2017 marks the 100th anniversary of when the United States became directly involved in the First World War. The Great War. By then the war had already been raging for three years. (The events leading up to the outbreak of war are fascinating. For further reading I suggest historian Barbara Tuchman’s book The Guns of August.) By 1917 the Western Front of the conflict had stalled into protracted trench warfare–war at its most gruesome.
This war consisted of massed artillery, machineguns, elaborate trenches, gas attacks, massive barbed wire entanglements, sapping, flamethrowers, and primitive tanks. This war was a veritable meat grinder that consumed an entire generation of European men. 11 million soldiers and sailors lost their lives to combat and disease by war’s end.. And, unlike the European wars of the 18th and 19th centuries where civilians had largely been spectators, WWI also took the lives of nearly 7 million noncombatants.
In retrospect, WWI was a major pivot point in human history. If it were not for the chaos caused by WWI, there probably would not have been a successful Russian Revolution, at least not in that decade. And if it were not for the punishing war reparations on Germany dictated by the pre-written Versailles Peace Treaty, there probably would not have been mass currency inflation in Germany, no rise of the National Socialists (Nazis), no World War II, no Holocaust, no division of Europe, and no Cold War. In many ways, we are still feeling the after effects of The Great War.
Regardless of the events of the two World Wars of the 20th Century, some things were inevitable. The colonial era in the lower latitudes ended. And although they probably wouldn’t have been quite so rapid, The technological advances of the 1900s would still be made. (Most likely, aviation and spaceflight, in particular, would not have advanced nearly so rapidly.) Here in the United States, one can only imagine. How would life would be different if World War I and the subsequent chain of events had not occurred. It is very likely that we would still have a sound currency based on specie, a smaller and less centralized government, lower taxes, and suffer much less of the now ubiquitous Surveillance State.
I urge SurvivalBlog readers to be scholars of history. More than anything else, we need to be on guard against the wiles of men who lust for power and who are willing to force us into contrived conflicts and all too willing to use our young men as cannon fodder to further their goals. It is only by stepping back and looking at the arc of history in the past hundred years that we can see just how much freedom we have lost and how little our citizenry has gained. As we honor the fallen of World War I, we need to keep that perspective.
More to Come
There are many issues that transcend party politics and the orchestrated divisiveness of the present day. As a Christian, it is my hope that America will return to Godly, limited, and restrained government. But as a realistic observer of what has transpired since the U.S. entered The Great War, I can predict that humanity will probably suffer more of the same: pointless wars, unbridled government, unspeakable cruelties on a grand scale, and political charades that just barely conceal the wanton quest for power by a diabolical few.
As the pawns in the global chess game, what can we do? I say: Hold fast to the company of those who share your faith, keep your voice strong for righteousness and good government, and live your life in a way that pleases God. We live in a dangerous world that is governed by men and women who think only of themselves and their schemes. More World Wars devastating metropolitan regions seem inevitable. We should be deep in prayer, well prepared with deep larders. Stay geographically isolated from the maelstrom of the big cities, trained for self-sufficiency, and well armed. May God help us in the next hundred years. Those years will be calamitous. – JWR