Ich Habe Es Nicht Gewollt
This month marks the 93rd anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War. The Great War, as some still call it, was one of unparalleled destruction and led to great changes in the political sphere in Europe as it was known. The borders of countries were re-drawn, monarchs were deposed, and republicanism was figuratively shoved down the throats of millions of citizens.
One of the great lies of the Great War was that it was conjured up by an aggressive Germany with its warmongering and blood-thirsty monarch Kaiser Wilhelm II. While a complex and thorough analysis of the causes of the war is not possible within this medium, suffice it to say that the European community had known for decades before 1914 that war was coming, some thinking it was inevitable; it was only a matter of where and when war would break out. Despite this mentality, the Kaiser was the only leader who sought to keep the peace after Serbia met Austria-Hungary's demands, and once war did break out was the only leader seriously committed to bringing about a peaceful solution.
There is a maxim: history is written by the victors. Great Britain and the United States won the First World War and thus got to write the history of the war. Certain inconvenient truths were left out of popular renderings of the war, especially about the Kaiser. And so I end with the caption of the beautiful painting of the Kaiser posted above: Ich habe es nicht gewollt--I did not want this.