The world sits upon the precipice of World War III. The three major antagonists, Russia, China and the United States are talking far less and are increasingly on a war footing.
The events which led to World War I are reoccurring in almost the exact same form as what transpired nearly a century ago. Only this time, it will not be millions of lives at stake, it will be billions.
World War I
The First World War followed a period of sustained optimism in which there was an extended period of peace in Europe. The times were marked by optimistic discussions during which people talked with confidence of continued prosperity, continued and very rapid progress, and hope for a peaceful future. But things changed in 1914, Europe stumbled into a catastrophic conflict of human horror that killed millions, destroyed national economies, toppled long-standing empires and compromised Europe’s dominance over the rest of the world.
Most historians believe that this was a war that could have been avoided right up until the final moments. So, then, why did World War I take place?
The Reasons for World War I
There are five major reasons that I can point to which led to World War I. The reasons are imperialism, militarism, nationalism, mutual defense alliances and the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.
I. Imperialism In the Pursuit of Natural Resources In Africa
Before World War I, domination of Africa and parts of Asia became points of contention among European countries. This was especially true because of the raw materials that these areas could provide would become an important and growing part of Europe’s industrial economies. The increasing competition and desire for greater empires led to an increase in confrontation that helped push the world into an arms race and ultimately into World War I.
II. Militarism and the Arms Race
By the beginning of the 20th century, Germany, Russia, Britain and France had greatly devoted an ever-increasing amount of their GDP to militarization including the buildup of their navies. When the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand took place, the European nations were already prepared for war.
Much of the origin of the war stemmed from the political desire of the Slavic people, from Bosnia and Herzegovina, to no longer be a part of Austria Hungary but instead they desired to be part of Serbia. The assassination of Ferdinand would bring all of these forces together and result in World War I. But in a more general way, the nationalism of the various countries, throughout Europe, contributed not only to the beginning, but also the extension of the war in Europe. Each country tried to prove their dominance and power so as to not appear to be weak to its people.
IV. Mutual Defense Treaties
At the time that World War I broke out, the following major defense treaties were in existence.
- Russia and Serbia
- France and Russia
- Britain and France and Belgium
- Japan and Britain
Following the death of Ferdinand, these alliances form the sides for World War I.
V. The Assassination of Archduke Ferdinand-The Trigger Event for WW I
The alliances between Russia and Serbia and the one between Germany and Austria-Hungary were particularly telling because of the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, of Austria-Hungary, by the assassin, Gavrilo Princip, of Serbia.
The assassination led directly to World War I when Austria-Hungary subsequently issued an ultimatum to the Kingdom of Serbia, which was partially rejected. Austria-Hungary then declared war on Serbia and Russia began to mobilize to protect Serbia. Austria-Hungary mobilized as did Germany.
Germany feared being caught in a two front war with Russia on the East and France and Britain on the West, decided to attack France, through neutral Belgium, in an attempt to end the war quickly. And World War I, subsequently, began in earnest.
Why 1914 Rhymes with 2015
The conditions which led to World War I are repeating in a variety of specific ways and it is eerily similar to what is transpiring in today’s world.
I. Imperialism In the Pursuit of Natural Resources
The great Silk Road will cement a burgeoning trading empire which connects China with Europe and incorporates much of Eurasia. This would also contribute to Putin’s desire to resurrect the former Soviet empire. The West is totally cut out of this trade arrangement.
China has also extended its imperialistic desires into the Panama Canal area as well as another canal option in the region. This is a direct economic threat being perpetrated in America’s own backyard.
No discussion about imperialism on a global scale would be complete without mention of the BRICS which are working in unison to destroy the Petrodollar. Not only have the BRICS been successful in putting a dent into the dollar, the collective actions of these nations are gathering a following and the world appears poised to ditch the dollar and that will mark the end of the American economy. I cannot think of a more provocative economic act of imperialism.
II. Militarism and the Arms Race
China and Russia have placed special emphasis on building their military. Although the U.S. is provocative in its military maneuvers with regard to Syria and Ukraine, Obama is doing his best to return the size of the American military to pre-World War II levels. It almost seems that Obama wants to give Russia and China a fighting chance against the United States in the upcoming war.
The word “nationalism” is synonymous with Putin’s domestic and foreign policy. His efforts to keep Ukraine in the Russian sphere of influence as well as his expansion into Eurasia, in a bold attempt to build a significant trading block in Eurasia, is leading to the resurrection of the old Soviet Empire. And don’t forget about Putin’s seizure of Crimea, because, according to Putin, “it had Russian speaking people” in need of protection, and it reminds one of Hitler’s seizure of parts of Czechoslovakia just prior to the beginning of World War II.
The high water mark for Chinese nationalism was magnificently on display during the Beijing Olympics where they spared no expense to demonstrate to the world how far they have advanced as a nation.
China is now able to project its military power in ways not previously seen as its military might is becoming the projection and manifestation of its new found sense of nationalism.
IV. Mutual Defense Treaties
The NATO alliance is fragile. The plunging oil prices are not only impacting Russia and the BRICS, they are killing the German economy. The western banking establishment must be cognizant of how far Germany can be pushed, because if they were to defect from NATO and join the BRICS, Germany’s defection would dramatically change the military balance of power. Adding fuel to this fire is that Germany has taken possession of gold that it has been owed for over seven years. Gold is the most common medium of exchange among the BRICS.
V. The “Archduke Moment”
The first four elements of World War I are unmistakably present in the modern era. What is missing is a catalyst, a trigger event which will bring the first four elements into play.
As the world holds its breath, the world sits poised for Armageddon.
I cannot foresee a reversal of the present collision course with World War III that the planet is presently embarked upon.
What will the trigger event for World War III consist of? If we only consider the today’s state of affairs, there are two scenarios which could easily culminate in World War III and both scenarios involve the dramatic decline in oil prices.
Russia’s gold and cash reserves are being tapped into in order to keep the Russian economy afloat in the face of the declining oil prices. What is Putin’s tolerance on this point? Will he strike out militarily like a cornered and wounded animal?
On the other side of the coin, will the BRICS strategy coalesce and drive the U.S. economy into the ground? What must also be considered is that Russian and her allies might initiate an act of terrorism which would bring the U.S. economy to its knees. A cyber attack upon our banking system and stock market could accomplish this goal.
If the bankers allow oil prices to return to $100 per barrel, these crises may be averted. However, it will only be a temporary respite from the inevitable.
There are, of course, a future set of “trigger” events which could bring the world to war that are yet unknown. Regardless of what will be the “Archduke moment”, the world sets poised for war and that is not likely to change as we march down “the five steps to Armageddon”. Subsequently, my mantra remains the same. Close most of your investments, take most of your money out of your banks and convert these assets into making your existence as independent as possible. This will not guarantee survival, it will only increase your odds of surviving.
Dave Hodges is the Editor and Host of The Common Sense Show.