Fringe Box



Letter: We Must Remember The Lessons Of Conflict

Published on: 11 Nov, 2013
Updated on: 11 Nov, 2013

Remembrance Poppy LetterFrom Bernard Parke

Hon Alderman

Queen Victoria believed that peace in Europe could be preserved by marrying her nine children into the royal houses of nineteenth century.

However it is said that many quarrels, even murders, occured in such family circles. Her grandson Kaiser Willem fell out with George V over the size and influence of the British Empire and so this was no doubt the seed which resulted in the greatest slaughter of young men the world has ever known.

There was no “hot line” between the two countries and troops, deployed as a show of strength, were soon involved in a conflict from which our country has never really recovered.

I have heard said, in some quarters, that the man in the street could have prevented war by protesting but we are unable to properly relate to the mind set of our forefathers. They were very much servile to their, so called, betters.

Life for the workers was mundane and, with the prospect of adventure, enlistment was thought to be an escape from boredom. Anyhow, they were told that it would be all over by Christmas.

Tremendous pressure was put on that young generation to join the colours especially by women who were adept at sending white feathers to any man who they thought was a malingerer.

The officer class had not learned the lesson of the South African debacle which had been a little more than ten years previous. They had not appreciated the impact of advance in mechanised warfare, especially the machine-gun.

It was said after that these young men were “Lions lead by Donkeys.”

I wonder have we learned the lesson from the World Wars?

It would seem not. We seem to have forgotten that the surest way to maintain peace is to maintain a strong defence. I worry that we could too easily sleep walk into further major wars led by politicians who have no experience of conflict and its terrible cost.

We must never forget that lost generation and hope that our children and grand children never suffer from past mistakes of their leaders.

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