The Great War–according to George Weigel.

The short answer to the question posed–not uniquely–by George Weigel, Why did the First World War begin? seems to have no answer than that “Men have forgotten God”.  At least that’s the impression left by the only report available thus far.  I offered the following comment on that particular page.  For whatever reason the moderators at the Family Research Council found it unacceptable.


Hmm!  Not notably enlightening.  Pity.  More interesting–and Weigel’s lecture was said to be discussing this question–is why the conflict continued.  “That men have forgotten God” provides little that is compelling regarding beginning of the Great War and even less regarding its continuity, its extraordinary momentum.  One should recall, too, that the Kaiser, for all his faults, as well as his cousin, Nicholas II, himself not without fault, both recognised in July 1914 that the war then impending would be catastrophic for millions of men–and they knew it was wrong.  Politicians had taken control, acted in a variety of ways none of which were commendable, and those men indeed paid the price.

Some 360,000 volunteered from Australia, most served in Europe.  In excess of two thousand of them in splendid voice on 25 April 1916 sang Kipling’s Recessional in Westminster Abbey, having been invited by the King who, like his continental cousins, recognised the moral depravity of this war.  Many Australian soldiers believed deeply in the rightness of their cause, primarily for freedom.  The public at home supported them to the hilt.  And some highly varied notion of God underlay that determination to work for victory over “Prussianism”.  They mourned 60,000 fellow citizens killed in the First World War but did not relent.  Politicians then served up another within twenty years.


There are no comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s