(Aleteia) -- A hundred years ago, Western civilization attempted suicide. It nearly succeeded, and still has not fully recovered.
When Austro-Hungarian guns opened up on Serbian forces on July 28, 1914, they inflicted far more casualties than the commanders on either side could have imagined: The fall of that first domino inexorably led to the deaths of ten million men in combat, uncounted civilians who would die under German shells or starve from British blockades, and the tens of millions more who would die after war’s end from the influenza epidemic spread by returning soldiers. Many millions more would die in the Armenian genocide and the Russian Civil War, two direct results of World War I.
The Ukrainian famine, the Soviet Terror, the Second World War, and the Holocaust, all sprouted from seeds that were planted a hundred years ago today. Historian of “democide” R.J. Rummel estimated in Death by Government that some 133.1 million civilians were intentionally killed by civilian governments in the course of the twentieth century -- a staggering death toll that would have been simply unthinkable to citizens of the peaceful, prosperous world that we can glimpse from reading the stories of Sherlock Holmes. Most of those deaths were the direct or indirect result of the First World War.
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