Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2001/09/13

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Terror
From: Johnny Deadman <>
Date: Thu, 13 Sep 2001 17:49:30 -0400

on 9/13/01 5:05 PM, Austin Franklin at wrote:

> Thanks, Johnny, I didn't know you were referring to WWI as "THE Great War".
> Answer the removing the word "Nazi" then.

'the great war' is a standard way of referring to WWI. It was what it was
called before anyone realised there was going to be a *second* world war.


In the case of WWI the threat to Britain was pretty marginal at the time
that Belgium was overrun. Britain still had a huge empire and wasn't the
kind of enemy Kaiser Bill would take on lightly -- not least because of
strong family ties with the Royal family.

I really hope people are following the thread of what I am saying, which is
very simple. I think wars are sometimes necessary. The Great War may well
have been necessary. But wars are very rarely 'just'. They are not about
right and wrong, whatever you may think. (If you disagree with this, kindly
remind us of one war where one side thought they were right and the other
side thought they were wrong). Wars are about *two different and
incompatible ideas of good colliding*.

You may agree with one and disagree with another, and I may agree with you,
but that does not get us out of the mess.

My point about the 1914 propaganda is that for political reasons the
conflict HAD to be presented in the language of christian duty and
sacrifice. The tragedy was, it worked perfectly. On the first day of the
Somme, officers and other ranks alike rose from the trenches and ran towards
gun emplacements that had not been shelled and wire that had not been cut,
on the basis of a myth that they were fighting an evil empire.

It was not just dynamite, but this mythology, that was exploded in the
trenches. The disillusion of the twenties and the appeasement of the
thirties was a DIRECT result of the lies that had been told in the course of
the 1914-18 conflict. That Hitler came to power practically unopposed, and
that Germany re-armed as it did, was the consequence, because very few in
Britain believed any more that war of any kind could be moral or just.

One of the reasons that WWII is nowadays widely regarded as a justified war
is that it was entered with the most extreme reluctance and weariness by
Britain. There was almost no jingoism on the outbreak of war, only an
enormous sadness, a feeling of foreboding.

That is the way all wars should be begun IMO.

- -- 
John Brownlow