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>The same can be said for German soldiers. If we are to regard military service as a noble sacrifice, then we need to resolve that apparent contradiction.
Personally, I'd be far happier if Remembrance emphasised the ultimate futility of war and the importance of avoiding it in the first place. The Second World War may never have happened if it wasn't for the punitive nature of the Treaty of Versailles. Even at the time J.M. Keynes and others warned that the terms of the treaty practically guaranteed another war. The causes of the First World War are complex enough to be almost inexplicable, but I think there's a broad agreement that the conflict was in the service of imperial power rather than ordinary working people.
>on both sides of the conflict
Frankly the same could be said of WW2 as well if it wasn't for all that genocide business.
It's worth remembering, that when the war started, we had no idea Hitler's regime would go on to be the must unanimously agreed evil of all history- The war started for much the same reasons as the one before it. A rival power on the continent threatened the delicate balance of Europe, and we (that is, our government) wanted to stop it.
History is written by the victor. However, remembrance day is something that's stuck with us as because of how badly the great war utterly shook our national psyche. We won, but nobody disputes that it was an utterly pyrrhic victory, and the British Empire never tried to militarily assert dominance in the same way again. Our involvement in the Second World War was guerrilla action by comparison to the campaigns we fought in the first.
But I digress. My original point was simply that the people of the day thought fighting to support your nation's power was just. We owe our modern views in no small part to Marx and the proliferation of his ideas as socialism spread in the mid to late 20th century. We see dying for the abstract idea of a nation and its power as fruitless, as exploitative. Those people back then thought that dying in order to serve their country's imperial ambition was worthwhile.