This April 4th will be 100 years since the U.S. Senate voted to declare war on Germany and 50 since Martin Luther King Jr. spoke out against the war on Vietnam (49 since he was killed on that speech’s first anniversary). Events are being planned to help us try to finally learn some lessons, to move beyond, not just Vietnam, but war.
That declaration of war on Germany was not for the war that makes up the single most common theme of U.S. entertainment and history. It was for the war that came before that one. This was the Great War, the war to end all wars, the war without which the conditions for the next war would not have existed.
As well recounted in Michael Kazin’s War Against War: The American Fight for Peace 1914-1918, a major peace movement had the support of a great deal of the United States. When the war finally ended (after the U.S. had actually been in it for about 5% the length of the war on Afghanistan thus far) just about everybody regretted it. The losses in life, limb, sanity, property, civil liberties, democracy, and health were incredible. Death, devastation, a flu epidemic, prohibition, a permanent military and the taxes to go with it, plus predictions of World War II: these were the results, and a lot of people remembered that they had been warned, as well as that the ending of all war had been promised.
The peace activists had warned the U.S. government to stay out of the war (not out of foreign relations, just out of mass-murdering foreign relations). And they had been right. The regret was intense and lasting. It lasted right up until the worst result of World War I came along in the form of World War II. At that point, regret was replaced with forgetting. World War I was erased from popular history, and its child on steroids was celebrated rather than mourned, and has been celebrated with growing reverence ever since.
The massive peace movement that outlawed war in 1928, had been widespread, mainstream, and aggressive before 1917 as well. Antiwar Congress members had entered into the Congressional Record a sample of the flood of letters and petitions they had received urging that the U.S. stay out of war. Peace groups had held marches and rallies, sent delegations to Europe, met with the president, and pushed to require a popular vote before the launching of any war, believing that the public would vote war down. We’ll never know, because the vote was never taken. Instead, the United States jumped into the war, thereby preventing a negotiated settlement and creating a total victory followed by vicious punishment of the losing side — the very fuel for Nazism, as well as for Italian fascism, Japanese imperialism, and the Sykes-Picot carving up of the Middle East so beloved by that region’s residents to this day.
An antiwar exhibit that toured the U.S. in 1916 included a life-sized model stegosaurus that represented the fatal consequences of having heavy armor but no brains. The idea of preparing for war in order to achieve peace, which today is simple commonsense, was widely found to be a great source of humor, as Washington cynically pursued “preparedness.” Morris Hillquit, an eloquent socialist — something of a Bernie Sanders without the 21st-century militarism — asked why European nations, having fully armed themselves to avoid war, hadn’t avoided it. “Their antiwar insurance turned out to be a bad case of over-insurance,” he said. You prepare for war, and you get war — remarkably enough.
Woodrow Wilson won reelection on an antiwar platform, and could not have won it otherwise. After he opted for war, he was unable to raise an army to fight his war without a draft. And he was unable to sustain a draft without imprisoning people who spoke against it. He saw to it that conscientious objectors were brutally tortured (or, as we would say today, interrogated). Yet people refused, deserted, evaded, and violently fought recruiters by the thousands. The wisdom to reject war was not lacking. It just wasn’t followed by those in power.
The understanding that war should be ended, which reached its peak perhaps in the 1920s and 1930s, saw something of a comeback during what the Vietnamese call the American War. Martin Luther King did not propose a different war or a better war, but leaving behind the entire war system. That awareness has grown even as the Vietnam Syndrome has faded and war been normalized. Now, the U.S. popular mind is a mass of contradictions.
In a recent poll, 66% of people in the United States are worried that the U.S. will become engaged in a major war in the next four years. However, the U.S. is engaged in a number of wars right now that must seem pretty major to the people living through them, wars that have created the greatest refugee crisis so far on the planet and threatened to break similar records for starvation. In addition, 80% of the U.S. public in the very same poll say they support NATO. There’s a 50/50 split on whether to build yet more nukes. A slim majority favors banning refugees who are fleeing the wars. And over three-quarters of Democrats believe, for partisan rather than empirical reasons, that Russia is unfriendly or an enemy. Despite the warnings of the wise for over a century, people are still imagining they can use war preparations to avoid war.
