Library 101: World War I and Armistice Day

Posted on: Wednesday, November 5th, 2014 by Janet Kirby

On November 11 we will be celebrating Veterans Day.  It was established in 1919 by President Wilson and was originally known as Armistice Day, a day to remember the end of World War I, the war to end all wars. It was celebrated with parades, and businesses closed for a short time. On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month many paused in their daily activities to honor those who fought in the war. In 1938, Armistice Day became a legal holiday; in 1954 the wording of the holiday changed to Veterans Day to honor veterans of all wars.

This year, 2014, is the centennial of the event that is considered to have been the reason that World War I began.  On June 28, 1914, Archduke Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was assassinated by Serbian terrorists.   The war was declared over on November 11, 1918 and the Treaty of Versailles, officially ending the war, was signed on June 28, 1919, the anniversary of the assassination that started it all.

The United States established the World War One Centennial Commission, signed into law by President Obama on January 16, 2013, to promote recognition and organize events to honor the centennial. They are also planning on establishing a national memorial in Washington D.C.

To honor the Centennial, the library has a display of pictures and books highlighting some of the special aspects of the War.  These include copies of enlistment posters from several countries, including Germany, posters promoting ways that civilians can help in the war effort, and posters showing women doing men’s work. 

The library has many books about this great moment in history, including the following:

The Encyclopedia of World War I: a Political, Social, and Military History.  REF D510 .E53 2005

Great Events from History. The 20th century, 1901-1940 / Robert F. Gorman.  REF D 421 .G629 2007

The Home Front Encyclopedia : United States, Britain, and Canada in World Wars I and II / James Ciment,  REF D523 .H65 2007

The First World War / John Keegan.  D 521 .K345 1999. The First World War created the modern world.  A conflict of unprecedented ferocity, it abruptly ended the relative peace and prosperity of the Victorian era, unleashing such demons of the twentieth century as mechanized warfare and mass death.

Germany's Aims in the First World War. / Fritz Frischer.  D 515 .F2713 1967  [This book] forced the revision of widely held views of Germany’s responsibility for the beginning and continuing World War I.

Imperial Germany and the Great War, 1914-1918/ Roger Chickering.  DD 228.8 .C48 1998  Explores the comprehensive impact of the Frist World War on Imperial Germany.

The Myth of the Great War : a New Military History of World War I / John Mosier.  D 521 .M86 2001. This challenging and controversial analysis of the war on the Western Front from 1914 to 1918 reveals how and why the Germans consistently defeated the French and the British with on-half to one-third fewer casualties than the Allies, and how American troops in 1918 saved the Allies from defeat and a negotiated peace with the Germans.

The Pity of War: [Explaining World War I] / Niall Ferguson.  D511 .F475 1999  [The author] argues that the fatal conflict between Britain and Germany was far from inevitable. 

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