The colossal horror of this war is made even more appalling by the fact that it was probably the most pointless war ever fought, yet the sacrifice involved was unimaginable. The author is rather harsh in his assessment of the quality of both the military and political leaders during these four years of unabating slaughter, but the record of the battles fought bears out his judgment. The Great War is a story of thousands of men charging to their deaths in battle after battle to gain a few yards of dirt. The victors showed themselves at Versailles to be no wiser in peace than they had been in war, and the narrative ends by detailing the seeds of Hitler’s revanchism. Thankfully, Europe has since then come to its senses, but war remains the one constant throughout history, and later generations may forget its appalling costs. If we truly live in a post-millennial world, as some believe, this revelation has no doubt escaped those who lie buried in Flanders fields.
May 18 2011
World War I by S.L.A Marshall
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