To End, All War is a thoroughly researched war novel with inspiring characters. A letter he found tucked inside an old book he bought in an antique store motivated the author’s interests in the Great War (WWI). Written in 1918 by Monroe, the chauffeur of an affluent family in Baltimore, the letter appears word for word within the novel. The novel brings three American siblings into the Great War—John, Michael, and Catherine Morris. John, the eldest, volunteers to become a flyer in Lafayette Escadrille before America enters the war. In June, 1918, Monroe drives Michael and Catherine to New York. A surgeon, Michael is sent to France and assigned to an aid station.
The Great War – a Brief History:
In 1882, Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy signed a defensive pact called the Triple Alliance. In 1907, France concluded the Triple Entente with England and Russia. Thus, the primary opposing sides were formed well before war began.
The mixture of international pacts, defensive alliances, an arms race, a growth in nationalism, competing economic interests, a rivalry over colonies, and the total failure of diplomacy, all combined to create substantial tension among the ambitions of European nations. The Balkan region, already called the “powder keg,” needed only a spark to explode. That spark arrived when Bosnian Gavrilo Princip, a member of the Black Hand, assassinated Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife Sofia in Serbian Sarajevo on June 28, 1914, their wedding anniversary.
Franz Joseph, emperor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, believed officials in Serbia were involved. He issued 10 demands, of which Serbia accepted all but one. Refusing to compromise, Franz Joseph asked Kaiser Wilhelm to back his “punishment” of Serbia, knowing that Russia was committed to defend it. Wilhelm agreed, expecting a local war.
As protector of Serbia if attacked, Tsar Nicholas II mobilized the Russian army in spite of warnings from Kaiser Wilhelm to let the punishment go forward. Once Franz Joseph attacked, the most costly, most deadly war in recorded history unfolded, killing millions.
The War Begins:
On July 28,1914, Austro-Hungary attacked Serbia, bringing Germany, Russia, France, a reluctant Italy, a concerned England, and then the Ottomans into war. Japan joined the Allies in August 1914. Italy quit the Triple Alliance in May 1915 and joined the Allies on the promise of new territory. Thus, both Italy and Japan, Allies in the First World War, were our enemies in the Second World War–just one of many ironies in history. Both sides believed the war would end by Christmas. They were all very wrong!
The first “total war” caused a roughly equal number of soldier and civilian deaths–15 million. That does not count the 40 to 100 million deaths caused by the Spanish flu [the true number was impossible to fix], a pandemic that spread from the trenches as sick soldiers returned home during and after the war. Total deaths, military and civilian, whether caused directly or indirectly, is roughly equal to the entire population of the US in 1914, about 100,000,000 lives.
The War Ends:
Germany signed an Armistice at 5:10 AM in Marshal Foch’s railroad car in Compiègne on November 11, 1918. They agreed to end the war at 11:00 AM. Fighting would continue for nearly six hours at the cost of well over 1,000 Allied lives. The Armistice led to the holiday called Armistice Day [now Veterans Day] and an expression “the eleventh hour,” meaning the last minute something began. The war’s lasting consequences sprang largely from the Treaty of Versailles, which altered the shape of Europe and the Middle East, and effectively guaranteed a Second War World, friction among Arab nations. A suggestion of Lord Balfour in 1917, led to the creation of a
Nicholas Lambros proudly served in the United States Army. During his travels to Europe, he visited the battlefields and cemeteries of both world wars. Now retired from teaching, Nicholas resides with his wife, Gail, in Monkton, Maryland, where he enjoys writing poetry and painting landscapes.
Born in December of 1939, I remember the Second World War. Uniforms Jeeps, and Naval ships were everywhere.
After three-plus years in the US Army, I graduated college with a degree in English and Psychology and classes in French and German. I met my wifeGail as a teacher in Baltimoe Country. We visited two US military cemeteries in Europe. I found and old book in a shop with a letter inside written in 1918. The letter became the inspiration for the novel To End All War.