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 a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Previously, he was senior foreign policy advisor and legislative director to Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas. Aaron served on active duty as a U.S. Marine for seven years, deploying to Afghanistan as an infantry officer in 2009–2010. Following his time in the operating forces, he was assigned to the faculty of the U.S. Naval Academy, where he was the 2013 recipient of the Apgar Award for Excellence in Teaching. Aaron received a B.A. in philosophy and the history of math and science from St. John’s College, Annapolis, and an M.Phil. (Dist.) in medieval Arabic thought from the University of Oxford. He has been a Boren Scholar and a Marshall Scholar and lives in Virginia, where he was born.
Director, Tikvah Scholars Program