Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev: No Winners in a World War

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A century ago, the First World War began. On 28 July 1914, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, then on 1 August, Germany declared war on Russia, and over the course of a few short days, several more world powers joined the conflict either on their own initiative or by needs. Over the next three years, more and more countries joined both warring sides, dragged into the quicksand of fighting that was growing to encompass the European continent and far beyond it.

The result of that four-year war was millions of lives lost–more than ten million soldiers dead and twelve million civilians. The war brought four great empires to ruin. And it had long-term effects for most of the countries involved: if there hadn’t been a First World War, there wouldn’t have been a Third Reich, or the Nazi party, or Hitler’s concentration camps and gas chambers. If Russia hadn’t been pulled into the First World War, there wouldn’t have been a Bolshevik revolution, famine, dekulakization, or mass repressions.

The result of World War I was a repartitioning of the world, a redefining of spheres of influence. Yet many fundamental problems that the war attempted to solve remained unaddressed in its wake. And in twenty years’ time after the war, the same governments (only now with new rulers) found themselves drawn once again into an even more terrifying event, a conflict that came to be known as World War II.

The First World War’s centennial anniversary is not likely to cause a major response around the world. Monuments will be opened in honor of the heroes, existing memorials will be cleaned up, and wreaths will be laid on soldiers’ graves. Solemn ceremonies will be held. But will the war’s anniversary serve as cause for serious reflection on the impact it had around the world? Will the impact of the two world wars become a lesson for those world leaders on whose shoulders it now rests to prevent a third?

Read the rest of the article on Breitbart News: HERE

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