Most Americans are woefully ignorant of World War I. It gets scant attention in history classes, basically being treated as the grainy, trench-ridden precursor to World War II.
While the Second World War brought many changes, it was the Great War that truly shaped the modern world. In his later years, Winston Churchill speculated that future historians might look at them as a single combined struggle – a modern Thirty Years’ War.
On Nov. 11, 2010, it will be 92 years since the guns fell silent, but the issues of that great cataclysm are still with us. This week, Germany made its last reparations payment.
The title of the article is a misnomer, of course. The war officially ended with the Treaty of Versailles. But its legacy continues.
Consider the most seminal events of the last century – events that are still with us today. Beyond the seeds of World War II, the First World War saw Russia fall to Communism, the breakup of the Ottoman Empire and the beginnings of a Jewish state in the Middle East.
The societal transformation – women gaining the vote – was also enormous.
France was bled white by the war and any possibility of it resuming the Great Power status it had enjoyed since Seventeenth Century was destroyed by the inferno of Verdun.
Two shots in Sarajevo 96 years ago, and we are still grappling with the repercussions