I'll be checking in on this thread now and then and hope I can answer any questions you may have.
World War 1 set the stage for much of what made up World War 2 and featured the arrival of military air power, the machine gun and the combat tank.
The industrialized world went to war in 1914 after tensions spilt over from the assassination of then little-known Archduke Ferdinand. Allegiances forced parties to declare war on one another and, within time, the world was embroiled in what would come to be known as "The Great War" or the "War to End All Wars" (later to become chronologically recognized as "World War 1"). As powers geared up for the battlefield, the once-euphoric public were shocked that the "gentlemen's wars" of old had given way to dastardly implements such as chemical warfare, machine guns, fighter aircraft and armored vehicles of trench warfare - war was a bloody an affair as ever before. The conflict was primarily centered in Europe and fought between the Central Powers and the Triple Entente. The Central Powers were made up of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the German Empire, the Ottoman Empire (modern-day Turkey) and the Kingdom of Bulgaria. The Triple Entente was forged of an alliance between Great Britain, France and Russia and later on went to include allies such as the United States and Italy by war's end.
By the conclusion of the years-long conflict (many suggested at the outset that this would be a short-lived war to be over by Christmas of 1914), millions lay dead or maimed for life and the empires of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Turkey were no more. The Russian Empire itself ceased to exist amidst internal political issues, bowing out of the war in 1917 to become the Soviet Union in 1922. The Allied victory was eventually ensured by the contributions and sacrifices of many. With the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires dissolved, Germany was handed much of the blame for the war - laying down the foundation of what would become World War 2.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Crossing a glass walkway that spans a field of 9,000 poppies, visitors to the official U.S. memorial to World War I are transported to a time when tanks and air warfare were new and the hopeful flowers sprang up on the barren, trench-dotted battlefields where hundreds of thousands of soldiers died.
April 03, 2017
The museum, which is housed under a tower that rises 217 feet (66 meters) into the Kansas City skyline and is topped by a giant flame, will be the site of a remembrance Thursday to mark the 100-year anniversary of the United States entering the war.
The poppies that visitors pass while entering the museum represent the 9 million combat deaths of the Great War, about 116,000 of them Americans. "In Flanders fields the poppies blow. Between the crosses, row on row," goes a famous poem about the Belgian battlefields where hundreds of thousands of soldiers died on the war's Western Front.
With the centennial of the fighting drawing more attention to the war, more than 200,000 visited the museum last year, an increase of about 50 percent from three years earlier. They included visitors from more than 70 countries.
The site's Egyptian Revival-style monument was erected in a burst of postwar patriotism after $2.5 million was raised in less than two weeks in 1919, an amount that would be equal to about $35 million today(14:1 ratio). Children helped, going door to door collecting money in what was "an early 20th century story of crowdsourcing," according to museum spokesman Mike Vietti.
So noteworthy was the achievement that Allied commanders from Belgium, Great Britain, Italy, France and the U.S. gathered in 1921 to dedicate the site. It's located across the street from the Kansas City train station that more than half of U.S. troops passed through before being shipped overseas. When the monument was completed five years later, a crowd of more than 150,000 turned out to hear President Calvin Coolidge speak at the dedication.
But years of deferred maintenance led the site to be closed in 1994. A massive $102 million transformation followed, funded by a sales tax, bond issue and private donations. The exterior was repaired, and the design firm behind attractions such as Washington's Holocaust Memorial Museum was tapped to create a new museum that would tell World War I's story of assassination, empires swept away and new nations born. The site, now known as the National World War I Museum and Memorial, was made official in legislation that President Barack Obama signed in 2014.
The museum's collection of documents and artifacts has a global breadth, covering the period both before and after the U.S. entered the war. The conflict ended in 1918 with the Treaty of Versailles, though many historians believe the treaty's terms helped set the stage for World War II a generation later.
Among the items used to tell the complex story of the connection between the two wars is the tunic and cape of Paul von Hindenburg, a German commander and national hero who later became Germany's president and in 1933 appointed Adolf Hitler chancellor.
Visitors can also see the rapidly evolving weaponry that led to widespread casualties as commanders struggled to adapt. There's a British torpedo, a U.S.-made Naval mine, a life-size replica of a British biplane known as the Airco DH.2 and a French Renault tank that Vietti described as a weapon of "terror as well as a weapon of war."
One exhibit highlights the damage an artillery shell would have done to a house in the French countryside, while another allows visitors to glimpse inside replicas of the trenches where doughboys fought and often died. In the Horizon Theater, World War I film footage plays on a 100-foot (30-meter) screen above a full-scale tableau of no man's land.
The site's original museum now hosts rotating exhibitions, with the latest highlighting propaganda posters. Matthew Naylor, the president and CEO of the museum, keeps his grandfather's wartime shaving kit on display in his office. While issued by the British, it was made in Germany. He noted that the two countries were trading partners before the war.
The "fragility" of world relations at the time, Naylor said, has parallels to today that "some would say are ominous."
If You Go...
NATIONAL WORLD WAR I MUSEUM AND MEMORIAL: 2 Memorial Drive, Kansas City, Missouri; https://www.theworldwar.org/ . Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., $16. Museum closed April 5-6 for centennial commemoration.
This version corrects spelling of Vietti.
Was the Great Depression inevitable? Would the pre-Great War revolutions in China and Portugal have spread? How far back would we have fallen as a civilization in the development of winged aircraft without the impetus of the Great War? As a side issue, with no NSDAP in such a timeline, Germany is able to buy helium from the USA and thus the Hindenburg disaster is avoided along with the collapse of the zeppelin industry so maybe the present sees a heavy presence of airships! American insistence on ending the Anglo-Japanese treaty relationship set the US and Japan on a course for war. If there is a short war in Europe, diplomatic relations might have remained stable enough to keep that alliance in play, thus avoiding a Pacific War.
So many paths taken came from what happened. It is the ones that did not occur which pique my interest!
CBS used to have a series back in the Sixties called "World War I", released in 1964, the 50th anniversary of the start of the war. My grandfather was a veteran of the Great War. He watched the show and so did I. Here is a wiki on it:pellulo wrote:Tonight at nine, for three days, a six hour miniseries of "The Great War", on The American Experience PBS. Preview of Part One http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperie ... chapter-1/ , enjoy Pellulo
I of course had my eye and mind on A&A 1914 and how it matched up with the series.
I came away feeling pretty good about it... I must say that I also learned a lot of things that I was not aware of... Case in point the All Black 15th Div for example. Never heard of them till this series and frankly I find that sad.
PBS... don't you just love them!
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