Originally posted on Connect | Engage | Inspire:
By Matt Naylor, National World War I Museum president and CEO
The world is commemorating the first global conflict. Centennials are often a cause for celebration. But not this. Rather, it is a reason to learn, make meaning, and remember.
The world leading up to the summer of 1914 was much like the world of today. Europe faced rising nationalism and awareness of ethnic differences. Alliances shifted between nations and ruling families. Countries and empires sought increased influence to drive their goals of expansion. Changing technologies, including shifts in energy sources, changed power balances.
So while the June murder of the heir to the Austrian Hungarian Empire—an empire unfamiliar to most of us today—is considered by many as a cause of World War I, it is better thought of as the match that struck the kindling of a well-set fireplace.
What made this war different from earlier ones was that…
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