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World War I

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The Sinking of the Lusitania, 1915 Painting. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
The Weekly Standard's Fractured History and the Reality
It was one hundred years ago this month that America entered World War I, which began July 28, 1914. [1] On April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson addressed a joint session of Congress and requested it to declare war on Germany. The Senate would vote in favor of war on April 4 and the House... Read More
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Today, 6 April 2017, marks the one hundredth anniversary of America’s entry into the First World War, probably the decisive factor in the eventual outcome of that war a year and a half later. Most schoolchildren, if they are taught anything at all about this event, hear it attributed to the German sinking of the... Read More
VERDUN – One hundred years ago this week, German artillery launched a mighty barrage of one million shells at French defenses on the wooded hills and deep ravines above the ancient fortress city of Verdun. The thunderous explosions of the “trummelfeuer” were heard 160 km away. By the second year of World War I, static... Read More
One hundred years ago this month -April 1915 – the Allies and Germany were stalemated on the Western Front. Winston Churchill, the young, ambitious First Lord of the British Admiralty proposed a scheme first advanced by France’s prime minister, Aristide Briand. The best way for Britain and France to end the stalemate and link up... Read More
One hundred years ago last week, on Christmas Eve, 1914, German and British soldiers emerged from the horrors of World War One trench warfare to greet each other, exchange food and gifts, and to wish each other a Merry Christmas. What we remember now as the “Christmas Truce” began with soldiers singing Christmas carols together... Read More
A full century after World War I we still cannot understand how generals sent so many soldiers to be slaughtered. Ten million soldiers died on all sides; millions more were left maimed or shell shocked. Seven million civilians died. 20 million horses died. The image we have of hapless soldiers being forced to climb out... Read More
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Buchanan, Churchill and the “Necessary” Book
Back in 2008 Patrick J. Buchanan published his volume Churchill, Hitler, and The Unnecessary War. Although it was reviewed and discussed at the time, perhaps because it dealt with world history on such a vast, scholarly scale, or because the subject matter seemed to be more the province of academic specialists (which Buchanan isn’t), it... Read More
Slava2009 / Shutterstock.com
About how America became involved in certain wars, many conspiracy theories have been advanced -- and some have been proved correct. When James K. Polk got his declaration of war as Mexico had "shed American blood upon the American soil," Rep. Abraham Lincoln demanded to know the exact spot where it had happened. And did... Read More
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Those Intellectuals Who Know Nothing of the Past May Help to Repeat It
I recently received an unexpected gift from American historian and political theorist Barry Alan Shain, The Declaration of Independence in Historical Context, a 600 page collection of documents from the era of the American Revolution, with accompanying commentaries and a long introductory essay, published by Yale University Press. It would be marvelous if Barry’s ambitious... Read More
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The 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I is upon us. Well we should mourn this cataclysmic event and continue to draw lessons from it. As a former soldier and military historian, I’ve always felt that WWI was the most tragic conflict in modern history: a totally avoidable madness that wrecked Europe’s glittering... Read More
Shambles on the Tigris - a general’s complacency and an abject surrender
In the British military cemetery at Kut on the Tigris River 100 miles south of Baghdad, the tops of the tombstones used to be only just visible as they stuck out of a swamp full of small green frogs. A broken cement cross rose over a reed bed in the middle of the slimy water.... Read More
PARIS – Of the many bridges that span the Seine River, none is more beautiful nor majestic than the Pont Alexandre III. Just south of the splendid Grand Palais, this bridge was named in honor of Russia’s Czar, Alexander III. Completed in 1892, the bridge is a monument to France’s Bel Epoque and represents the... Read More
The myth of the rational actor.
