Numerous articles and commentary since June 28, 2014 have heralded that centennial anniversary of the assassination of the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne by Serbian nationalists during his visit to his empire’s provincial Bosnian capitol of Sarajevo as the first hostile act of violence of the war. Others have proclaimed yesterday’s 100th anniversary of the joint empire’s declaration of war against Serbia as the commencement of what would quickly become The Great War engulfing all the great powers in France, Germany, Russia, Britain and the United States.
We disagree with both of those schools of thought. The Serbian government disavowed any knowledge of the plot to kill Archduke Franz Ferdinand. And since when can war be deemed commenced before any hostile shots are fired by the designated combatants of one nation against another nation?
Our criteria requires that we deem the beginning of what would come to be known as World War One, after the second such conflagration engulfed the globe some 25 years later, with a whimper, rather than a bang when, on July 29, 1914, Austrian gunboats bombarded Kalimegdan, an old Turkish fortress crowning the heights of the Serbian Capitol of Belgrade at the junction of the Danube and Sava rivers. The ordinance had no chance of causing any more than cosmetic damage to the Serbian structure, but it was the first overt violent act of war taken by one nation against another.
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but declarations will never even disturb the paint on old forts.
Within days, Germany would invade Luxembourg and Belgium and France would invade Germany but it was Austrians seeking Fort Sumter-like fame that actually marked the beginning of a conflagration that would claim millions of lives, unleash Godless Communism and set the stage for fascism in Nazi German and Imperial Japan.
The Great War revealed the lethal toxicity of ethnic-or-racial-identity conflicts that has come to be known as Balkanization. One could argue that its precursor was the American War Between the States some fifty years earlier. The United States set about forming a more perfect union, albeit at a snail’s pace, after its divisive civil war. Sadly Europe would require a second dose of mass carnage before its mind was concentrated, with still an Evil Empire in the Soviet Union yet to be conquered.
We the People of the United States must reject attempts to divide us by race and class if we are to continue to remain an example of a City of Liberty on a hill for the world to emulate. That will only happen if we are unified by Judeo-Christian values and constitutional separation of powers. If we don’t, there is no guarantee that either WWI or WWII will have been wars to end all wars of such magnitude.
“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson