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First World War as Enactment of a Collective Fantasy:
Nobody wanted to be left out. It was a family affair.

The most parsimonious explanation of the First World War is contained within a statement made by P. H. Pearse—founder of the Irish revolution movement (in Kamenka, 1976). Observing the daily carnage in France in 1916, he declared:

The last sixteenth months have been the most glorious in the history of Europe. Heroism has come back to the earth. It is good for the world that such things should be done. The old heart of the earth needed to be warmed with the red wine of the battlefield. Such august homage was never before offered to God as this, the homage of millions of lives given gladly for love of country.

The First World War was a monumental homage of devotion: millions of lives “given gladly for love of country.” The term “family of nations” refers to a “group of nations having equal status.” In order to have status as a member of this family, a nation had to perform a blood sacrifice.

Many nations chose to do so—to perform a blood sacrifice. The First World War was the enactment of a collective fantasy. Nobody wanted to be left out. It was a family affair.
First World War Casualties