For most of the past century, this week was known as the time when “the lamps went out in Europe.” On Aug. 1, 1914, Germany declared war on Russia. On Aug. 2, 1914, Turkey signed a military pact with Germany. On Aug. 3, 1914, Germany declared war on France and invaded Belgium. On Aug. 4, 1914, Britain declared war on Germany.
By the time hostilities ended, the “old order” had been destroyed throughout Europe, paving the way for the rise of communism in Russia, Nazism in Germany, fascism in Italy and socialism in England.
On Aug. 3, 1914, British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey declared: “The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.” His pessimistic prediction wasn’t entirely true, but much of the civilized world would be overturned.