The jury hasn’t even gone out, and the verdict is clear: 2016 is guilty of being a monumental stinker.
It’s being suggested that 2016 will be remembered as one of the worst years in history.
My fear is that 2016 will hardly be remembered at all.
How many people ever talk about 1913?
The Balkans had been in violent uproar. Peace talks broke down at the beginning of 1913. But then the Balkans found peace when the war was ended by force… and then another started. There were armistices… and more outbreaks.
King George of Greece was assassinated after years of “acquiring” new territories for his country. He was not averse to taking what was not freely given. He was just one of several who fell to terrorists that year.
By the time the Balkans had festered through 1913, due in no small part to interest from Great Powers near and far, it was generally understood that a really big war – going far beyond the local hostilities – was inevitable.
The assassination in Sarajevo of peacenik Franz Ferdinand the following summer was really just the culmination of political manoeuvring that had been building in the years leading up to and including 1913.
Everybody remembers the horror that “started” in 1914. But I suspect that the general feeling at the end of 1913 was that it was probably one of the worst years ever.
A couple more unhappy asides for 1913: the “Irish Question” was settled – and the settlement was rejected by the House of Lords. Women were refused the vote – again – in several countries.
In the popular history, Kaiser Wilhelm II has been blamed for finally causing the First World War. But insiders – on both sides – maintain that he never wanted a general European war. They say he was just a bombastic loudmouth who gave folks the wrong impression and unwittingly painted his country in a corner.
Hmmm… sound like anyone we know?
Next time you’re told, “At least 2017 can’t be worse than 2016,” remember Donald Trump was only elected president in 2016; in 2017 he actually will be president.
That said, I hope I am as wrong as I have ever been. Bigly.
Perhaps The Donald will make the world great again.
That’s my wish for the New Year: may 2017 be the greatest in the history of years!