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Edric O

100 years since the world went to war

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On 28 June 1914 - a hundred years ago today - a 19-year-old Yugoslav nationalist named Gavrilo Princip assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austrian throne, in Sarajevo. This led to the Austro-Hungarian Empire declaring war on Serbia a month later, which started the First World War.

In a very real sense, this was the event that marked the beginning of the 20th century and the modern world as we know it. Yes, technically speaking the 20th century started in 1901, but the years 1901-1914 were politically and culturally an extension of the 19th century. Before 1914, the world was still ruled by monarchs with multinational empires, democracy was still a controversial ideal (and, in many places, it was regarded as dangerous extremism), the only major political ideologies were classical liberalism and conservatism, the idea of an extensive welfare state - when imagined at all - was considered an impossibility, women only had the right to vote in four small countries, and the principle of a balance of power between rival empires was the main pillar of international relations.

That world ended in the fires of the Great War.

A century later, the spark that ignited the Great War still raises many important questions about politics and history. Here are a few that could start some discussion:

- Can one man really change the course of history with a single bullet? Did Princip's actions cause WW1, or was the war going to happen anyway and Princip's actions only decided when it would begin?

- Who or what is to blame for WW1? Germany? All the great powers? The balance-of-power principle? Imperialism? Capitalism?

- The world wars caused immense death and devastation, but they were also the direct cause of many positive developments that we take for granted in the modern world. Democracy and human rights, to name only two, have become the default political principles of the world, supported in theory by almost everyone, largely as a result of the world wars. So were the world wars, in some sense, worth it, because they gave us the modern world?

- Is nationalism always wrong and dangerous, or is it sometimes justified?

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- Can one man really change the course of history with a single bullet? Did Princip's actions cause WW1, or was the war going to happen anyway and Princip's actions only decided when it would begin?

While this certainly is not a testable hypothesis, I'm inclined to think that at least in this particular case there's no reason to ascribe the "change of the course of history" to a single person's actions. It is my understanding that history was rolling that way along all the time, and the event in Sarajevo just served as a pretext.

On a side note, what could probably count as a single man's actions that changed the course of history is Stanislav Petrov's decision during the nuclear false alarm incident in 1983.

 

- Who or what is to blame for WW1? Germany? All the great powers? The balance-of-power principle? Imperialism? Capitalism?

Again I haven't studied the history of the Great War in any significant depth so it's a subjective opinion, but I have the impression that there was a systemic crisis in the Western European civilization (I guess the term "civilization" is appropriate here), and all the major players are to blame. Maybe Britain more than others, and also Kaiser Wilhelm II had some rather questionable ambitions IIRC, but the others share the responsibility as well.

 

- The world wars caused immense death and devastation, but they were also the direct cause of many positive developments that we take for granted in the modern world. Democracy and human rights, to name only two, have become the default political principles of the world, supported in theory by almost everyone, largely as a result of the world wars. So were the world wars, in some sense, worth it, because they gave us the modern world?

Uhh, let's just say that there's no simple answer to this question.

Again on a side note it should probably be said that while we can speculate that the world could have arrived to widespread democracy and the propagation of human rights without any large-scale armed conflict, there are areas of expertise where wars happen to provide invaluable data that is otherwise unavailable. For example, neurophysiology and neuropsychology advanced at a great pace during World War II/The Great Patriotic War, thanks to the efforts of Aleksandr Luria among others.

I've also heard (although I cannot verify this claim) that according to some researchers, human experimentation in the Third Reich contributed significantly to the understanding of some physiological processes. This of course doesn't mean that such human experimentation could ever be declared legal or morally justified, or that Luria or any other scientist would welcome a world war just because of the wealth of data that they would otherwise not be able to obtain.

The morality of scientific research is a tacky subject on its own, but nevertheless I believe that we'd be better off avoiding this question that you've asked. While having no control of the situation during the war, Luria and his colleagues accepted the fact that there were many wounded soldiers with various brain lesions that required treatment. The data that Luria collected from these patients helped understand some of the neuropsychological processes better, and this was a side-effect so to speak, from the need to provide medical help to the wounded.

