"From other shell holes from the darkness on all sides came the groans and wails of wounded men; faint, long, sobbing moans of agony, and despairing shrieks. It was horribly obvious that dozens of men with serious wounds must have crawled for safety into new shell holes, and now the water was rising about them, and, powerless to move, they were slowly drowning.”
Edwin Vaughan, a British Officer, as told in John Keegan’s, "The First World War"
"The world must be made safe for democracy. Its peace must be planted upon the tested foundation of political liberty. We have no selfish ends to serve. We desire no conquest, no dominion. We seek no indemnities for ourselves, no material compensation for the sacrifices we shall freely make. We are but one of the champions of the rights of mankind."
--President Woodrow Wilson
We are approaching the 100 year anniversary of the Armistice that ended World War 1, a war that dismantled four empires and gave birth to new nations. The Great War ended almost five decades of peace in Europe, and put us on the path to the rise of Adolf Hitler and many of today’s challenges in the Middle East. I will be sharing some of my favorite quotes and snippets of interesting information from that time over the next several months.
Today I start with an excerpt from General John “Black Jack” Pershing, Commander of American Expeditionary Forces letter dated November 9, 1917 (source: My Fellow Soldiers” by Andrew Carroll):
"I am glad you realize, and I hope all Americans will realize the vastness of our undertaking and the necessity for very loyal support whatever may happen. We are fighting for a cause that made us great as a nation, and we must all stand together."
While reading about Ernest Hemingway's coverage of war, I found this quote from "Papa":
"The writer's standard of fidelity to the truth should be so high that his invention, out of his experience, should produce a truer account than anything factual can be. For facts can be observed badly; but when a good writer is creating something, he has time and scope to make of it an absolute truth." (source: Hemingway on War and Its Aftermath, National Archives)