Cobbler, stick to your trade.
This universal ancient wisdom I ignored many times in my life. My last turn was to be an author. Not that I think I have a great talent. Too many times I changed my course in many countries around the world. And mostly it turned out luckily.
This last shift has resulted from a lifelong interest and my professional development. So I wanted to invent a new way “telling” History. I found that this abstract teaching profession migrated more and more from scientific work into the milieu of the storytellers. Because of this I presented a completely new kind of telling History. Occasion was the questionable centenary of the 4th August 1914, that day on which the British Empire declared war on Imperial Germany.
Having read Christopher Clark’s unbiased presentation of “The Sleepwalkers”, I encountered many facts of History being mentioned, but the author overlooked, according to my humble understanding, the coherent combination of these facts. So I decided to write with my limited means my own version.
The basic idea of this book is, apart from its unique conclusion, that a relatively short presentation is enriched by a huge, mostly English, “free online library”, where the esteemed reader not only reads the citations, but is enabled to read in the original source what was written before and afterwards. Thus, the reader is placed in the true factual context.
Furthermore it refers to a Gallery, in which all protagonists are duly portrayed. The not surprising fact is that my book is not in demand. But my online library and my picture gallery of all the culprits and wrongdoers is in demand.
Realizing that there is a certain need to improve my skills, I decided to consume another opus concerning the fact, this time written by Margaret MacMillian, a maternal Greatgranddaughter of David Lloyd-George, British Prime Minister from 1916-1922.
On page 645, her last page, she concludes indirectly who is to blame for the Great War. The German Emperor, Tirpitz, Grey, Moltke, Berchtold or Poincare? And “… we must remember, as the decision makers did, what had happened before 1914, what they learned from the Moroccan crises, the Bosnian one, or the events of the Frist Balkan Wars”. This statement leads to the book itself. It is a conglomerate of more than 850 citations out of more than 450 books compressed on 645 pages most likely collected from her auxiliary troops in her Universities . And it is not free from mistakes. So, she writes, that Oswald Spengler published his book “The decline of the West” “….. 1914, on the eve of the war”. Eve of the war is possibly correct, it depends how you look at it, but Volume 1 was published 1918 and Volume II 1922.
Completely missing is the English triangle, formed by the equerry`s son and his Godfather Edward VII and the Marlborough Man, which smoked cigars instead of cigarettes. Forgotten this Hero of the second Boer War, who played cat and mice with the Boers, ransacked Afghanistan, hunted hooligans in the streets of London, tabled behind the Maxim Machine guns in Omdurman and was utterly disliked by most people who knew him closer.
Not mentioned the strained relation between Queen Victoria and her son, the future King. This King, not very clever, as Admiral Fisher wrote, made his decisions in his bedroom, accompanied by his favorite mistress, Lady Randy, which was the mother of his colonial secretary, the above mentioned cigar smoker. Nothing is mentioned about Persia and Oil. And most important, the rapprochement between Great Britain and her ex-colonies in the west, across the ocean. Here an interesting link to my online library. The Americans and their Manifest destiny, first for continent and later for the whole world, as John Fiske claimed. They started with creating a state – Panama and subsequently conquered and occupied the Canal, Cuba, the Philippines, Guam and Hawaii. Stop, I forgot Guantanamo. All not important in her view.
The cobweb of her citations is filled and connected with a strong anti German bias. She has for all German characters in her drama a negative adjective: “ the old cynic Bülow”, and the hero of the German Social Democrats is the “old hardliner Bebel”, the anti liberal Bismarck, etc.. Special role in her work is a copied imagine, portrayed by John Röhl. The poor Kaiser, which by the way was only a fifty percent German. And his bad habits are possibly a result of inheritance from his inbred English relatives.
Therefore the author is a sleepwalker between sleepwalkers, A sleepwalking noctambulist.
Of course, especially when you have read the real Sleepwalkers, should read this book. It demonstrates what History not is.