As this is being written it was exactly 100 years ago that the world was counting down the final hours of peace before the outbreak of the First World War.
Over the next few years four empires would be swept from the world stage. Borders would be redrawn and new alliances formed.
They say hindsight is 20/20 and using the benefit of a 100-year lens, journalist Brian Stewart wrote an analysis for CBC of what the war meant, and continues to mean for us today.
His article is entitled The 100-year conflict that is the First World War: How a reckless dance into the abyss in 1914 set the stage for our times. It provides an overview of an opinion shared by other scholars as well.
In their book Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World, authors Margaret MacMillan and Richard Holbrooke detail how the world map was redrawn following the war —with tragic and ongoing consequences.
“The ceaseless Israel-Palestinian crisis can be traced to WWI British promises of land to both sides, promises that inevitably came into conflict,” wrote Stewart.
A more recent book —First World War: Still No End in Sight by Frank Furedi—has a title which pretty much sums up the situation we find ourselves in today.
This week we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the “war to end all wars.” Next week we will remember the 69th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima.
But war continues and no end seems in sight.
Perhaps it is time—long past time, in fact—to call a spade a spade and deal with those who profit from the sale of arms as international war criminals.
The rule is “Thou shalt not kill.” Pretty simple, you would think.