The First World War was the defining moment of the 20th Century. Whilst we take a sober reflection on this dark episode in human history that started on the 28th July 1914, but did not entirely end on 11th November 1918, the reality is that 10 million men died, 21 million were wounded and families were affected on a scale that was never known to humanity.
The war was caused by political, territorial and economic conflicts as seen through alliances, imperialism and nationalism between the great European powers in the four decades leading up to the war. The B.E.F (British Expeditionary Force) just had 120,000 men approx. at the start of the war, quickly supported by 140,000 volunteers from South Asia (Indian Sub-continent). Their numbers eventually grew to 1.5 million, with 55% coming from the Punjab region alone, the most famous being Khudadad Khan who was the first Victoria Cross recipient (born in Chakwal in what is now Pakistan). This was the largest single contribution to the ultimate 8,689,467 strong multicultural British Army alongside unrivalled economic support.
The British Army, at the height of its Colonial Rule was multicultural and included Canadian 418,000; Australian 330,000; New Zealand 100,471; South African 74,196; Newfoundland 10,610; West Indian 16,000; Irish 134,202; Welsh 272,924; Scottish 557,618 & English 4,006,158 men.
EMMA was set up in 1997 to reflect and celebrate the Multicultural strength of all nations, especially when countering racist’s ideologies that have lead to conflict. It would be naïve to assume that world peace had broken out after the end of The First World War, especially when you consider the German bitterness after the Treaty of Versailles.
This was exploited by a new breed of German leadership, i.e. Adolf Hitler, who fashioned an open Imperial expansionist approach alongside Italy & Japan (Axis Powers: 1936) but was ultimately defeated by the Allies. Hitler would have won in 1940 if the British Commonwealth multicultural force hadn’t stood firm against overwhelming odds.
The League of Nations (which became The United Nations) at the time had failed to protect smaller nations as it was meant to do, adding to an unstable world. The global depression in the 1930s didn’t help matters by giving Germany the excuse to break the Treaty of Versailles, establishing a larger army. Ultimately, Hitler’s political Fascism through his Nazi doctrine, was assisted by Germany’s hatred of those who had sought to demean them as a race after the war, leading Hitler to exploit this, so Germans were portrayed as pure and perfect to restore the Nazi racial superiority complex. The seeds for the Second World War had been sown on racial grounds that redrew the political landscape into the 21st Century, with millions killed.
Deaths due to the Axis lead “Racists” doctrine during The Second World War can be seen as follows: Albania 30,000; Australia 40,400; Austria 120,000; Belgium 88,000; Brazil 2,000; Bulgaria 25,000; Burma 272,000; Canada 45,400; China 20,000,000 (Approx); Cuba 100; Czechoslovakia 325,000; Denmark 3,200; Dutch East Indies 4,000,000 (Approx); Estonia 50,000; Ethiopia 100,000; Finland 97,000; France 550,000; French Indochina 2,200,00 (Approx); Germany 9,000,000(Approx); Greece 807,000 (Approx); Guam 2000 (Approx); Hungry 580,000; Iceland 200; British India 2,587,000 (Approx); Iran 200; Iraq 500; Ireland 200; Italy 454,600; Japan 3,120,000 (Approx); Korea 483,000 (Approx) Lithuania 350,000; Luxembourg 2000; Malaya 100,000; Malta 1,500; Mexico 100; Mongolia 300; Nauru 500; Netherland 301,000; Newfoundland 100; New Zealand 11,900; Norway 9,500; Papua & New Guinea 15,000; Philippines 1,057,000 (Approx); Poland 5,820,000 (Approx); Portuguese Timor 70,000 (Approx); Romania 800,000; Ruanda-Urundi 300 (Approx); Singapore 50,000; South Africa 11,900; South Pacific Mandate 57,000; Soviet Union 28,000,000 (Approx) Sweden 600; Switzerland 100; Thailand 7,600; Turkey 200; United Kingdom 450,900; United States 420,000; Yugoslavia 1,700,000 (Approx). The total estimated death: 85,000,000 (Approx) included women and children in regards to total warfare on a scale never seen before.
For the first time, but not the last, the organisation and technology of sophisticated industrial societies were seamlessly and lethally joined. The war destroyed empires both quickly and slowly, created fractious new nation-states, gave a sense of identity to the British dominions, encouraged America to become a world power and led directly to Soviet communism, the rise of Hitler, the Second World War and the Holocaust. The turmoil in the Middle East has its roots in the world spawned by the two World Wars, with continual daily horrors. Albert Einstein is quoted as saying;
“War. Good for few, bad for many.”
As Fritz Stern, a German-American historian, put it, the conflict was “the first calamity of the 20th Century, the calamity from which all other calamities sprang”. The eventual Cold War was one calamity, potentially leading to a nuclear holocaust in October 1962, between the two superpowers USSR & United States.
However, their showdown took place in Afghanistan in 1979 due to the Soviet Block invasion, which sadly cost a million Afghan lives. Pakistan was the frontline player that helped to dismantle the Soviet war machine in this cold war scenario. This ultimately lead to the collapse of the Soviet Union leading to unification of Germany in 1990. Many Ex-Soviet Eastern European countries became members of the European Union.
Let us not forget the sacrifices that had been made by millions of people from around the world regardless of their race, colour or creed. This brief history explains why EMMA, since 1997, has been committed to promote a meritocratic system to prevent the re-appearance of the Far Right, as seen through our EMMA TRUST Ad campaign 1 2 3 against racial hatred.
Are we sleep walking into a Third World War?
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