Abstract: There is a dominant tradition, especially in the USA, to not see 1914 for what it was: a war of aggression, a war crime, a crime against humanity of the greatest proportions.
Both the aggression, and its denial, are cases of emotions dominating reason. It’s historically, psychologically, and philosophically instructive, even fascinating.
What people have been exposed to first, they believe more deeply. And of course emotions are the reasons that come first. It’s sheer sedimentary neurobiology. If you think anew, what happened in one’s mind first tends to still leave the deepest emotional layers intact. Often the deepest is what is thought to profit one’s nation, tribe, or religion first.
[When Minds Goose Step, The Goose Soon Cooks; Polyglot Bismarck In White, Center.]
People get emotionally attached to cuddly bears, foods, habits, etc. Just because they were exposed to them, first. The same happens with ideas, or even songs. As the guitarist, singer, composer Keith Richards observed, people make out first in a car, while a song plays on the radio, and, thereafter, forever, they will feel it’s the best song in the world.
Konrad Lorentz systematically studied this phenomenon of imprinting, and got the medicine-biology Nobel for it. Ducklings follow whatever they are exposed to first. It’s not difficult to guess what happens:
New neural circuitry is created by the first exposition to whatever shows up, and thereafter, having being created stays roughly the same. Similarly for the cognitive and emotional circuitry of entire nations. Once in place, it’s nearly impossible to rewrite.
Common wisdom on World War One in the USA does not see the facts as they happened, because they contradict the deepest emotions learned first on the subject: the war was an accident (Sarajevo), the nations of Europe were all the same vicious bunch (hence the USA was right to get rich from the war), the USA tried to bring back peace (but the terrible Versailles Treaty ruined it).
What’s imprinting? Obviously, imprinting is the building of neural networks. Where there was none before, there are some after. Once there are some, new ones are difficult to build; just as it is difficult to build new structures out, or above, old ones. The ethology (Lorentz and company) enlightens the neurobiology, and the establishment of all emotions, hence values. The hierarchy of values has to do with chronological order.
Considering the way imprinting has to work neurologically, an immediate very important philosophical consequence arises: if one wants to be philosophically correct, one will have to be extremely careful about the nature of first exposition… to anything, whatsoever. As what comes first tends to be neurologically irreversible. For the youth, or for oneself, or for any excited tribal member, anywhere out there.
Socrates pontificated that the unexamined life was not worth living, I will counter-pontificate with the following, more stringent declaration:
The unexamined experience is not worth having.
Nationalism is an example of duckling behavior. The tendency of young males to go to war after getting orders to do so, maybe viewed as a tendency strongly manifested by young ducklings. Goose stepping into war is a consequence of imprinting of impressionable youth.
My acid views of Dylan and Oprah Winfrey, two entertainers, were poorly considered by some, perhaps trying to spare pets they are attached to, from blame. More modest people tend to live grand lives through the great. Thus the popularity of celebrities. And the necessity to adore & lionize them (to make them great, hence admirable). Same for nations. Nations are the ultimate celebrities.
Thus many lionize the “Germany” of 1914.
One of the honorable commenters on this site, Old Geezer Pilot, expressed succinctly the Common American Wisdom on “Germany” by claiming that: “Doesn’t anyone suspect the BRITISH for having pushed Germany into starting WWI? After all, Germany was on track to out-produce Britain in Dreadnought class ships very soon…”
No, there was absolutely no way that the Kaiser could catch up with Britain in battleships. Why? Because Britain had basically no army. All British military spending was on the Royal Navy. Germany had the world’s mightiest army, made to crush and encircle the formidable French army, the world’s second mightiest. That cost so much money, very little was left for the Kriegsmarine.
I explained, in the “Plot Against France” and in “Emotions Prime Reason II” what happened in 1914. The concept “the British” and “Germany” are NOT comparable. “Germany” did not exist really as a nation. “Germany” was just as an hysteria of poorly designed robots. “Germany” was a dictatorial plutocracy of the spastic and delirious type. Britain was a plutocracy, sure, but under a thick representative democracy’s layer. An evil dictatorship in Germany, a sort-of democracy in Britain: one cannot compare.
I excruciatingly explained in minute details many times that the American leadership goaded the Kaiser into war. The USA had interest for an attack of “Germany” on the rest of Europe. Britain, or France, had a very good reason to avoid war: time was working in their favor, as they were tapping their global empires into giant co-prosperity spheres. Moreover those democracies could not organize a conspiracy, as they societies were too open. And the fact is, they did not conspire.
