Often times, being surrounded by memorabilia from WW2 and having the most personal connections with individuals who served during the same it is easy to let it overshadow other conflicts throughout history. However, today is not a day where this will happen, for this week marks the 105th Anniversary of the declaration of war which became World War 1.
105 years ago, following the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. This would ignite a string of alliances and counter-alliances which would result in combatants which seemingly spanned the entire known world. While this is largely an Eurocentric viewpoint it is still true that to that point a conflict of such magnitude was nearly inconceivable.
This ‘Great War’ as it was known at the time was expected to mark either the destruction of humanity or an end to all future wars depending on who was asked. With a death toll estimated around 17 million, with some estimates as high as 37 million, and civilian deaths in excess of 7 million individuals, it is easy to see where these viewpoints came from. However, as we now know the world did not end and instead of ending war it simply set the stage for larger conflicts in the future.
But it is important to remember how and when it all started, with one declaration of war, and the faction based system of politics at the time, which is becoming increasingly common again, the world was plunged into a conflict from which it is still recovering today.
While this small post can never hope to do justice to the enormity of the conflict and the honor and loss of both sides I hope it helps to spark some thought and remembrance throughout this week.
Thank you for reading and remembering with me,