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2014-08-05

一戰仍未遠,大戰沒世界

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對納粹而言,1939年的戰爭開始於1914年。

這代表,他們認為戰勝國欺壓太甚,希特勒是被迫興起。這樣,形成一種新觀點:一戰與二戰合成歐洲第二次「三十年戰爭」,從1915-1945
但這是事後諸葛。
戰爭,不只是罪罰而已。
德國歷史學家 Fritz Fischer 在《世界強國之道:德國的挑戰1914-1918 (Griff nach der Weltmacht: Die Kriegzielpolitik des kaiserlichen Deutschland 19141918) 主張一戰成因為世界壓制新興的德國。[1] 不是很像今日的中國?
一如日本的戰爭檢討,德國也一樣揮之不去。
總之,該問的是:「世界」大戰,是不是該有個「世界」成因?

Why question of guilt still dominates WWI discussion in GermanyCNN (2014.07.28) http://edition.cnn.com/2014/07/28/opinion/world-war-one-germany-jorn-leonhard/index.html?hpt=hp_c2
Editor's note: Professor Jörn Leonhard, of the University of Freiburg, is author of: "Die Büchse der Pandora.  Geschichte des Ersten Weltkriegs." The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN) -- When the last surviving soldiers of the First World War -- British Tommies and French poilus alike -- died a few years ago, national newspapers in London and Paris, but also in Canberra, Wellington and Ottawa, responded to this transition with numerous articles.

The reason was obvious: For the French as for the British, the former Dominions, but also for the Belgians, World War I is seen still today as the main historical watershed of the 20th century.  And it is not by accident that in the political and historical language of these countries this fact is reflected accordingly.  The war is not so much commemorated as the first of two world wars but as La Grande Guerre, The Great War, De Groote Oorlog.

Commemorating the war in Germany has always been and still today is much more complicated.  Whatever were the consequences of the war after 1918, there was another history that came to overshadow the war and made it only the first of two catastrophes.

In the light of National Socialist dictatorship, the Second World War and the monstrosity of the Holocaust, the war of 1914 became, in the eyes of many Germans, a kind of past, a prelude to the total war which started in September 1939 and which would lead to the final catastrophe of a German nation state in the 20th Century.

It is against this background that even after 100 years, for many Germans the fatal shots in Sarajevo mark the beginning of a second Thirty Years War of unprecedented violence between 1914 and 1945 -- in other words there is a stark tendency to view the First World War in relation to 1933 and 1939, and to see the rise of Hitler as a consequence of the burden which the war and the following peace treaty of Versailles brought about.  The prize of this retrospective logic is a very deterministic view on history:  As if the Weimar Republic had been doomed to failure from its very beginning, and as if there had never been any alternative to dictatorship, mass murder and total war.

This constellation also explains why in German discussions, the dimension of the war is reduced to the question of a specific war guilt.  Since one cannot possibly deny the responsibility for the outbreak of war in 1939, the debate on 1914 is all the more intensive -- even 50 years after the so-called Fischer debate of the 1960s, caused by the Hamburg historian Fritz Fischer who argued that German political and military elites deliberately caused the war in an attempt to break off the perceived encirclement of the country.

In a fierce controversy, Fischer was attacked by many conservative colleagues, many of whom had fought in the war.  They accused him of confirming, ex-post facto, the allied position after 1918 vis-à-vis Germany and of legitimizing the Versailles treaty's logic, which had so much poisoned the Weimar Republic's political culture.

The amazing success of Christopher Clark's book "The Sleepwalkers" in Germany a hundred years after the outbreak of the war underlines just how important the question of war guilt still is in the eyes of many Germans.  The book's argument of shared responsibility, of all international actors and a complex interaction in July 1914, is translated into some kind of historical exculpation:  Yes, Germany caused the Second World War, but it is not the main and sole culprit behind the escalation in 1914 -- and hence German responsibility for what went wrong in the first half of the 20th Century seems to be put in relative terms.

At the moment one can witness how historical analysis is translated into the politics of history.  At first sight this is the core of what seems to be the continuation of earlier debates of the 1960s between followers and critics of Fischer.

But behind this, another debate becomes visible:  One about Germany's self-positioning in Europe and the world.  Because for decades the experience of two world wars and the catastrophe of the German nation state meant that Germany would abstain from a leading political role, including military engagements, corresponding to the country's economic strength.  Against this background it is hardly surprising that some political commentators argue that now, with the war-guilt of 1914 put away, it is high time to re-formulate a more outspoken European and world-wide responsibility of German politics.

However it seems surprising that all of this is still a very German perspective on a world war that was so much more than what happened at the Western and the Eastern front.  From a German perspective it is all too easy to fall into the retrospective logic of history, to view 1914 in the light of 1933, 1939 and 1945.  But the first of two world wars was more than a prelude, and it was more than an explosion of violence in Europe.

When writing my own book on the First World War in Harvard, many colleagues from the Americas, from Africa, from China, Japan and from India were right in asking for a global view on a truly global war.  Compared with this perspective the German view on the First World War is still heavily impregnated by the boundaries of national memory. 

READ MORE: Should nations pay price for leaders' misdeeds?
READ MORE: Seven things to know about man who sparked WWI
READ MORE: Meet the 'bionic men' of World War I






[1]  實際上,一戰成因較為複雜
·         戰爭記憶喪失:普法戰爭後數十年間未發生戰爭
·         為解決的領土問題
·         複雜的同盟關係(三國同盟、三國協商、英日同盟等)
·         複雜且片段的國家統治
·         外交上通信延遲、產生誤解
·         軍備擴張
·         軍事計劃無變通

3 則留言:

  1. 問題是世界大戰怎麼定義?

    現在是伊拉克、敘利亞、以色列、巴勒斯坦一片混戰的中東大戰。

    外加前蘇聯的烏克蘭、亞塞拜然、亞美尼亞,而亞美尼亞又下接伊朗,一旦伊朗加入這場中東大戰,整個戰場就是連在一起了。

    雖然沒有歐美等國,這樣算不算世界大戰?

    且不說東亞還有潛在的戰爭危機。

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  2. 因為這三國在同樣時期ㄧ直趕著硬體興建,這樣的日子過習慣了頭腦也跟著硬了?

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