Thursday, November 11, 2010

This Day in History: THE GREAT WAR ENDS

On this day in 1918...

the 11th month, the 11th day, at 11:00am, World War I came to an end!

Seriously wounded man: Somme, 1916
by Andre Dunoyer de Segonzac

They called it The Great War because it was more comprehensive than any war the world had known to date.

The following quotes come from PBS website THE GREAT WAR AND THE SHAPING OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY.

  • "World War I marked the first use of chemical weapons, the first mass bombardment of civilians from the sky, and the century's first genocide..."

  • Before the official Armistice was declared on November 11, 1918, nine million people had died on the battlefield and the world was forever changed.

  • Just as the war was ending, German Nationalists like Hitler gathered millions who rejected the peace and blamed Jews and Communists for their defeat. The road to the Second World War started there.

The Great War in Numbers by Michael F. Hanlon provides a sobering glance at how The Great War took its toll on so many.

Astonishingly, the list of numbers begins with 1 still unexploded mine in Belgium and includes 8,300,000 estimated combatants killed.  Perhaps even more astonishing is that nearly as many civilians (8,000,000) are believed to have died as a direct result of the war.

 Kathe Kollwitz, created this sculpture THE GRIEVING PARENTS in memory of her son, Peter who died in The Great War.

If you'd like to understand the World Wars, their connections to each other and to previous wars, I highly recommend this student friendly Usborne Book I picked up at a conference last week. 

While any war is too big and terrible for comprehension, it helps to have an illustrated volume that breaks the components of war into manageable portions.


  1. Your Veterans Day post is great. Käthe Kollwitz is one of my favorite artists and her 1919 drawing Germany's Children are Starving is one of the best reasons never to have wars.

  2. Alex, I so appreciate your sentiments. (never to have wars)

    I really need to do a whole post about Kathe Kollwitz!