Monday, October 18, 2010

And, Now, A Word about War

Franz Ferdinand Funeral.

I'm writing this Flo in the City novel, based on the letters of http://www.tigsholas.ca/ as a kind of rebuke of history as it is taught traditionally. You know, as if it is all about powerful men, wars and treaties.

Why can't fashion be a part of history as much as any other subject?

Why don't women count in history?

The Tighsolas years are 1908-1913, six years when the great changes happened in the Western World.

The Nicholsons of Richmond, as it happens, were experiencing their own saga at that time, so I have 300 family letters to use as fodder for my novel.

But it can't be forgotten that these are pre-war years. That in 1914, when Marion is married and about to drop her first child, and Flo is working at her school in Griffintown, and living with Marion and Hugh in Notre Dame de Grace. war breaks out.

You know, as I've always remembered it from History Class, WWI began because of the assassination of Franz Ferdinand... The pic above is from a little YouTube video about the Great War that suggests the same.

Yet, as I searched through era magazines, looking for articles about women's social history, housekeeping, courtship and the motion picture shows, etc. I found a number of articles that predicted a coming war. And I was surprised.

The following is from Maclean's, 1912 from La Revue. This article claims overpopulation is going to bring on a war. And this ties in with a key theme of Flo in the City: immigration to Canada. The article is called The Next Great War.

Sociologists view with some alarm the enormous growth in population growth in different countries. The most prolific countries, Germany among the number, are fast becoming a common danger for the peace of the world. In the last century, Germany's population has trebled, yet her emigration has always been considerable. In the century, she provided the US with over six million immigrants, and in addition a goodly number of Germans have settled in other distant lands. At the same time, her economic prosperity hs been extraordinary. another source of danger for the the world. Not only is Germany obliged to allow large numbers of her population to emigrate, but under pain of ruin she is compelled at all costs to find markets for her surplus production.... Even in the United States, the plethora of people is felt. Hitherto the steppes of the Far West seemed to offer indefinitely work to the pioneers of civilization, but there are now indications that the space available for the ever increasing tide of humanity is giving out. Only this year, 100,000 farmers of the West emigrated to Canada, where there is still room and to spare. Comparing the density of population per square mile of various countries, we see that in Canada there are only two inhabitants to the square mile; in South America there are 7; in the US there are
30, in teh Philippines 69; in Germany 303; in Japan 315...War is standing at our doors and is, perhaps, only waiting for an opportune moment to break out.