Monday, 10 March 2014


I don't know if anyone else saw the 3 part, BBC drama, 37 Days that ran from last Thursday to Saturday. It portrayed the intense political period between the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand on 28th July, 1914, and 11pm, 4th August, when Britain declared war on Germany. Some of the events I knew about, many were new, but most fascinating of all was the way in which a small situation between Austria and Serbia became a global crisis that apparently nobody (or no country) could avoid.
     Alliances and friendships were tested. Some survived and others didn't. Russia backed Serbia, while Germany backed Austria. France sided with Russia, although they might not have been drawn in if Germany hadn't pre-empted their involvement and attacked first. Britain had strong ties with France, connections with (or rather, relations in) Germany, but had also, more recently, made links to Russia. This complicated web of friendships, which existed for purposes of peace and trade, was further reason to not go to war (beyond the fact that war in general is not good).
     In the end it was a different reason that we declared war. Germany invaded Belgium, merely to get to France, but this broke the agreement on Belgium's neutrality, something which Britain had promised to protect. Even then this old arrangement could have been let go, but expectation was too much. There was apparently no choice.
     But this raised a thought in my mind.
     People often believe that they have no choice, but this is not true.
     People always have choice.
     They can of course make a choice that is wrong (knowingly or not) because of the outcome. They can also make a choice that is wrong in the eyes of everyone else, and yet, if it is what they firmly believe then they should see it through.

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