It varies depending on which country you’re in (e.g. August 1 in Germany, August 3 in France, August 4 in the UK), but 100 years ago today, World War I began in earnest. The following four years saw a deadly conflict that crossed the globe and took the lives of 16 million people and injured 20 million more, and led directly to the greater conflagration of WWII.
The conflicts of the past sixty years or so, as damaging as they were and taking their own toll of human suffering, have been mild blips by comparison to the wholesale slaughter that took place on the Western and Eastern fronts.
By sheer coincidence, I’ve been listening to a rendition of Barbara Tuchman’s “The Guns of August”, a superbly written and sobering historical account of the build up to the war and its pivotal first month. May we never see anything like this ever again.