Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Necessary War

Historian Niall Ferguson has been peddling the line for many years now that WW1 was a strategic blunder from a British perspective because 1 million men died, the economy was destroyed, WW1 led to WW2 and here we are 100 years later with German domination of Europe anyway. Its a neat argument but I think fallacious. Andrew Roberts has written about what a German victory in WW1 would have meant for Europe and this documentary below by Max Hastings also presents a good counter argument. The BBC ran it the same night as Ferguson's documentary arguing his case (alas that one isn't on youtube otherwise I would have included it here too). ... I find Hastings' argument not just more convincing but also, naturally, more personally significant. My grandfather (my mum's dad) fought on the Western front for 4 years and saw dozens of friends killed around him. It would be unnerving to think that all of that death and destruction was ultimately for nothing. Maybe it was, but I'm not convinced.