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The Islander Newspaper Ascension Island
  Issue No. 2243 Online Edition Saturday 20 December 2014 
Home | August 2014 Please tell us what you think of this article. Tell a friend Print Friendly

Ascension : CENTENARY OF THE FIRST WORLD WAR
Submitted by The Islander (Islander Editors) 14.08.2014 (Article Archived on 28.08.2014)

What was the cause of this conflict? Well on the 29th June 1914 the Prince Ferdinand and his wife of the Austrian Hungarian Empire were assassinated in Sarajevo by 2 young Serbian extremists.

CENTENARY OF THE FIRST WORLD WAR…… continues


Glasgow Cathedral- Service for the Commonwealth


By Councillor Larry Poultney


 


What was the cause of this conflict? Well on the 29th June 1914 the Prince Ferdinand and his wife of the Austrian Hungarian Empire were assassinated in Sarajevo by 2 young Serbian extremists. As a result of this assassination the Emperor of the Austrian Hungarian Empire who was Prince Ferdinand’s father declared war on Serbia and invaded.


 


Serbia had a pact with Russia, thus Russia was drawn into the conflict by coming to Serbia’s aid. However Russia also had a pact with France and as Russia made the decision to move against Austria, this then drew Germany into the burgeoning war as Germany had a pact with Austria.


 


With France and Russia having a pact, and  Germany with Austria having a pact, followed by Russia attacking Austria this made France and Germany enemies and at war with each other thus giving Germany the chance to invade France. This was something Germany had a desire to do, and had planned for during the whole of the previous decade, and something of which France was aware of and had made defensive plans.


 


So far Britain had remained neutral and not committed, despite several crisis meetings of the Government of the day resulting in a great deal of indecision. Finally Germany invaded France but to get to from Germany to France invaded through neutral Belgium. This action finally drew Britain into the War as Britain had a commitment with Belgium to protect her neutrality.


 


Thus the whole of Europe was now at war with each other.The only accepted view is the war was a consequence of a series of accidents; these were committed by incompetent politicians with poor governance of their nations, who were being influenced by Generals looking for somewhere to fight their next war.


 


Many intellectual and intelligent powerful men in Europe failed to grasp the course of action to which they had committed themselves. Quite frankly a tragedy of errors, within a week millions of men were recalled to service, only to slay each other in a bloodbath on the battlefields by order of the War Lords of Europe.


 


It is perhaps a great tragedy of British History, that Britain’s Dominions and Colonies were never consulted by the British Government. Instead the Governor Generals merely issued proclamations on their own authority, declaring them to be in a state of war with Germany alongside the Motherland.  This caused the thoughtless and inadvertent effect, of sending their own people to join the slaughter house of the European battlefields.


 


To put all this into conjecture a young British Officer who was one of the extremely rare people who, despite being seriously wounded twice, survived the whole 4 years of the war. He wrote a book of his experiences in this war called ‘Never Again’. In his closing sentence he plainly states his Infantry Battalion renewed itself 30 times during the 4 years of war.


 


It is fitting to end this report on my attendance at this commemoration with the first 2 lines of a very famous poem, as tragically many, many such poems were written by soldiers in their time in the trenches.


 


In Flanders Fields the poppies blow.


Between the crosses, row on row.


 


John McCrae 1915


 


At the end of this tragic war, there were 9 million crosses, ask yourself, how many rows is that?

 

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