The world is in the middle of the 100th Anniversary of WWI.
That war was known at the time as the “war to end all wars”. Little did the world know then that neither had we—the allies—won and/or that they—the Germans—never accepted that they had lost.
WWI pretty much resumed 20 years later in 1939. Because of the failure of the Versailles Treaty, hyperinflation in Germany in the early 1920s followed by the depression (in part due to extreme reparations) the political flood gates were opened to an extremist called Hitler.
WWI began with the German Scheifflin Plan to bypass the French border, but the plan failed, largely because there was insufficient blitzkrieg at that time. Quickly, things bogged down into trench and artillery warfare in which both sides fought back and forth over as little as 1000 yards at a weekly cost in the tens of thousands of lives.
Looking back one hundred years at several gruesome historical sites of mass slaughter recently helped clear my mind of current issues but also cast an interesting perspective on the past, present, and future.
The past: the degree of insanity, stupidity and lack of sensibilities of the political and military leadership on all sides at the time perhaps exceeds anything in history including WWII.
The present: the political leadership currently in the developed world appears to be unconsciously trying to rival the degree of misdirection during WWI.
The future: Unless Europe and the US come to grip soon with the type of free fall of political and military leadership which led in the 1920s and 1930s to hyper- inflation in Germany, depression everywhere in the 1930s, and WWII in the 1940s, we are bound to experience something like a repeat of those catastrophes.
Obviously, there are also many differences between today and the past. But, deep down, when political, economic, and military behavior and leadership become so distorted and misdirected, as they are all over the world today, conditions get so tangled and distorted that humans lose all perspective and judgment and end up killing everyone that comes within their gunsights.
Optimists say never again can that happen—human experience makes that impossible.
Sadly, memory becomes confused and distorted.
Best to say “never say never”, and get to work unpeeling the tear inducing onion of reality we are struggling with today.