In the spring of 2015, my undergraduate son and I drove the length of the 1914-1918 Western Front, from the British battlefields in Flanders through the French zone in Champagne and Lorraine to the American cemeteries and monuments: Chateau-Thierry, St. Quentin, Belleau Wood, the Argonne. The nearer we approached the American sector, the fewer tourists shared the sites with us. Under the Menin gate at Ypres—a massive memorial to Britain’s lost—we were jostled among half a thousand men and women, boys and girls. In the overwhelming Meuse-Argonne cemetery, the largest American military burying place in all Europe, we stood alone.
A century ago, young men in Europe were killing each other by the tens of thousands. World War I, which had erupted just a few months earlier, was raging. Yet on a frozen Christmas Eve, the guns briefly fell silent. The Christmas Truce of 1914 has become the stuff of legend, portrayed in films, television ads, and songs. On this 100th anniversary of the cease-fire, it is possible to reconstruct the events of that day from letters, diaries, and even the recorded spoken words of the men who experienced the truce.
There are no more surviving World War I veterans. They were largely remembered in the 1920s and 1930s, but after World War II, the forgetting began, said Jennifer Keene, author and Chapman University professor. As time passes, their stories become lost, except for the families that preserve their words, photographs and memories. Some relatives reach out to the American Legion, which was created by World War I veterans, to share stories in its publication, Legiontown. It was an avenue that allowed Gary Foster to first share his grandfather's story.
A DESPERATE letter written by Lord Kitchener begging Winston Churchill for more ammunition for his beleaguered troops has emerged a century after it was written. The note exposes the internal war between Britain's leadership during the First World War and highlights just how ill-prepared the nation was for war. The letter sees Army Chief Lord Kitchener beg for more rounds but his plea is met with a blunt 'no, no, no'. In August 1914, Winston Churchill was First Lord of the Admiralty and had at his disposal 10 million rounds of ammunition.
David Reynolds’s superb study of the first World War casts light not only on the 20th century but also on present-day conflicts such as those in Syria and Iraq.
He was a crack shot, married for love and had gallows humour - but historians are divided as to whether he wanted a war.
The world you inhabit today was created on June 28, 1914.
It's not an occasion to heap praise upon "warriors".
When World War I veterans returned from overseas, they were promised a cash bonus for their service — but they wouldn't get their money until 1945. Then the Great Depression struck. Desperate for relief, in 1932 a group of veterans from Portland, Ore., went to Washington to demand early payment. The protests led to violence — and eventually the GI Bill.