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John Singer Sargent's Gassed presents a classical frieze of soldiers being led from the battlefield - alive, but changed forever by individual encounters with deadly hazard in war.

The Cost of War: Democracy Comes at a Price – Part 1

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A Serbian by the name of Gavrilo Princip assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne, on 28 June 1914. The action of Princip would lead the world into a war of unbelievable devastation. How could such advanced nations go to war with such ease is hard to understand, when many of them were industrial and commercial empires? Nevertheless, the American public’s stance towards the war was neutral and why not? It was not America’s war, but the old world doing what it does best, fighting over past legacies. But that stance was to change, once the American Banks stepped in.

This is the New Zealand Division marching from Trentham to embark for Europe. Source  A World War 1 Story, Part 6. Hutt Valley, Wellington, New Zealand, 14 April 1916. (CC BY-SA 2.0)

This is the New Zealand Division marching from Trentham to embark for Europe. Source  A World War 1 Story, Part 6. Hutt Valley, Wellington, New Zealand, 14 April 1916. ( CC BY-SA 2.0 )

Mobilizing the Troops

The troop mobilization during the Great War was massive. The Allied Powers consisted of the Russian Empire (12,000,000 troops); the British Empire (8,841,541 troops); the French Third Republic (8,660,000 troops); the Kingdom of Italy (5,615,140 troops); the Kingdom of Romania (1,234,000 troops);  the Kingdom of Serbia (707,343 troops);  the Belgium (380,000 troops); the Kingdom of Greece (250,000 troops); the United States (4,743,826 troops) and the Empire of Japan ( 800,000 troops).  The total for the Allied powers was 42, 959, 850 troops.  On the opposing side, the Central Powers consisted of the German Empire (13,250,000 troops); Austria-Hungary (7,800,000 troops); the Ottoman Empire (2,998,321 troops) and the Kingdom of Bulgaria (1,200,000 troops). The total for the Central Powers was 25,248, 321 troops.

When considering the number of troops involved in a battle, one also has to consider the auxiliary costs: amount of supplies, ammunition, food rations, uniforms, medicine, how many soldiers die in combat, how many soldiers wounded, and such logistics. Every second becomes a constant rotation of supplies. When calculating the consumption of supplies and all that is replaced, the cost of war comes at a staggering price.

Since the cost of war was exorbitant, the Allies turned to America for assistance to provide currency and munitions to the effort, even when America was reluctant to get involved in the war directly. President Woodrow Wilson, at the time, declined to enter the war due to the American public’s preference to stay neutral.

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Cam Rea  is an author and military historian. He has written numerous articles for Ancient Origins, Classical Wisdom Weekly, and has authored several books, including:  The Wars of Israel: A Military History of Ancient Israel from the End of Judges to Solomon

Top Image : John Singer Sargent's Gassed presents a classical frieze of soldiers being led from the battlefield - alive, but changed forever by individual encounters with deadly hazard in war. ( Public Domain )

By Cam Rea

Comments

first of all the good ol' u s of a is a republic not a democracy, it says so in your pledge of allegiance "and to the republic for which it stands" spreading democracy with war is stupid arrogant and wasteful not costly. the 1%ers make 100% profit from it and the working class and poor pay all the overhead, with their bad backs and lives! look at all the democracy spreading that is going on in Iraq, Afghanistan, hows that workin' for ya. not so well! why does the imperialistic U S of A call Syria, Russia or ISIS bombing of innocent children a war crime, yet at the exact same second in time bombing innocent children with targeted drone strikes in a country they are NOT at war with (legally) called collateral damage. murdering children trying to kill a PERCEIVED threat goes against GOD almighty as in thou shalt not kill. since you claim to be a "historian" look at all the societies that have collapsed due to wars, political/social unrest, disparity of wealth, climate change, and disease. we have all that right now, if you open your eyes. people like you don't seem to learn from all your arrogant, dick swinging, and bomb dropping violence. you need to wake up and smell the BULLSHIT!

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