The ‘Great War’

What do we really ever know about history? What do we know about what’s happening today? How should we act when we have no way of knowing the ripples each action causes?

Winston Churchill, 1936:

America should have minded her own business and stayed out of the World War. If you hadn’t entered the war the Allies would have made peace with Germany in the Spring of 1917. Had we made peace then there would have been no collapse in Russia followed by Communism, no breakdown in Italy followed by Fascism, and Germany would not have signed the Versailles Treaty, which has enthroned Nazism in Germany. If America had stayed out of the war, all these ‘isms’ wouldn’t today be sweeping the continent of Europe and breaking down parliamentary government – and if England had made peace early in 1917, it would have saved over one million British, French, American, and other lives.

Balance Sheet of the First World War by Harry Elmer Barnes, 1939:

Had we remained resolutely neutral from the beginning, the negotiated peace would probably have saved the world from the last two terrible years of war. Whenever it came, it would have rendered unnecessary the brutal blockade of Germany for months after the World War, a blockade which starved to death hundreds of thousands of German women and children. This blockade was the one great authentic atrocity of the World War period. In all probability, the neutrality of the United States would also have made impossible the rise of Mussolini and Hitler—products of post-war disintegration —and the coming of a second world war.

Not only was our entry into the World War a calamity of the first magnitude for Europe and contemporary civilization, it was also a serious disaster for the United States.

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