Monday, August 04, 2014

100 years ago today - a world changing event.

This evening we hope to go to a local commemoration of the start of hostilities on this day in 1914.
We know of three of my wife's family who served. One now lies in a graveyard on the Somme, another in Belgium. I had a great uncle who tried to volunteer when under age. He was refused enlistment but the day he was old enough to enlist, he did. Later he was wounded on the Somme. So like nearly all families, we did our bit and suffered the loss of young lives.

But I write this piece today not merely to remember the fallen but to remember the one event which decisively changed the world in the 20th century. Before 1914 it was a different older world. After 1918 we entered a newer, modern age.

This lead me to think of what may be regarded as the most pivotal events in different centuries. The present century has so far only one contender, 9/11. For the 19th century, being English I am going for Trafalgar, 1805. With the French fleet sunk the defeat of Napoleon would surely come. His naval power was smashed and Britannia was to rule the waves for the next century and a half.

For the 18th century I will plump for the French Revolution not 1776 and the founding of the USA. Why the French one? Because it was a real revolution in thought as well as rule. It was the political fruit from the seed of Enlightenment philosophy. The philosophy changed the Western world, the political fallout changed most of Europe. 17th century I am still pondering. Perhaps 1620 and the Pilgrim Fathers? 16th has to be Martin Luther hammering his 95 theses to the cathedral door.
Pre-reformation I am not so hot. I invite my readers to contribute.

Of course I an aware that I write as an English Protestant Christian. If you see the world from a different perspective please let me know your choice of world changing events. I also recognise that this day is not so significant for my American friends. But they do have a habit of joining in the game somewhere before or after half time and then making the outcome sure for us this side of the pond.

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Blogger ManOfTheWest said...

Well... 1066 is an obvious one :-)
Let's see:
732: Battle of Tours - Charles Martel defeats the Arabs in Central France. The advance of Islam that had been proceeding steadily since Muhammad is halted and the border between Christendom and Islam in the West remains in the Iberian Peninsula for the next 700 years. Also laid the foundations of the Carolingian dynasty that was a major force in shaping the next 2 centuries.

4:26 am  

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