Is it 1914 all over again? We are in danger of repeating the mistakes that started WWI, says a leading historian

The Independent – by Ian Johnston

History never repeats itself, but it sure does rhyme, it has been said. Now an internationally respected historian is warning that today’s world bears a number of striking similarities with the build-up to the First World War.

The newly mechanised armies of the early 20th century produced unprecedented slaughter on the battlefields of the “war to end all wars” after a spark lit in the Balkans with the assassination of the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s Archduke Franz Ferdinand.  

Professor Margaret MacMillan, of the University of Cambridge, argues that the Middle East could be viewed as the modern-day equivalent of this turbulent region. A nuclear arms race that would be likely to start if Iran developed a bomb “would make for a very dangerous world indeed, which could lead to a recreation of the kind of tinderbox that exploded in the Balkans 100 years ago – only this time with mushroom clouds,” she writes in an essay for the Brookings Institution, a leading US think-tank.

“While history does not repeat itself precisely, the Middle East today bears a worrying resemblance to the Balkans then,” she says. “A similar mix of toxic nationalisms threatens to draw in outside powers as the US, Turkey, Russia, and Iran look to protect their interests and clients.”

Professor MacMillan highlights a string of other parallels between today and a century ago. Modern-day Islamist terrorists mirror the revolutionary communists and anarchists who carried out a string of assassinations in the name of a philosophy that sanctioned murder to achieve their vision of a better world. And in 1914, Germany was a rising force that sought to challenge the pre-eminent power of the time, the UK. Today, the growing power of China is perceived as a threat by some in the US.

Transitions from one world power to another are always seen as dangerous times. In the late 1920s, the US drew up plans for a war with the British Empire that would have seen the invasion of Canada, partly because it was assumed conflict would break out as America took over as the world’s main superpower.

Professor MacMillan, whose book The War That Ended Peace was published last year, said right-wing and nationalist sentiments were rising across the world and had also been a factor before the First World War

In China and Japan, patriotic passions have been inflamed by the dispute over a string of islands in the East China Sea, known as the Senkakus in Japan and Diaoyus in China. “Increased Chinese military spending and the build-up of its naval capacity suggest to many American strategists that China intends to challenge the US as a Pacific power, and we are now seeing an arms race between the two countries in that region,” she writes in her essay. “The Wall Street Journal has authoritative reports that the Pentagon is preparing war plans against China – just in case.”

The US has a mutual self-defence treaty with Japan and in 2012 it specifically confirmed that this covered the Senkaku Islands. In November, China set up an “air defence” zone over the islands and a few days later two American B-52 bombers flew over the islands in defiance of Beijing.

“It is tempting – and sobering –to compare today’s relationship between China and the US with that between Germany and England a century ago,” Professor MacMillan writes. She points to the growing disquiet in the US over Chinese investment in America while “the Chinese complain that the US treats them as a second-rate power”.

Another similarity highlighted by the historian is the belief that a full-scale war between the major powers is unthinkable after such a prolonged period of peace. “Now, as then, the march of globalisation has lulled us into a false sense of safety,” she says. “The 100th anniversary of 1914 should make us reflect anew on our vulnerability to human error, sudden catastrophes, and sheer accident.

“Instead of muddling along from one crisis to another, now is the time to think again about those dreadful lessons of a century ago in the hope that our leaders, with our encouragement, will think about how they can work together to build a stable international order.”

6 thoughts on “Is it 1914 all over again? We are in danger of repeating the mistakes that started WWI, says a leading historian

  1. My Fellow Patriots:

    Professor Margret MacMillan, of Cambridge University,.. is a dumbass douchbag.

    HEY,.. MARGARET!!!,.. you want to talk about what really caused WW1,.. WW2,.. Korea,.. Vietnam,.. The Gulf War,.. OFI and so on,.. and todays circumstances,.. then start looking at WHO are causing them!,.. the International Banskters,.. the large corporations,.. the socially elite and wealthy familes,.. and especially,.. the Rothchilds!,.. the most perfidious,.. low-life scum to exist on the face of God’s good planet!

    My Fellow Americans – I hate these academic douchbags,.. especially the ones that work for these, “think-tanks” (communist speak for Organisations That Create Monstrous Lies).

