A letter from 2084

Toward the end of his life an old historian writes to his grand daughter: about his memories of the early decades of the twenty first century, and his readings.

Thursday 24 July, 2084

Berlin, Euro-Asian Confederation

To: Julie Paulus

University of Navajo City

Central and South-American Federation

Friedrich PaulusMy dear Julie,

As you can see I am getting into this new technology, and love the soft sound of the typewriter as I write. First of all I want to thank you for your best wishes. In truth things are pretty good for us, and the news of the success of the Asian mission to Jupiter has really cheered us up.

The city is wearing her summer dress, and the museums are full, crowds of your fellow citizens, often in beautifully decorated local costumes, were yesterday looking in amazement at the old Bundestag, which is for me, in still historical times, the Reichstag.

Indeed I sometimes feel I am living in the past.

I have been reading, I should say re-reading, two books. One was written about seventy years ago by an Australian historian who researched the events preceding the first (some say second) European civil war of 1914-1918, also called the first “World-War”. “The Sleepwalkers” – that’s the title – explains how “great powers”’s greed and inept political judgement, led to the disaster. At that time the crisis centred around the Balkan region, and was largely provoked by the ambitions of politicians who did not understand the consequences of their actions.

The second book, you know already, I think, as it has been part of the textbooks for secondary history teaching the world over, for nearly half a century. Written in 2035 by the North American diplomat who was instrumental in the early peace negotiations, “They were invincible” is a harrowing account of the crisis in the then Ukraine and West-Russia that ultimately precipitated World-War 3. The book describes the idiocy of the then European Union’s leadership, and the incredible arrogance of what was US diplomacy, coupled with the deviousness of some of their opponents. Concomitant with the tragedies of the Middle-East, the spiral of events that led to the inevitability of the war, is frighteningly similar to the events of 1913-14, as if world politicians had learnt nothing from two world wars.

As you know my studies took me elsewhere, to the formation of the four great alliances that now shape our peaceful world. It took the destruction of the US surface fleet, and of several great cities in 2017, for mankind to realise it was heading for self-destruction, a fact long predicted by writers and historians through the preceding century. Now, the Euro-Asian Confederation, that comprises what used to be the European Union, the Russian Federation, central Asian countries, Afghanistan, China and the countries of the Indochinese peninsula; the Pacific Union, that comprises Japan, Australasia and the North American federation (what used to be Canada and part of the United States of America); the Afro-West Asian Federal Republic, the largest union geographically stretching from South Africa to Iran and India; and of course your country, the central and South-American Union, from Oregon to Antartica, have, at long last, secured peace through total disarmament. I remember the birth of the new United Nations, and the role played by scientists, historians, and people of goodwill, from all the world, following the disaster.

I will tell you more when I am ready to publish my thoughts!

Let me know when we can expect your visit (I appreciate that the crossing takes several days, but then no-one of my generation would regret the loss of the environmental disaster called “air travel” as we knew it). I know also you have been busy with this wonderful project of cleaning the oceans from the last remnants of plastic rubbish, and I am impressed by the science behind it.


Friedrich-Karl Paulus


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