On the other hand, there is no justification to Nazi human experimentation, but the world academic community, while condemning the actions of Nazi scientists, does not discard their findings if they are scientifically valid.

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No matter what political reasons are given for war, the underlying reason is always economic.

– A.J.P. Taylor

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Well, this was... unexpected. A genuine flame war! I haven't seen one in ages! Ah, the memories. Navaros would be proud. Now where was I? Oh yes. The marble emperor has hereby returned, chased the invaders from the thread and locked the city gates.
Your memory must be waning if you thought that resembled the topics of old. You started this topic Edric and it presented you with a golden opportunity to address your beloved nationalism, holocaust denial in the middle east and so on. Too bad it didn't fit the exact format of your neatly-typed questions. Not impressed.
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Your memory must be waning if you thought that resembled the topics of old. You started this topic Edric and it presented you with a golden opportunity to address your beloved nationalism, holocaust denial in the middle east and so on. Too bad it didn't fit the exact format of your neatly-typed questions. Not impressed.

Wait... what...? My "beloved nationalism"? After I blamed nationalism for causing WW1 and after I've been a rather outspoken anti-nationalist for many years? And "holocaust denial in the middle east"? How is that even related to anything, considering the fact that, well, this is a thread about WW1, the Holocaust happened two decades later, and denial of it in the Middle East only became a widespread problem as a result of the conflict with Israel several decades after that?

I honestly do not understand what you are talking about.

Do you disagree with my split and thread lock? I thought people did not want the flame war to continue, but if I was wrong (that is to say, if you and the other participants want me to unlock the flame thread and perhaps re-merge it here), I will do so.

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holocaust is only false propoganda created by english. With support usa. To make germans guilty for ever. Even germans belive that happaned, because of old images ( all false made by english ) and memories of some german soldiers who is english spy actually. Ofcorse lot of jewish ppl. For tousand yers jews made same thinks, its way how they rule world without war. I can say that clearly real killers are israil grownment just yesterday they attacked to gazze and killed hundreds of children. You ppl never see this thinks but only false jewish stories about wwii.

I think holocaust story made because, after was english n usa even russia needed one good reason to steal all of advanced tech of germans and steal their scienists even resources. To do that they create reason holocaust. Its how america went to moon, or hawe their superior weapons atm.

btw Im not middle eastern, turkiye is not arab country, we r asian - kafkas - mediterrn mixed country, 1 million arab not make turkiye middleeastern.

lol this is really golden..

can u tell me one thing that England isn't responsible for plz

not sure if he's serious or trolling

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I deleted that post from this thread, because I've decided to restrict his xenophobic rants to the thread he started. All further similar posts he makes will be moved there, unless they're actually on-topic somehow.

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How most of world talking english now? With peace efforts of england? No because of killed billion innocent ppl around world and teror by englis empire.

dont say anythink to me about respect or human rights. Those humen rights only for, fance, england, north passive europans. Not for world. They still killing tousands on africa. Just just check what french legion doing in africa.

but nwm. You are europan, so we hawe to think just like you right?

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How most of world talking english now? With peace efforts of england? No because of killed billion innocent ppl around world and teror by englis empire.

dont say anythink to me about respect or human rights. Those humen rights only for, fance, england, north passive europans. Not for world. They still killing tousands on africa. Just just check what french legion doing in africa.

but nwm. You are europan, so we hawe to think just like you right?

The British Empire did many horrible things and committed many atrocities and massacres. I am the last person who would ever defend it. Same for the French colonial empire and France's current actions in Mali and elsewhere in Africa. European powers are guilty of many crimes against humanity.

But you can criticize the British and the French without accusing them of weird conspiracy theories.

* * *

The above is my opinion as a regular forum poster. As for my opinion from a moderator point of view, what matters is not so much what you say, but how you say it. You can attack the British government (and the Greek one) all you like, but when you start saying things like "england rule, kill, loot, drink blood, make wold blood bath" and talking about "greek dogs", that's when we have a problem.

If you had instead said "England is responsible for much death and violence around the world" and referred to "murderous Greek troops" respectively, that would not be a problem. It's about how you say things.

