Tag Archives: the great war


Mark Twain famously remarked that history doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme. As we approach the 100th anniversary of the Great War, World War 1, we are struck with how similar the times are now to then. A hundred years ago the great powers of Europe were faced, all unknowingly, with an existential threat – the destruction of European civilization, the wonder of the world. Today the Middle East is about to blow up as countries are nuking up in response to Iran’s nuking up, the Chinese are threatening Japan and Islamic terrorism is creeping ever closer to duplicating 9-11 on an even larger scale. Yet we and the Europeans profess confidence there will be no great conflagration. 1914 seems to be staging a revival, this time with unimaginable weapons that will make the Great War seem as remote as Waterloo. We know the name of the man responsible for World War 1. His name is Gavril Princip, a Serb nationalist who assassinated the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Is there someone out there this very moment who will inaugurate World War 3? And if there is, will there be anyone left to remember his name?

Astride the world, we stand aghast
To watch the future mime the past
When nations gaily marched to war
Not wondering what they’re fighting for
The peace Gavrilo Princip broke
The ringing shouts of Kaiser hoch!
The Tsar cries loudly he will fight
That Austria will feel his might
While France prepares Plan Seventeen
The British were caught in between
And so four years of slaughter came
And still today we know the name
Of the young man whose bullets paused
The peace and brought the war he caused
Forget such names as Vimy Ridge
His name is on a handsome bridge
In Sarajevo where their son
Is honored for the deed he’d done