CXXIX. Fugue

June 28, 1914 — A dustup in Sarajevo: Someone shot dead Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg. That tragedy triggered a Great World War. While the Industrial Revolution had been changing the way we do things, first in Britain and then in America, trains speeding up travel, factory chimneys polluting the air, the changes were gradual. The First World War produced a shock wave, crumbling the cultural towers of society, changing our ways suddenly, unexpectedly and forever.

June 28, 1919 — The signing of the Treaty of Versailles: The Germans were peeved. For some 20 years they held a grudge. With so many of our faces buried in our smart devices these days, it might be expected someone will soon start marketing screen savers for our noses. Do we think about the causes and effects of these events leading from one Great War to the next and to the insidious spread of Communism and the Cold War, and on and on and on and on? You know how it goes. Or we should; alas, most of us, no. The interweaving of events of the 20th century and into the 21st has produced one long fugue.

The New York Times has published a beautiful and thought-provoking photo essay and story today: “The War to End All Wars? Hardly. But It Did Change Them Forever”:

My friend R posted a poem on his blog,, that I want to repost here, followed by my comment: Lest we forget the deeper implications, lest we fail to recognize the profound parallels to our lives today, lest we forget to remain vigilant:


The shadow of war
Revolution, no more
The lesson unlearned
Power, Privilege and Wealth soar
Senate and Congress do hoar
King, Czar, Sultan returned
Tell who’s who and what’s for

Observation towers and bunkers
To profits old clunkers
Enslaving the poor
Through to the core
From battlefield to graveyard
The law defines who’s ward
To die on your own
And be buried unknown

R’s photo of two of the Delaware Bay World War II Observation Towers

World War II Observation Towers on the Delaware Bay. From these we watched for German submarines coming up the United States East Coast, from the Atlantic Ocean, up the bay to the chemical plants and refineries lining the Delaware River from Wilmington, Del., to Philadelphia, Pa.

World War II Observation Towers on the Delaware Bay. From these we watched for German submarines coming up the United States East Coast, from the Atlantic Ocean, up the bay to the chemical plants and refineries lining the Delaware River from Wilmington, Del., to Philadelphia, Pa. Photo by Robert Price.

Excellent, Robert. Beautifully written. Encompasses the twin towers of poignancy and pertinence. How thoughtful and significant the accompanying photo of the World War II watch towers, standing sentinel along the Delaware Bay beaches, persistent reminders for the young people who know what those towers are.

Thought provoking vis-à-vis the 28 June 1919 signing of the Treaty of Versailles, the 100th anniversary of the First World War; and of the 70th anniversary of the Second World War Western Allies landing on Omaha Beach, D-Day and the Battle of Normandy.

Poppies grow in the French fields now, shrouding where the unknown soldiers missing in action rest. When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn…?

—Samantha Mozart
for June 28, 2014

12 Responses to CXXIX. Fugue

  1. patgarcia says:


    First, let me say thank you. It is a proven fact, in my opinion, that most people do not learn from history because they shy away from it. Yet, history shows us the mistakes of our fore fathers, of civilizations that no longer exist, and of wars that have brought hate instead of respect, understanding, and brotherly and sisterly love.

    Your article hit a soft spot because I too ask myself when will we ever learn. Yet, I must confess that even I am sometimes guilty of acting irrationally and reacting before I look at mistakes made in the past.

    The poem from R suits this article so nicely because it confirms your poignant words and the picture displayed enhances the words that are not written but yet these words ring silently loud in your article.

    Excellent job, my dear and I sincerely hope you are having a happy fourth of July.


    • sammozart says:

      Thank you, Patricia, for your lovely and thoughtful comment, as always.

      Yes, I sometimes, too, simply haul off and react unthinkingly. I cannot imagine shying away from history, yet many do, despairingly. Thankfully, I love studying history, world, American and my own, and strive to learn from it.

      I think my growing up in Philadelphia has a lot to do with my love of history and my patriotism, in particular my aunt’s taking me to Independence Hall when I was four. It had a strong impact on me and I’ve never forgotten its significance. Nor have I forgotten the new brown and white saddle shoes with the red rubber soles I wore that day — but that’s another story. 🙂

      A quiet fourth for me, but it suits me just fine.


