A Time to Remember: The Centennial Memorials of WWI

holly-fisher-1BY HOLLY FISHER
Staff Writer, UAS Whalesong

As the Centennial Years of World War I near their end, people all over the world continue to grieve the events that etched themselves into global memory.

Participating nations are putting their best foot forward throughout the 2014-2018 centenary. All involved are participating in a worldwide collection of commemorative events, memorial establishment, and refurbishment. However, some countries have taken even more special consideration in their choice of remembrance. Continue reading “A Time to Remember: The Centennial Memorials of WWI”

A Time to Remember: The Lost Battalion

holly-fisher-1BY HOLLY FISHER
Staff  Writer, UAS Whalesong

In 1917 to 1918, American soldiers flooded the battlefields of Europe, propping up the sagging Allied lines, and challenging the exhausted Central Powers. The United States had gone from dormant to full mobilization, and transition to total war conditions in less than a year. This rapid development far outstripped what had been thought possible. Germany had hinged its unrestricted U-Boat warfare on the belief that the U.S. would require a long time to mobilize. German High Command thought they could sufficiently devastate shipping lines, and exhaust Allied supplies long before the North American troops could mobilize. With the expected delay, the Germans also planned to set up enough disruptions in cross-Atlantic travel to prevent the troop carriers from making it across the ocean.

The U.S. smashed all expectations. The first troops landed in France on June 25, less than three months after declaring war. Though this first wave of soldiers was just a small volunteer force, it was a tiny sampling of what was to come. By mid-1918, U.S. troops were arriving in France and England at a rate of some 10,000 a day. The inexperienced but enthusiastic American troops were assigned to battle-wearied Allied deployments across the front. They propped up weak points in the lines, bulked out forces preparing for forward offensives, and filled in cracks that had been growing larger in the tired troops. This led to some strange and unfortunate happenings, as troops went from quiet America to the war torn moonscape of the Western Front with little preparation.

One of these events was the case of the Lost Battalion. Continue reading “A Time to Remember: The Lost Battalion”

A Time to Remember: The Christmas Truces

holly-fisher-1BY HOLLY FISHER
Staff  Writer, UAS Whalesong

Few events of World War I are so iconic as the Christmas Truce of 1914. Countless books and articles detail it, songs were written to commemorate the events, and advertisement campaigns bring viewers to happy tears with its retelling. It is remembered as a symbol of mankind’s innate goodness and love for his fellow human, and is held up as a heartwarming moment of beauty amidst so much carnage and death. So many people know this legendary Christmas, but what happened afterwards? What did the brass think of this unprecedented event, and did it ever reoccur? The answers to those questions are sadly less heartening, even if they are marked with some rays of light. Continue reading “A Time to Remember: The Christmas Truces”

A Time to Remember: World War I, 1916

holly-fisher1BY HOLLY FISHER
For the UAS Whalesong

As many may be aware, we are in the midst of the centennial years of World War I. This part of the 21st Century recalls all that happened 100 years ago and the ways in which our societies were changed and rewritten along new lines. During those turbulent years, old empires toppled as new countries were born, the cavalry charged against the new machine guns, and the tragic word ‘Genocide’ was coined for the first time. The shockwaves of The Great War still reverberate today, echoed in many things we now consider to be the norm. To fully appreciate the magnitude of these changes, one needs to spend time with the events. Continue reading “A Time to Remember: World War I, 1916”