Lest we forget all those who have been killed in all wars, whether they are military or civilian and whichever side they stand. The white poppy of peace represents the idea that all wars were meaningless and that all deaths were pointless. Refusing to wear a red poppy and either opting for a white poppy or nothing, is a controversial opinion to those on the right but they have hijacked the red poppy for their own ideological attacks on a differing opinion, without a regard to the facts.

The idea that World War I was avoidable is hotly debated and the topic continues to divide historians and political commentators, however, World War II is widely regarded as an unavoidable conflict against the rise of fascism.

But is it perverse to consider that both were avoidable?

World War I

The events that led to the start of the Great War were complex and it is wrong to pin it down to aggression from one nation, but prior, Germany had built the nation and were looking to establish themselves as a global power, Herwig states in The Origins of World War I, "The all-too-clever argument that vast but indirect social movements and serious class, political, and regional antagonisms limited the freedom of German decision makers in 1914 Begs The Question of causality and responsibility."

This underlines the problems fuelled by the UK government of the time, their failure to recognise Germany as a global power provided provisions for German leaders to promote their propaganda to the people, consolidating their grip and ability to encourage the population to fight for them should war break out.

Which began when Germany used their Austrian-Hungarian allies in the Balkans, this was called the July Crisis and subsequently led to the assassination of the Archduke, Franz Ferdinand. The British decided against involvement in the Balkans but were concerned over the future threat to British interests because for the last century, the British Empire had grown to be a powerful trading empire in Europe and the world.

The German growth was a serious threat to the economic stability of the empire and had overshadowed the ever-impending Russian threat. Essentially, the wealthiest elite within Britain decided to protect their interests and subdue the rights of another population within the process, the latter point is proved through the Treaty of Versailles and was key element in the rise of Adolf Hitler.

It was also a guise to establish a power in the middle-east and dismantle the Ottoman Empire, who sided with Germany. In the years before and during the Great War, Britain had actively encouraged the Arab Revolt in the middle-east to divide and conquer the Ottoman Empire who were a powerful force in suppressing Russian forces in the east of Europe, whom the British had to ally with as well as the French Republic.

But importantly, Britain had already established a relationship with Abd-al Aziz of the exiled Saud family in Kuwait and subsequently the Darin Treaty was signed in 1915 by Dardanelles of France and Belgium, and Ibn Saud to bring them under the British protectorate. Britain needed a reason to suppress the German growth and protect their trade advantage, divide the Ottoman Empire and establish a colony within the region, all this was made possible during the Great War.

Remembering every life lost

The wars that ensued from British attempts to consolidate their position at the top of global powers, were two of the bloodiest wars in history and whilst it is agreed that Hitler was a smart individual and that Nazi Germany had to be stopped, current world events and the rise in the 'alt-right' begs the question, if Hitler had never had risen to power, would fascism be a legitimate mainstream far-right ideology?

Furthermore, the Great War was nothing more than a powerplay by Russia, France and Britain, who were all the biggest powers in Europe at the time. The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand was the perfect spark for Britain to get involved. Nonetheless, this day we remember every life that has been lost fighting for their country's sake because it is always the people who suffer their leader's desire to concentrate power for themselves, lest we forget and forge a future we can call our own.