Armistice and After: The Legacy of the WWI Generation in the U.S.

"This is the great reward of service, to live, far out and on, in the life of others." - Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain I came upon this quote about four years ago - near the 100th anniversary of Chamberlain's death - and right around the time that France, Germany, the UK (and the Commonwealth Countries) were …

Reading List for the U.S. in World War I

As we move through the centenary of the U.S. experience in World War I, I've had several people ask me for book recommendations on the topic. Which is tough, because when someone generally asks me for recommendations my head goes blank and I mutter something about "Good Omens" (seriously, phenomenal book, nothing to do with …

In an American Cemetery in France: Thoughts on Memorial Day

A gentle breeze slipped past the gravestones near me, rustling the slim folds of the American flag overhead, tapping the fasteners against the pole in a metallic rhythm. Aside from our low voices, the soft sounds of insects and birds, and the occasional passing car, it was the only sound to be heard. We were …

We Were There Too: the US Army at Belleau Wood

Two days before the beginning of the Meuse-Argonne Campaign – the largest and bloodiest battle in American history – the New York Times ran a letter from an Army infantry officer who was then serving in France: The troops that took Vaux   An advertising agency is a good thing at times, but when the …

A Soldier and His Dog: Review of “Sgt Stubby: An American Hero”

As some of you know, I don’t really do movie reviews on this site. But this spring I have had to break my own rule because of the animated film that combines two of my favorite things: dogs and the First World War. I am speaking of the movie “Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero.” For …

The Ghost of Black Jack Pershing: the US Army and the Centennial of WWI

It’s the 100th anniversary of the U.S. participation in World War I, as many of you know. The Department of Defense has tapped the Army to lead the way for the whole organization when it comes to centennial activities and planning, because - let’s face it - it was an Army run show. Yes, the …

Wonder Woman & the Great War: How WWI gets the Heroine it’s Always Needed

WARNING: SPOILERS FOLLOW Wonder Woman struck the big screen in a blaze of action and glory last week, depicting the heights to which people will go for each other - and the lows of which humanity is capable. The settings for the film could not have been more different - a paradise island where the …

How Experience in WWI brought the U.S. Army to Victory in WWII

We’re in the early months of the centennial of U.S. participation in World War I, the so-called, “War to end all wars.” With the vantage of 20/20 hindsight, we now know that rather than “making the world safe for democracy,” as Woodrow Wilson hoped, World War I instead set the stage for the next round …

Why 1866 Set the Stage for Two World Wars

When some search for the roots of the First World War, there is a tendency to look towards the Balkans. After all, it was the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in Sarajevo in 1914 that precipitated the kick-off of the greatest and most deadly bar-brawl in the history of the …

” Look! Here are the Americans!” The U.S. in World War I and Popular Memory

One hundred years ago this week, the United States entered World War I. “Too late to make a difference!” say some, often British or Commonwealth. “Should never have joined it at all,” say others, usually non-interventionist Americans. “World war what?” say many, usually all other Americans. “Thank you,” say a great many, almost always French. No …