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January 2, 2014 / Congau

The Hundred Years’ War 1914 – 2014

Our new year 2014 is a century away from that old year of 1914. It was the year of the start of the Great War – the war to end all wars. We are not as naïve as our fathers were a hundred years ago, are we? History has no end, and mankind is still waging its stupid wars. There will be no solution in 2014 either, but the fight continues.

The fight for what? I don’t know, but the people fighting always seem to know. For them there is an historical sense of justice which presumably needs to be fulfilled. “The land is my land and my right is universal, thus my cause is just.” That’s how a soldier must think to be willing to sacrifice all he’s got. But how does he know? History is immensely complicated even for the historian (or maybe particularly for the historian), then how can little people like us, stuck in the narrow perspective of 2014, know the right distribution of historical justice?

In 1914 they were all so sure. The French knew that a part of Germany actually belonged to them, and the Germans were equally sure that their country extended into France. That hundred years old war now looks like a mess. There was a labyrinth of diplomacy and alliances that caused everybody to shoot at everybody. The ancient world blew up and out of the ashes our modern world arose. Where was the justice in these random events? Yet the politics of today is based on the way the cards were shuffled a hundred years ago.

The two global wars of the century formed the borders of our world. The maps of Europe, Africa and the Middle East were shaped by senseless fighting and faulty negotiations and these so-called facts on the ground are the inevitable cause of further fighting.

We, poor soldiers that we all are, want to be a part of something bigger, something that goes beyond our little daily lives and makes it all worth living and dying for, so we are easily deceived. We keep getting stuck in the mud of WWI and the mud of petty politics.

There is a difference between right and wrong, but it is hardly to be found in war and politics.

Therefore, whatever will catch your eye in this AD 2014, don’t be too ready to believe in it, for it goes far beyond what you can see. 2014 was caused by 1914, by 1814, by 1714…

Still, may this year be a happy one!

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