Thirteen years before the outset of World War I Jan Bloch (later known as Jean de Bloch) predicted that a major war in Europe would be devastating and that it would only end when one side was exhausted. Although he couldn’t foresee the deadly power of the machine gun, he predicted trench warfare: the increased range of smokeless rifles and use of magazines would mean combatants wouldn’t be able to reach other, bringing advances to a standstill. His predictions elicited skeptical responses. One British admiral observed that the prospects of huge casualties hadn’t stopped countries from going to war before. Bloch, a banker and important figure in Russia’s railroad system, called for arbitration to settle international conflict (History Today, May).