Peronne, July 8 , 2013
Riding from Lille in the north of France to Paris, one cannot miss the terrible battlefields of the Somme, the biggest slaughter of WW1 along with the Verdun battle.
Here are lying in eternity 200 000 British , Canadians , Australian and New Zealand soldiers, 60 000 Frenchmen,400 000 Germans, killed in droves like cannon fodder in the summer of 1916. For what? For a gain of a few miles of devastated terrain.Nameless absurdity.
History is a continuous chain of events and consequences. The main consequence of the battle of the Somme is probably the decision by Germans to intensify submarine war as no decisive battle was possible in the trenches . This led to the sinking of the liner Lusitania, with 1500 American passengers on board, which triggered the entry of Americans in the war ,leading to the final victory of the Allies.
It remains that the sacrifice of a whole generation, as usual decided by a bunch of infatuated generals , is insufferable for modern consciences. No one today would accept to die so stupidly unless he or she is a professional soldier,
Are we smarter? Is it better dying of lung cancer provoked by smoking, or in a car crash as a result of over speeding , or of a heart attack due to overweight? These three causes provoke more casualties every year than the wars in the past. But we don’t erect memorials to the victims of road rage, of obesity, of alcohol , of drugs. Regardless, they are national causes and the enemy of today, to be fought with the same determination as the German and Allied armies used in WW1.