In Galilee, eight young Zionists — including the one-armed Joseph Trumpeldor — died in an encounter with Shiite Muslims in March 1920. These eight gave their name to the town of Kiryat Shemona, a war memorial in its own right. In April 1920, five Jews and four Arabs died and hundreds were wounded in riots in the Old City of Jerusalem. In May 1921, 48 Arabs and 45 Jews, including the great Hebrew writer Yosef Haim Brenner, were killed in riots in Jaffa. The pattern of bloodshed in the modern Middle East was set in stone and suffering then and there.
When giants collapse, Tacitus said, take cover. An ailing giant it may have been, but Ottoman Turkey was a giant nonetheless. Its collapse led both to an expansion of imperial power on the winners' side in the war, and to an ongoing war against the West's manipulation of the region in its own economic and strategic interests.
Now, nearly a century later, we see the same forces arrayed in the same chronic, bloody struggle, with no end in sight. If you think the explosive forces of World War I are the stuff of ancient history, think again.
Jay Winter is a professor of history at Yale University and the author, with Blaine Baggett, of "The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century."