By Nathan Barton
In just a few days, on 11 November 2018, we will observe the 100th anniversary of the armistice taking affect at 1100 hours (Central European War Time) of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, which “ended” the hostilities of the Great War. Which we now call the First World War.
Or did it? The wholesale slaughter of soldiers and civilians along the Western Front pretty much stopped: although there are records of attacks and deaths occurring just minutes before the official end of hostilities, on the Western Front: that horrific area of destruction stretching from the Swiss Frontier all the way to the North Sea. But fighting, wounding, and deaths continued for weeks and months, around the world. In a bitter and terrible withdrawal, German Imperial troops pulled back, from those portions of France, Belgium, and Luxembourg which had been occupied during the war. Dogged by vengeful French, British, and American troops. And still further back, to east of the Rhein, giving up (at least temporarily) vast lands and vast numbers of people and resources.
The fighting and wounding and killing would continue around the world, but especially in Europe, for years and decades. Some historians simply call the Great War the First Phase of the Global War of the 20th Century. It ended with the collapse of three major empires (German, Austro-Hungarian, and Ottoman (Turkish), the transformation of one (Russian into Soviet), and the expansion of three: French, British, Japanese, and foundation of a fourth (American).
The Second Phase of the Global War included:
- the Russian Civil War (which would last until 1923 or so) including the fighting in the Baltic states, Belarus, Ukraine, and Poland
- the Greco-Turkish and other wars in Anatolia and the lower Balkan Peninsula, including the Armenian genocide, mass resettlements, and more
- the wars and revolts and occupation of the rest of the Ottoman Empire, involving various Arab, British, and French forces
- the first wars for control of Canaan (“Palestine”), which would continue into the Fourth and Fifth Phases
- the wars of Japan for expanding control into the periphery of China
- the reestablishment of the German Empire (Dritte Reich) with annexation of Austria, and various other expansions
These in turn led to the Third Phase, which included:
- the Great Asian War between Japan and various warlords in China
- the Second European War, between Germany and Italy and six nations of western Europe and ultimately the United States and most of the Western Hemisphere
- the Great Patriotic War between Soviet Russia, Germany, and various allies on both sides
- the Great Pacific War between Japan and a coalition of the US, UK, and various other allies
This phase ended the German Empire and the Japanese Empire, weakened the British and French, and again killed millions. The conquest of Germany and “liberation” of Italy (conquest), and their eastern European allies, and the surrender of Japan, in turn led to the Fourth Phase, between the winners of the various fronts of the previous Phase:
- the subjugation of eastern Europe into satellites of the Soviet Union
- the Arab wars, both internal and against Israel and various Western powers, in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973 and since
- the winning of the Chinese Civil War by the Mao-led Communists
- the Korean Conflict and its half-century-plus ceasefire
- the failure to expand Communism into Greece, Turkey, Persia, etc.
- the expansion of Communist China into Tibet
- the collapse of the British Empire
- the transformation (considered a collapse) of the French Empire, including its loss of Indochina. (The entire series of Southeast Asian wars from 1948 to 1979 being a result)
- the collapse of the Dutch, Portuguese, and Belgian Empires
- the wars between various former parts of the British and other empires, including the Pakistani/Indian wars
However, the Fourth Phase ended with the collapse of the bi-polar world balance, because of the collapse of the Soviet Union and therefore of the Russian Empire, or at least its transformation. The Fifth Phase, beginning in 1991, is often considered to extend into at least the first decade of the 21st Century, and included:
- the internal wars (and external meddling) of the Balkans
- the new independence of the Baltic and eastern European states
- the overthrow of the Republic of South Africa and its possessions and allies
- the renewed Islamic offensive war against the rest of the world, coupled with the usual internal Arab and other dar-al-Islam (lands of submission) wars
It is not a pretty sequence of events.
Many historians like to trace it back to the assassination of an Austrian Royal in Serbia. They place the blame (as did the propagandists of 1914 and since) on Imperial Germany. But, some do point out that it was really the intervention of the United States in a primarily European conflict that really produced the worst results. The 1918 Armistice was just a pause and rearranging the props.
So, can we really celebrate what quickly led to more, massive war that killed even more millions? For most of a century? That led to exponentially increasing the power of government – not just in the so-called totalitarian governments of national and international socialism, but in the entire world?
Not unless we learn and apply the lessons we can learn from that eleventh hour… in defense of liberty.