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by John Spritzler

September 2, 2023

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In his The Great Class War about World War I, the historian Jacques R. Pauwels makes the case that, quoting the book description at the back of the book and online, with my emphasis: 


"For European statesmen, a large-scale war could give their countries new colonial territories, important to growing capitalist economies. For the wealthy and ruling classes, war served as an antidote to social revolution, encouraging workers to exchange socialism's focus on international solidarity for nationalism's intense militarism. And for the working classes themselves, war provided an outlet for years of systemic militarization -- quite simply, they were hardwired to pick up arms, and to do so eagerly.

"To Pauwels, the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in June 1914 -- traditionally upheld by historians as the spark that lit the powder keg -- was not a sufficient cause for war but rather a pretext seized upon by European powers to unleash the kind of war they had desired."

In the forward to his book, Pauwels writes about the broad sweep of the book starting with the French revolution of 1789:

"We will come to the realization that the Great War was wanted and unleashed by a European elite that was essentially a 'symbiosis' of the nobility, that is, the large landowners and the haute bourgeoisie or 'upper middle class,' the latter consisting above all of industrialists and bankers. The nobility--not only in France, but everywhere in the Europe of the ancien régime--was counterrevolutionary from the very moment when, in 1789, the 'great' revolution broke out in France. The bourgeoisie had been revolutionary in 1789, but it became counterrevolutionary after its traumatic experiences during the revolutions of 1848 and 1871. These new revolutions made the bourgeoisie understand that the rights and privileges it had acquired via the French Revolution were threatened by the aspirations of the lower classes in general and the working class in particular; from the perspective of the bourgeoisie these were henceforth the 'dangerous classes' (classes dangereuses), the 'vile multitude.' The working class loomed more and more menacing because it had discovered a potent emancipatory strategy in Marxist socialism. Moreover, it had developed forms of organization, especially workers' parties and trade unions, and had thus managed to obtain more and more political and social reforms, such as a widening of the electoral franchise. The fear of revolution and even of a seemingly irresistible democratization--the 'rise of the masses'--convinced the elite that Nietzche and the apostles of Social Darwinism were right: these intellectuals propounded that only war could eliminate the grave risks associated with democratization and above all the mortal danger of revolution." [pg. 17-18]



Another aspect of the origin of World War I is very persuasively proven by Gerry Docherty and Jim MacGregor in their book, Hidden History: The Secret Origins of the First World War.

This excellent and very persuasive book shows that members of the British upper class (including Winston Churchill) conspired (true use of the word here!) to instigate WWI many years before it began, for the purpose of destroying Britain's #1 economic competitor: Germany.


The consequences of the HORRIBLE war are enormous and awful:

1. the extreme loss of life during the war itself;

2. The anger at the extremely unjust and repressive Versailles Treaty made it possible for Hitler to gain power, leading to WWII and the Holocaust;

3. The extreme suffering of Russians who were forced by the Tsar to fight in WWI led to the overthrow of the Tsar and then the Bolshevik revolution;

4. The Bolshevik revolution (Germany sent Lenin to Russia--its WW1 enemy--hoping he would lead a revolution) and Stalin's subsequent repression of Ukrainians, and the Hitler Nazis (and their opposition to Stalin and to Jews) combined to create the Far Right (Nazis) in Ukraine and their hatred of and oppression of the Russian-speaking Ukrainians;

5. The conflict in Ukraine is increasing the risk of thermonuclear war because a) the U.S. aims to re-start the Cold War (because it needs a bogeyman enemy and Russia is its first choice, which is why it even armed the Soviet Union big time all during the Cold War to ensure that it would be a sufficiently frightening bogeyman enemy) using Ukraine as the pretext and b) Russia views (understandably!) the U.S. using Ukraine (always threatening to make it a NATO nation with nuclear missiles on Russia's border) this way as an existential threat.

So thank you, European "statesmen" and Winston Churchill and your upper class buddies; what would we ever have done without you?

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