“10 things you didn’t know about World War I”

That’s the title of my weekend piece over at RealClearHistory. The structure of the pieces, if you’ll remember, is Top 10 style, but I try to throw some more in-depth stuff into the mix, too. An excerpt:

3. World War I showed the world what a united Germany could do. Germany was formed in 1871, making it almost 100 years younger than the United States and much younger than France and the United Kingdom. Prior to the formation of Germany, which came about due to Prussian diplomat Otto von Bismarck’s genius machinations, observers and thinkers throughout the world penned works speculating on what a unified German-speaking world would do, politically, economically, culturally, and militarily. Rome’s decentralized barbarian enemies were from Germania, the Holy Roman Empire (which was neither Holy nor Roman nor an Empire), the Hanseatic League, and the German Confederation which all tried, in vain, to do what Bismarck did. Many of the attempts to unite Germany were foiled by French, British, Austro-Hungarian, and Russian statesmen because of fears that a united Germany would come to dominate Europe and upset the balance of power that European elites had come to rely on as their foreign affairs blueprint. They weren’t wrong.

Please, read the whole thing.

5 thoughts on ““10 things you didn’t know about World War I”

  1. Good article, Brandon.

    Nothing particularly on point, but your number nine did remind me of a story.

    It’s said that after the Spanish American War an Irishman in the Rough Riders had gotten a taste for fighting and told Colonel Roosevelt that he wanted to leave to go fight the British in the Boer war. Since his enlistment was expired, TR let him go. Some time later he came back and ran across TR again, who asked how it was fighting the British. He replied, “I don’t know, ended up fighting with them”. TR asked why, and he replied to the effect that he didn’t like schnapps, the Brits spoke English, and Scotch wasn’t that bad.

    No idea if it’s true, but a story with a point about our affinity for those more like us.

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