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12-May-2020 13:13 by 6 Comments

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It perhaps comes a close second in the Anglosphere for The Vietnam War, and by some measures manages to beat Algeria in the Francosphere (when the speaker knows, and can bear, to bring the latter up).In hindsight, the final resolution of the war has come to be dubbed "the peace to end all peaces." The origins of the first world war involve so many nations in so many languages, that historians are still trying to piece it together.

This was quite possibly the most unpopular widespread conflict in the history of civilization in hindsight.

Four of Europe's great empires (Imperial Germany, Austria-Hungary, Tsarist Russia, Ottoman Empire) cracked apart, resulting in the liberation and formation of new nations, culminating in a revolution of a size and scale not seen since 1789.

The empires and nations that did come out , such as The British Empire and The French Colonial Empire found their power and uncontested influence weakened and challenged, both at home, and in their colonies, marking the beginning of the end of the age of empires that had defined the 19th Century, with the United States of America taking the role of a global leader for the first time, under President Woodrow Wilson.

In the hundred years between 1815, the end of the Napoleonic Wars after Waterloo, and the start of World War I, there had been many wars in Europe, many Civil War, and many revolutions.

An objective record of the 19th Century and even The Edwardian Era, belies the claim that this was truly "la Belle Époque" designated by European thinkers and writers after World War I.

That the great crises of this era, whether its the Revolutions of 1848, the Crimean War, the Franco-Prussian War, the Russo-Japanese War did not start an all out continental war with the corresponding scale of violence can be ascribed and credited to the limited destructive capacity of the weapons despite its steady advancement, the solidity of the diplomatic norms established after Waterloo that allowed it to withstand multiple cracks, or sheer dumb luck.

None of this is to state that World War I was inevitable or inherent to the foundations of Europe, merely that the history of Europe was so constantly violent and had been so for centuries, that a periodic occurrence and recurrence of "small wars" was seen as tolerable and preferable so long as it didn't affect the social foundations and regional boundaries the way the wars of the 18th Century did (the Seven Years' War and the French Revolutionary-Napoleonic Wars).The hope of the Concert was to contain the specter of revolution that they saw as a threat to national and domestic stability.The gradual fracturing of that alliance towards the end of the century ultimately led to the return of revolution and domestic and national instability that in Europe would not heal until the fall of the USSR.Most were grateful the war ended and that the ones who survived could go home, with the really lucky ones going back uninjured.The war is considered to be the true beginning of The 20th Century, severing continuity with the conformity, stability, and in retrospect, the comforting illusions of progress and decency that people ascribed to European civilization.The debate about the war was politicized in the years leading to World War II, and while it isn't as politicized and deadly today, and mercifully a more academic issue than it used to be, it's still something that sparks a lively debate.