The legacy of the First World War

Before 1914, war was a normal political event. Afterwards, it was something to be avoided.

Library and Archives Canada Photo
German soldiers in trenches during the Battle of the Marne in 1914 in France.
Gwynne Dyer
Published: Thursday, 08/07/2014 5:56 pm EDT
Last Updated: Thursday, 08/07/2014 6:38 pm EDT

“It was not worth even one life,” said Harry Patch shortly before he died in 2009 at the age of 111. He was the last survivor of the 65 million soldiers who fought in the First World War, and by the time he died it was a normal, quite unremarkable thing to say. But he would never have said it in 1914.

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