WWI—Part Eleven: Wilfred Owen and the Muse of War

Wilfred Owen plate from Poems (1920).jpg“The people of England needn’t hope. They must agitate.” (Wilfred Owen, letter to his mother)

It has been said that when the cannons are heard, the muses are silent. In a general sense that is true. The thunder of war drowns out the voice of the poet and the artist. The grim poetry of artillery shells, hand grenades and machine guns is far stronger than the weak voice of human beings protesting against the monstrous cannibalism that periodically disrupts the old equilibrium and threatens to destroy the conditions of civilized existence. However, to every rule there is an exception.

200 Years Since the Battle of Waterloo: A Battle That Changed World History

Battle of Waterloo 1815The Battle of Waterloo—200 years ago, on 18th June 1815—was the last great event that marked the end of that great historical process that was begun in 1789 by the Great French Revolution. With the defeat of Napoleon, the last flickering embers of the fires lit by revolutionary France were extinguished. A long, grey period settled down on Europe like a thick coat of suffocating dust. The forces of triumphant reaction seemed firmly in the saddle.

Waterloo is one of the defining events of European and world history. About that, there can be no doubt. It brought to an end the bloody Napoleonic Wars that had led directly to the deaths of up to 6 million people. Bonaparte, with his unbridled ambition, wanted to be Master of all Europe. But he came up against a solid phalanx of reactionary feudal monarchs: the Russian tsar, the King of Prussia and the Emperor of Austria-Hungary, always backed by the financial reserves and the naval power of Great Britain.

WWI—Part Ten: Big Bandits and Small Bandits

wwi eastern frontIn 1915, while Churchill was preparing his disastrous Gallipoli adventure, British diplomacy was attempting to win allies for its war against the Turks in the Balkans. The British mission in Sofia reported that Bulgaria might be prepared to attack Turkey, although this hope was soon dashed when Bulgaria joined the Central Powers to attack Serbia instead. In early March Churchill received more encouraging news from Athens. The Greek Prime Minister Venizelos promised to send three army divisions to Gallipoli. He assured a gleeful Churchill that the King Constantine, known to be pro-German, would not object.

Seventy Years Since the Defeat of Fascism in Europe—How the Soviet Union Defeated the Nazis

bandeira sovietica reichstagToday marks the 70th anniversary of the victory over Nazism and fascism in Europe, 6 days after the Soviet Red Army took Berlin. The shattered remains of the German forces fought their way out of Berlin to the west so that they could surrender to US forces instead of to the Red Army.

Bourgeois propagandists and historians make the claim that the Allied D-Day invasion of France was the key event of WWII in Europe, but it was the Soviet Union that withstood the brunt of the Wermacht’s assault, and then pushed the German Army back across Eastern Europe in the greatest military advance in history.

To help set this record straight, we republish today Alan Woods’ 2013 article marking the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Stalingrad, the beginning of the end for Hitler and Nazism.

WWI—Part Nine: The USA and the War: War is Good For Business

Somebody once said to Lenin war is terrible, to which he replied: “yes, terribly profitable.” The European war suited the American industrialists rather well. Capitalism in the USA had developed with whirlwind speed in the last decades of the 19th century. At the beginning of the war in Europe America was already a powerful young nation with a mighty industrial base. In this war it played the role of chief usurer and quartermaster to the European belligerents.