July 28

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It always surprises me that July 28 is neither remembered nor considered a “day that lives in infamy” as US President Franklyn Delano Roosevelt called December 7, 1941, the day Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and Hong Kong.

July 28 is the day on what we now call “World War One” started with Austria-Hungary declaring war on Serbia. Following the “belle epoche” (beautiful age) it was a brutish industrial war fought with industrial efficiency. This ensured 2250 people would die, on average, and about 5000 would be wounded, every day from August 14, 1914 to November 11, 1918.

Ultimately more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, were mobilised in one of the largest wars in history. The Wikipedia notes more than nine million of these were killed and 21 million wounded, “largely because of enormous increases in lethality of weapons, thanks to new technology, without corresponding improvements in protection or mobility. It was the sixth-deadliest conflict in world history…”