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 … Continue reading Why 1866 Set the Stage for Two World Wars

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

Anatomy of a World War I Artillery Barrage

A lot has been said about the role of artillery in World War I, in both its intensity and ferocity. On the opening day of the Somme on July 1, 1916, British guns hurled 250,000 high explosive and shrapnel shells towards German positions. During the beginning of the Battle of Passchendaele in 1917, over 3,000 … Continue reading Anatomy of a World War I Artillery Barrage

Walking a World War I Battlefield

I've been to a lot of battlefields: from the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Civil War. Most are neatly marked with "this thing happened here" or "Robert E. Lee's horse drank from a puddle here." I've even been to a few from the Soviet-Afghan War and Operation Enduring Freedom, although I saw … Continue reading Walking a World War I Battlefield

“Of the Highest Order:” June 16, 1918

He bent low. His back ached. He could smell the earth below his face, the stinking, ever-present mud. Mercifully, free of gas. For now. The soft lip of the trench - or, what had been a trench before German artillery had blasted it to ever-living hell - was a dim reflection in the early morning … Continue reading “Of the Highest Order:” June 16, 1918