Why the First World War Was No Waste

One of the oddities of the early 21st century is that we feel it has no shape. Random events occur, threats emerge, governments seem ineffectual or drifty. But this is just normal life, as experienced by human beings for long stretches of time. It feels inadequate to us as a result of the legacy of a single very peculiar sequence, a sort of grand opera in five acts: the First World War, the Great Depression, the rise of Hitler, the Second World War, the Cold War.

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