Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Armistice Day reflection - to end all wars...

Written November 11th 1941

Twenty three years ago today an armistice was signed terminating the war to end wars. This wearying battle had, during its four years course, drawn in practically the whole globe, each nation state sending the best of their youths to die an ignoble and ignominious death. Today we normally hold a commemoration service for those “glorious” dead. But now, for the last twenty six months, the whole of Europe has been struggling in sordid strife once more to end wars for ever. Today the flower of our youth is again expiating the follies of age by their blood and their lives.

It behoves us to examine the positives. Whereas in 1918 we had won the war, today we are faced with the far greater part of our struggle before us. Yet, perhaps looking, we are potentially in a better situation. In 1918 having won the war we finally lost the peace by inaction, our lack of foresight and our unwillingness to cope with reality. Briefly the results of the overwhelming fatigue which follow the strenuous activity of the war. Then we settled down to enjoy a millennium, an everlasting peace which, as day succeeded day month following, gradually seemed to fade until perhaps some 15 years (on) we slowly realised that the dawning of the long looked for day had yet again receded into the dim and distant future.

Today, however, we must realise that without action, without our own individual effort, that peace will never come. The position we found ourselves in 1938 was not due to any economical principles, it was not the result of our Labour governments, the General Strike, or the (banking) collapse in 1931, or disarmament or the Versailles Treaty. No, it was a result of our own “laissez faire” policy with regard to our individual effort. However small our intellectual stature may be, we are fundamentally the basis by which not only the domestic policy but the foreign policy of our government is determined. Many people infer that policies do not include them, they leave such things to parliament, forgetting that they control the mandate which determines the future outlook of all parliaments.

Douglas George Banks 1920 – 1989 written in 1941

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