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WWI lecture discusses connections, consequences

By Staff | Jul 26, 2019

Bryce Berginski/PCT Judge Michael Hurly answers a question from an audience member during a WWI lecture Monday evening at the Prairie Village Museum.

What do Czar Nicholas II, Kaiser Wilhelm II and King George V have in common?

They’re cousins.

Both Wilhelm and George are first cousins, and Nicholas and George are first cousins, and Queen Victoria (England) was their grandmother.

The familial connection of the leaders of Russia, Germany and Britain in the lead-up to World War I was one of several topics discussed in a lecture given by Michael Hurly, district court judge, Geographical Center Historical Society board member and history buff, Monday evening at the Prairie Village Museum.

Hurly discussed the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and other events leading up to WWI, including Wilhelm’s alienation of two traditional allies and allowing Austria-Hungary into Serbia.

Hurly discussed the Schlieffen Plan a plan that involved German forces marching through Belgium and swooping south in the hope French forces could be knocked out in 30-40 days while hoping the Russians wouldn’t mobilize their forces on the eastern front. Also discussed was the French Plan XVII a plan to recapture Alsace and Lorraine (which the Germans took after the Franco-Prussian War) and advance into Germany. Hurly said Germany “erred” by going into Belgium and “would have won” if the British (who were obliged by treaty to defend Belgium) had not gotten involved.

Hurly discussed the Battle of Liege and the Battle of Verdun.

Hurly said two of the biggest consequences of WWI were the rises of Nazism and Communism.

“We are still feeling the after effects of this war,” said Hurly.

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