January 8, 1988 |
An index of American popular sentiment about war can be found in the adjectives we use to describe our 20th-century conflicts. Vietnam was called "the undeclared war," Korea "the necessary war," World War II "the good war. " World War I was "the great war" - so dubbed not for its strategic implications as for the manner in which it transformed Europe. That transformation, which recast divisions of nation and class, is the subject of "The Great War - 70 Years Later," a provocative film series at the Free Library of Philadelphia main branch through Jan. 24. Except for that pacifist manifesto, All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
November 10, 1988 |
When Charles Radford tried to enlist in the U.S. Marines in 1917, he was rejected because of flat feet. Radford was 17 and eager to see some action after the entrance of the United States into World War I. A Marine officer suggested that he walk down the block to the Navy recruiting center. "They'll take you," the Marine told Radford. "They did," Radford recalled. "The Navy had an office on the second floor at 12th and Arch Streets, and my feet were OK for them. " Radford was among the more than 4.74 million Americans who volunteered or were drafted for the Great War, of whom 2.5 million were shipped overseas.
November 22, 2013 |
Joe Sacco's new book is an epic comic that depicts the horror of trench warfare during World War I. It's an accordion-style volume that opens into a single 24-foot-long panoramic drawing. Called The Great War: July 1, 1916, The First Day of the Battle of the Somme (W.W. Norton, 54 pages, $35), its origins go back to the author and artist's boyhood in Australia. Sacco, who will read at the Free Library of Philadelphia Thursday night, was born on the island of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea. When he was an infant, his parents emigrated to Australia, where every April 25 is Anzac Day, commemorating the casualties suffered by Australian and New Zealand soldiers during the invasion of Gallipoli in WWI. "They sacrificed so much blood there that it really entered the Australian national psyche," says Sacco, 53, author of masterful books of empathetic war-zone comic journalism, including Palestine and Safe Area Gorazde . "When I was a boy, they would stop class and play stories about World War I servicemen," he says, talking from New York this week.
July 31, 2009 |
Ninety-five years ago this week, World War I began. The Great War, as it was called, is not well-understood in the United States, partly because our involvement was relatively minor, lasting only 20 months. But World War I was the key to the 20th century - the conflict that shaped the rest of that most brutal of centuries. Many of the problems that we confront today date to World War I, not to the better-known Second World War. Consider terrorism. World War I was instigated by a terrorist organization, the Black Hand of Serbia, when it assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne.
September 5, 1995 |
In a year of commemorations of the half-century since World War II, Ray H. Fuller is one of those few Americans with firsthand memories of an even earlier generation's march across France and of forests flattened by artillery fire. "If it wasn't for World War I," said Fuller, a sturdy, lighthearted, 99- year-old former construction worker, "there wouldn't have been a World War II. " Seventy-seven years have passed since the end of that earlier war with Germany - supposedly "the war to end all wars" - for which the United States fielded an army of 4.7 million men. But it was so long ago, and the world has changed so much, that Fuller, who lost a brother in the war and was shot through the left arm in France, is one of only 15 men, ages 95 to 101, attending the national convention of the Veterans of World War I of the U.S.A.
March 29, 1993 |
More than a half-century ago, the club members sealed a bottle of Hennessy cognac in a glass canister and vowed not to open it - not until all but one of them had died. The last man, they said, would have the honor of toasting his departed comrades and remembering them to a world that had changed many times over since they went to war in 1918. One hundred and eight veterans of the "Great War" formed the Last Man's Club at American Legion Post 38. They have held dinners every year since 1940, their numbers dwindling.
November 1, 1986 |
Once upon a time - 50 years ago, to be exact - hundreds of young Americans voluntarily went off to fight and, many of them, to die for the government of Spain in its war aginst a rebel army led by Gen. Francisco Franco. These American boys, together with young men from a host of other countries, had been recruited into International Brigades by their local Communist Parties acting on orders from Moscow. Not all the recruits were communists, though the great majority were. But unlike their European comrades, 80 percent of whom came from the working class, the Americans of the Abraham Lincoln Battalion were mostly students.
November 11, 2003
Carroll Hosbrook, a farm boy from Blue Ash, Ohio, found himself near Compiegne, France, on Nov. 11, 1918, the very place and day the Armistice was signed that ended the First World War. Hosbrook faithfully wrote his grandmother, Sarepta Hosbrook, during the war, including the letter below, taken from the family collection of his nephew, James F. Burns, professor emeritus in the department of industrial and systems engineering at the University of...
September 15, 1996 |
PBS likes to ask: "If PBS doesn't do it, who will?" Well, there's cable, which now churns out shows in all the old familiar PBS genres - science, period drama, historical documentaries, children's programs, public affairs . . . But PBS doesn't send a bill. So, for the price of a small donation (or free, for those able to withstand guilt-inducing pledge drives), PBS will be serving up costume dramas, documentaries and celebrities in the wild. The West (Tonight-Sept.
August 27, 1989 |
Like soldiers standing at attention, green uniforms hang in a long row in the back of Bob Ford's Coatesville home. Each uniform, like the man who wore it more than 70 years ago, is different from the rest. They are remnants of the Great War. And Ford is their guardian. For 20 years, Ford has been building a collection of World War I memorabilia. And he knows each piece and its owner well - about 500 men and women who fought in the "war for civilization" have their mementos under Ford's care.