Yesterday I posted my challenge from April 2021: a month of posting every single day. Well, it is the second of the month, and so here is post No.2.
I was in the middle of writing of a post about the Anglo-Powhatan Wars of the 1600s with the aim of providing the seventeenth instalment of the War World Cup. And it hit me, the same question that has hit me a few times whilst writing this series: why am I bothering? I have enjoyed the conceit of attempting to look at wars in a different light, but the nagging sense of trivialising wars (and the deaths and misery associated with them) has become too hard to ignore.
These doubts were present right at the beginning of the War World Cup series back in August 2018. In the first post (about the Anglo-Zanzibar War) I noted the ‘nagging sense of poor taste constantly tugging in my brain’, having previously attempted a blog devoted to the idea of a War World Cup. Back then, in August 2018, I shrugged off the doubts in order to plough ahead with what I hoped would become a useful way to discover and read-about forgotten wars. But this came with limitations which I placed on myself, principally the unwritten rule that I would not include wars from the 20th century. The logic here was that the longer the distance the easier it was to trivialise. But, over time, even this was not enough to stop the doubts.
Then came other limitations crept in. I initially included a “score” of the war; for example, the Spanish-American War of 1898 saw the Americans win by four goals to nil. Obviously this system was both trivial and disrespectful, not to note incredibly subjective (should the United States be awarded five “goals”, or six… who knows?). So, I removed the scoring system and simply marked wins, draws, defeats. But the whole process didn’t entirely warm me, which is shown in the drying up of posts in the series over the past year or so; in 2020 I only posted 3 times, and the last one was in August 2020.
The key point here is that I do not want to glorify war, and this series – along with the use of a league table – obviously promoted and glorified war. All of this means that the War World Cup series has been abandoned. I’m now considering re-purposing the articles, perhaps with the view of a more straight-forward series about wars of the past. This will remove the points system and the more trivial nature of the series, whilst retaining – and not ignoring – the posts that have come before.
In many ways, this is the first significant stylistic change to a blog that has been running for three years. But I doubt that many will lament the loss of the series. As always, it is better to look ahead and retain what suits my overall ethos and outlook. So, goodbye to the War World Cup. Let’s look ahead to the future.