World War I

War V: "Italy & America, 1918"

The Revd Brutus Green

In November 1916, at a time when more than a million casualties had accrued and the war was costing £5million a day, Lord Lansdowne asked if the British government might consider negotiating peace. If the war had ended then, and if, as the Americans had later tried to negotiate, the war had ended without winners and losers, history would have been very different. The October revolution might not have happened, Britain would not have ended the war bankrupt, nor the borders, finances and morale of Europe in so many ways broken. Without guilt, reparations and patched together new states, the history of the twentieth-century would have continued very differently. As it was Britain got its victory, as a Foreign Office memorandum put it: ‘We have got all that we want - perhaps more. Our sole object is to keep what we have and live in peace’.

War II: Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, 1915

In August 1914 Dean Inge of St Paul’s wrote in his diary of how people had three things on their minds: ‘their summer holiday, the danger of civil war in Ireland and the abominable outrages of the suffragettes’. The war was a surprise to many, but it also occurred at, and accelerated, a time of widespread change in the vanishing Victorian/Edwardian Britain.

War III: France 1916

was at a dinner in the city last week for a company for which I have a sort of sinecure position. Essentially, there are a number of functions throughout the year with some wonderful food and some very fine wine, and to earn my supper I merely have to say a grace beforehand. Frequently I have made reference to the seasons of the church and so on this occasion I reminded my brothers and sisters of Christ’s forty days in the desert, at the outset of an extremely nice four course meal in an extremely opulent hall.

War I: England 1914

The Revd Brutus Green

In May 1913 George V, Nicholas II of Russia and Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany met in Berlin at the wedding of the Kaiser’s daughter. It was the last time the cousins met. The borders and wealth of Europe stood in a very different position in 1918, and perhaps the worst was still yet to come. But why are we remembering the War in church? What has the church to do with war at all? You perhaps heard today of a church selling a Civil War helmet and asked yourself why on earth would they want to keep it?