Armistice Day – 100th Anniversary
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+8909) one month ago
In the version of American history familiar to most schoolchildren, the U.S. experience in World War I was a nearly unblemished triumph, a moment when an energetic and powerful young nation rescued Europe's democracies and inspired the world with its ideas, optimism and military might.
That vision bears little resemblance to the reality encountered by U.S. soldiers and Marines who landed in France's muddy killing fields in the spring and summer of 1918. By every measure, the arriving Americans were ill-prepared for the kind of grinding, heavily mechanized war of attrition that Europe's great armies had fought over the previous three years.

“Marine's mysterious death in final days of WWI still haunts his family”
STARS & STRIPES
https://www.stripes.com/n...y-1.554863
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For millions of soldiers, the First World War meant unimaginable horror: artillery shells that could pulverize a human body into a thousand fragments; immense underground mine explosions that could do the same to hundreds of bodies; attacks by poison gas, tanks, flamethrowers. Shortly after 8 P.M. on November 7, 1918, however, French troops near the town of La Capelle saw something different. From the north, three large automobiles, with the black eagle of Imperial Germany on their sides, approached the front lines with their headlights on. Two German soldiers were perched on the running boards of the lead car, one waving a white flag, the other, with an unusually long silver bugle, blowing the call for ceasefire—a single high tone repeated in rapid succession four times, then four times again, with the last note lingering.

A Hundred Years After the Armistice
THE NEW YORKER
https://www.newyorker.com...-armistice
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The Allied powers signed a ceasefire agreement with Germany at Rethondes, France, at 11:00 a.m. on November 11, 1918, bringing the war later known as World War I to a close.
President Wilson proclaimed the first Armistice Day the following year on November 11, 1919, with these words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”

Library of Congress
https://www.loc.gov/item/...vember-11/
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Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+12354) one month ago
Thanks for the links, Hal.

As a subscriber to the New Yorker, I read their Armistice article yesterday, and it opened my eyes.Previously, i had mostly blamed the Treaty of Versailles as the cause of later woes.

Back then, everyone had the 19th century spoils to the Victor attitude without calculating the new methods of warfare as a result of the Industrial Revolution.

What worked well in carving up Napoleon's empire in 1815 was an abject failure 100 years later.
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+8909) one month ago
Yes, if ever there was an example of winning the war and losing the peace, the settlement to WWI is it. None of the signatories to the three treaties ending the war walked away satisfied. Pretty much everyone who had a stake in the game was looking to overturn the treaty terms at the earliest opportunity. Just about the only signatory that came out setting pretty was Japan – and it wasn’t content with the status quo imposed by Versailles.

The costs of the War to the major participants was so high, nothing was likely to work. And to be honest, most didn’t want it to work, most were on the make and looking to score.

And you are spot on. The Treaty of Versailles was no Congress of Vienna, not by a long shot.
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Posted by David Schott (+12942) one month ago
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