Bill Maher, on this last weeks episode of Realtime with Bill Maher, asked what was World War I about?
We all know the basics, Archduke Ferdinand of the Hapsburg Empire was in Sarajevo and a young Serb Nationalist assassinated him and that started the war. That gives us the how but not the why.
And Bill Maher was right - many of the troubles we have today around the world are effects from that cause. WWI led to WWII, the Cold War, Southeast Asia, Africa and the Middle East and specifically Israel, Sept. 11, Iraq and Afghanistan etc. Given these major ongoing effects, I agree with Bill Maher - what was the cause behind the effect of the Archduke's assassination, or what was WWI about?
So I looked into it, and wouldn't you know it but we all come out looking like a bunch of dumbasses.
The Bosnia-Herzegovina region had been under control of the Ottoman Empire (Turkey) which was ruled by a Sultan (old school empire). Late 1800s and the times, they were a'changing. There was a revolution in the Ottoman Empire (young Turks) and the Sultan wasn't strong enough to control his vast and sprawling territory. (There's gotta be a lesson in there somewhere.)
So while the Sultan was weak, the Archduke, of the Hapsburg Empire (also an old school empire) took control of the Bosnia-Herzegovina region. The Hapsburg Empire was also called the Austrian-Hungary Empire and it also controlled vast and sprawling territory.
Both these empire were full of lands where people had their own identities and languages and culture, but not independence.
The Austrian Empire then invaded Serbia. Russia came to Serbia's aid which brought in Germany on Austria's side which brought in the French on Russia's side, yada yada yada; Iraq.
The assassination of the Archduke was for independence and today they have it and are in the process of joining the EU. The Ottoman Empire is gone, the Hapsburg Empire is gone, The Bolsheviks and Tzars and Warsaw Pact are gone.
And what we should learn from this is one country cannot control another people forever. People want independence. This is not a new concept, there is a reason Romans kept slaves in chains, because people want to be free.
Perhaps the EU and USA can serve as a model for places like Iraq, Shia, Sunni, Kurd and Israel and Palestine. Unions with independent states.
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