The British Government has plans to “commemorate” the outbreak of the First World War in August. No doubt this will be yet another excuse for a celebration of nationalism, with prominent historians already arguing that it was a justifiable war which Britain deserved to win. Max Hastings, in a recent documentary, argued that the war was tragic, but necessary. One professional obfuscator on the radio said that the causes of the First World War were so complicated that historians were trying to unravel them! On the other hand, historian Niall Ferguson, in another documentary, argued that Britain’s decision to enter the conflict was a catastrophic error. This may give the impression that a serious analysis and debate is occurring, but we can guarantee that the real reason for the bloodbath will either not be mentioned at all or minimised as “background” material.
A talk by John Cumming
Audience participation invited