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100th Anniversary of the ending of World War I

Written by Merideth Bucher, Producer | Nov 12, 2018 4:37 AM
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A soldier of Company K, 110th Regt. Infantry (formerly 3rd and 10th Inf., Pennsylvania National Guard), just wounded, receiving first-aid treatment from a comrade. Varennes-en-Argonne, France, on September 26, 1918. U.S. Army / U.S. National Archives

 

What to look for on Smart Talk Monday, November 12, 2018: 

At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month marks the time that World War I officially came to an end in 1918. One hundred years ago on Sunday, a ceasefire was signed leading to the Armistice and ending what was then called The Great War.

World War I was the first "total war of the modern period" and no one then would imagine there would be another coming of even greater magnitude.

"Europe's War" began in 1914 after the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. Germany and its central powers allies fought against Great Britain, France and Russia, along with other Allied Powers. From the outset of the war, the United States sought to remain neutral, which became increasingly difficult with maritime provocations and the sinking of merchant marine vessels. A final straw was the sinking of the British ocean liner Lusitania that was carrying American passengers on board.

In April 1917, the United States declared war against Germany and began an unprecedented industrial mobilization effort. It took time to assemble, train and equip the Army and by Spring of 1918 the American Expeditionary Force was ready for their first engagement. The addition of American "doughboys" helped to end three years of stalemate.

During the war, more than two million American's volunteered for the Army and almost three million were drafted. By the end, 116,516 U.S. soldiers would die in combat or from disease and another 200,000 were wounded. In all, more than 35 million people died during the entirety of the war. 

World War I was a war of firsts. It was the first time that women joined the ranks, and the first time that minorities served in considerable numbers. More than 350,000 African Americans served during the war, as did Native Americans and other minority groups. It was also the first time that trench warfare would be fought, and the first time that soldiers would experience the lethality of modern weapons like tanks, machine guns and chemical warfare.

The Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, officially ending the war. Unknowingly, the Treaty would also help to set the conditions for World War II.

Joining Smart Talk for Veterans Day and a special 100th anniversary commemoration of World War I is Dr. Conrad C. Crane, the Chief of Historical Services for the Army Heritage and Education Center at Carlisle Barracks, and Dr. Doug Mastriano, Historian and author.

 

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