WWII is that they were invincible, and after finding otherwise in Korea and Vietnam they still got burnt in Iraq. As late as the 1980's the Reaganites were entertaining the concept of "winning" a total nuclear exchange with the USSR (good thing the "nuclear winter" was popularized at about the same time). No, we (as in "humankind" haven't learnt anything. Those who did learn it are dying off.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 11th, 2005 at 10:21:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was talking more along the lines of the WWII generation.  Obviously the lessons don't hold up well these days (nor in Reagan's days).  The dramatic differences between the post-war activities in Europe, after WWI and after WWII, were what I was getting at.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Nov 11th, 2005 at 10:42:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Certainly, the reparation written into the treaty of Versailles were a recipe for Economic disaster. The winners must have thought that sucking the economic lifeblood out of Germany would keep its military might down in the long run. How little imagination they had! They didn't realize that they were leaving Germany no option but to become a war economy. Hitler did preside over a miraculous economic recovery fuelled by militarization.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 11th, 2005 at 10:46:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's something economists don't like to discuss, but Hitler was actually the first leader of a major world power to put Keynesian economics into action, successfully.

Versailles was, without question, disastrous.  All parties failed.  Wilson was too obsessed with the League of Nations.  He was also not capable of competing, intellectually, with the European leaders.  It's a problem American politicians, with the possible exception of Clinton, seem to always have.  Lloyd George played two roles:  (1) of the man who didn't care, and (2) the politician, pandering to the public.

Full disclosure:  I'm not a big fan of Wilson, especially not as a person.  He was a racist pig and, even before the stroke, not at all bright, especially for someone from Princeton.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Nov 11th, 2005 at 10:53:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's something economists don't like to discuss, but Hitler was actually the first leader of a major world power to put Keynesian economics into action, successfully.
There are too many things that economists don't like to discuss. In this case, it is politically inconvenient to discuss it, but political inconvenience should not be a factor in scientific discussions.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 11th, 2005 at 11:39:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Couldn't agree more.  Just ask Joan Robinson, who, some would say, was denied the Nobel Prize because she "sympathized" with some principles of Marxian thought.  Nevermind that she was an important economist.  There are more than a few members of the Thought Police of the Right in the field, just as there are from the Left in sociology.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Nov 11th, 2005 at 01:28:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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