Christopher Clark

The Sleepwalkers, How Europe went to war in 1914
This book at times reads like a crime novel, and a really good one at that. We follow the sequence of events that led to the Great War at very close distance and from every angle of the story; we follow the main characters in the story, the emperors, the prime ministers and their cabinets, the ambassadors... quite a feat of investigative work and literary skill combined. The best part is right at the beginning: the story of Serbia and how the assassination in Sarajevo came to happen, the plannng and the actual shooting, told with exactness worthy of Agatha Christie.

The downside to this otherwise great book is the diplomatic tediousness. One assumes that diplomacy played a role in the bringing about of war and that it was necessary to tell as part of the story in order for us to understand fully why and how the war finally broke out, and why what should have remained a regional confrontation between Austro-Hungary and Serbia finally involved all the great powers in Europe. But was it really necessary to be so meticulous about the negotiations and meetings of diplomats and politicians? I appreciate all the effort the author put into it, but the diplomatic angle to the story just failed to get my full attention.

The main conclusion the author extracts from his study is that the characters who brought their countries into the horrific war that was World War I didn't expect it to be that kind of horrific. They rather expected just another war, like many before, and their soldiers would be home for Christmas. But there were new weapons, terrible new weapons that had not been tried yet, or had not been tried in big scale. The idea being: the men who decided the fate of Europe were sleepwalkers, they didn't know what they where getting into. If that were so, I assume, those European leaders would probably have said no to war. But I'm not very sure of that. The question that in that case arises is: just what is a tolerable number of killed? Instead, in my opinion the question should always be: Is this war really justifiable?
24 March, 2015

"Es cierto que el Romano es libre de hacer todo lo que quiera. Pero también lo es que tiene que soportar las consecuencias de sus actos. No importa que se haya equivocado, que le hayan engañado o incluso forzado: un hombre no se deja forzar: etiamsi coactus, attamen voluit. Es libre; pero si distraído, imprudente o atontado, prometió pagar una determinada cantidad y no puede pagarla, se convierte en esclavo de su acreedor."

Rudolph von Ihering

“Slavery, protection, and monopoly find defenders, not only in those who profit by them, but in those who suffer by them.”

Frédéric Bastiat

On the true nature of the Castro Revolution in Cuba: "The revolution was a cover for committing atrocities without the slightest vestige of guilt ... we were young and irresponsible. We were pirates. We formed our own caste ... we belonged to and believed in nothing -no religion, no flag, no morality or principle. It's fortunate we didn't win, because if we had, we would have drowned the continent in barbarism."

Jorge Masetti -In the Pirate's Den

La anarquía, es decir, la ausencia de fuerza estatal, no es una forma de Estado, y cualquiera que acabe con ella por el medio que sea, el usurpador nacional o el conquistador extranjero, rinde un servicio a la sociedad. Es un salvador, un bienhechor, porque la forma más insoportable de Estado es la ausencia de Estado.

Rudolph von Ihering

"El envidioso está afligido no solo por sus males propios, sino por los bienes de los demás."  -Hipias

[la norma de conducta de los progres] "No hacer nada que alguien pueda envidiarme." -Hipasos




Seguimos a la espera de la reedición de este importante libro del gran escritor español José Pla

Historia de la Segunda República.


También a la espera de este importante libro del genial Rafael Abella.

Finales de enero, 1939, Barcelona cambia de piel


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