One thing that could help keep us out of more wars is the Trump face now placed on the wars. People who will hate Russia because they hate Trump may at some point oppose Trump’s wars because they hate Trump. And those getting active to support refugees may also want to help end the crimes that create the refugees.
Meanwhile, German tanks are again rolling toward the Russian border, and instead of soliciting denunciations from groups like the Anne Frank Center, as recently done to combat Donald Trump’s anti-Semitism, U.S. liberals are generally applauding or avoiding any awareness.
One thing is certain: we will not survive another 100 years of this. Long before then, we will have to try something else. We will have to move beyond war to nonviolent conflict resolution, aid, diplomacy, disarmament, cooperation, and the rule of law.
Originally published in February 2017
Author: David Swanson
Source: World Beyond War
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest.
Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!
Donate to Support Us
We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
On the evening of April 6 the U.S. military fired 59 Tomahawk missiles at an airbase in Syria. The bombing was a “response” to the alleged chemical weapons attack by the Assad government, which critics of the American deep state and the US imperial agenda have called a false flag attack.
The U.S. assault, which was done without congressional approval, marks a complete reversal of Trump’s campaign trail anti-interventionist claims as well as his condemnation of previous US presidents’—Bush and Obama’s –military actions in countries like Syria and Iraq.
As Think Progress reports, this action marks a “dramatic reversal from Trump’s position ...
The Islamic State is not only protected by the US and its allies, it is trained and financed by US-NATO, with the support of Israel and Washington’s Persian Gulf allies.Al Qaeda Affiliated Entities are “Intelligence Assets. Instruments of US Intelligence. The Global War on Terrorism is a fabrication used to justify a war of conquest. The Jihadist terrorists are “Made in America”. They are instruments of US intelligence, yet they are presented to public opinion as “enemies of America”.IntroductionThe Obama administration has embarked upon the ultimate war crime, a Worldwide military adventure, “a long war”, which threatens the future of humanity.The Pentagon’s global military design is one ...
When the Warsaw Pact ended, after the collapse of communism, some optimists might have expected Nato to be broken up too.
After all, the Labour Party in Britain had been opposed to Nato in the mid-1980s. But that was not to be. The US, which had always dominated Nato, quickly began to reinvent Nato and furthermore to expand it.
Following the end of the Warsaw Pact many central and east European governments wanted to join Nato.
This of course was music to the ears of the US military manufacturers. Indeed, the chair of the expand Nato committee, Bruce Jackson, was technical director of ...
Media narrative: Hateful protestors stormed the Macedonian parliament after an ethnic Albanian Talat Xhaferi was elected speaker for the first time.
Truth: Protestors stormed the parliament because Xhaferi was declared speaker in an illegal, unconstitutional manner as part of an ongoing coup d'état. It had nothing whatsoever to do with his ethnicity.
Even though Xhaferi was "elected" in an irregular manner, the US and EU have already stated they recognize his appointment. This now paves the way for ethnic Albanian parties and the smaller of two main Macedonian parties (Social Democrats) to proclaim a government without the constitutionally required go-ahead from the President of the Republic.
The latter has defied ...
The following research is a review around the theme of Southeastern European organized crime, mainly in the period 1995-2007, highlighting the emergence of powerful regional “Mafias” with an actual global presence. The main focus is the Albanian criminal syndicates centered on Kosovo. The research is composed by previous material of the writer, some of which was presented in international workshops. Moreover the issue of radical Islam is being overviewed in a second part,for the same period, along with information regarding the state of affairs of the Muslim communities in the region.Narcotics and the emergence of crime syndicates in the BalkansThe ...
Watching the Ken Burns-Lynn Novick 18-hour series, “The Vietnam War,” is an emotional experience. Whether you served in the US military during the war or marched in the streets to end it, you cannot remain untouched by this documentary. The battle scenes are powerful, the stories of US veterans and Vietnamese soldiers who fought on both sides of the war compelling.The toll in human terms caused by the war is staggering. Nearly 58,000 Americans and 2 to 3 million Vietnamese, many of them civilians, were killed in the war. Untold numbers were wounded. Many US veterans of the war suffer ...
