Monday, August 04, 2014

Lamps out

Such a very sombre anniversary. We note the start of a war which cost an estimated 17 million lives, about a third of the dead being non-combatants.

It is a simple fact that I have been alive for three-quarters of the century in question. To be precise, at the time of my conception the next war had not properly commenced, although in April 1939 Adolf Hitler ordered the German military to start planning for Fall Weiss, the code-name for the invasion of Poland. World War II was the deadliest military conflict in history. Over 60 million people were killed, which was over 2.5% of the world population. Non-combatants amounted to an even greater proportion of the overall loss of life.

Today a nation, deploring the death of two civilians at the hands of an enemy, can reply with military superiority and claim that over a thousand non-combatant victims on the other side can be deemed 'proportionate response'.

Must we conclude that the lesson learned after a hundred years was presciently expressed in 1890 by the essayist Redbeard... Might is right.

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