What is the Tunnel Wall?

.........................A timely collection of conservative articles about corrosive liberal influences on politics and culture in America ......................

Monday, November 12, 2018

The Great War’s Great Price

Rich Terrell
National Review

Revisiting the wreckage, on the centenary of the armistice

"There is no monument to the First World War on the National Mall. Along the two-mile carpet of memory we have created between the Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial, we honor the Civil War, the Vietnam War, the Second World War, and the Korean War. But nothing there memorializes the other great American war of the 20th century, which we entered in April 1917 and saw to its conclusion the following November. This is peculiar, since no other modern war was waged by Americans with such outstandingly pristine expectations. It was, as President Woodrow Wilson intoned, to be “the war to end all wars,” the war to “make the world safe for democracy,” the war to establish a world order of “open covenants of peace, openly arrived at.” Measured against those slogans, no other 20th-century war produced such meager results, either, which is the principal reason Americans have chosen to forget World War I so completely.
"And not just on the National Mall. No American combatants produced memoirs of wartime as powerful as Robert Graves’s Goodbye to All That (1929) or Ernst Jünger’s Storm of Steel (1920). Not even the most heralded of American fiction about the Great War, Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms (1929), is a serious match for Erich Maria Remarque’s  (1928) All Quiet on the Western Front. The one anniversary the war acquired on the public calendar, Armistice Day, was homogenized into Veterans’ Day in 1954. And no wonder: Fully half of the 4.7 million American soldiers mobilized for the war never even made it to the scenes of combat in France before the armistice was declared." . . .

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