We Were Right to Stand Up to the Germans in 1914
Simon Heffer's claim in the MoS last week that the Great War was futile and is 'no cause for celebration' cannot go unchallenged. Like many, he dabbles in counter-factualism that is very misleading. We simply do not know that the war led to fascism and communism or the Cold War. I am surprised he didn't include the Spanish flu pandemic on that list.
The Great War is riddled with myths and falsehoods that have become ingrained in the popular imagination. One major myth is that it was an unnecessary war. Of course it wasn't unnecessary. We had no territorial ambitions in Europe, nor any designs on Germany's colonies, but what we could not accept was a Europe dominated by a potentially unfriendly power, particularly if that power subjugated Belgium and controlled our trade routes.
If France had been defeated, then Germany would have posed a threat to the UK and the Empire. If France had won without our help, we would have suffered opprobrium on a massive scale. Also, Mr Heffer, like many, ignores the fact that national honour in 1914 was a very important factor. Respect for treaties was regarded as central.
Colonel Barry Clayton (retired), Cleveleys, Lancashire This intelligent article by Mr Heffer needs to be part of every child's history lessons. Bellicose nationalism meant that the quiet voices of calm sanity were drowned out in 1914. …