I was in England for Remembrance Sunday this year. The wreath-laying ceremony at the Cenotaph was very moving. I had forgotten how much emotion the British invest in this and how high a proportion is imaginatively keyed to WWI. Remembrance Sunday is defined to be the Sunday closest to Armistice Day, November 11, when the... Read More
W.E. Johns's tales about the often derided but intrepid fighter pilot have been unfairly maligned
A tidal wave of commentary on the First World War is about to break as we approach the 100th anniversary of its outbreak. Growing up in the 1950s, it was accounts of the Second World War that dominated my reading. I began to pay real attention to what had happened between 1914 and 1918 only... Read More
It was exactly 95 years ago: the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the moment when major hostilities in the charnel house that was World War I ended. In 1919, November 11th officially became “Armistice Day” in the United States. As it happened, though, major hostilities were suspended for... Read More
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The Enduring Folly of the Battle of the Somme
[The illustrations in this piece come from Joe Sacco’s The Great War: July 1, 1916: The First Day of the Battle of the Somme with the kind permission of its publisher, W.W. Norton, and the slightly adapted text, which also appears in that book, comes originally from Adam Hochschild’s To End All Wars: A Story... Read More
Since neoconservative journalists, at least to my knowledge, have not been lately slamming the “German connection,” I rejoiced at a feature article in yesterday's New York Post (March 20) going after the “series of German outrages” that helped push us into World War One. A commentary by Thomas A. Reppetto, on German saboteurs during World... Read More
A vastly underexplored topic is the British government’s role in greasing the skids for World War I. Until recently it was hard to find scholars who would dispute the culturally comfortable judgment that “authoritarian Germany” unleashed the Great War out of militaristic arrogance. Supposedly the British only got involved after the Germans recklessly violated Belgian... Read More
Unfortunately, I can’t resist pointing out minicon stupidities, and the latest example of this problem came to my attention in a recent syndicated column by Rich Lowry. In what is intended to be a discourse on American exceptionalism, Lowry goes through the anti-democratic evils of continental countries and then gets to England, which is awarded... Read More
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The latest issue of The American Conservative (July 14) includes a provocative symposium on whether World War II should be considered “the good war” and, no less significant, whether Winston Churchill deserves the adulation that the media have accorded him as “man of the century.” The contributions are all well documented and boldly framed, and... Read More
Although Sid Cundiff in a recent blog praises me as someone who recognizes “shades of grey,” I may be losing that capacity when it comes to certain neoconservative journalists. In an article for the Canadian National Post, which was also published on NRO (November 11, 2007), David Frum bewails the fact that Canadians are not... Read More
Even a broken clock is right twice a day. Abe Foxman, the head of the Jewish-Masonic thought police misnamed ADL, easily one of the most repulsive men in American public life, is not as good as a clock, but he can be right once in a while; and this time is now. The US Congress,... Read More
World War I, which came to an end on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, is today but a faint, sinister memory, recalled only by red poppies and barely noticed Remembrance Day and Veteran's Day ceremonies. Lest we forget... The Western Front, December, 1916 After twelve months of... Read More
This month marks the 90th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One, perhaps the great civilizational catastrophe of the past half-millennium. (Principal contender: The collapse of Chinese Imperial civilization following the mid-19th-century encounter with the West.) For anyone raised in Britain, WW1 has a powerful emotional pull. I've written about this myself on this... Read More
Europe's Last Summer: Who Started the Great War in 1914?, by David Fromkin
The First World War — "the war that was called Great," as the poet Vernon Scannell said — was the most tremendous event of the modern age, a jagged gaping fault line right across Western history. Even at a distance of ninety years it overwhelms the imagination. Sixty-two million men were mobilized; eight million of... Read More
The following response was written to a detailed review of Brian Bond's Trinity College Lectures dealing with the First World War. The reviewer Ted Rawes prepared his commentary for the twentieth-anniversary issue of the Salisbury Review, in which my rejoinder will appear during the summer. Nothing in my remarks should be interpreted as casting aspersions... Read More
Now that Taki has said it, perhaps it should be said again. The Western world could not have done worse, and might have done better, if the Central Powers had triumphed in World War One. The suspicion that I had really meant that when in some articles in the 1970s I had blamed both sides... Read More
Remembering Remembrance Day.
Veterans' Day, November 11th, is getting some extra respect this year. Not much mystery about why; and there is the coincidence of that now-ominous number 11 to drive home the significance of this day. (How odd, and what a gift to newspaper cartoonists and the makers of memorabilia, is the resemblance of that number to... Read More
Category Classics
The major media overlooked Communist spies and Madoff’s fraud. What are they missing today?
The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
What Was John McCain's True Wartime Record in Vietnam?
The evidence is clear — but often ignored
Confederate Flag Day, State Capitol, Raleigh, N.C. -- March 3, 2007