A hundred years on, the world is celebrating the end of the First World War with remembrance ceremonies to revere the millions of fallen.
But the war that was meant to end all wars did not turn out as hoped
In the century since the guns stopped firing over the trenches that zig-zagged across Europe, they not only boomed again over France, but in many other conflicts worldwide, from the Second World War, Vietnam and continuing unrest in the Middle East.
Remembrance Day is the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, and is typically considered a European event.
But that’s not a fair representation of the Great War.
Not much fighting took place outside Europe – the Gallipoli campaign in Turkey is one of the exceptions.
More than 3 million soldiers from across the former British empire and commonwealth stood shoulder to shoulder with troops from the USA and Britain.
For instance, a million Indian troops fought in the First World War, with 74,187 dead and 67,000 wounded.
Web site The Commonwealth Contribution describes how soldiers from around the former empire took part in the war.
“The commonwealth soldiers’ contribution and sacrifice must never be forgotten, and with the centenary of the War fast approaching, it is more important than ever to commemorate these forgotten heroes,” says the web site.
Dismantling the old empires
“The vital role that soldiers, sailors and airmen from the commonwealth played in The First World War is all too often misunderstood and remains only partially appreciated.”
It’s a shame the lessons of the past have not been learned.
Much of the political and civil unrest around the world today springs from the dismantling of the European empires after the Great War.
The troubles in the Middle East and between India and Pakistan can be directly attributed to the end of the British empire as well as centuries-long religious rivalries.
The other great sadness is no doubt bullets and bombs will still kill civilians in Yemen and Syria while the rest of the world stops and prays for peace on Remembrance Day.