"THE VERDICT OF THE VERSAILLES TREATY that Germany and her allies were responsible for the War, in view of the evidence now available, is historically unsound. It should therefore be revised." These are the words of Sidney Bradshaw Fay, noted revisionist historian, on the concluding page of his magisterial Origins of the World War, published in 1928. We now know more about the Great War than merely its origins. We now know that Great Britain's first act of war on August 4, 1914 was to cut the two trans-Atlantic cables that connected Berlin to New York City. We now know that America's professed neutrality in the early years of the conflict was a hoax. We now know that the Cunard passenger liner RMS Lusitania doubled as a munitions ship, and purposefully steamed into harm's way in May 1915. We now know that the alleged atrocities by the German army in Belgium were all lies. We now know that the British organized a massive, covert propaganda apparatus with the goal of dragging America into the war on the side of the Allies. And we now also know that America's involvement in 1917 as a belligerent in Europe was a tragic misstep by anglophile Woodrow Wilson, that had profound implications not only for the United States but for Europe as well, ensuring an even more catastrophic reprise in 1939. Wilson himself declared, "We all know that this was a commercial war," in September 1919. In April 1937, on the 20th anniversary of America's entry into the war, a Gallup Poll found that 70 percent of respondents thought "it was a mistake for the United States to have entered the Great War." Dr. George Gallup himself declared that "this conviction has been the great master principle of the post-war period in the United States." The lesson is forgotten, propaganda for war repeats, and history repeats. The majorities supporting an invasion of Iraq in 2003 turned two years later to 60 percent opposition to the war... a lesson learned too late again.
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About the Author
Both mechanical engineer and professor of history, Stewart Halsey Ross is also the author of Strategic Bombing by the United States in World War II: The Myths and the Facts (2002, $39.95). He lives in Norwalk, Connecticut.