Dear Readers and Friends:
The distinguished and knowledgeable international commentator William Engdahl, in a superb statement, has expressed the view I gave you that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s speech on September 28 at the 70th anniversary of the United Nations changed the balance of power in the world. Until Putin’s speech the world was intimidated by the Washington Bully. Resistance to Washington brought swift retribution. In the Middle East and Africa it brought economic sanctions and military invasions that destroyed entire countries. In France and other US vassal states it brought multi-billion dollar confiscations of bank net worth as the price ...
Revelations of fascistic crimes carried out by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) prior to, during and after NATO’s war against the former Yugoslavia should provide a salutary lesson whenever Washington again cites humanitarian concerns to justify its predatory war aims. A new report prepared by Swiss Council of Europe deputy Dick Marty slams Kosovo leader Hachim Thaci for organ trafficking and other abominable crimes, deftly shaded by the U.S. in pursuit of their own self-interests.
A report by the Council of Europe describes Kosovo today as a country subject to “mafia-like structures of organised crime”. It accuses KLA commander and current ...
Fake news has become a great problem in our life. The more so, questionable news and lack of clarity can seriously influence society and bring chaos to the minds of ordinary people.
Last week a typical event happened in Lithuania. A couple of local Lithuanian media outlets published news report claimed German soldiers raped a Lithuanian girl. The Lithuanian officials were quick to say that it was a false report. The incident was described in all popular world news sources and commented by Lithuania's and NATO's high ranking officials. The speed of spreading the news strikes. That is why Lithuanians took ...
In just one week the United States government will commemorate its 16th anniversary in the bombing and occupation of Afghanistan.This war did not really begin in 2001 resulting from the attacks on September 11 where planes were hijacked and flown into the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon headquartered right outside of Washington, D.C.U.S. involvement in the destabilization of Afghanistan goes back to the late 1970s when the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDP) led a socialist-oriented administration which advanced the cause of working people and farmers as well as providing fundamental civil rights to women. ...
Last week Pontian Greeks throughout the world justifiably recognized a tragic day in their history that has come to be known as the Pontian Genocide.
I wrote about the anniversary, obscure to most people around me who are not well-versed in Greek history and even had to repeatedly change my auto-correct on my computer, which insisted on changing the word Pontian to pontiac.
This anniversary was followed by another recognition of yet another genocide of Greeks— officially commemorated on April 6 and recalling the tragic events targeting the Greeks of Eastern Thrace— the region known today as European Turkey or the lands ...
If you want to know the untold history of the U.S.A., then a good place to start is with the history of US imperialism in Asia from the mid-19th century until today. Not only will that reveal the history of the criminality of US foreign policy, but it will also reveal the true nature of U.S. capitalism, imperialism, fascism and U.S. wars of aggression: past, present and future.
For centuries the U.S. has preached that it believes in democracy, freedom and self-determination, but its actions towards other countries speak louder than words. Internationally the U.S. is a predator and a bully. ...
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), established in 1949 on the pretext of “containing Soviet influence”, has almost doubled in size within the past two decades alone. In 1998, NATO comprised 16 member states, but with repeated expansions up to Russia’s very borders, it now contains almost 30 countries.
Though seldom mentioned in mainstream discourse, NATO is a US-dominated organization, whose orders are issued from Washington and customarily obeyed. The US is by far the largest contributor to the alliance, spending more than all other member nations put together.
One of the critical reasons behind NATO’s formation almost 70 years ago, was ...
There are 3 Apartheid Israel-related centenaries this week, namely (1) the victorious 31 October 1917 charge of the Australian Light Horse at Beersheba that led to conquest of Palestine by Britain and massive famine, (2) the nefarious and racist UK Balfour Declaration of 2 November 1917 that gave Palestine to Zionists as a Jewish Homeland as an inducement to help keep Russia in WW1, and (3) commencement of the Palestine Genocide (2 million Palestinian deaths from violence, 0.1 million, or imposed deprivation, 1.9 million, since WW1).
History ignored yields history repeated and genocide ignored yields genocide repeated . Anniversaries are useful ...
