Sunday, July 18, 2010

August 1914 Aftermath

"When at last it was over, the war had many diverse results and one dominiant one transcending all others: disillusion. "All the great words were cancelled out for that generation." wrote D. H. Lawrence in simple summary for his contemporaries. If any of them remembered, with a twinge of pain, like Emile Verhaeren, "the man I use to be," it was because he knew the great words and beliefs of the time before 1914 could never be restored.

After the Marne the war grew and spread until it drew in the nations of both hemispheres and entangled them in a pattern of conflict no peace treaty couold dissolve. The Battle of the Marne was one of the decisive battles of the world not because it determined that Germany would ultimatly lose or the Allies ultimatly win the war but because it determined that the war would go on. There was no looking back, Joffe told the soldiers on the eve. Afterward there was no turning back. The nations were caught in a trap, a trap made during the first thirty days out of battles that failed to be decisive, a trap from which there was, and has been no exit."

(The Guns of August; Barbara W. Tuchman; (1962, Bantam Books edition, 1976); (Page 489)

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