How do wars start? Today, as tensions build between the United States and the People’s Republic of China, the example of World War I is frequently invoked. Many fear that, as in 1914, the world is “sleepwalking” into war, and that a poorly-managed crisis over a strategically insignificant issue could escalate rapidly into global catastrophe. But what actually happened in the lead up to WWI, and how can such a historical comparison be used to better understand the present? As many as 20 million people died as a result of WWI, while its conclusion merely set the stage for World War II, which incurred a death toll three times as large. A nuclear exchange between China and the United States could easily exceed even those breathtaking figures and, as WWI did for Europe, all but end civilization as we know it. Our class will work to understand how major conflicts begin, and how both our survival and our freedom can be preserved.
Mr. Aaron MacLean
Aaron MacLean is the director for policy at The Paul E. Singer Foundation. A combat Marine veteran, he was educated at St. John’s College, Annapolis, and Balliol College, Oxford. He served as an infantry officer in Afghanistan, and his final assignment in the Marine Corps was teaching English literature at the U.S. Naval Academy, where he was the 2013 recipient of the Apgar Award for excellence in teaching. From 2014 to 2017, Aaron was the managing editor of The Washington Free Beacon. He has been a NextGen National Security Fellow at the Center for a New American Security, a Marshall Scholar, and a Boren Scholar. He lives in Virginia, where he was born.
Director, Tikvah Scholars Program