Historian Says WWI Might Be Happening Again After All

Historian Margaret MacMillan believes that the modern-day world has many similarities with the build-up to the First World War. The ‘war to end all wars’ began with a conflict in the Balkans, in which Austro-Hungarian Empire’s Archduke Franz Ferdinand was killed and continued with the killing of millions of other people.

Now an internationally respected professor and historian, of the University of Cambridge says  that the Middle East could be seen as the modern-day equivalent of what happened over 100 years ago. In an essay she wrote for the Brookings Institution, Margaret MacMillan said that if Iran would built up a nuclear bomb, it would be just the kind of spark that lit in the Balkans a long time ago, just that “this time with mushroom clouds.”

She says history never repeats itself but that can not change the similarities that exist between today’s world and the Balkans then. It’s all about a ‘mix of toxic nationalisms’ which ‘threatens to draw in outside powers as the US, Turkey, Russia, and Iran look to protect their interests and clients.’ She also emphasized other similarities between modern-day and 100 years ago. For example Islamist terrorists represent the communists and anarchists of a century ago, when armies of the world would fight and kill millions of people, as they tried to create that better world they envisioned. Another example would be Germany in 1914, when the German armies were rising up to power and thought it would be easy enough to challenge Britain to fight against them. 100 years later, China’s rising force is seen as a threat by many in the United States, The Independent reports.

Times when a world power loses its status to another one, are dangerous times. In the 1920s, when America gain the title of the world’s main superpower, plans were being made for a war with the British Empire, which would have led to the invasion of Canada.

In China and Japan, a series of conflicts disturbed the otherwise not so troubled countries, starting a dispute over a number of islands in the East China Sea – the Senkakus in Japan and Diaoyus in China.  “The Wall Street Journal has authoritative reports that the Pentagon is preparing war plans against China – just in case,” wrote Margaret MacMillan.

Some say that a full-scale war between the main powers of the world wouldn’t happen after such a long period of peace.

The Cambridge historian insists that these main powers should dedicate more time to building up ‘a stable international order.’

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE