100 years ago, one the bloodiest conflict in human history ended with The Treaty of Versailles. The Armistice was signed between The Allies and (what remained) of the Central Powers. It was a "victory" for the allies, but at such a cost. The term Pyrrhic is hardly adequate.
Much of the primary source material from that time is hard to digest. Grainy black-and-white video and biased / censored news accounts that regularly conflict with one another.
I have been watching the YouTube channel, The Great War. It is hosted by a man named Indy Neidell, who does a great job bring this conflict to life. He references and encourages his viewers to read the works of Gilbert Martin, Peter Hart and John Keegan. They all do excellent work at distilling the gritty, and often disturbing details.
It may be hard for some to see the relevance in a conflict from a century ago. Different aspects may appeal to certain people, but there was one recurring theme that should concern all. Above, I mentioned biased / censored news. in WWI, the horror of the carnage soon leaked out to the public. By the end of 1914, all belligerents instituted some form of censorship. From a practical, Machiavellian standpoint, this made sense. With literally tens of thousands dying every week, no government could allow such information to be released, discussed and debated. They were at war, and wartime measures were needed for national security and survival.
Wartime censorship chugged along throughout most of the 20th Century; an unfortunate legacy of The Great War. But, after a few years into the US Vietnam War, the tide had turned. Real-time information was being beamed directly into citizen's living rooms. It became problematic to control the dialogue when people could actually see the horrors of war for themselves. Those cracks in the censor's shield changed the course of the war, and modern history.
Today, we are at a crossroads. On one hand, we have the world at our fingertips. In the other hand, complete ignorance. FISA Courts, renditions, warrantless searches, corporate / government collusion... We don't know what we don't know. But we are sure about what we've been spoon-fed.
We like to think that we are so much more advanced than some 8th grade educated London factory worker from 1915. But are we?
History repeats itself. Build a better mousetrap, and the rats get smarter.