Saturday 26 May 2018

Kevin Myers: The Armistice might not have ended war, but let's not forget that most of the world is now free

A day like today comes but once a century: 11/11/11. Add in the moment that the guns ceased firing, and it becomes: 11/11/11/11. What a strange verticality, a picket-fence through which to view history.

Of course, like most historical events, the 1918 Armistice was not really how the popular imagination has painted it, for it certainly did not bring a universal peace. Instead of the Ottoman Empire being treated with wise civility, it was brutally and ruinously dismembered. Civil war wracked Turkey, and huge population exchanges between it and Greece followed. Hundreds of thousands died in massacres across Anatolia.

Another Civil War continued in Russia, with soldiers from many countries dying in a vain-attempt to stem the tide of Bolshevism. Mesopotamia, which had effectively been annexed to the British Empire in just about the last, sublimely idiotic fling of imperial folly, soon rose in insurrection, and 2,000 British conscript soldiers were killed or injured.

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