I am now convinced that the Oligarchy that rules America intends to steal the presidential election. In the past, the oligarchs have not cared which candidate won as the oligarchs owned both. But they do not own Trump.
Most likely you are unaware of what Trump is telling people as the media does not report it. A person who speaks like this:
- is not endeared to the oligarchs.
Who are the oligarchs?
— Wall Street and the mega-banks too big to fail and their agent the Federal Reserve, a federal agency that put 5 banks ahead of millions of troubled American homeowners who ...
The following text by Michel Chossudovsky was presented in Seoul, South Korea in the context of the Korea Armistice Day Commemoration, 27 July 2013
A Message for Peace. Towards a Peace Agreement and the Withdrawal of US Troops from Korea
Armistice Day, 27 July 1953 is day of Remembrance for the People of Korea.
It is a landmark date in the historical struggle for national reunification and sovereignty.
I am privileged to have this opportunity of participating in the 60th anniversary commemoration of Armistice Day on July 27, 2013.
I am much indebted to the “Anti-War, Peace Actualized, People Action” movement for this opportunity ...
Review of Alison Weir's "Against Our Better Judgement: How the U.S. was used to create Israel".
Relevant to recent developments pertaining to the US-Israel alliance is this article first published on GR in May 2014.
Weir’s fascinating history focuses on how the State of Israel came into existence through a cynical using of the United States and how it was defended from American critics who saw the support for Israel as violating US principles and damaging US interests.
The significance of the 1917 Balfour Declaration, the British “gentleman’s agreement” between the British government and Lord Rothschild that pledged British support for a Jewish ...
The UK Parliament just confirmed what the alternative media has been saying for years.
Specifically, a new report from the bipartisan House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee – based on interviews with all of the key British decision-makers, review of documents, and on-the-ground investigations in Africa – found that the Libyan war was based on lies, that it destroyed the country, and that it spread terrorism far and wide.
The War Based On Bogus Intelligence … Like the Iraq War
Initially, the report finds that the threat to civilians from Libyan government forces was dramatically overstated:
Former French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé, who introduced ...
Most people have no idea of who is pictured above, but you should. The sight of this man should cause a similar revulsion to that of seeing Mussolini, Mao, Stalin or Hitler, as he committed an African genocide that resulted in the killing of over 10 million people in the Congo.
His name is King Leopold II of Belgium.
Most of the people never learned about him in school, and have also most likely never heard about him in the media either. This is because he’s not included in the popular narrative of oppression (which includes things like U.S. slavery and the ...
Can the world wake up?
On September 19, 2000, going on 16 years ago, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard of the London Telegraph reported:
Declassified American government documents show that the US intelligence community ran a campaign in the Fifties and Sixties to build momentum for a united Europe. It funded and directed the European federalist movement.
The documents confirm suspicions voiced at the time that America was working aggressively behind the scenes to push Britain into a European state. One memorandum, dated July 26, 1950, gives instructions for a campaign to promote a fully fledged European parliament. It is signed by Gen. William J. Donovan, ...
Trump Bombs Syria and Obliterates His Anti-Interventionist Promises
The Ultimate War Crime: America’s “Global War on Terrorism”
NATO – A Dangerous Alliance
The Media Is Lying to You on Macedonia. US Is Backing an Illegal Coup D’état
Southeastern European Organized Crime & Extremism Review
The Vietnam War is not History for Victims of Agent Orange
Washington’s “Humanitarian” War and the KLA’s Crimes
United States Imperialism Continues War in Afghanistan and the Destabilization of Africa
Understanding Genocide and our Remembrance as Greeks
Zbigniew Brzezinski: U.S. Imperialism, Capitalism and Fascism
For Decades Russia Has Been Forced to Respond to NATO Expansion
100th Anniversary of Australian Beersheba Charge, UK Balfour Declaration & Palestinian Genocide Commencement
The Failure of US Democracy
America’s War Аgainst the People of Korea: The Historical Record of US War Crimes
America’s Role in the Creation of the State of Israel
British Parliament Confirms: Libya War was Based on Lies
Europe’s Forgotten ‘Hitler’ Killed over 10 Million Africans
Somnolent Europe, Russia, and China: Accept US Hegemony or Go to War?