A History Lesson for Our World War I Veterans

There were 40 million casualties during World War I.  There were about 23 million wounded and the rest died.  In earlier wars disease played a major role and disease accounted for about one-third of the deaths. American losses were put at under 120,000.  Do you think that Gavrilo Princip deserves the statue in Belgrade or would you decide that is should come down the way that statues of communist leaders, Confederate leaders, oppressors of the Irish, and others have come down?  A pillar to Princip was constructed and then destroyed in 1917. 

Of course you should not expect to find any World War I veterans anywhere near where you live.  This thought can only apply to one man who has broken the mold in American politics.  He has talked about airports that existed in the Revolutionary War and asked a woman who lost her family recently to violence where they were.  Here is that moment in what were the causes of World War I described in a lesson for kids instead.  It’s the story of world politics that went out of control, the Black Hand, and the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria.  And the patriotic Confederates who took a rocket ship to the moon so that they could unite US today will probably be mentioned soon by Donald Trump.

The assassination appears in one of my other articles.  But this lesson is largely devoted to Gavrilo Princip and perhaps you will share this lesson with others.

A young man wants to enlist in the Serb military and the officer tells him “you are too small and weak” to be of use and the officer threatened the youth with a beating if he did not leave right away.  That youth was Gavrilo Princip.  A year and a half later, the nephew of Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary was assassinated along with his wife.  The archduke spoke and said “Es ist nichts!”  So this young man who was too “puny” to fight in the army made big news around the world.  This was actually around the time that my grandmother came to America.

Here is some background information about his life.

He was poor.  The door of his house was small so he had to lower his head to enter.  There were no windows in his house.  The floor was made of earth.  Smoke went through a badza or hole in the roof.  His poverty was worsened by the fact that an annual cash tribute had to be paid to the absentee-landlord.  There were huge temptations in Serbia as prostitution was big where Princip lived.  He abstained from drinking and he treated all women with the respect accorded to mother or sister.  The Black Hand met on Bosnia Street in Belgrade for the first time.  That street has since been named Gavrilo Princip Street.  Almost thirty years later, Adolph Hitler used the events of June 28, 1914 as an excuse to attack Belgrade.

There were six conspirators on that day.

Four of the conspirators who were armed failed to use their weapons either out of fright or inexperience.

One threw a bomb that bounced off the archduke’s vehicle.

The chauffeur unfamiliar with Belgrade made a wrong turn and waited for almost a half-minute to proceed and nothing happened at that time.

Princip did fire a fatal shot at the archduke and proceeded to fire a shot at the military governor.  But that second shot happened just as a bystander tried to knock the gun out of Princip’s hand.  The shot missed its mark, but struck the archduke’s wife, killing her.  The archduke spoke those words in German, telling his wife that he was okay, but he died shortly after being struck. 

Princip swallowed cyanide, but the cyanide had oxidized and he suffered great pain only.  He was also badly beaten by the soldiers and police at that time.  I guess if he had not been rejected by the army or if he had flat feet and could get a doctor’s note, the history of the world might have been different.  Perhaps more like the United States today under Trump.  Taking extreme action against people does have consequences you know.  Those actions can be war, detention, budget cuts, hostile remarks both ethnic and racial, and general lying.  Much of my report is news, but it is an opinion piece that has to be made well known.  But there is a difference between Princip and Trump.  It’s not about age, wealth, power, or anything that you might think of. 

Princip was interviewed by a psychiatrist, Dr. Martin Pappenheim, and it was revealed that Princip suffered great guilt.  Why?  Austria-Hungary had long desired Serbia and was ready to attack it.  In a Trump-like trumped up move, Serbia was given forty-eight hours to reply to the demand of an investigation of the archduke’s death to be carried out by Austrian agencies instead of an independent investigation.  Serbia was unable to accept or comply with the terms and Austria-Hungary soon started to pummel Serbia.  This was a period in which Austria-Hungary illegally annexed territories (Bosnia and Hercegovina).

There were other causes of World War I, but keep in mind the casualties and the costs.  We are not talking about the cost of a wall that most likely cannot work.  I know that there are Americans that love to see Trump fight for the wall.  They love to see him fight, even if he fails (and he has failed a lot).  Gavrilo Princip was no prince and Trump is no king, but Trump has mesmerized his supporters.   Remember that Trump called the attempt to reach the United States an invasion.  The attempt to reach Palestine by Jews should be called an invasion as well.  It was an exhodus just like the recent caravans.  The poverty that Princip experienced is different and more modern, but it does exist.  Trump was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, but that mouth is not presidential (it is pestilential).   America should ask for the resignation of Donald Trump just as Puerto Rico has asked for the resignation of Governor Ricardo Rosselló.  The army officer that chased Grivaldo Princip away at the moment when he tried to volunteer to join the military as the officer he spoke to was actually firing his pistol at a cigarette package resting on the head of soldier at that moment (a la William Tell).  I see the words Make America Great Again on that package and the bullet demolishes the word Again completely.  We do have a lot to be happy for in America, but Trump has increased the national debt which did not have to go up (there was no borrowing that caused it), he has now begged the rest of the free world to help him with Iran, he has neglected large segments of the poor, African-Americans, and others across America at a time of tremendous growth, he has stirred the pot of anti-Semitism, racism, and Islamophobia, he has had the wrong Christians around him, and he never belonged in the race to the top of American politics.  He was unfit for duty in the U.S. military and unfit today for mental reasons that we see in him.  Let’s have a real president and Make America Great finally.  “Send him back” to Trump Tower and file charges against him.

I wish it would bear fruit in making this important point about the way that Trump is fighting for “his” Americans and making US safer, but I know that changing the minds of people who either voted for him or intend to vote for him (at this moment) is very slow.  A large percentage of those people keep repeating Trump falsehoods and/or lies.  Let’s take up waterboarding which Trump was talking about a long time ago.  The Justice Department gave its legal opinion on that when George W. Bush was president and Bush tried to have the attorney general sign off on allowing waterboarding even though the legal department advised against it.  Today it is as plain as daylight that Trump controls the Justice Department through Attorney General Barr and we have not seen a turnaround which Trump talked about.  So I guess with all the terrorism taking place in the world today, Trump is satisfied and he is not fighting to reinstate waterboarding to protect US and our interests.  Now what kind of fighter is that?  And remember that part of Trump’s modus operandi is to make things difficult for people (other nations, the immigrants trying to come here, the press, the opposition, the workers in our federal government, and more).    The national aspirations of Grivaldo Princips in Palestine, the Ukraine, and other places around the world still exist.  Trump is surely not keeping US away from World War III, but an intelligent American people can prevent that war.  The conclusion really is that an unknown radical student or a poorly informed elected official can do great, unexpected harm to his nation and its people (and the world).

The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand caused violent demonstrations by angry Croats and Muslims where shops were attacked and two Serbs were killed.  The Austro-Hungarian Army committed executions, mass murder and rape as well as towns were burned and looted.  There was other destruction of property and water wells were poisoned.