World War I: Learning the Lessons
The First World War is an event from the distant past. It is recorded as one of the bloodiest and largest-scale conflicts in human history. It began on 28 July 1914 and ended on 11 November 1918. As many as 38 states were party to the war.
If we briefly discuss the alleged causes of the First World War, some historians say that grave economic contradictions deriving from the interests of alliances of world powers established at the turn of the century were underlying reasons behind the conflict. It is also worth noting that there probably existed the possibility of a peaceful settlement of these disagreements. Still, conscious of their mounting capabilities, Germany and Austria-Hungary moved to more decisive action.
TWO WEEKS THAT SHOOK THE WORLD
On 28 June 1914, Europe rushed into the First World War: in Sarajevo, a Bosnian Serb member of Young Bosnia, an organization seeking an end to Austro-Hungarian rule in Bosnia and Herzegovina, killed the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and this assassination served as casus belli for World War I. Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, but later on the Austrian-Serbian front turned out to be one of the most passive theaters of hostilities. A month into the assassination, on 28 July 1914, the first day of the war, Austrian artillery fired at Belgrade, but occupied it only in December. And not for long.
Only after Bulgaria joined the war on the side of the Triple Alliance did the territory of Serbia get completely invaded. Bulgaria had its own stake in this conflict – revenge on the Serbs for the Second Balkan War of 1913, which the Bulgarians lost.
REAL CAUSES OF THE WAR
During the war, the question was addressed by the US President Woodrow Wilson thus: “Everyone has been looking for the reasons why the war began, but cannot find them out. Their search is in vain; they will hardly find the real causes. The war did not start for any one reason; the war began for all causes at once.” Yet from “all causes at once”, historians feel inclined toward the major factor, namely, the clash between the British and German empires. The former was the leading world power at the time and tried to maintain the leadership, while the latter sought to revise the status quo and secure a greater role for itself.
EUROPEAN WAR GROWS INTO WORLD WAR
At first, the conflict was not called the world war. For a month or so, it was considered European, although initially it had been clear that the war would be waged across colonies. However, on August 23, 1914, the war on the side of the Entente (Britain signed alliance agreements during 1904-1907 with France and Russia, thus forming the Entente) was joined by Japan, which extended military operations to China and the Pacific Ocean. But the war finally spread to the whole world in 1917, when the United States of America entered it on the side of the Entente, following which 15 Latin American states also declared war on Germany and her allies, although these 15 countries practically never participated in the war, nor did they receive any benefit from the victory.
WAR THAT GAVE BIRTH TO WAR
When asked why the end of the war is celebrated in France, the answer is obvious: because it was in France on November 11, 1918, that an armistice was signed, in accordance with which hostilities ceased on the western front.
The most essential consequence of World War I was that it laid the foundation for the Second World War. In Germany, the defeat of 1918 and the perceived harsh conditions of the Versailles Peace Treaty on the country generated a strong revanchist mood, which in 1933 brought Hitler to power.
Thus, the centenary of the end of the First World War is not a holiday, but rather, as historians suggest, a reminder that a peace built on the dictates of some and the humiliation of others is not an enduring peace.
Therefore, the meeting of the heads of different states and the reminder of the fragility of peace became, according to the French President Emmanuel Macron, served as the main purpose of the ceremony dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the official end of World War I, which took place last Sunday in Paris.
The leaders of more than sixty nations attended the ceremony, during which the French President “revived” the eternal flame at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The delegation of Uzbekistan headed by the Senate Chairman Nigmatulla Yuldashev took part in the ceremony alongside secretaries general of the UN, António Guterres, and NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, as well as presidents Putin and Trump. The Uzbek officials were invited to a gala dinner on behalf of the President of the French Republic Emmanuel Macron in honor of the heads of delegations at the level of heads of state and government.
During the event organized in the famous Musée d’Orsay, representatives of Uzbekistan held brief conversations with leaders of a number of participating countries, including the French President Emmanuel Macron and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who welcomed the fundamental, profound and dynamic reforms carried out in Uzbekistan.
Emmanuel Macron highly appreciated the results of the visit by President of the Republic of Uzbekistan to France on October 8-9 this year and stressed that it proved truly historic and the talks were breakthrough, allowing to take the bilateral relations to a qualitatively new development trajectory. “I recall our recent meeting with President Shavkat Mirziyoyev with warmth and hope for the further enhancement of our cooperation for the benefit of the peoples of our countries,” President Macron said.
The French leader expressed hope that all the agreements reached during the visit, primarily in the trade and economic sphere, will be implemented in the very near future and in full.
Already invited by the head of Uzbek state, the French President reiterated his readiness to visit Uzbekistan.
The German Chancellor Angela Merkel noted that Berlin is interested in furthering the cooperation with Uzbekistan and stated that the forthcoming visit by the President of Uzbekistan to Germany will lay a solid foundation for the development of friendly relations between our two nations and open a new page in bilateral relations. “I look forward to meeting the Uzbek leader to discuss the current state and prospects of our relations as well as topical issues of international and regional nature,” Chancellor Merkel pointed out.