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Just dont make me to say bad words to you. Just go back to your european stAbilized world. World is not europa. I hope your europans not gonna understant with destroctuon just like what you do. Talking here like boss. But what, for example your new born baby died under bombers. What now? What you gonna say after that?

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We will only be able to stop babies being killed by bombers if we understand the root causes of war, oppression and injustice in the modern world, and if we have a serious plan for ending it. Blind revenge may be good enough for a grieving parent - and trust me, I understand the desire for revenge - but revenge alone isn't going to stop other bombers from killing other babies in other places.

Changing the global system, not revenge or grief, is going to make the world a better place.

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Nwm im just say nothing. As akways, you are europian and you are right.

I hope end of europia will be mercyfull, ppl who going to destroy yoyr system will be mercyfull. They not gona kill woman and children like you.

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Nwm im just say nothing. As akways, you are europian and you are right.

I hope end of europia will be mercyfull, ppl who going to destroy yoyr system will be mercyfull. They not gona kill woman and children like you.

Your Ottoman Empire caused a lot of damage as well, dont forget that. Many countries' modernization was stopped by their domination.

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Wait... what...? My "beloved nationalism"? After I blamed nationalism for causing WW1 and after I've been a rather outspoken anti-nationalist for many years? And "holocaust denial in the middle east"? How is that even related to anything, considering the fact that, well, this is a thread about WW1, the Holocaust happened two decades later, and denial of it in the Middle East only became a widespread problem as a result of the conflict with Israel several decades after that?

I honestly do not understand what you are talking about.

Do you disagree with my split and thread lock? I thought people did not want the flame war to continue, but if I was wrong (that is to say, if you and the other participants want me to unlock the flame thread and perhaps re-merge it here), I will do so.

 

Beloved target of course and the holocaust because it was brought up.

When I saw you replied I expected you to address the above rather than a ribbing about  marble emperors. But I 'm not keen to continue.

 

At least it brought some life into the topic,. Going over your questions: i) is rhetoric and asked in schools, ii-iii) I 'm inclined to say that up to WWII wars were more or less 'inevitable' and that only now, with technology, communication and education we have a chance at peaceful resolutions. iv) is a trap

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Paladin, I have no desire to focus on my original questions in the first post if people would rather talk about some other aspects of WW1. The only reason I included any questions in the first place was because I was trying to spark more discussion than usual.

The flame war that developed in this thread was brought up by another moderator in the staff forum, someone suggested locking the thread, and I proposed splitting the thread instead of locking the whole thing in order to salvage the original discussion. Then I carried out the split and locked the resulting new thread.

Obviously I could not respond to the ongoing discussion and then lock the thread, because a moderator shouldn't try to "get the last word in" before locking a thread. I could have just said "thread locked", but I chose to add a little humour instead. So that's how we got to the "ribbing about marble emperors" (a joke about Constantinople).

The entire time I was under the impression that people wanted the thread locked and the flame war ended. I really have no strong opinion either way about that.

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Your Ottoman Empire caused a lot of damage as well, dont forget that. Many countries' modernization was stopped by their domination.

if u check real history, ottoman empire take and hold many countrys but never force people to chance their religion or never loot their money or never take their houses and force them to go somewhere else or simply did not kill them like same era europans. Its why greek, bulgaria, arabia, algeria, egypt, syria, iraq, some of russia, kirim, ermenia, georgia, iran, israel, ukrain, avusturya, lubnan, libya, qatar, macedonia, moldova, hungry, romania, tunusia, somalia, some east europan mini countrys etc. Still alive. We did not make destruction like english ppl, if ottoman do that atlast half of the world must speak turkish not fkn english.a

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By edric o: "If you had instead said "England is responsible for much death and violence around the world" and referred to "murderous Greek troops" respectively, that would not be a problem. It's about how you say things."

Its because of my english. I dont know english language properly. Dont know much words or cant use them correctly sometimes. Sorry about bad words, ofcorse bad words cannot use for whole nation or group any kind. I respect people,

so as you said, england is responsible for much death and violance around the world and murderous greek troops killed tousands turkish civillians in north cyprus, its cause turkish armys campaing to cyprus.

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