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June 12, 2013

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Funnily enough people from all classes were involved in the first world war. I'm sure there where good people from the ruling class who actually believed enough in their duty to king and country to fight on the Western Front. Mustard Gas, constant shelling and the hardship of living in a muddy trench through the winter must have been horrific for everyone concerned.

I can't believe your dad went away at 15. I'm sure people must have knew he wasn't yet an adult. The war could have been avoided with better diplomacy. It was a tangle of alliances where, as I understand it, war was declared because Britain had committed to the defence of an ally.

Obviously diplomacy failed. Getting involved in other peoples wars is a pattern which continues up until today. Both sides no doubt saw theirs as the just and correct cause. I don't mean to sound dismissive but it seems that the ruling class of both sides acted belligerently and were spoiling for a fight. Another factor which recent governments have repeated.

Your dad suffered wounds which he never managed to recover from. Just as we see today with those who return from Afghanistan in large numbers, without limbs and mentally traumatised.

Many of those young men are now forgotten so it good to a hear your own personal story of the real effects of this war, Paul.

As you mentioned the further tragedy was the huge condemnation of Germany which was crippled by massive reparation payments, leading to the NAZIs coming to power.

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