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This Happened

This Happened—November 11: The End Of The War To End All Wars

Updated November 11, 2023 at 12:00

After Austria-Hungary blamed Serbia for the assassination of Austro-Hungarian heir Archduke Franz Ferdinand, a series of diplomatic failures transformed a relatively inconsequential tragedy into the catalyst for two large Alliances of world powers to go to war in the largest conflict the world had ever seen. On this day, after 20 million deaths, World War I ends.

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How did World War I start?

Although many nations were involved in the onset of the first World War, many scholars say tensions had been on the rise throughout Europe for years before World War I actually broke out. The spark that set off World War I was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was shot to death along with his wife, Sophie, by Serbian nationalists struggling to end Austro-Hungarian rule over Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Who was involved in World War I?

On one side, Britain, France, Italy, the Russian Empire, Serbia, Japan, and the United States formed the Allied powers, while Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, The German Empire, and the Ottoman Empire formed the Central powers.

Initially dubbed “The Great War”, World War I was the first series of interrelated conflicts between world powers to reach a near global scale. Nine million people were killed in combat alone, while millions more civilians died as the effects of war spread across the world.

Why Was World War I Called "The War To End All Wars"?

World War I came to an end shortly after the U.S. deployed troops in Western Europe, leading Germany to become overpowered and forced to sign an armistice agreement with the Allied powers.

The agreement, known as the Treaty of Versailles was signed, leaders of the U.S., Great Britain and France met in Versailles to decide next steps following the call to end fighting. Germany, Austria and Hungary were not invited, and Germany was forced to pay reparations for the war.

It is bitterly ironic to note that World War I became known retrospectively as “the war to end all wars” in an acknowledgment of the futility of the scale of destruction and loss of life. Sadly just two decades later, another World War began that would be even more bloody and involve more countries.

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Look At This Crap! The "Enshittification" Theory Of Why The Internet Is Broken

The term was coined by journalist Cory Doctorow to explain the fatal drift of major Internet platforms: if they were ever useful and user-friendly, they will inevitably end up being odious.

A photo of hands holding onto a smartphone

A person holding their smartphone

Gilles Lambert/ZUMA
Manuel Ligero


The universe tends toward chaos. Ultimately, everything degenerates. These immutable laws are even more true of the Internet.

In the case of media platforms, everything you once thought was a good service will, sooner or later, disgust you. This trend has been given a name: enshittification. The term was coined by Canadian blogger and journalist Cory Doctorow to explain the inevitable drift of technological giants toward... well.

The explanation is in line with the most basic tenets of Marxism. All digital companies have investors (essentially the bourgeoisie, people who don't perform any work and take the lion's share of the profits), and these investors want to see the percentage of their gains grow year after year. This pushes companies to make decisions that affect the service they provide to their customers. Although they don't do it unwillingly, quite the opposite.

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Annoying customers is just another part of the business plan. Look at Netflix, for example. The streaming giant has long been riddling how to monetize shared Netflix accounts. Option 1: adding a premium option to its regular price. Next, it asked for verification through text messages. After that, it considered raising the total subscription price. It also mulled adding advertising to the mix, and so on. These endless maneuvers irritated its audience, even as the company has been unable to decide which way it wants to go. So, slowly but surely, we see it drifting toward enshittification.

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