Letter to the Editor: Shadows of WWI hover over Brexit

Letter to the Editor: Shadows of WWI hover over Brexit

Essential reading but with an urgent impulse considering Brexit, is the book written in 2013 by two Scottish authors on the genesis of the First World War.

The authors, Docherty and McGregor in their lucid, jargon free, and accessible work pull no punches and simply ask that the reader review the evidence extracted and collated in Hidden History: The Secret Origins of The First World War.

Considering the human devastation involved in the 1914-18 conflict and the seeds of Nazism sowed in the soil of its aftermath, dramatic and truly shocking assertions of a deliberate engineering, commencing in 1892of a European war, are made by the authors.

Traversing a covert nexus of powerful political, financial and industrial players, the work fleshes out how a series of secret treaties and diplomatic manouvres, many crafted behind the backs of the British parliament and known only to a handful of politicians, delivered a situation where a country that was no historical foe of Britain, became, along with others, its mortal enemy.

That country was not France — which it had been at war with for centuries — or autocratic Russia, but Germany. Perhaps it was mere coincidence that this recently formed state was a rising economically and technically developing country of the first order!

Alongside these mainly furtive developments the early 1900s saw a proliferation in Britain of mass-produced “penny pamphlets” and cheap novels containing anti-German sentiment, subtle and persuasive for mass consumption.

Of course the same factors are not at play in the current situation but the book places historical context on the bones of the widely opined theory that establishment elements in Britain are attempting a rupturing of the EU in order to reassert their influence on the global stage.

The words of deposed defence secretary (and now re-instated cabinet member) Gavin Williamson in February that Brexit represents an opportunity to boost the UK’s global miliatry standing and “enhance our lethality”.

A world war is not on the cards because of Brexit but an onset of extensive dislocation and suffering by those least able to fend for themselves will soon be in play while a privileged caste remain ensconced and secure in their exhortations of “Once more unto the breach dear friends.”

One can almost hear Mr Johnson utter this but he and his colleagues will not be in the thick of the (economically) slain.

- John SullivanRathminesDublin 6

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