IG’s Peace Blog

Peace and its many aspects

Post Vacation Reflections

Hi!  I’m back from vacation (on the Atlantic Coast of France, as it happens).   On the way home I had the chance to watch some of the movie “The Legend of Baggter Vance” which I’d seen before; and which now seems to me to be a better movie than I thought when I first saw it some years agao.  For instance, the way they show the Post World War I South in the U.S. is really quite interesting.

But, what got me thinking, is that in the film the best local golfer goes off to the first world war, and becomes a hero but because of the war’s traumatic effect on him,  disappears for several years afterwards, losing his fiancée and his golf career.   It is, perhaps, difficult for those of us living now, on the other side so to speak of both World War II and the Cold War (and everything associated with them) to appreciate to what an extent The “Great War”, or as it was known at the time “The War to End all Wars”, traumatized a generation.   Before WWI, war was sort of like Winter Sports:  an exhilarating  pastime for young men, though there were a few risks involved.  However, WWI was the first time sophisticated modern technology was used on a wide scale and produced such horrors as mustard gas.   Also, remember that there was no really good reason to unleash this carnage:  it was solely the product of imperialistic ambitions of the Austrians and the Prussians.  Finally, consider:  Europe was the center of world civilization,  and the dominating force overall in the world.  However, after this (I think) rather pointless internecine conflict, Europe’s place in the world started to decline, and it was ultimately eclipsed by the United States.

There are many, many lessons here–both from the onset of the war and the way the “peace” was handled–and I think one can be guardedly optimistic that some of the them have been absorbed (at least after the onslaught and end of the next global conflict).

However, for me, one of the most interesting commentaries on WWI is that the young men that fought and either died or survived scarred in various ways are known as the “Lost Generation”.  All things considered, that seems like much to high a price to pay.

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August 11, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , ,

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