An inevitable war

Letter by Jon Lockwood

ImageWith reference to ‘Choosing War' (PN 2570-2571): the problem with liberalism’ . It may be that there were choices that individuals could have made that would have altered events, but wasn’t the whole imperial, colonial set-up in Europe waiting for conflict?

The First World War was a continuation of the colonial project, an end game, of a conflict that had been unfolding across the globe since the ‘Golden Age of Piracy’, just with added industrial production techniques.

Churchill, when he had moved the royal navy from coal to oil, had said that fuel shift required nothing less than mastery of the world. From then on, the driving force of the royal navy wasn’t the coal mines of Wales but the Persian oil fields. To maintain the empire the oil fields had to be under British control; protecting British Interests.

The Berlin-Baghdad railway line was in 1914 a few years from completion (in theory). Once finished this would have given the Central Powers access to those oil fields. (Railways were key to the initial German mobilisation in Europe. A rail connection to Baghdad would have made this likely.) Britain would have gone to war to control the Middle East because the royal navy needed oil. Whether the elites in charge went to war in 1914 or 1916 is almost irrelevant; they would have gone to war to protect their interests at some point, and the industrial age of railway timetables made it inevitable.

No Justice, No Peace