We have been traveling and I make it a point not to use the blog as a travelogue. Sometimes in our trips I run across pertinent matters … in Paris a couple of years ago I realized that photos of American troops entering that city on Champs Elysees in 1944 were paste-ups, mere war propaganda. No such triumphic march took place. In Copenhagen I realized a shooting in the hippie district of that city was fake, and witnessed a giant and pointless show of police power. I suspected it was a real estate-minded affair, as that part of the city, Freetown Christiana, can probably support high rises and expensive restaurants. And then there was our trip to Buenos Aires and stumbling on to the grave of Eva Peron, realizing her death was fake, and later learning that she went on to offer her birth canal to the mediocre talent Madonna.
This trip has not offered anything as dramatic. We hiked for a week or so in the Dolomites, a section of the Alps in northern Italy. We also were around World War I remnants and memorials, as fighting between Italy and Austria was said to be fierce. We indeed see tunnels and embankments, and they do dress up in period costumes on weekends and do some acting. What we could not help but notice was the as we traveled north in Italy before entering Germany and Austria was that the town names and signs all changed from Italian to German. One rider on the train told us that people have long memories. Even though in Italy, these are Germans.
The Treaty of Versailles gave that area over to Italy. To what end? The resources of that area, the grazing and farmland are used primarily to support the people of that region. I suppose there might be mining operations that have more international importance that perhaps benefited Italian oligarchs over Germans, but we did not see any.
It made me wonder … what was the point of World War I? There were for sure deaths on the fronts in the Dolomites, though I was told that more men died of exposure than combat. We walked on well-engineered roads down steep mountains that were built during that time, and are still in service. One man I listen to on occasion, AA Morris of A Proper Gander at Propaganda, suggests that wars are engineering projects involving population shifts, destruction of old factories to make way for new ones, and movement of work forces to be where they are needed.
In other words, Japan, for example, would have been destroyed in large part in the early 1940s to make way for the Japan we know today, the industrial giant. This would have been done with full cooperation of the Japanese and American governments … and the real powers behind those poster boys.
And in World War I part of Austria was ceded to Italy. I do not know why. The people living there seem unaffected.