Howling Down Lord Lansdowne

Our risk-averse culture regards the Great War with pity and horror. Adam Hochschild too adopts this war-is-hell view. But nationalism, patriotism and camaraderie motivated Europe’s citizens to take up arms.

Issue: May-June 2011

Adam Hochschild, To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914–1918 (New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011), 480 pp., $28.00.

[amazon 9780618758289 full]IT IS hard today, as Europe fusses ineffectually over what to do about the murderous Colonel Qaddafi, or a host of other problems—from the Greek financial collapse to the challenges of immigration—to remember that only a hundred years ago the Continent was the undoubted center of the world. European countries dominated much of the globe either through direct or indirect empires; European capital financed the world’s trade and development; European science and technology, Europe’s military capabilities—all were more powerful than any others known. And Europeans mostly felt that the world was as it should be, that they had the skills, the advanced civilization and indeed the moral right to rule it for their own benefit and, so it was assumed, for that of the lesser peoples.

You must be a subscriber of The National Interest to access this article. If you are already a subscriber, please activate your online access. Not a subscriber? Become a subscriber today!