VICARI: A Brief History Of Death, Destruction, And The Madness Of War

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Adam Vicari Contributor
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July 1, 1916, probably began as an ordinary day in rural Northern France.  Not far from the Picardy region, as this area was known, was a large River called the Somme. The morning probably began peacefully, with the beautiful natural scenery characteristic of rural France still intact and the townsfolk going about their daily lives. This peace, however, would not last, for by the end of the day 20,000 British soldiers alone would be dead, with 60,000 casualties total. The once scenic views of the countryside would soon be pock-marked with craters from a weeklong artillery barrage, turning it into little more than mud pits filled with the dead and rotting bodies of the thousands of dead and dying men, many of whom were barely out of high school when they were unceremoniously cut down by machine guns.  

An entire small town’s worth of men would be decimated in a single day. By the end of the campaign, on Nov. 13th, 650,000 Germans, 420,000 British, and 195,000 French would be dead. By the end of World War I, 8.5 million soldiers and 13 million civilians would be dead — a monumental  effort that gained the Entente powers a mere five miles.  All of this death and destruction being the product of a single member of Austrian royalty being assassinated by a Serbian street gang two years prior. The flower of an entire generation of Americans and Europeans obliterated because the elites of their respective countries said it was time for a shift and realigning of the world order and the balance of power. The same elite whose terms to end the First World War would ultimately set the stage for the second, which would result in death and destruction unprecedented in human history up to that point.  

Indeed, between approximately 35 and 60 million people died during act two of the global conflict, 298,000 of which were American.  At the conclusion of the First World War, it became evident that the Entente governments wanted regime change and a shifting world order, which is why Woodrow Wilson in essence called for dissolving the Central Powers’ empires and elevating small countries who had allied themselves with the Entente powers during the war with his “14 Points” plan.  This was paired with a dramatic destruction of Germany’s status in the world order with the Treaty of Versailles, which ultimately led to the world sinking into depths of depravity and atrocity unparalleled in human history.  

One would think that the lessons of the 20th century would be enough to shock the modern observer into avoiding a similar situation at all costs, but perhaps for some not even the 10s of millions of dead in the last century are enough to give them pause in the present one.  Apparently the Somme, the Bataan Death March, Stalingrad (1.1 million dead Russian troops plus 40,000 civilians, many of whom had to resort to cannibalism for lack of food), Auschwitz (1.1 million more Jews, Poles, Gypsies and POWs) are not enough to sufficiently shock the senses of the war hawks in Washington, which brings us to the current crisis of our times: World War III.  

This may be inevitable, it may be beyond the control of any politician or general supporter of Ukraine. Indeed, Vladimir Putin and/or Xi Jinping may decide they want to initiate the most catastrophic disaster in human history of their own accord.  But what are the Biden administration and the hawkish Washington elite of both parties doing to prevent it from coming to fruition?  Anything?  And what are the people who declare, “I stand with Ukraine” and indicate their support for the continuation of aid to this country, both monetarily and militarily, doing to prevent it?  It seems that the answer to this question is nothing.  

So, the aid continues, American weapons pour in, the president gets bolder in his public statements in support of Ukraine and against Russia, going even so far as to call for regime change and the ouster of Vladimir Putin from office.  Biden also seems to have a vision to shift the world order, just like Wilson did with his 14 Points, except Biden is bent on now diminishing the standing of Russia within the world order instead of increasing it, as are his war hawk allies in Washington — war hawks whom a large share of voters continue to elect to office. These voters do not seem to realize that their representatives’ unwavering support for Ukraine could ultimately mean that they will have to send their sons over to fight on Ukraine’s behalf.

These people’s blasé attitude about the potential consequences of World War III is the same attitude that many Europeans had prior to World War I.  Many Europeans anticipated that World War I would be a quick, one or two-year war like those they were used to fighting, but it wasn’t. It was the beginning of the mechanical warfare age, and World War II was the beginning of the Nuclear Age.  What would World War III look like?  Would there even be a world to speak of after it is over?  And the most important question: is supporting Ukraine worth risking a war that would make the first two world wars look like a walk in the park?  

How, given Russia has more nuclear war heads than any other country in the world and an unrelenting determination to win a war with Ukraine, might a third world war end?  Perhaps everyone in Washington should consider these questions before incomprehensible death and destruction results from a world afflicted by the madness of war, not after.

Adam Vicari is a freelance writer from New Brunswick, New Jersey. He has a degree in history from Rutgers.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller.