A hundred years ago at this very moment, German troops were entering the neutral nation of Belgium as part of the famous Schliffen Plan which called for Germany to make quick fast invasion of France, compel the French to surrender, and then turn German troops eastward to confront and defeat the Russian army. The Plan was clear. Quick marches, sudden attacks, the enemy defeated, and then peace reigns in Europe. Between 1815 to 1914 there had only been three minor wars in Europe, so for someone who was a hundred years old, this person had never witnessed a major war, and was completely unfamiliar with the idea that innocent civilians would be forced to die because men were fighting a war. As German, French, Russian and English soldiers got on trains headed for combat, crowds cheered. There were wild celebrations for the announcement of war. The vast majority of those cheering were convinced the “war” would soon conclude, their soldiers would return home with victory, and then the pre-war wold would return to normal. Such were the dreams, such were the fantasies of those seeking war. Most probably, civilians in any war expect victory–for their side. The assumption is always, “we are on the right side. Since we are on God’s side, victory must ensue.” The “enemy” is some vague creature lacking in the peaceful attitudes of those going to war. After all, if our soldiers attack an enemy, it is only because the enemy initially fired and caused this conflict.
Every nation going to war assumes they are on the “right side.” It is rare for a nation to consider–what comes after victory? Or, what happens if we lose the war? Those concepts are not in the minds of soldiers or leaders seeking to defeat the enemy. Of course, the Guns of August never ceased firing for four long years of death and destruction. Then, came silence. Then came “peace.” Of course, twenty one years later came another World War. It would be interesting getting into the mind of Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu, what now after the tunnels of death are destroyed?