catslash: (Default)
( Jun. 28th, 2010 12:46 pm)
It's June 28! That means today is the anniversary of the assassination of Franz Ferdinand in 1914, which is one of the more bizarre coincidence-laden events of history. There are so many things that just happened to fall into place: the lead driver didn't get a message about the change of route; one of the group of would-be assassins, Gavrilo Princip, decided to go chill in a café after the initial failed attempt, and happened to go outside when the Archduke's car drove past the café hours later; Princip closed his eyes and fired twice, and those bullets hit Ferdinand and the Duchess, Sophie; and a thousand other things that have slipped my mind, and let's also not forget that the various eye witnesses' stories conflict and are from different people with their own agenda, so we'll never knew the exact facts of that day. But from what we do know, it's a miracle Ferdinand managed to get himself killed at all.

This, of course, is what finally set off the explosion in the Balkans - something would have happened sooner or later, Austria-Hungary was just itching for an excuse to go after Serbia because of some anti-Habsburg sentiment that had been coming from there (I think; it was some kind of unwanted propaganda, anyway). And Serbia had Russia's promise of protection, and dumbass Wilhelm II in Germany was all, "No, Austria-Hungary, it's cool, if you go after them I'll give you whatever help you want" and then the net of alliances and ententes choked everyone and HERE HAVE A WORLD WAR YOU GUYS.

Today is also the anniversary of the 1919 signing of the Treaty of Versailles, which was an excellent and well-balanced piece of diplomacy that forced Germany (yes, Germany) to take all the blame for starting the war and saddled it with reparation costs that would break its economy and make a nice opening for some political party calling themselves the Nazis to come to power. Guys, the Treaty of Versailles sucked so bad that the US refused to join the League of Nations to ratify it, and Ferdinand Foch (who was French, not German as his name might suggest) said, "This is not Peace. It is an Armistice for twenty years." He nailed it right down to the year: Hitler invaded Poland twenty years later in 1939.

This is a pretty simplified account, based mainly on my memories from a class on the World Wars I took a couple semesters ago (and the Wiki article on the Treaty, because I definitely did not remember the exact quote and who said it right off the top of my head). I felt I should talk about it a little, though, because it's all fascinating and because WWII gets all the glory these days and a lot of people don't know about the kind of colossal fuckery that went into creating WWI and then resolving it with a bunch of bullshit that ended up feeding into WWII. And we should remember that fuckery, because as a race human beings are not a whole lot smarter today and it would be good to remember so we don't start any more fuckery on this scale, because next time we do we're not gonna survive it.

Have a nice day! :D

Most Popular Tags

Page Summary

Powered by Dreamwidth Studios

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags