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Reader's view: World still hasn’t learned the lessons of WWI

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In this month of August the world might recall the Great War, which began exactly a century ago in 1914.

Most of the preceding 19th century had been relatively peaceful until that dire calamity engulfed mankind. Prevailing belief was that an integrated world would not yield to such unsettling affliction.

However, there were ominous forebodings that could cascade into distress. Enmity and jealousy lurked below the surface with alliances, open and secret, stimulating distrust.

However, the western world reigned supreme. The immense continent of Africa was carved into a conglomerate of vassals bound to their varied masters. In Asia, vast stretches of land were fully in various stages of servitude. Even in the Americas, some foreign holdings remained. Throughout the world, big or small, it was rare for any island to retain independence.

Enormous standing armies swelled in size every year with more powerful weaponry. Vast navies of hundreds of ships in battle lines stretching for miles practiced gunnery. Late in the scene aircraft were assiduously studied to determine what mayhem they could inflict.

When war came, Germany planned to defeat her two major adversaries individually and quickly. Her main forces attacked France first, but Russian mobilization was uncharacteristically rapid, leaving Germany with depleted forces at the Marne and facing both enemies. What followed was a war of attrition with soldiers fighting wearily and drearily for more than four more years. By that time the whole world was engulfed.

What price glory?

World mathematicians through the years have calculated the costs of war. Humankind has been deprived of much of its own benefits because we live in a turbulent world.

Our acquiescence to this is a high tax that we levy upon ourselves.

Will the circle be ever broken?

Paul J. Lampi

Duluth

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