A Philosophical Perspective of World Wars Week 4 Help
Humanity has climbed mountains – both literal and figurative – to prove that we stand out amongst the animals. We have demonstrated our ability to persevere in the face of adversity; we have constructed certain ideals such as personal freedom, individuality, love, and altruism. Since the beginning of history, we have struggled to find truth and understanding. People like Jesus Christ, Siddhartha Gautama, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Immanuel Kant, Albert Einstein, George Washington (and so many others), have helped to create a model of human ambition, have helped us to better recognize our underlying purpose in the universe. We have in our history the examples of Ancient Greece, the Enlightenment, and the Romantic Movement. We have created music, logic, poetry, art, religion, science, and mathematics in order to assist us in our quest to dissect creation and find some sort of semblance of meaning that might justify our existence. The list of our accomplishments is immeasurably vast. However, man might have proved that he can reach for ideals, but he has not proved that he can maintain them. We may have climbed mountains, but we have not been able to live for long in such high places. Despite our accomplishments, humanity’s failings have been just as extensive. Our history is also scarred with a long list of wars, injustices, unnecessary deaths, prejudices, hatreds, and disappointments. The pinnacle of our shortcomings, the end-point to our intellectual development as a species, can best be understood in the context of our World Wars. Although humanity has always lived side-by-side with war, never before in our history has so much widespread violence destroyed so many idyllic hopes and dreams. Never before was there such an example of our ignorance as a species, and blatant disregard for our intellectual successes. Both World Wars demonstrate humanity’s ability to ignore our attributes and focus on our inadequacies. All of our sciences, our logicalities, and our intellectual processes were exhibited in a contradictory display of humanity’s inherent iniquity and naiveté. The World Wars have introduced insidious pessimism in the minds of those who contemplate the future of our species. The World Wars have become the paradigms of our ignorance and our despair. Part One: The “First” World War
August 4th, 1914: Germany invades neutral Belgium; in response the United Kingdom declares war on Germany (Perry 742). These declarations come on the heels of the Austria-Hungary/Serbia conflict; they comes after three days after Germany’s declaration of war against Russia; one day after Germany’s declaration of war against France. What followed was Austra-Hungry’s declaration of war on Russia; the French alliance with the United Kingdom in their war against Austria-Hungry; Japan’s entrance into the war against Germany; the September unity pact of France, Britain and Russia. Two months saw the outbreak of seven wars – or as historians refer to the conflicts – one “Great War” (Perry) And this was not the end of it. In the months to follow, there would be many more declarations of war, many more conflicts, and many more gratuitous deaths. Italy, China, Brazil, and the United States would all enter into violence. The “Great War” engulfed the Western World, and spread destructively into the rest of civilization. At the onset of the extensive conflict, it was widely believed that the war would marshal in a new age of humanity. In fact, World War I did break the old world order, underscoring the downfall of the era of absolute monarchy in Europe. The German, the Austro-Hungarian, the Ottoman, and the Russian empires were broken. However, the new world order was neither a time of acceptance nor understanding. The idyllic hopes of many Western leaders were not actualized. The “War to End All Wars” failed to solve most of the problems which had caused it. But what did cause this...
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