The glorification of World War 1 on the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of that war in July 1914 has begun.
Vast ceremonies are being held all over Europe and, while many speakers do refer to the dreadful casualties, there is almost a nostalgic feel to much of the memorializing.
Artist and political activist Robert Ballagh put it well in a plea that the innocent victims be the focus of the memories, not military parades.
He stated: “It seems to me that all the generals and all the military people have been polishing up their buttons and their medals.”
There is nothing good to remember. Just know that the decaying monarchies of Austria-Hungary, Russia. Germany and Britain – all related through their royal families’ inbreeding – caused the greatest Armageddon in the history of mankind to that point with 37 million killed.
Add in the 60 million killed in the Second World War, which occurred directly as a result of the first, and you have close to 100 million killed because the brainless incestuous cousins of the royal families of Europe could not get their negotiating skills together.
Unlike the Second World War, which was a just battle against fascism, the first was the final throw of the dice for the divine kings who had ruled Europe for centuries.
When the smoke of battle cleared the monarchies of Germany, Russia had disappeared, the Austria/Hungary Empire had bitten the dust forever and the seeds of the Second World War were sown in place.
Somehow this gets lost in the rush to commemorate a war that is almost unmatched in the stupidity of its outbreak.
Publicity seekers such as former Irish leader John Bruton have held out the events around the war as far more significant for Ireland than the Easter 1916 Rising, saying that the Home Rule Bill – suspended when the war broke out – made the Rising unnecessary.
Fortunately, Bruton’s cuckoo view of history has been exposed by Eamon O Cuiv, grandson of Eamon De Valera, and Senator Mark Daly who both point out many inconvenient truths to Bruton.
Firstly, John Redmond, architect of Home Rule had called on all young Irish men to sign up for service in the British Army as a quid pro quo. Thousands did so and became war fodder in the trenches.
Who knows how many thousands more would have signed up for certain death if the Easter 1916 Rising had not intervened and completely changed the political climate?
The British commitment to Home Rule should be considered alongside their commitment to democracy in Ireland. They annulled the 1918 election results in Ireland when Sinn Fein won 73 of the 105 seats and close to three quarters of the Irish people voted for independence and a united Ireland.
The British response was setting the election aside, partition and a savage war and the unleashing of the Black and Tans.
So John Bruton’s thesis that Home Rule and waiting for its implementation would have saved many lives is poppycock, as the British might say.
What is certain is that without Easter 1916 there would now be tens of thousands of other brave Irish boys buried on the battlefields of the First World War, their dream of Home Rule dying with them.