It is said that an experienced oceanographer can examine an incoming tide and learn of events which happened far out at sea. Likewise, those who study an historical event will be drawn into examining happenings leading up to it. The rabble in arms that sparked the Revolutionary War can be understood only by knowing something about disgruntled settlers in colonial America when ruled by overseers from abroad. Those who want to understand our country’s Civil War will have to study sectional rivalries, differing social patterns, and economic conditions in the North and South during that period.
At the equator, the earth’s diameter is approximately 25,000 miles, and maps tell us that from the Balkan Peninsula to Hawaii is nearly half that distance—a space demanding over fifteen hours of flight time for most travelers. Connections between an assassination in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia in 1914 and an attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in 1941—twentyseven years later, therefore, might appear at first blush to be unrelated. The years between the two dates, slightly more than one-third of a human’s life span according to modern reckoning, would seem long, yet with instantaneous communication and in the world’s history, the interlude becomes infinitesimal.
World War I reduced most of Western Europe to rubble, and in the aftermath of that debacle extreme poverty, due in large part to the harshness of peace treaties, swept over the defeated nations. The hardships of those times made it inevitable that some governments would attempt recovery through authoritarian and military means. Choosing such routes