Never again?

The official ceremonies for the 90th anniversary of the end of World War One are all but over. Against all expectations interest in the world conflicts is increasing rather than subsiding as the last living links fade way. Surely it’s impossible that our society could ever fight such wars again, with losses like the UK’s 900,000 lives or even a third that number in WW2? In the digital age hard censorship is impossible and people would revolt against such death tolls in actual person-to-person combat. Look at the protests and the coverage given to the small scale of British military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan. Or would people become inured to rising casualty lists? Surely mass slaughter is for others these days in Rwanda ( 1 million), Democratic Republic of Congo ( 5 million), actual Iraqis ( 1 million, shamefully covered up but disputed)?

  • latcheeco

    One would hope so Brian but looking east to the Balkans and Eastern Europe/Western Asia some societies seem quite willing and able.

  • Ann

    Negotation seems to have gotten a foothold now in most disputes. Since the GFA it is no longer not the done thing to talk to terrorists. Talking to the Taliban is now open for discussion, and the various negotiations in the middle east. No matter how ill fated the talks have been, jaw jaw is now seen as better than war war.

    Hopefully such loss of life will no longer be a part of us.

    As for Africa, despair is the only word I can use..

  • WW1 and WW2 are merely the outworking of the Book of Revelation’s Harvest of the Earth (Ch.14) and as such are intrinsically good events (inspired by God).

    The seemingly unending stupidity of mankind in causing and fighting wars is simply mocked in these joyous verses of Revelation.

  • manichaeism

    People get caught up in a form of mass insanity during war time. People who refuse to go to be slaughtered are generally looked down on and treated rather badly. I think it overestimating the human race to think it couldn’t happen again.

  • The Raven

    If I may, I’d like to recommend “The Last Fighting Tommy”, which is Harry Patch’s account of his life. It’s not War and Peace, but I think there are many on this site, from both “sides” that could do with reading it.

  • smcgiff

    Surprised to see that the GB lost more than double the amount of people in WWI than the second world war. You learn something new everyday.

  • Never say Never Again Brian.

    Poor people will always be sent to destroy the lives of poor people to ensure that wealthy people have slightly more money.

    I don’t know who is more pathetic, the poor people repeating the mistakes of history or the wealthy people with their insatiable addictions.

  • K McLaughlin

    Here’s another wee statistical snippet for you.
    In WW1, Scotland, with less than 10% of the UK’s population, sustained 20% of UK fatalities, a combat death rate (relative to the country’s population) only exceeded by Russia in that particular conflict.
    Yet in all the lachrymose outpourings of fake grief yesterday, I never heard Flash Gordon Brown (or any other Scottish Unionist windbag)once make reference to this fact.
    I wonder why?

  • Kaido

    Henry Williamson’s magnificent saga “A Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight” details his time during WW1 with awesome insight.
    Starting as a private and being commissioned from the ranks his observations and opinions are vital to an understanding of what the average “tommy2 went through.

    So harrowing was the experience he was a conscientious objector during WW2 and suffered accordingly.

  • Tochais Si­orai­

    Kaido, I never read any of the books but was his being a conscientious objector in WW2 related at all to his Nazi sympathies?

  • DavidD


    Scottish losses in World War 1 were certainly horrendous but I think that, in your calculations, you are confusing fatalities with casualties (killed and wounded). Scotland suffered about 150000 casualties out of a total for the UK of more than 2 million.

  • K.McLaughlin

    Re. posting by DavidD 2:24pm.
    No, I have not confused casualties with fatalities.
    There were over 700000 UK fatalities in the war of 1914-18 among residents of the then UK (Britain and all Ireland that is). Of these deaths, 147000 were Scots. I make that about 20%.
    You can verify the first figure against the link given at the start of the article and the second by looking at the website of the Scottish National War Memorial.
    The shockingly disproportionate nature of Scottish casualties in WW1 (and subsequent wars) is not something that Unionists like Bawheid Brown like to trumpet for obvious reasons.
    It remains true nonetheless.

  • DK

    K. McLaughlin.

    The Scottish War Memorial commemorates soldiers in Scottish Regiments. Not Scottish soldiers. For example, the Tyneside Scottish, Liverpool Scottish. British army regiments are not homogenous. But then I suspect you know that and are just a troll trying to stir it up.

  • DavidD

    K. McLaughlin

    I would not have pursued this rather tasteless exchange had your original post not tried to score a political point. I re-iterate that the term ‘losses’ as commonly used regarding battles and wars includes both killed and wounded. It is not easy to find figures for fatalities in WW1 which distinguish between England, Wales and Scotland especially as English and Welsh soldiers served in Scottish regiments and vice versa. The best unbiased numbers that I can find are from the respective 1921 census reports – and . These estimate that Scotland lost 74000 killed and England and Wales 560000 killed. These both represent just over 1.5% of the 1911 populations. This is exactly what one would expect given that, from 1916, conscription was in force in both countries.

  • K McLaughlin

    Re. posting by DavidD 2:55 pm 13 Nov

    Sorry to be a pedant about such gloomy matters but the evidence you cite about UK losses in WW1 appears to be derived at second or third hand from an analysis of the censuses of 1911 and 1921.
    The figure I used was taken from the official War Office report of 1922 (702410 to be exact).
    I suspect this is the more accurate.
    Your point about conscription is a complete non sequitur.

    Re. posting by DK 12:28pm
    I am no troll as you so insolently suggest.
    Think about it.
    Almost all Scotland’s WW1 casualties were sustained by her infantry regiments which were recruited on the basis of locality. Are you seriously suggesting that substantial numbers of non Scots were queuing up to join these formations?
    The vast majority of those commemorated at the Scottish National War memorial were Scots.
    Simple as that!

    My original contention about the disproportionate nature of Scottish casualties in WW1 therefore still stands.

    If you still think I am still talking mince,
    I would respectfully refer you to the book by Trevor Royle “The Flowers of The Forest”.