Mov­ing tar­gets

BBC History Magazine - - Letters -

De­bat­ing whether the First World War was “worth it” aims at the wrong tar­get. In 1918, Bri­tain played a ma­jor part in lib­er­at­ing Bel­gium. We should cel­e­brate the cen­te­nary of this great achieve­ment. The cost was high, but it was the rea­son Bri­tain de­clared war in 1914.

The con­trast be­tween 1914 and 1939 is stark. Bri­tain en­tered the Sec­ond World War specif­i­cally to lib­er­ate Poland, but that coun­try re­mained sub­ju­gated by the Soviet Union for many years. Fewer men were lost than in the First World War, but the fi­nan­cial cost was ru­inous. Even 80 years later, his­to­ri­ans are un­able to study the Sec­ond World War dis­pas­sion­ately. Un­til that dread­ful con­flict is eval­u­ated fairly and openly, the UK will con­tinue to suf­fer from its tragic con­se­quences.

Fred­eric Stans­field, Rams­gate

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