  2. Susan Scott says:

    Hi Samantha .. this was a poignant post indeed and R’s prose/poetry equally so. That’s always fascinated me – the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand and how this triggered (pun intended?) so much, effects continuing to be felt. I must go back to the books and check this out further.
    No, we do not learn from history it seems. Freud called it: the repetition compulsion i.e. that we repeat things until and when the lesson is learned. Every now and then I think of my father and wish that he had told me of the war years. I think I did once try but got the impression that he didn’t want to talk about it … he flew for the RAF.
    Those towers are magnificent.
    Thank you for this reminder and honouring.

    • sammozart says:

      Hi, Susan,

      I lived through the Second World War, albeit here in the U.S., out of the fray, so I thought at the time. The War ended when I was five. I was aware of it because my father and my uncle were away, and my family talked about that. But I did not know that German submarines were sitting right off our coasts. I did ask why we had black shades on our windows that must be drawn at night, I remember our fighter planes flying overhead and all the little surveillance blimps in the sky. I remember, too, saving the cans of bacon fat, unavailability of silk stockings, and that if you could get a car, it was black and built just before the U.S. entered the war. After the war, my father bought a 1946 Hudson and he had to install the back seat and the bumpers himself. We have photos somewhere of that. The factories were still outfitted for the war effort.

      My uncle never talked about the war, his time overseas, although he was not in the direct fighting. But, when I asked him, he did say that his job was to take the helmets off the dead soldiers (in North Africa, Sicily and up through Italy). My brother told me on this Father’s Day that my uncle was a paymaster. I didn’t know that.

      A very belated thanks to your father for flying for the RAF. Did he fly a spitfire? There are only a few of them left. Beautiful airplane.

      I didn’t know about the observation towers lining the Delaware Bay on both shores, New Jersey and Delaware, until I saw Robert’s photos.

      Yes, these Allied men and women of both those great wars deserve high honor. I cannot even imagine….

      Thank you for giving me Freud’s theory of repetition compulsion. I am one of those who does that until I learn my lesson. I’ve gotten better at realizing I need to recognize that pattern sooner and change it.

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

      Yes, the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand has always fascinated me, too, and the events surrounding that, and that of Czar Nicholas II and his family.

      I think the Crusades have never actually ended.


  3. Gwynn Rogers says:

    Sadly, you are MORE ancient than you think. They don’t teach WWI in schools now. They may not even talk about WWII. Join the “Ancient Obsolete Club” with me.

    • sammozart says:

      They didn’t teach World War II when I was in school, either, Gwynn. That is because it had just happened. We kids were in the duck and cover contingent.

  4. Gwynn Rogers says:

    Cycles repeat themselves, and ancient history is no longer taught in schools, so kids don’t see how the cycles relate to what is happening now… SAD!! Of course I would like to know what our politicians were doing when they were supposed to be studying history.

    Robert made some excellent points!

    • sammozart says:

      Well, I’m not that ancient, Gwynn; at least I don’t think of myself as that way. But neither is modern history taught in most schools. As for the politicians, you can’t raise any money by adhering to history — got to tell the people what they want to hear; and the people don’t care to research for the truth what they hear.

      Yes, Robert made excellent points; deeply thoughtful poem. Worthy of repeating.

      Thanks, Gwynn.

  5. Val Rainey says:

    As for the answer to your question my dear Samantha perhaps on the day Christ returns but I don’t see much chance of it happening before then….I know, sad but true.

    • sammozart says:

      I know, dear Val. I agree. The question seems almost rhetorical.

      I really appreciate your comment. Thanks!

  6. Robert Price says:

    Well, well, well..

    My dearest Samantha,

    Thank you for featuring my poetry and photography in your blog post.

    As long as greed trumps learning from history, and willful ignorance prevails, you may continue to ask, “When will they ever learn?”.



    • sammozart says:

      Well, you know how it goes, R — and on and on and …

      Tall art here — my pleasure to repost such worthy work.