Our understanding of the war has been overlaid by misunderstandings, and misrepresentations which reflect an, at best, ambiguous attitude to this country and, at worst, an unhappy compulsion on the part of some to denigrate virtues such as patriotism, honour and courage. The First World War may have been a uniquely horrific war, but it was also plainly a just war. . . . The ruthless social Darwinism of the German elites, the pitiless approach they took to occupation, their aggressively expansionist war aims and their scorn for the international order all made resistance more than justified.The response from the other side is, what outcome could possibly have been worse than the actual one? After four years of struggle that nearly bankrupted Europe and left 16 million dead, Germany was humiliated but not really defeated, leading directly to the rise of Hitler and thus to World War II, the worst event in human history. This is the view of many on the British left, who elide conservatives' retroactive support for World War I with their opposition to joining the European Union today. Tristam Hunt, who is the Labour Party's education point man, responded to Gove by complaining,
It’s all within a strain of anti-Europe, German-phobic thinking. . .. it’s a shame to let the politicians just frame this in terms of how we beat up the Germans.But ant-war views are not only found on the left; perhaps the most famous historian taking this stand is Niall Ferguson, a Tory nationalist who thinks that by entering the war Britain broke its economy and insured its decline as a world power. Ferguson recently called the British entry into the war "the biggest error in modern history."
So good luck with that non-political commemoration.