A localized conflict becomes violent and soon the whole world is at war. While sadly that sounds like our immediate future, it’s also an apt description of World War I. Due to a number of binding treaties and a tragic under-appreciation of how horrible a modern war could be, a small conflict between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Serbia soon sparked the War to End all Wars. Many lessons can be learned from that bleak time, especially by perceiving a solitary light that shone in the darkness.
Looking at the history of World War I a person can be forgiven for lamenting that there were no adults in the room. Russia’s agreements with Serbia led it to escalate the war. Germany was itching to prove how powerful its military was and so gladly joined the fighting. France and the United Kingdom alike followed their treaties into the rapidly expanding war. Later Italy broke its neutrality when secretly promised land it had long coveted, and the United States, led by wannabe world ruler Woodrow Wilson, only added to the pain and misery. Could no one stand up to say “Enough is enough – we must work for peace?”