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Why it matters to understand the causes of the First World War to avoid a third
Fig.1. Buried Alive, Otto Dix (1927 based on his experience of the Third Battle of Ypres, ‘Passchendaele in 1917)
One hundred years on it is worth comparing the causes of the First World War and to dread that events in Eastern Ukraine as indicators of the wrong response to the fragmentation of old empires: one hundred years ago the Ottoman Empire’s demise resulted in fractures at its edge – the Balkans and Middle East. Germany, eager to bolster another weakening empire, its ally the Austro-Hungarian Empire, took steps to test its power and influence to destruction by pushing Austro-Hungary to deal with Serbia with a swift conquest. To what degree is Putin testing the strength or weakness of the Russian Federation by the decisions taken first in Syria to support Assad and then in Ukraine to support the pro-Russian separatists? To what degree did Putin achieve this with his swift action in Crimea? What legacy did the British and French Empires leave in this region when they divided up their spoils in the Middle East?
There is an exhibition of original art work by Otto Dix at the De La Warr, Bexhill. Brilliant.