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 …

What Makes Us Forget Wars?

When someone mentions the "forgotten war" in the United States, they are usually referring to either the Korean War or World War I. Of all our large conflicts, these two seem to slip through the sieve of our collective national memory and fall into obscurity. Of our "big" wars, the Civil War and World War …

Thoughts While Reading World War I Rosters

Over the past few months, I've been spending a lot of time reading over World War I rosters, both unit and casualty reports. As I was going over them, I began to wonder how someone like me in the future would read my name on some roster. And then this just sort of happened. Pages …

World War I Stands as a Lesson Against a “Bloody Nose” Strike on North Korea

How do you solve a problem like North Korea? This is the song that Pentagon planners have been singing for decades now. We’re told that there are plans to use a limited strike on a North Korean target that would send a message to the dictator that the U.S. isn’t playing around. A strike that …

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 …