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The Great War's Ominous Echoes

Stashed in: International Incidents, History

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"Once lines are drawn between nations, reaching across them becomes difficult. In the Europe of 1914, the growth of nationalist feeling — encouraged from above but rising from the grass roots where historians, linguists and folklorists were busy creating stories of ancient and eternal enmities — did much to cause ill will among nations who might otherwise have been friends. What Freud called the “narcissism of small differences” can lead to violence and death — a danger amplified if the greater powers choose to intervene as protectors of groups outside their own borders who share a religious or ethnic identity with them. Here, too, we can see ominous parallels between present and past."

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