What joy, for fatherland to die!
Death’s darts e’en flying feet o’ertake,
Nor spare a recreant chivalry,
A back that cowers, or loins that quake
(Horace 65 BC)
One hundred years ago, Americans were sent into the European meat-grinder. Today’s leaders ask us to remember “their glory and their sacrifice” as they take us dangerously down the road to war again, much like in 1914. They taught us in school it was “the war to end all wars” and a “fight for freedom and democracy.” It was, in reality, a war for profit, greed and colonies in the interests of what we today call the one percent.
Warning: Yes, I was and still am ready to fight and, if need be, die for my country.
Victors write the history books
Ask any American kid why the US went into WWI and he will probably tell you because the Germans sank the British passenger ship, Lusitania, in 1915, killing 128 Americans among the nearly 1,200 lost. Forget that the Lusitania was carrying arms and munitions and Americans had been told to stay off of belligerent ships.
But, if American kids were better at arithmetic, they would subtract 1914 from 1917 and ask their history teachers why, if the Lusitania was the cause, did it take two years to declare war? Perhaps their teachers would be forced to tell them that Britain and France owed too much to American banks and industries to let them lose the war.
Perhaps their teachers would also have to tell them how Americans were so opposed to the war that Congress enacted the 1917 Espionage Act and the 1918 Sedition Act (still on the books) making it illegal to voice opposition to the war and to the draft. Many anti-war activists went to prison, including Presidential candidate Eugene Debbs.
“I hate, I loathe, I despise Junkers and Junkerdom,” Debbs said when accused of being pro-German. “I have no earthly use for Junkers of Germany, and not one particle more use for the Junkers in the United States.”
President Wilson never got his 14 points through at Versailles. Britain and France divided up among themselves Germany’s colonies and the former Ottoman Empire. American bankers and industrialists got their money and the road was paved to do it all over again 20 years later.
Ten million young men died for the arrogance and avarice of the wealthy few. I am posting photos below of the graves of a handful of those unfortunate ‘Grunts’ so that we can reflect on the cost of fighting a rich man’s war. We need to reflect to prevent it from happening again. To quote my late friend, Mark Smith, November 11 should be a “day of hate” for those who sent young men to die for nothing; “A day of remembrance” for those lost so that we can prevent the one percent from doing it to us again.