Armistice Day 2014; Wilfred Owen, poet in action

James Mulraine

Yesterday I read a piece by Jeremy Paxman – usually a fount of good sense – on why there is no point in commemorating Armistice Day, because mere silence has failed to end war. Well, of course it has. No one now believes in ‘a last war’. There were perhaps five minutes – round about the fall of the Berlin Wall – when my generation believed in peace. In the thirty years since I feel like the Old Man in 1984. When he remembers something happening ‘before the war’, Winston asks him ‘what war was that?’ ‘What war?’ says the Old Man: ‘It’s all wars.’

Even if we think it can’t change very much, it is still so important to remember the First World War, because it was the first time the world felt that it had gone too far; that war was not simply an instrument of foreign policy but a threat to…

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