In 1916, with the Great War suspended by the global medical crisis, European leaders risked infection from the Spanish Flu to gather in Versailles and attempt to forge a peace settlement that might save civilization from imminent collapse.
By Ed, Jeff Provine and Scott PalterOf course it was no coincidence that the deadliest natural disasters in human history had occured in late 1916. Because the spread of the influenza pandemic had been fanned like wildfire by the unprecedented troop movements of millions of soldiers across the continent. Unbelievably, over five hundred million people from the Arctic to remote Pacific islands were now infected.
Death had surely arrived on a truly apocalyptic scale that even dwarfed the unimaginable slaughter of the recent conflict. U-boats had died at sea that their entire crews succumbed to the disease. Whole armies were pulled out of their trenches to more sanitary conditions with soldiers threatening to lynch politicians trying to put them back in theatre. And the Tsar's Armies returned to St Petersburg infected with much more than the seeds of rebellion.
And so the worlds leaders were forced to accept reasonable terms that they might otherwise have rejected. The Great War was concluded by a Papal mediated seven years truce which commenced on Bastille Day, 1917. Under this agreement, the Ottomans retained Jerusalem, Damascus and Mosul/Kirkuk but not Baghdad. The Germans evacuated northern France (except the Lorraine iron ore fields) but not Belgium. And the Russian Empire imploded with Baltic States, Ukraine and Czarist "South Russia" as German protectorates. The Caucasian republics became British protectorates. Japan grabbed Manchuria and everything up to Lake Bikal. At the end of this mad chapter in human history, only time would tell whether civilization had actually received some benefit from a forced development, or whether the seeds of a second Great War had just been sown.