History is probably the greatest teacher. That is if we are really willing to take the time to learn. One hundred years ago the nation had sent nearly a million Americans to “defend” freedom in Europe. Regardless of race or gender they went to protect the inalienable rights of others. Rights that, for many, were not enjoyed at home. A century later we still argue and struggle over many of the same conflicts including the vestiges of a manufactured middle-east contrived during the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. Even in the wake of the United States becoming the economic and military power of the age, gender, race and economic equality was, and remains, elusive. These issues are no less important today and still require a true commitment in their resolution. It will take effort. It will take stewardship. It will take servant leaders and managers. They must come from all sectors, levels, and venues. They must be truly willing to negotiate, collaborate and actually implement. The applied skill sets found in schools of management, leadership and policy must be complemented with a true sense of civics, history, justice and culture. The Great War is an example of what happens when there is not a universally accepted obligation to balance the individual rights of a few with the common good of all. So was the case in Europe. So was the case in the United States.
This winter, I am teaching a graduate course in Public Sector Management and Leadership while at another institution I’m teaching the second in a three course series on the the causation and aftermath of the Great War. We all keep moving forward in our own ways. For those of you that are interested, you may want to look into the WWI exhibits and events currently happening at the Library of Congress. A plethora of applicable examples for managers and leaders awaits.
The Great War was all about dying aristocracies fighting against each other for no particular good reason as they had been doing for hundreds of years to keep their Empires intact.
The “Peace”afterwards was crafted to carve up the spoils of war, and keep colonialism in place.
While the Magna Carta gave birth to the concept of rights, it actually grew up and matured in the USA.
Every mass genicide before and after the Great War and accelerated during the the Interregnum and reached its climax during WWII courtesy of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.
After WWII, Every Country in Europe was a passive viewer of every horrific act by countries such as Communist China, Biafra, the Balkans, Ruwsanda, Sudan, and occurring now in Syria, North Korea Yemen, and the terrorism systematically sponsored by Iran,all provide evidence that governments don’t care about individual or human rights. But they all give lip service to the idea.
By world standards the USA try’s to learn from its mistakes and still is by any realistic behavior of governments is still a “Shining light on the hill”