Two events in April 1917 foreshadow the superpower alignment of the remainder of the Twentieth Century: the United States enters the Great War, meaning to make the world safe for democracy, and Lenin returns to Russia, intent on leading a Bolshevik revolution. In Washington, the President’s request for a declaration of war is the first order of business for the newly elected 65th Congress. War is declared, the Navy is mobilized, German ships in American ports are seized, and suspected German spies are detained. Congress authorizes a $7 billion war loan, most of the proceeds marked for the nations already fighting Germany. The president issues a proclamation to the American people, telling them they must “speak, act and serve together” in support of the war effort. British and French emissaries visit the United States to participate in an International War Council. Both houses of Congress enact draft legislation. On the Western Front, an Anglo-French offensive is launched under the command of General Robert Nivelle, the new Commander-in-Chief of the French Army. The Canadians capture Vimy Ridge, but the offensive as a whole is a costly failure, ending with mutinies in the French Army and the replacement of Nivelle by General Philippe Petain. In a journey facilitated by the German government, Lenin travels from Zurich to Petrograd’s Finland Station. Upon arrival, in what would become known as the April Theses, he calls for the overthrow of Russia’s new Provisional Government.
A few days ago the following article appeared in the local newspaper serving Fayetteville, Arkansas, which is the hometown of Joseph Weishaar, the young architect whose design was selected for the National WW1 Memorial to be built in Pershing Park, Washington, DC.
For any Arkansans reading this blog–you know who you are, and Kansans know how to pronounce “Arkansas” correctly–you may be interested in this free poster for Arkansas Heritage Month, which features Arkansans going off to war. See this link for details: http://www.arkansasheritage.com/storyline/a-state-of-war-arkansas-remembers-world-war-i
We’ll point out this essay by Jennifer Keene, who has spoken at the National World War I Museum and Memorial and the Dole Institute of Politics. Keene was also one of the historians who appeared in the PBS series, The Great War. Click here for the essay.
Once again, we shamelessly give another plug to an event at the National World War I Museum and Memorial–this Saturday, April 19th.
But Who Shall Return Us Our Children? – A Kipling Passion
Saturday, April 29, 7:30 pm
Author Rudyard Kipling is remembered around the world, but less well known is the impact the First World War had on Kipling in the wake of his son’s death at the Battle of Loos. In this new oratorio, American composer John Muehleisen explores the costs of war from the point of view of the families left behind in this moving world premiere, scored for soprano, tenor, and bass soloists with choir and chamber orchestra.
Melville Gray Montgomery was born in Cowley County on August 6, 1890. He became a minister in the Presbyterian Church, and in turn served as a chaplain during his short service in the army during the Great War.
In his early life he had been an orphan, losing both parents by the age of two. He and his siblings went to live with an aunt and uncle in Arkansas City. This was no barrier to him; he had an active life in school, being on the track team and showed promising oratorical skills. The latter carried over to his days at Park College in Parkville, Missouri. This also created an ironic moment; he took part in an oratorical contest at Winfield in 1913, and the Kansan Montgomery represented the state of Missouri.
I hate to turn to New Jersey for an idea for programming, but why not, when the idea is good? It’s also very basic, and one that can be copied by anyone.
Consider, when you click on the link below, what happened in this community:
-A local historical society and a local public library worked together.
This Smithsonian Magazine has some excellent food for thought on the approaches for teaching the Great War. Click here to read the article.
We’ve had a few posts about World War I resources at the National Archives. Click here to see the vast array of resources available on their website.
For those of you who like a little trench warfare with your baseball, your night appears to be fast approaching . . .
This was pointed out to me, and there isn’t much online to describe it. Friday night May 5th is on the Kansas City Royals’ promotional schedule as WWI Night, sponsored by Waddell & Reed. In the past the National World War I Museum and Memorial has been involved in these nights, and I assume that is the case this year.