EA November 2013

"The Sleepwalkers. How Europe Went to War in 1914." by Christopher Clark. HarperCollins. 736 pages and "1913. The World Before the Great War." By Charles Emmerson. Public Affairs. 526 pages.

michaelmosettigOn a rainy late Autumn morning in Central Hong Kong, more than five thousand miles from the bloodied battle fields of Flanders and now close to a century away from the outbreak of the war from which Europe has arguably yet to recover, a small crowd clustered at the city's Cenotaph to observe Remembrance Sunday one day before Armistice Day when  World War I  ended on November 11, 1918.

On the edge of a China and Asia that is now ascendant as Europe  was a century ago, Hong Kong paid tribute officially  to dead of both World Wars in a ceremony that reflected its British colonial past with bands and bagpipes but its new reality concluding with the Chinese National Anthem. Joining local officials and civic groups laying wreaths of red poppies were consular officials  and military officers from Europe and  the United States and contingents from Australia, New Zealand and Canada, the British dominions that achieved their modern nationhood in the decimation of their soldiers in the failed strategies of British politicians and generals at Gallipoli, the Somme and Flanders.