Good morning Everyone!
One hundred years ago, Europe was enjoying one of the most splendid summers it had ever seen. None of the countries then in Europe could have imagined that in less than four months, they would be involved in the bloodiest slaughter of men ever up until that time, the First World War. Of course, since no-one gave these countries a memo in advance about World War II, at the time they called the war “The Great World War” or “The War to End All Wars.” The Great War began with Germany invading neutral Belgium in order to reach France under what was called the Schlieffen Plan. Because tiny Belgium had the gall to resist this infringement on its sovereignty (and even to hold back the German army for a small period of time), Germany exacted a heavy price from it both during the battle for and the occupation of Belgium. Another country, Poland – which did not then exist, having been apportioned between the Powers That Be – became the main land over which the Eastern Front of the Great War was fought. It too suffered terribly during the war.
On September 1, 1939, a scant 20 to 21 years after the end of the Great World War, World War II began with Hitler’s Germany’s unprovoked invasion of Poland. Once again, German occupation caused Poland and its citizens great suffering. On May 10, 1940, tiny Belgium, which in 1936 had officially declared itself neutral in the event of a second general European war, was again overrun by Germany. It was forced to surrender in 18 days. As before, it suffered great loss of life and economic prosperity, and had hundreds of thousands of its citizens drafted into forced labor in Germany.
Now Russia under Putin has started to ease its toe into the waters of expansionism and radical nationalism, starting with Ukraine and possibly Georgia (remember the argument over natural gas/oil no one showed up for?). If I were Poland and Belgium, I’d hire every road builder in the United States and Europe and build a huge overpass across the length of my country suitable for armies to travel over without harming the country below. If the third general war ever breaks out, and against all probability it stays conventional, that’s their best bet for minimal harm.
And on that uncharacteristic note, I still hope that each of you have a good day!