Friday, June 28, 2013

What a difference 5 years makes

On this day 99 years ago, Gavrilo Princip shot and killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne.  The entire continent of Europe was spoiling for a fight, or had locked itself in a cage of mutual-defense treaties, and so millions of men started marching towards the abattoir.  Lions lead by donkeys, indeed.

Five years later on this same day, the exhausted powers signed the vindictive Treaty of Versailles, proving that the donkeys had not gained wisdom from the bleeding.  The treaty solved nothing, and hardened the Germans' determination - and gained them no little public sympathy from the world during Hitler's initial rise.  But the world was entirely different from that day 5 years earlier.

I don't expect that there's another day on the calendar that has a higher butcher's bill.

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