Soldiers in WWI Boston Public Library

De terugkeer van de slaapwandelaars

PARIJS – Op 28 juni 1914 werden de Oostenrijks-Hongaarse troonopvolger, aartshertog Franz Ferdinand, en zijn vrouw Sofie, hertogin van Hohenberg, vermoord in Sarajevo – waardoor een reeks slechte beslissingen op gang werd gebracht die heeft geleid tot de Eerste Wereldoorlog. Een eeuw later wordt de wereld opnieuw verscheurd door conflicten en onzekerheden, zoals in het Midden-Oosten, Oekraïne en de Oost- en Zuid-Chinese Zee. Kan inzicht in de vergissingen die in 1914 zijn begaan de wereld helpen een nieuwe grote ramp te voorkomen?

Het is een feit dat de wereldorde de afgelopen honderd jaar dramatisch is veranderd. Maar het steeds indringender gevoel dat we de controle over de geschiedenis zijn kwijtgeraakt, samen met ernstige twijfels over de bekwaamheden en principes van onze leiders, verleent de gebeurtenissen in Sarajevo van 1914 een zekere relevantie.

Nog maar een jaar geleden zou iedere vergelijking tussen de zomer van 1914 en nu kunstmatig hebben geleken. De enige parallel die kon worden getrokken beperkte zich tot Azië: deskundigen vroegen zich af of China geleidelijk aan de moderne equivalent aan het worden was van het Duitsland onder keizer Wilhelm II; de toenemende regionale spanningen over de territoriale claims van China leken tot op zekere hoogte op de situatie op de Balkan aan de vooravond van de Eerste Wereldoorlog.

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