Feb 28, 2011

The End of an Era

Frank Buckles, the United States' last World War I veteran, died over the weekend at the age of 110. According to MSNBC, there are now only two of the 65 million participants in World War I alive, a 109-year-old Australian man and a 110-year-old British woman.

World War I was a major turning point in history. The rise of nationalism overturned old monarchical and dictatorial regimes and empires. The Great War saw the end of the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empire. The aftermath of the war saw Germany hit with sanctions that would become one of the leading explainers for the rise of Naziism and World War II.

Today's young people may be seeing a similar change in the world with successful revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia and revolt brewing in Bahrain, Libya and Algeria. Regimes like North Korea, Iran, Syria and Jordan also show signs of crumbling.

Just as the first 20 years of last century recast the world in a new nationalistic, post-colonial mold, the first 20 years of this century seem to be doing the same.

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