WW1 rant

Funny how historians like to massage history. BBC pundits and WW1 experts are falling over each other in the media trenches to wax lyrical over this four year hell of mass slaughter. Paxo explains that this was a war we neither know nor understand (in other words buy his book!). An imperialist venture that killed 8.5 million is given the personal touch, focusing with microscopic detail on the experience of the average tommy. Letters, photos and personal effects help to shape our knowledge of a British working class who in 1918 wearily marched back home missing the odd one or two who had fallen in action: one million to be precise. As UKIP’s Farage lays a wreath, sobbing into his pint, he would do well to remember that 200,000 of the dead were recruited from our bloated empire.

Nobody talks about the industrialists on both sides of the barbed wired who made fortunes out of the munitions trade, carnage being a profitable business during both war and peacetime then and now. By 1914, advanced technology was able to create killing machines any Hollywood sfx designer would be proud of. These weapons of mass destruction were first employed during the Battle of the Somme, wreaking butchery unimaginable to your average Edwardian Oxford don.

Surplus Value opposes all imperialist ventures. Very little has changed over the last century. As the US and Russia eye up the potential spoils in the Crimea and Ukraine, multinationals sweat over the potential losses and gains. In the early 20th century there was only one honourable battle. This was the 1917 Bolshevik revolution in Russia where workers took control of the means of production and their destiny. We very much doubt that in three years time Paxman will be publishing a book about this major triumph for socialism. Unless it’s to claim that revolution is impossible to understand.

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