Remembering World War One

world_war_1_recruiting_posterToday is the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War, a conflict which began in an obscure corner of Europe, claiming over 16 million lives by its end some four years later.

On July 28, 1914 the Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on Serbia, citing Serbian involvement in the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand the previous month. Ethnic nationalism, dynastic rivalry, and divisive alliances triggered a wave of hostilities, leaving almost the whole of Europe in a state of war within a few short weeks.

In the United States, many observers saw the Great War as an old world family quarrel. In 1916, Woodrow Wilson won a second term in the White House under the slogan, “He kept us out of the War.” This boast proved short-lived. The United State’s April 1917 entry into the war – the result of indiscriminate German submarine attacks in the Atlantic – was decisive, but wide swathes of public opinion questioned what had been billed as a “Crusade for Democracy.” In 1919, Congress vetoed the Treaty of Versailles over its inclusion of the League of Nations Charter (the forerunner of the United Nations). Wary of future foreign entanglements, America’s gaze shifted inwards, but the rise of totalitarianism in Europe and Asia brought isolationism to an end.

The last US veteran of World War One, Frank Woodruff Buckles, died in 2011. An NBC news profile, made shortly before his death, is below:

Covington’s Cincinnati

covingtonThis Thursday, July 24, from 4 to 6 p.m., the Walter Havighurst Special Collections, 3rd floor, King Library, Miami University, Oxford, will host a reception honoring their summer exhibit: Covington’s Cincinnati. Jack White, MU ’58, former Smithsonian curator, and native of Cincinnati, will give a guided tour of the exhibit he guest curated. Please come for free refreshments, a little of Jack’s vast knowledge of Cincinnati, and a look at the background of one of Miami University’s major collections.

  • This exhibit runs at Miami University Walter Havighurst Special Collections from June 4 through through August 1, 2014