'W' is for World War I
Don't look now, but this will probably be the most factual of all posts in the A-Z Challenge. I had to prove I was more than a pretty face, you know.
|Clearly, that ship has sailed.|
Looking through the great span of human history, I had a lot from which to pick: William the Conqueror, William of Orange, Prince William, William Tell, William Shakespeare, Wilhelm II, William Shatner, William McKiney, William Wallace, Will Smith, William Randolph Hearst, William Howard Taft, William Tecumseh Sherman, Willie the Groundskeeper, etc.
That's a lot of Bills.
Nothing really inspired me. After all, the A-Z Challenge has been a long slog. I figured you may be ready for a post that has some redeeming value, as educational as that Sea Slug Sex thing was.
So, why not play it straight? And, if I'm going to play it straight, how about choosing the most horrific event of the 20th Century? So, the following lists my understanding of the causes of the unbelievably stupid World War I, the Great War, the War to End All Wars (yeah, right).
"Going without a net," so to speak, I've not consulted Google, Wikipedia, Stephen Spielberg, or old man Krantz. What follows is what I managed to glean from United States History in 1974. When I wasn't trying to peek down Mary Ellen Sterback's blouse, that is. I could be inaccurate, a little fuzzy on the facts, or just plain ass wrong.
All hate mail may be addressed to Stratford High School, North Parade Street, Stratford, Connecticut.
It's a little complicated. Just do the best you can to keep up. There won't be a quiz after:
The heir to the Austrian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, is shot by a Serbian, Gavrilo Princip, in Sarajevo in 1914. Austria declares war on Serbia. Serbia's pal, Russia, declares war on Austria. Germany, Austria's BFF, declares war on Russia. France, looking up from their croissants, declares war on Germany. The British, hoping they don't get dragged into this whole mess, are pissed when Germany uses Belgium to get to France. Since Britain is bound to help Belgium, they declare war on Germany. I can't remember why the Ottoman Empire gets in on things (probably an alliance thing) but they decide to jump ugly with England and France. Ditto Bulgaria (who don't bring much to the fight except vampires). Italy pretty much stays out of things until 1915 (suffice to say, Italy isn't really much of a factor here. They won't get their asses kicked until WWII). Japan is on the side of the Allies (yeah, how about that?) for some strange reason but they get dissed at Versailles which really ticks them off in the 1930s. The United States manages to watch stay out of things for several years until Germany declares unrestricted submarine warfare in 1917. This coupled with the Zimmerman telegram, in which Germany promises to help Mexico get Texas if they'd only help Germany, compels the US to declare war on the Kaiser and the boys.
Things really suck for a lot of years until the Russians quit in 1917 ("Oh sure! Now you go home!") and the Germans decide to say "Eff it." in 1918.
The result? Peace finally restored throughout the world, the United States withdrawing from world affairs ("You frikkin' people are nuts!!"), Italy photo-bombing the picture for WWI's victors, millions of innocent people who would never live to see their grandchildren, and World War II 21 years later.
Guess we let the genie out of the box in 1914.