An English In Kentucky


















Sunday June 30th 2019Tim Candler9


    Heat factor 10, Peak Bug, and you got to admire the ebullience of the Chard, a good crop of which was gathered today. At the same time ebullience and reality are often at odds with each other. On the 4th of August 1914 when the British Government declared war on the Central Powers crowds greeted the news from Buckingham Palace with what's probably best to call 'patriotic zeal.'  It's been argued that despite embellishments by story tellers and movie makers it wasn't a frenzy of excitement in the streets of London. A journalist wrote a news report on that day that recorded more somber scenes, his name was Blythe, he worked for a US newspaper, and having been about a bit, he was very aware that not only would the war not be over by Christmas, it would change the world. The argument that tilted Britain into the war was presented by the British Foreign Office this way. If Britain didn't enter the war and the Central Powers won, then Britain and her Empire would be very vulnerable to the machinations of a victorious and expanding  Germany. If Britain didn't enter the war and France and Russia won, how would France and Russia treat Britain for having stood aside, probably deny the British access to the Mediterranean not to mention the damage they could do to British interests in the Middle East and to the wider British Empire.



    Blythe was correct about the war, it did go on interminably and it did change the board game that is the world of nations vying for the kind of supremacy that holds and defends territory through military strength, supported by alliances of interests. Less than 100 years previous to 1914 France and Britain had engaged in a very long war that had been fought on several continents and which was finally decided by a series of battles against Napoleon, the last one in 1815 at Waterloo. Britain's developing alliance with France was a response to Germany's reorganization following the French defeat at Waterloo and Germany's growing determination to acquire an empire. There are arguments of course, but following the First World War, no one powerful within the industrialized nations really thought in new ways, they just reckoned on continuing. Then the stock market crash of 1929, pretty much guaranteed there'd be trouble and that came ten years later in 1939. There's no doubt in my mind at least, that the board game as practiced by nations did change in 1945. Nor is there any doubt in my mind that basically while the practices of the game changed the objectives of nations remain very much the same as they always have been. The new practices, if they can be characterized, I'd suggest, were less reliant on mass violence as a weapon of choice in pursuit of solutions to impasse. Who knows how the board game will react to climate change which will be a one time thing, there'll be no long series of trying again.


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