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- 6 02 2003 - 22:32 - katatonik

Bring back the World into the First World War

“Oddly, [Hew] Strachan also omits the importance of militarism outside Europe. As we have seen, the First World War was not a world war in the sense of being fought all around the world. Most of the fighting was in Europe. For instance, 92 percent of all British casualties were suffered in France. It was the fact that men came to fight in Europe from all around the world that made the war a world war. The figures for extra-European mobilization are impressive: more than four million from the United States, more than three million from Britain’s colonies, just under half a million from the French colonies. And most who came were volunteers.

At the outbreak of war, the man who would become India’s most famous political and spiritual leader told his fellow countrymen: “We are, above all, British citizens of the Great British Empire. Fighting as the British are at present in a righteous cause for the good and glory of human dignity and civilization…. Our duty is clear: to do our best to support the British, to fight with our life and property.” Gandhi spoke for many thousands of Indians. By the end of the war, more than a million of them had served overseas, almost as many as came from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. What could better sum up the global character of this European war?”

Cited from Niall Ferguson’s review of Hew Strachan, “The First World War, Volume I: To the Arms” (Oxford University Press), New York Review of Books, February 13, 2003.


"...most who came were volunteers." - Auch so eine europäische Legende.

mv (Feb 7, 02:22) #

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