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AnthonyC comments on Hindsight bias - Less Wrong

53 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 16 August 2007 09:58PM

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Comment author: AnthonyC 14 December 2013 01:41:44PM 3 points [-]

"I was taught in my history classes at school that WWI was known to be coming, that Europe was divided into two camps and that it was just a matter of time until someone lit the fuse, etc."

I was taught that as well.

"In fact, I grew up believing that everyone in Europe knew this at the time." In contrast, I was taught that one big problem was that many of the alliances that led to escalation from local to global conflict were secret. Each nation in turn declared war to protect its allies, which drew opposition allies into the war, etc., but no nation in advance had a complete accounting of who had made what military promises to whom. Governments or wealthy, well-connected citizens might have suspected, but not in great detail and it was probably not something they dwelt on - after all those treaties were for mutual defense, how could they be a bad thing (my speculation on one possible pre-hindsight view)?