Growing up I had no interest in war, other than stories from family, it disgusted me. I couldn’t understand how or why people would watch films or read books depicting human suffering. I went so far as not feel pride at my own countries conquests, seeing them as just as bad as every other invader in history. I am now 37 years old and every week I hear or see something making a reference to the war, usually the 2nd but not always. I wondered how many young people know anything at all about war. I decided it was time to face the truth, to find out what happened and to make some sort of peace with it. The peace has not been found.
Wars throughout history appear to be started out of 3 reasons, greed (expansion, growth, whatever you want to call it, it is greed), politics and religion. Greed, well, that is destroying the world as we know it, the main purpose of most in power is to have more power and for those with money to have more money. Wars rage now over greed under the guise of necessity. Politicians will always find you a good reason for you to accept war, keep you nice and secure in your homes while the country we are at war with is ravaged and its people slaughtered. Now for politics. That needs a little more investigation.
World War 1 started due to clashes between the great powers of that time, Italy, France, Germany, UK, Austria/Hungary and Russia over european colonial issues. Each power had its own interpretation be it militarism, alliances, imperialism or nationalism. All these things played a part including the death of Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand. I recently watched a documentary on the war and how the British coped or dealt with it. Whilst it occurs to me that defense was necessary it also occurs to me that it may not have been won had the population not been so easily manipulated. We soldiered on in the name of our country while our men were endlessly sent to their deaths, I would go so far as to say needlessly, the constant over the top method clearly wasn’t working. The spin doctors ensured that plenty of people would volunteer. Giving women the promise of the vote (they had to wait for it even after upholding their end of the bargain) enabled them to create the ammunition needed on the front lines. It’s not that it wasn’t needed, it was how it was attained that irks me.
I have more research to do on WWI but it became apparent quite quickly that little has changed. We are still manipulated into feeling and thinking a certain way. Please don’t misunderstand me, I have respect for all the men and women who acted, even in some cases for political decisions made, but my view that the PEOPLE suffer, the PEOPLE die and the PEOPLE win the wars not the politicians stands. And while we were hounding Germans living in our streets the Germans were also dying at war. You see people forget that war is horrific for both sides and it’s often the soldiers who come back with their hearts heavy at the killing of their fellow man. If a soldier can see it, why can’t the general public? Remember in celebrations of wars won that you celebrate the death of thousands sometimes millions.
World War II is something I have avoided for a long time. I feel VERY strongly about human rights and the true Nazi’s did not believe that any non national deserved any. While they were plotting over there, we were plotting over here and decisions we made killed innocent people. You see after much reading, watching documentaries and research I find myself angry at all the other countries of the world as much as I am angry with Germany. (When I express this, my anger is felt towards those involved, those around, not the people who reside now). Mainly because when I view our history in the UK I see pride at our conquests. I see political parties with nationalist undertones. We seem to expect Germany to be forever cowed and humble for WWII, for the atrocities of the Nazi state. Yet Britain has been at war for 93 of the last 100 years. We have been accused of war crimes, of having concentration camps, of brutality. Yet do we feel shame? Do you feel shame? No, it’s glory, it’s for the benefit of the commonwealth or the British Empire. No, you see WE are just as bad as EVERYONE else. WE are as guilty as everyone else. WE could have taken some Jews from Germany during the 1938 conference in Evian, but WE did not. Neither did anyone else (There were countries who helped prior and during, initially France, Denmark, Hungary ( although thanks to the British arresting one of their officials Joel Brand for well for nothing, 1 million died who were not supposed to) and Japan).
It was such that the Germans mocked the rest of the world who pointed their fingers at Germany for the treatment of the Jews whilst standing back and doing nothing, in fact worse than that, refusing to help when asked. Do you still believe that Germany should feel shame and we should not?
My whole point in this blog is in relation to guilt on all sides, to there always being political undertones that few ordinary men will know of or understand. That innocent people ALWAYS die, no matter what the press or politicians may tell you. I also sadly believe that our behavior during wartime has enabled us to be controlled in an easier manner. Create fear, give hope, give instruction, control the masses. Not to mention how easily we give in.
Nationalism has been one of the worst causes for war we have seen, the persecution of a race, the acceptance by the people and the eventual near extermination of a race. Do people really see that though? That Nationalism is how it starts, that the people in power get elected, that the powers could not have achieved their goals without the support of the general population?
People don’t see it now, the politicians tell you it’s the poor, it’s the immigrants, it’s those on welfare it’s all their fault, it’s almost like seeing history repeat itself, follow on now little lambs, follow on to persecute your fellow man because someone who is misrepresenting figures to you tells you to do so.
