I was dismayed, so soon after the nation-wide moving and meaningful Armistice Centenary events, to read Robert Carey’s letter disputing the fact that soldiers in WW1 ‘sacrificed themselves for a noble cause’ and denies that they ‘died to preserve the freedoms we enjoy today’ as asserted by MP Gillian Keegan.
He further states without any justification that Ms Keegan shows a lack of understanding about the causes of the First World War.
Mr Carey’s necessarily brief resumee of the causes of the First World War is not wrong as far it goes. However I believe his interpretation of historical facts is flawed.
From the late 19th century Germany had been considering the viability of invading England. Plans were prepared by Admiral von Knorr of the Imperial German Navy in 1897 for landing in East Anglia and there was a very real threat of invasion that lasted for many years (and of course recurred in 1939/1940).
In the years preceding 1914 there was widespread perception that an attempted invasion was a reality, and for this reason it was considered critical that the Belgian channel ports should not come under German control. Germany’s hegemony over continental Europe could have been a short step away from annexing Great Britain.
Therefore I maintain it is totally correct to say that millions of servicemen from the UK and Empire selflessly fought and died to keep Great Britain from German invasion, and to give us the freedom we enjoy today. Yes, Mr Carey, it is a noble cause for which they died. Let future generations be taught this and remember their sacrifice with gratitude.
I cannot agree about the ‘long period of stability’ prior to WW1. Stable perhaps if you can overlook The Napoleonic wars, Greek war of Independence, French invasion of Spain, Russo -Turkish War, Hungarian revolution and war of independence, German and Italian unification battles, Austro-Prussian war, Franco- Prussian war, Greco-Turkish war, Crimean war. Balkan wars, Italo-Turkish war, Austro-Hungarian wars – not to mention revolutions in several European states. Not too much stability I would suggest! In fact it was this very instability which was one of the causes of the Great War.
David Blackford, Mill Lane, Sidlesham