But the handful of military men at the head of “Germany” could conspire, there were no democratic institutions to check them, and they did conspire, nobody could stop them. We have the documents, we have the facts. We have the attack. “Germany” attacked, “Germany” did the war crimes, within days of said attack.
The explicit analysis by Molkte and company, is that “Germany” was losing the economic, hence military, race. They were correct. That was precisely due to what they clang to, the plutocracy they led. Quite a bit the same situation as in the USSR, North Korea, and maybe soon, China.
The attachment to the Kaiserreich is one of the most striking of those which afflict the West (a variant of this is the attachment of Jews to Keynes, who was pro-Nazi…).
Loving the Reich is the other side of the coin that equates France and Britain, two democracies, to a bloody dictatorship. Thus identifying plutocracy and democracy as the same.
The Kaiserreich, also known as the Second Reich, was the ridiculous dictatorship established by Bismarck as the “German empire” in 1871 at Versailles, in a manly ceremony (see above). In this attachment, the blame for the First World War is spread equally, by platitudes about bloodthirsty Europeans.
That legend is particularly important for the USA’s tragic history, as it excuses the embargo shirking, fortune making attitude of the USA, selling to the Kaiser what he needed to pursue the war. That complicity of the USA and the Kaiser endured until the day came to charge to the rescue of victory, lest Britain and France would keep on ruling the world all by themselves.
As I have explained many times, WWI was not an accident, but a determined conspiracy. And wittingly or not, the leadership of the USA was on the side of the bad guys.
France, Belgium, Britain, and even Russia were completely innocent of the war. Britain, to start with, did not even have an army (or more exactly, the entire British army was no more than one single French army corps).
The French government was so unprepared for war, that all ministers of the government were either completely out of France, as the Prime Minister and the President were, or far away in vacation, when the Kaiserreich mobilized. An under-secretary of agriculture had to launch the French general mobilization.
Reading French or British newspapers, one week before the “German” attack, show no inkling at war.
Nobody could suspect that General von Molkte, the “Prussian chief of Staff”, head of the Kaiserreich army conspiring with four others, had declared in a war council of 1912:
General von Moltke: “I consider a war inevitable—the sooner, the better. But we should do a better job of gaining popular support for a war against Russia, in line with the Kaiser’s remarks.” His Majesty confirmed this and asked the secretary of state to use the press to work toward this end.”
One does not need to artificially create “popular support” if one’s country is attacked, so Molkte intended to attack.
That mass homicidal general was a distant relative, so I knew the inside stories from my astronomer uncle, who was his (grand)son in law; clearly Molkte caused the war, the point man of a dirty mood that had grown over two generations. Molkte, in his fascist dumbness, expected a quick and shattering victory over the French armies. He did not expect that the French would fight like crazy to preserve (their) freedom and democracy.
The French nearly destroyed the main German armies at the First Battle of the Marne, a counter-offensive on the fifth week of the “German” attack (a shattering victory would have been achieved, if the British army corps had been speedier). Afterwards, Molkte fell apart psychologically: he had started the war that was going to destroy the satanic order of things that he wanted to see rule the world with.
Wilhem II being all over the map psychologically, Molkte and his co-conspirators sent him incommunicado to a vacation home in July, with a crafty lie. They were afraid that, at the last moment, the Kaiser, grandson of Queen Victoria, would stop the planned invasion. Thus they kept him in the dark about what their true intent was (although, once he finally learned from his generals that they were going to attack the world, the Kaiser approved).
What of the assassination in Sarajevo in all this? It’s the standard fare of the (naïve) textbooks. It is much loved, as it provides a mechanism for the thesis of the “accidental” war. The heir of the Austro-Hungarian throne was assassinated, in a conspiracy from a number of students, guided by elements of the Serb “Black Hand”, who were part of the secret Serb services (acting on their own, without government authorization).
The Archduke was a grim character, not very popular, all the more as he was grimly determined to maintain peace. To boot, he was best friend with the German Kaiser Wilhem. The Archduke’s assassination was a godsend for the war Party of Molkte and company: they got a casus belli, of sorts, or, at least, Austro-Hungary did, and, at the same time, the tragedy removed the greatest enemy of war among the Central Powers’ plutocratic oligarchs.
