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November 11: Remembering the Tragedy and Legacy of World War I, by H. Patricia Hynes

World War I is probably America’s least remembered and least understood wars. From H. Patricia Hynes at antiwar.com:

Watching Londoners reveling in the streets on Armistice Day*, November 11, 1918, the war critic and pacifist Bertrand Russell commented that people had cheered for war, then cheered for peace – ” the crowd was frivolous still, and had learned nothing during the period of horror.”
~ Adam Hochschild. 2011. To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion

World War I was the first industrial war: poison gases, flamethrowers, aerial bombing, submarines, and machine guns intensified the scale of war wreckage and war dead, setting the norm for 20th and 21st century wars. By government policy, British war dead were not sent home lest the public turn against the war. Instead they were buried in vast graveyards near battle sites in France and Belgium. Even today Belgian and French farmers plowing fields in places of intense, interminable fighting and mass death on the Western Front unearth an estimated ½ million pounds of war debris and soldiers’ bones each year. (During the Afghanistan and Iraq wars Pentagon policy prohibited media coverage of US war dead arriving at Dover Air Base in Delaware until the ban was lifted, with conditions, in 2015. Many regarded the ban, like the Word War 1 British policy, as hiding the human cost of war that could turn the public against the war.)

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