From 1914 to 1939, we referred to the European unpleasantness of 1914-1918 as the “Great War” or the “War to End All Wars”.
Only after we saw how much worse it could get — and that we weren't done with them — did we switch to calling it “World War 1”, with the appalling horrors of 1939-1945 getting the next number.
So what's coming up? We've already used the moniker “Great Depression” for the economic catastrophe that started in 1929. What should we go with for this one? “New Depression”? Or should we face the harsh reality and just starting assigning them numbers (like wars), in anticipation of more to come?
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I do not know with what weapons World War 3 will be fought, but World War 4 will be fought with sticks and stones.
-- Albert Einstein