The Legacy of the First World War

  • Michael Howard


Before 1914 the peoples of Europe had looked on the prospect of war with very mixed feelings. Older Men like the British foreign secretary Sir Edward Grey watched ‘the lights going out in Europe’ with anguished apprehension, but many of their juniors welcomed war as a liberation or at least an adventure and, like Rupert Brooke, thanked the ‘God who had matched them with His hour.’ Even the eloquent minority of pacifist liberals and socialists, in Britain and elsewhere, soon, with few exceptions, ceased their opposition to a conflict in which their nations were fighting either to defend their territory or to assert principles of international justice, and rationalised their change of heart by declaring this to be a ‘a war to end wars’.


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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    See Louis L. Snyder, Historic Documents of World War I (Van Nostrand, New York 1958) p. 164.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Quoted in Jere C. King, Foch versus Clemenceau, (Harvard UP 1960) p. 57.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Harold Nicolson, Peacemaking 1919 (Universal Library edn. 1965) p. 33.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Harry R. Rudin, Armistice 1918 (Yale U P 1944) p. 428.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Michael Howard 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Howard

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