    It’s simple,.. all wars,.. including even our own revolutionary war to a certain extent,.. ARE BANKERS WARS! Period,.. BAR NONE.

    Until we start recognizing, admitting, and holding responsible,.. those that are creating these endless wars,.. we shall forever be stuck in them.

    JD – US Marines – You want to fix a problem,.. you first have to stop reacting to its symptoms,…. indentify its true root cause,.. and then eliminate it,… eliminate the international banksters,.. the wealthy coporate mafia,.. and especially,.. the ROTHCHILDS who have been behind EVERY major war since Napolean’s time.

  2. Semi-interesting piece. Ignore anyone who talks about Banksters. Everyone went ot War in 1914 to avoid losing, except for the Austrians and Russians, who went to war because in different ways their backs were to the wall. The Russians felt they had to back their “little Serb Brothers” no matter what and the Austrians their very existence as a Great Power. One thing that is definitely untrue is that the Germans deliberately went to war to conquer Europe. That was Allied propaganda created after the armies had gotten bogged down into 4 years’ trench warfare, whose result ws the Treaty of Versailles which was the peace to end all peace and the cause of The Great War: The Sequel (WW II). Interesting to speculate what would have happened with no joint Franco-Belgian occupation of the Ruhr in 1923-4; probably no Adolf Hitler; nice people, our gallant French allies. OK. Suggested reading: Laurence LaFlore’s “The Long Fuse”. Just go back and read up on what was going on in the years leading up to 1914; original contemporary sources are good (nespapers, etc.) too. You will conclude The Great War was a “rummy mess” as the Brits would put it and you will nenver have any respect for the French.
    Mention should be made of John Xenakis’ “Generational Dynamics”; not always on the mark, but (like Camille Paglia) always food for thought..
    As for today, 2014, Israel has its back to the wall and the US is rapidly fading as a Great Power (probably deliberate Obama policy, US retreat, one popular with leftist radicals in the 1970’s). China has grim demographics (too many men: too few women (social engineering gone amok)) and probably suspects that when they moved against Japan the US would do nothing, especially because of US WW II propaganda popular with low-information voters and the elderly. China vs. Japan is the most likely spark point outside of the Mid-East… Watch the Saudis and the Israelis; rumors have been flying for several years that they have been talking..joint attack an Iran even.. Watch Putin moving to reestablish the Soviet Bloc is eastern Europe; as with Japan, the US will do nothing, as the US has been doing essentially nothing if not making way for Putin. Obama has tried to imitate FRD’s saving of the New Deal by going to war with Syria, only to be finessed by Putin who has now effectively become Syria (and Iran’s) protector.
    A few years back it was conceivable that the breakup of Canada or Mexican unrest might spark a war. But the biggest game of all may well be internal civil unrest and war in the US itself between the ruling Alinsky-ite Factions including its media mouthpieces and its non-Alinsky-ite opponents akin to what has gone on in Argentina for the last 90 years and more recently in Venezuela. Everyone has assumed the US as the one Gibralter of Stability in the world…

    1. Dear Nathan Redshield,

      Piss off you paid scum.

      Nathan Redshield,.. actually Nathan Rothchilds proper name.

      Here we are my fellow patriots,.. Nathan Redshield,.. a perfect example of a Rothchilds paid agent, shill,.. low life scum bag.

      Ignore his Shill-Drivel,… for that is all it is.

      Hey Nathan ‘ol buddy,.. go back to your boss and let them know you failed,.. you have been made,.. and “We The People” know the truth about you scumbags.

      When the trials start,.. the Rothchild’s, the National/International Banksters.. their names,.. and their Crimes Against Humanity will be mentioned at almost every single case brougth before the tribunal!

      Now Nathan,.. crawl back under your rock, and stay there with the rest of the slime.

      JD – US Marines – We should actually thank Nathan for PROVING to us that the Roghtchilds and International Banksters are SO worried about being exposed,.. they are watching this site,.. and what Henry, me and all the regulars on this site publicly state everyday!,… thanks Nathan!

      1. well said JD. Your articulation of fact is right on. as i was reading this pukes article i began to get nauseated. I run into this kind of vermin all the time. My gut reaction is to put this mindless troll on the ground PERMANENTLY.

    2. “As for today, 2014, Israel has its back to the wall”- correction- israel has it’s *ick in the wall…and in your ear apparently.

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