This is a very thought-provoking and timely piece from two years ago in 2012. the BBC has been running a series of programmes and features in topical issues’ programmes like The One Show commemorating the First World War. The Incubus in this piece describes how the War actually surprised most ordinary people. The only people who weren’t were a select few generals and civilians, who had been highly suspicious of Germany since the end of the 19th century. These fears had led to a series of stories and novels about a future German invasion, such as The Battle of Dorking. The Incubus, however, points to a less well-known event that contributed to the eruption of the War: the financial crisis of 1907, which the US managed to stave off through massive arms sales. He furthermore points to the alarming parallels between the situation then and today, when capitalism also seems to be on the verge of another crisis, and the danger that this could plunge into yet another terrible War.

INCUBUS: Incendiary rants of an apostate anarchist

SUMMER 1914-

To the average man or woman in Britain during the summer of 1914 the world carried on much as usual. The news that an Archduke Ferdinand had been murdered in central Europe meant nothing to most people, and as far as enemies were concerned they felt it a good idea to keep a wary eye on the French. Buoyant financial markets had initially shrugged off the assassination of the Archduke; there was far greater concern about the possibility of a civil war in Ireland. Certain newspapers such as the Daily Mail had been warning for years of the “German menace” but nobody paid them much attention…There was no general public fear of war or awareness that war was in the air, simply because it was not. Across the Western world, it was by and large true that ordinary people felt no apprehension. There leaders who worried — but…

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