Gillian Keegan’s comments show a lack of war understanding

ks180561-5 Chichester Cathedral Remembrance  phot kate'Gillian Keegan, MP for the Chichester Constituency arriving..ks180561-5 SUS-181111-230412008
ks180561-5 Chichester Cathedral Remembrance phot kate'Gillian Keegan, MP for the Chichester Constituency arriving..ks180561-5 SUS-181111-230412008

Now that the commemorations of the end of the First World War are over, I feel I must challenge our MP Gillian Keegan’s assertion that British servicemen died in the war to ‘preserve the freedoms we enjoy today’ (Observer November 8 page 22).

Such a claim betrays a lack of understanding of the nature and causes of the First World War.

The war was a clash of imperial powers against a background of rising nationalism and ethnic tension.

Britain, the major imperial power, entered the war ostensibly because it was in an alliance with France and Tsarist Russia but, more importantly because it did not want to see one power, Germany, achieve hegemony over continental Europe (what’s changed?).

The war was an unmitigated catastrophe in every respect and marked the end of a long period of stability in Europe and instead ushered in a period of incredible instability, rising ethnic violence and raw hatred, a period that did not end until after the Second World War.

I don’t deny that many British servicemen in the First World War died bravely and even perhaps with honour but to claim that they somehow sacrificed themselves for a noble cause such as freedom, is demonstrably false.

It is important that our children understand this truth, however unpalatable.

Robert Carey, Bookers Lane, Earnley