Monday, August 4, 2014

World War One

It's the 100th anniversary of WWI.  I must confess I never knew all that much about it, other than mustard gas and trench warfare.  The American Heroes Channel (formerly The Military Channel), which is 195 on the Dish network is running a series called Apocalypse: WWI.  It's really good.  I think we're on the second episode, and they repeat the previous ones.  If you have DVR, this is really worth gathering up and watching.  One of the many things I did not know was how inter-related the rulers of Europe were.
Look at the first two pictures.  Do they not look like brothers?  The first is Czar Nicholas II of Russia.

This is King George V of England.

This is Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany.

Nicholas, his wife, Alexandra, and Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany were all first cousins of King George V of the United Kingdom.  Despite their familial connections, Germany decided to take on Russia and eventually Britain.

The war really did touch most of the world.  Japan, as Russia's ally, invaded China to get at a pocket of German soldiers.  Britain invaded Turkey to keep the Suez canal open.  Turkey invaded Russia, hoping to receive help from other Muslims in the Caucasus.  Everybody invaded Africa in an attempt to take colonies and raw materials from one another. 

This is a good website which details how interlocking treaties made the whole thing somewhat inevitable.

Another good site can be found here, which sort of live blogs how diplomatic efforts failed to stop the war after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.  Site navigation is atrocious, so patience will be required to work your way through it.  To sum it up, it seems to have been a giant game of diplomatic posturing, the playing of chicken and hubris on the part of the people who were in charge of the various governments.

After listening to the numbers of people who died, it's surprising that there were enough people left to fight WWII.


  1. I am debating about telling my husband about the program on the American Heroes Channel. He is a history major and can get very addicted to this channel.

  2. I am not a war history person at all, but even I enjoyed the WW1 Museum in Kansas City. Hope you'll get to check it out one day if you haven't already.

  3. Thanks for the tip on the TV series. I'll definitely be looking for that.