So determined were the assassins leading the “German” military that, when they encountered unexpected resistance in Belgium from the Belgians and the French, they went insane. They had not expected this. They threw millions of soldiers through Belgium, expecting to quickly break-through, and encircle the French armies (Schliefen plan). That did not happen. French resistance became nearly suicidal: one day 27,000 French soldiers died in combat. Orders were given from above, by the Prussian General Staff, to mass massacre civilians. People such as general Ludendorff came to personally supervise combat. We have reports of two year old girls being assassinated.
Unsurprisingly, Ludendorff, a war criminal in 1914 already, was the most determined founder of the Nazi Party. After Bavarian soldiers fired a volley of gunfire into the top Nazis, in 1923, some were killed, and all fled, including Hitler… All, except general Ludendorff, who kept marching towards the troops.
Much of the preceding are inconvenient truths, because they keep bringing us back to the question of why did the USA help the Kaiserreich? Is the same old same old much older than has been suspected?
Some will say: ”So what?” But the same impulse that leads the American secret services to spy on democracy, the same Dark Side, was already fully in evidence a century ago.
Not only did the USA leadership goad the Kaiser into war, by promising an alliance, but it delivered said alliance: the USA provided the Kaiser’s henchmen with raw materials for explosives until 1917, making a national fortune in the process.
Socrates thought he lived according to: ”Unexamined politics is not worth having.”
However, he was tried because he had neglected a higher calling. The more pertinent: ”Unexamined emotions are not worth having.” The emotional system of an individual, just as that of a nation, or even that of current of thought, if they are not examined, are not worth having.
The emotions the ruling class conferred to the People in Germany, down below, were all wrong, deeply evil. Nietzsche understood this perfectly. The turn took only a few years. Nietzsche saw his friend and fellow musician Richard Wagner take a turn for the worst. Courageously Nietzsche denounced Wagner to the world in “Nietzsche Contra Wagner”. The most acute madness of the German People lasted from 1871 to 1945.
However, that same madness is still going in those who fail to distinguish between the fascist, mass murdering aggressors in 1914, and their victims. So the difference still has to be taught. No doubt the Germans have been much instructed on the subject. However, in the USA the moods, methods, ingrained emotions, and culture that made possible the betrayal of the Republic in 1914, 1915, 1916 and 1938, 1939, 1940 and 1941 are still beyond any suspicion.
German judges have decided to put on trial a SS who was only 19 when he obeyed orders at Oradour Sur Glane, contributing to the assassination, mostly by torture, of 700 innocent civilians, many women and children. 247 women and 205 children were burned alive in a church.
It’s not just about justice. It’s about education: soldiers cannot obey criminal orders, and contribute to a war crime. That brings a present-day quandary. Private Manning exposed to the world the killing of innocent civilians by the U.S. Army. Who was the criminal here? Manning, who did not obey orders, and revealed the crime (not really an accident, the recording show), or those who condemned him for not partaking in a criminal cover-up? Once again, under Obama, the Choom Gang president, all values are being inverted.
Exactly the game the Kaiserreich played, until the apocalyptic end of 1945.
Conclusion: To think anew, one has to break down the deepest emotional layers. What can do this? High emotions and passions. Pain. Even pain can be fine, if it is what’s needed to take out erroneous neurology (example: Germany suffered so much in WWII, that it made drastic reforms of its soul; Japan did not suffer as much, by a full order of magnitude, and thus did not improve its soul as much!)
Pain can help to define goodness when, or where, nothing else will. Thus pain helps create a valuable world. If emotion primes reason, only greater emotion will move in the sense of greater reason.
Imprinting passes by emotion first, as emotion is the universal, primary learning system. But it does not stop here. It then goes down all the way to genetics, though epigenetics (=”Lamarckism”). Apparently, pain can change one’s DNA: http://www.mcgill.ca/…/chronic-pain-alters-dna-marking… (Thanks to Alexi Helligar for the link).
Learning is everywhere, and all the way, as long as we open our hearts to it.
Warning: My correct point of view is that the cause of WWI, was Nazism, Version 1.1. That opinion was obviously not shared by Bertrand Russel, the well known philosopher and logician. Why? Russell was one of the top Lords in Britain, and, obviously was very emotionally attached to the plutocratic principle that had made the grandson of Queen Victoria the dictator of Germany. If the Kaiser had won in the summer of 1914, the glory of Russell would have risen even higher. Of small things even great minds are made!