Peculiar Progressive watched for the first time this weekend “Apocalypse: World War I”, a five-part documentary series which will make clear to your children the evolution, horror, and futility of world war — which today’s corporate news media avoids and Washington’s neocons continue to strive for. It’s history which young adults need to see. It will help them learn, and help us all to recall, how corporate greed and military aggression can cause generations globally to suffer.
The 2014 series is an original French production, translated into English for the National Geographic Channel, and shown this past weekend on American Heroes Channel, an irony since the series emphasizes that war’s devastation creates tragedy rather than heroes.
The series’ five episodes are bluntly titled “Fury”, “Fear”, “Hell”, “Rage”, and “Deliverance”.
Fury develops with the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian empire, and his wife by a 19-year-old Serbian nationalist. That basically — to keep it simple — leads to Germany and Austria-Hungary attacking Serbia, leading in turn to Russia, France and England getting into the clash.
Fear reaches a global pitch as German troops near Paris, and Australia and New Zealand enter the conflict, answering England’s call. Hell arrives in the fall of 1915 when millions are shocked by a now industrial and chemical war involving new artillery, chlorine and mustard gas.
Rage rises by 1917 as anti-war revolution threatens governments — including overthrow of the Russian czar — and growing military efforts in different nations. And alleged Deliverance arrives with U.S. war entry, Germany’s defeat and 1918’s austerity-demanding Treaty of Versailles, which actually set the stage for World War II.
What each episode repeats for emphasis: the war racket begins primarily because military leaders and industrialists — not the people — want it. And that the weapons makers and warmongers financially benefit while average families get separated from loved ones and millions lose lives and homes for the war leaders’ benefit.
Too, it seems every documentary we’ve seen on war — this most recent on WWI, another on WWII, and CNN’s vast 24-hour documentary “The Cold War” — that military leaders who are losing always want to fight to the last human. For honor, they say.
They came close in WWI. It resulted in 37 million casualties, including 17 million deaths (10 million military and 7 million civilians) and 20 million wounded. If the documentary numbered the millions of refugees, we missed it. But they may have somewhere in the 5 hours.
Due to today’s conflicts, one brief segment in the doc quickly caught our attention: Germany funding Vladimir Lenin’s return to Russia to foment revolution, and Lenin’s agreement to turn Ukraine over to Germany. That was foiled when Germany lost the war. Research shows that in WWI, 3.5 million Ukrainians fought with the Imperial Russian Army, while 250,000 fought for the Austro-Hungarian Army aligned with Germany. That Russia-Western Europe split still affects Ukraine today, with the U.S. urging it on.
And today, as we’ve discussed in earlier columns — “Memorial Day: Recalling and Caring for Our Constant Brave”; “Syria: Symbol of Our Government’s Endless-War Addiction”; “American Coup: When U.S. Versus Iran Really Began”; and “Hurtling Toward World War III” — industrialists and warmongers continue to push toward endless war.