The end of the First World War and the end of the Second World War
So many people were touched by the story Nineteen Seventeen which I posted on Facebook on Remembrance Day this year. So many of you were kind enough to share it.
The story took place in a little town—Belleville, Ontario in 1917 a year before the ending of the First World War. It’s the way I like to remember wars on Remembrance Day with the telling of a true anti-war story. The little boy who tells the story was my own father. It’s a true story which, I’m sure, has many versions but this is the only one written down right here: http://maryemartintrilogies.com/remembrance-day-1917/
When we think of Remembrance Day we are naturally looking back in time. Today, I’d like to look ahead because we are now [once again] talking about nuclear war. I posted this essay Walk to War on Facebook this year in August on my birthday.
August 15, 1945 is also an historically significant date because it marks the end of the Second World War.
Today, the world seems caught up in a dangerous game of chicken with the Presidents of both North Korea and the United States going head to head trying to outdo each other with their insults. Unfortunately, I’m afraid that people do not have the same fear of the nuclear threat as we once did. Without that fear, we could easily sleep walk into yet another world war.
Walking to War
I shudder to hear present day media discussions of nuclear strikes. To me it sounds as if people think a nuclear bomb is just a really big bomb.
People who did not grow up in the shadow of the nuclear bomb [1945 to say 1980] may not understand its devastating power. Those who are not aware of the years of work gone into treaties for non-proliferation of nuclear weapons may not realize just how dreadful the effects of such weapons would be.
Just a glance at Wikipedia will tell us
“Nuclear weapons are weapons of mass destruction in contrast to conventional warfare. Nuclear warfare can produce destruction in a much shorter time-frame and can have a long-lasting radiological warfare dimension. A major nuclear exchange would have long-term effects, primarily from the fallout released, and could also lead to a nuclear winter that could last for decades, centuries, or even millennia after the initial attack.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wik humankind.i/Nuclear_warfare
We are courting human extinction. When we speak of a possible North Korean nuclear war, we are talking about destroying the planet, humankind and any civilization on it. There is no such thing as a limited nuclear war.
The disastrous effects of mass exposure to radiation is only one very big difference between nuclear and non-nuclear war. Where are those people working to solve climate change problems? The changes to the globe that would occur cannot be imagined or overstated. We have to discuss nuclear war realistically. It’s not just a big bomb. Read the words of …
Pope John Paul II at Peace Memorial Hall, Hiroshima on February 25th, 1981.
“To remember the past is to commit oneself to the future. To remember Hiroshima is to abhor nuclear war. To remember Hiroshima is to commit oneself to peace. To remember what the people of this city suffered is to renew our faith in man, in his capacity to do what is good, in his freedom to choose what is right, in his determination to turn disaster into a new beginning. In the face of the man-made calamity that ever war is, one must affirm and reaffirm, again and again, that the waging of war is not inevitable or unchangeable. Humanity is not destined to self-destruction.”
The media has been referring frequently to the book by Barbara Tuchman, “The Guns of August” which outlines how our world walked into World War One, step by step. Many think we are blindly following the same path with respect to North Korea. But this is not sleep walking. It’s a dangerous game of chicken.
This is the book trailer for Barbara Tuchman’s work “The Guns of August”. It stresses that this all encompassing conflagration was set off by a very few very powerful people. https://youtu.be/tFvHkXxoZEI
As a teenager I read On the Beach by Nevil Shute, a novel about people who moved to Australia to escape the effects of a nuclear war. Unfortunately, they had to consider their fate as they awaited the radiation headed toward them. Here’s the opening scene from
On the Beach” https://youtu.be/EMzEWpKKOZs
Who can forget the movie Dr. Strangelove made in 1964 by Stanley Kubrick. It satirizes the Cold War fears of a nuclear war between the Soviet Union and the United States. Here are the last few moments of the movie. https://youtu.be/wxrWz9XVvls
When I looked for information on this film, I could not help notice that very few movies about nuclear war had been made since the late 1980s. Perhaps this is why many people seem not understand just just what nuclear war is.
It’s impossible to have a limited nuclear war. The range of damage is from total extinction of human beings to great sickness and a return to the dark ages. As we used to say in the late 1950s or 60s—consider yourself lucky if you get to die.
In the United States, the President has absolute and sole authority to decide whether there should be a nuclear strike. Fortunately Congress is presently reviewing the wisdom of that.
I’d like to hear your thoughts. Am I overstating the case?
But if you are speaking with anyone on this topic, perhaps you should remind them just what the reality is. If you share my concern on this topic, the please do not hesitate to share this post.
I am working on a novel [The Wondrous Apothecary] in which one of the characters, an old man damaged in the Second World War, says,
“Seventy five years later and we’re still no better than we were thousands of years ago. Maybe we blow things up just for fun and to see what’s underneath? Such a wonderfully wicked lot we were!”
It seems I am growing more and more concerned about the outbreak of war!
I’d love to hear from you any time. If I’ve started a conversation, please join in and leave your comments. If you like thinking, writing and reading about art, literature and the examined life, why not subscribe to the blog.
Mary E. Martin is the author of two trilogies: The Osgoode Trilogy, inspired by her many years of law practice; and The Trilogy of Remembrance, set in the glitter and shadows of the art world. Both Trilogies will elevate the reader from the rush and hectic world of today and spin them into realms of yet unimagined intrigue. Be inspired by the newly released and final installment of The Trilogy of Remembrance, Night Crossing. Yes—there is a seventh novel, which is not part of either trilogy. Provisionally entitled The Wondrous Apothecary, it is scheduled for publication in early 2018.
Please feel free to look around the website and visit the shop at http://www.amazon.com/author/maryemartin