Kansas City Missouri

A Century Ago Today, An Assassination Led To World War I, Which Still Reverberates Today!

Precisely one hundred years ago today, a political assassination led to the outbreak of World War I, which still reverberates today in so many ways!

The Archduke Francis Ferdinand, the heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, along with his wife, were assassinated in Sarajevo, Bosnia, by Gavrilo Princip, a member of the Black Hand terrorist organization, which was out to prevent Habsburg influence over Bosnia, which was allied by ethnicity to Serbia nationalists, and had friendship and support with Czarist Russia.

The series of events that followed over the next five weeks led to general continental war in Europe, lasting more than four years, when most thought the war would be won by their side within months. Instead, we saw trench warfare, barbed wire separating the warring sides, and use of poison gas, with almost no progress toward victory on the “Western Front”, and total disaster for Czarist Russia in Eastern Europe against Germany and Austria-Hungary. It became known as the “Great War,” but it was only great in the massive loss of life of millions of people, and the upending of the traditional empires of European nations in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

World War I led to the following:

The rise of the Soviet Union and Communism, and the later Cold War, with the downfall and murder of the last Czar of Russia.

The end of the German Empire, but then the rise of Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler within 14 years of the end of the war, and the eventual outbreak of a more disastrous war, World War II.

The rise of Fascist Italy under Benito Mussolini within four years of the end of the war.

The end of the Austro Hungarian Empire, and the rise of separate nations based on nationality in Eastern Europe.

The end of the Ottoman Turkish Empire, and the creation by Great Britain and France of artificial boundaries for the Arab peoples of the Middle East, leading to more disarray and conflict on a constant basis, and now unraveling after a century.

The decline and fall of the British Empire, French Empire, and other European empires in Africa and Asia over two generations, creating instability in both Africa and Asia, and the creation of new nations on both continents.

The rise of the United States as the greatest military power after World War II until the late 1960s, when the Vietnam War, followed by the Iraq War and the Afghanistan War, undermined and weakened the supremacy of the American nation.

The world and America will be commemorating the events of World War I over the next four and a half years, and a worthwhile tourist site would be the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri, which the author has visited, and highly recommends to anyone wanting to understand the reality and the impact of this war, which transformed the world in so many ways!

Missouri, The Bellwether State For A Century, No Longer That!

Missouri, the state created under a compromise in 1820, became the bellwether state in Presidential elections from 1904 to 2004.

Missouri, always considered a Midwestern state, was one of the border states that did NOT join the Confederate States of America during the Civil War, despite having slavery.

Missouri, with the cities of St. Louis, Kansas City, and Springfield, trending Democratic as most cities did, however saw the rural parts of the state trending Republican as the years went by, and those three cities now represent less percentage of the population than they did in 1990.

So the evangelical Christian Right has become much more of the dominant influence in the rural areas, and Barack Obama could not win Missouri either in 2008 or 2012, and lost by a substantial margin in 2012.

It is now clear that Missouri is trending Republican more and more, and is much more like Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi, than it is like its neighbors of Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota!

Therefore, it is clear that Missouri is now a Southern, rather than Midwestern, state, and that the lack of population growth in St. Louis, Kansas City, and Springfield, together less than 20 percent of the state population, will make it difficult for any Democrat to win the state in a Presidential election.

The only reason for Claire McCaskill holding her Senate seat and Jay Nixon being Governor is their ability to come across as a conservative Democrat, and to have GOP opponents who are not well liked by the Missouri population.

So the bellwether state of Missouri is no more!

National Centennial Commission On World War I Signed Into Law By President Obama

America is in the midst of the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, and now President Obama has signed legislation creating a National Centennial Commission to commemorate American involvement in World War I, as well as marking the major events of the war before America entered in 1917, making the war more relevant to Americans. The centennial will occur between 2014 and 2018.

The commission is working in tandem with the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri, developing programs, projects, and activities to commemorate the “Great War”, and will also engage in fund raising as no tax money will be used to promote study and analysis of the war and its effects on America and the world.

Having personally visited the National World War I Museum last summer, this author can testify as to its magnificent exhibits and displays, and would highly recommend a visit by tourists, with the extra advantage of being able to visit the Harry Truman Presidential Library, Museum, and Home nearby in Independence, Missouri, as an added treat!

World War I Goes Into History: The Link To Today And Terrorism

In February, America’s last surviving veteran of the First World War, Frank Buckles, died.

Now we have news that the last combat veteran of the war, a British national, who later settled in Australia, named Claude Choules, has died, also at the same age of 110.

After the death of Frank Buckles, the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri held a service and commemoration of the passing of the last American soldier of that war.

It was noted that Americans had changed their view of the world totally when they abandoned isolationism and joined the war effort in Europe, and how so many sacrificed their lives and their heatlh to serve in a just cause.

Now that the last “doughboy” and last European combat veteran have both died, it is fitting that we recognize 97 years after that Great War commenced, and with the death of Osama Bin Laden by courageous Navy SEALS doing their duty to protect America, that the war against terrrorism has had a victory, but that the battle for freedom and security must go on in a world fraught with dangers not that different than a century ago!