What all you nationalists seem to be missing is science and evolution, NONE of us originates from our country of birth if you go back far enough. Underneath the 3 layers of skin we are biologically the same, different colour skin and different bone structure separates us from the rest of humanity. You could accept a transplant from any person who is a match, any colour, any creed. So what is nationalism if not a laughable joke? If you truly believe it is only the nationals who support your country you need to educate yourself better. While you are at it have a think about your own ancestry, how far back do the nationalists want to go? Many of the Jews slaughtered were nationals. Of course I speak of the Jews as their numbers were greater, but nationalism isn’t against one religion, one colour, but all. Gypsies, freemasons, homosexuals, law breakers, sympathisers and anyone considered either not national or not on the side of the Nazis. Many Aryans were sent to their deaths in concentration camps. Let’s also not forget it was not just the Germans, Vichy France were also strongly nationalist, Austria took to the slaughter with fervor and even rescue from Slovakians was terror for the Jews. During World War I it was nationalism that riled up the public to fight the war, attacking any German business in Britain due to propaganda, told they could be spies when only 11 were ever found and prosecuted. I understand that fear plays its part, but how easy was that? A few newspaper articles and there was rioting in the streets, how different was that from what happened in Germany in the first place and what happened later in WWII? Tell me the difference and I will listen even if I don’t agree. While we are at it, how is it we can’t do that to protect our human rights or to protest against poverty? Are we that hateful?
To give an idea and add clarity to my previous point, that the PEOPLE are the ones who suffer, here are some figures from WWII. China in 1939 had an estimated population of 51,568,000, 3 to 4, 000, 000 military died, 7,000,000 to 11,000,000 died due to military acts, 5,000,000 died due to famine and disease. Lets look at the UK, an estimated population of 47, 760, 000, 383,000 military died, 67, 000 due to military activity. Germany, an estimated population of 69, 850, 000, 4, 300, 000 to 5, 500, 000 military died, 400, 000 to 2, 400, 000 due to military action and 400, 000 to 2, 400, 000 as a result of famine, disease and famine. The total death count for the whole world was 60, 000, 000 to 85, 000, 000 Men, women and children. Soldiers and civilians alike. All because Hitler wanted Germany for Germans and felt that Germany should be a lot bigger.
The way I see it, either we all close our borders and let no one in, no deals, no back handers, no special treatment, or we open our borders and share the world. This constant manipulation of the population to incite hatred will only end in death. There is no glory in war, the soldiers suffer on all sides, they die, they hurt, they fight with duty and honor, they do their duty for their country, yet so many are so poorly treated when they come home. They come home to ravaged countries and disheartened people. Our countries only have armies while there are people prepared to do that. Sadly there is always that same old greed, and while there is someone who will hold a gun for money, there will be war. I’m not saying our soldiers are greedy, they earn a living, but if they were to stop, someone would take their place.
I believe that we need to stop hating each other. Stop reading the propaganda designed to turn you into a nation of haters. If you read it, stop believing it, unless YOU have proof. Stop judging entire races of people on the actions of the few! You don’t like being judged, stop doing it to others. We live in a world where very few people are educated on the Wars of the World, even so, if you want an unbiased view you have to look on both sides of that war and both accounts, it’s not easy to be impartial, but we are all guilty, every country of the world and only the people of the world can stop that, by changing how they think and react, by not falling into the same traps. By even entertaining the idea of nationalism we are open to the exact same horrors. Will you stand by if your neighbour is dragged from their house, piled into a van and driven away? Will you let it happen? With guns pointed at you and your family? Probably, yes? Your family comes first right? Well why not stop it before it happens, don’t allow it to get that far. Every person in every country IS the power behind that country. Wars can only be fought with your CONSENT.
My final war starting point was religion, it could be argued religion started the second, or at least the hatred of one religion. Religions and wars, whilst trying to remain respectful to every humans right to have religion or faith I do question your faith. How is it, God in any religion is wise, strong and benevolent yet people who follow those religions feel that war is acceptable? That the persecution of another man is acceptable because they have a different faith? It seems to me, if this God, any God exists he would look at us with shame, to see what we have done to our beautiful planet and its creatures and how we have hacked away at humanity for Greed, Politics or Religion. He would be shamed, yet we feel none.
So, I have rambled enough and it isn’t as educational as I would have liked. But I shall leave you with some figures from our world and its wars. I hope that reading this has encouraged you to do some more research for yourselves and maybe turned you off war. Sadly as long as there is one country prepared to go in, the rest will follow.
In the 20th Century there have been approximately 40 wars, some lasting months and some years. A rough amount of people who have died is 160 million people. I warn you, if you do research your own country or anyone elses, you may find that you learn things you do not like, I know I have. I draw the conclusion that each country has committed atrocities, every government has lied to its people, every war has undertones and the people always die, the people always suffer while those making the decisions remain mostly safe.
We stand on our soap boxes and high horses looking down on the world, passing judgement and pointing fingers, yet our guilt is that of the next man, the next country. For even at our most righteous we act for our own gain. During the documentary by the BBC covering the life of Auschwitz many points were omitted, but the main one was how much emphasis they put on only 800 Nazis being brought to trial, as such a terrible thing, yet it doesn’t say why, doesn’t tell you that the very country making the documentary would have helped Nazis escape prosecution due to their value, as did many others. We are a world of haters and hypocrites, unless YOU want to change that.
BBC Documentary Auschwitz
BBC Documentary Britains Great War
Michel Thomas – A Test of Courage – Christopher Robbins
Miklós Nyiszli – Auschwitz: A Doctor’s Eyewitness Account
All Quiet on The Western Front