At 19 years of age, Gavrilo Princip murdered Archduke Ferdinand and lit a fuse which was long enough to ignite World War 1, World War 2 and the afternmatth which threatens to lead to World War 3. The time to extinguish the flame is running out but in the meantime, it is probably prudent to observe the nature of the petty trivialities which lead to war.
Ironically, Ferdinand was a vociferous advocate for peace and when he was murdered, war hawks finally got exactly what he had resisted. Conrad von Hotzendorf, the Austro-Hungarian army chief of staff had urged war on Serbia 26 times between January 1, 1913 and June 1, 1914. Ferdinand advocated an internal, domestic solution but Conrad had his own agenda. He was in love with the wife of a brewery magnate and beleived if he could lead Austria into a great military victory he hoped he could persuade her to divorce her husband. He hoped for a "war from which I could return crowned with success that would allow me to break through all the barriers between us and claim you as my dearest wife," he wrote in a letter.
If only he had been the target of Gavrilo Princip, World War 1 would have been averted.
Gacrilo Princip had heard rumours that Ferdinand's visit to Sarajevo was designed to mask a surprise attack on Serbia, and he responded by arranging an assassination.
The lesson of World War 1 is clear. The enemies we make today will lead to World War 3. When we treat countries like Russia and China as enemies they will respond in kind. Isaac Newton said that tact is the art of making a point without making an enemy, and he was right. The challenge is to accept each other without igniting the hysterical spark which will lead to World War III as certainly as the murder of Archduke Ferdinand lead to World War I.
We are failing to adequately define the genuine substance behind National Security, and it has to be done to evade the steady march towards the path of Mutual Destruction.
Next: The Causes of World War III.