This book jointly chronicles the devastating carnage wrought by World War I and the resultant activities of four inhabitants of the warring countries, they also facing the tragic events suffered by millions of their fellow citizens.
The Axis of Germany and the Austrian-Hungarian Empire were pitted against the Allied resources of France, Russia, and Great Britain, fought during a period of four-plus years that would eviscerate several decades of mainly peace and increased prosperity, then most tragically kill or maim millions. A century later, historians continue to debate the question why the outwardly sane, experienced and dedicated leaders plunged their domains into near Armageddon.
The Germans believed their DNA mandated God to inherently choose them to be the ultimate leaders of the world, a concept not internally challenged. Franz Joseph, Emperor of the complicit Empire was old, tired and no match for the bombastic German Kaiser Wilhelm and readily convinced to join the Hun in their fight against others.
France and Great Britain were bound to a mutual defense pact of Belgium, the gateway for German passageway to directly invade France. Correspondingly, Russia was entangled in a defense alliance with Serbia, a Balkan locale the victim of a surprise 1914 attack by the Empire, setting off the continental conflagration. The isolationist United States adamantly refusing any military involvement, the rationale that it was solely a European problem.
Once hostilities broke out, and as time and casualties escalated with no clear winner evident, one side counted the days until America joined in to land the decisive blows, the other doing their best to keep them on the sidelines. Eventually, in 1917, United States President Woodrow Wilson declared war on Germany, and as both sides had predicted, that became the crucial element for Allied victory and the subsequent restructuring of both Europe and the Middle East.
Andre Petit, Jimmy Collins, Friedrich Langer, and Nikolai Popov—none of whom were at any time directly in harm’s way, nonetheless, found their lives significantly affected by the ongoing incessant hostilities their respective countries had chosen. Each man had inherently, differing circumstances due to location and environment. What were the effects on their normal existence? What adjustments did each find necessary, if any? What did the war eventually cost them spiritually and emotionally? Like everyone else, they would not escape the war unscathed despite not ever being in physical danger from the ongoing military battles.