Veterans Day 2018 and World War I

By | November 11, 2018

[November 11, 2018]  Today is the anniversary of the end of the Great War at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month – 100 years ago.  Nearly 20 million people died by that time and the horror would only be relived two decades later when mistakes were made that helped precipitate World War II and the numbering of world wars with Roman numerals.

“I must study politics and war, so that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy.” – John Adams, second President of the United States

First, a little background on this war  What most of us are not taught was that by early 1918, it looked like the Central Powers (Austria, Hungary, Germany, Bulgaria, & Ottoman Empire) would be victorious.  When Czarist Russia gave up in late 1917, the Central Powers were able to redeploy those troops westward against the exhausted French and British armies.

In April 1917, the U.S. declared war on Germany and Austria-Hungary.  They did so, not to save the French or British, although that may have been a secondary reason, but because of the German submarine attacks on American ships.  Americans were also enraged that Germany would seek an alliance with Mexico.

The German foreign minister promised Mexico that, in exchange for its support during the war, it would help Mexico retake the U.S. territory it had lost in the Mexican-American War.1  Only with the sudden intervention of the American doughboys did the tide of war turn.  But, strangely, the war ended with an armistice, not a surrender of the Central Powers.

Finally, on June 28, 1919 (more than seven months later), the Treaty of Versailles was signed.  One part of the treaty, the War Guilt clause, required Germany to make several major concessions that were highly punitive.  Some called this a Carthaginian peace; referring to the ancient destruction of Carthage by the Roman Republic in 146 BC.

The world learned little from this war and the punitive peace that followed.  First, keeping the peace can be difficult, even more difficult than winning the war.  Second, a defeated enemy must understand why it lost, the consequences, and magnanimity of the victors to help it rebuild.  And third, deterrence prevents war.  The latter means being prepared to fight war so that one may never have to fight.

May this Veterans Day be in remembrance for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice during World War I.

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  1. https://www.reference.com/history/did-united-states-enter-world-war-1-cc857279faaa16ce
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Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

26 thoughts on “Veterans Day 2018 and World War I

  1. Dale Paul Fox

    Happy Veterans Day to all. Yes, I mean to all because it is what those in the military do, every day, that helps keep us free that matters a great deal. Whether you like it or not (or you are a college snowflake), the military has kept you free to do great things or stupid things (like protest the military). Great job military vets. We all love you.

  2. Mr. T.J. Asper

    Monday morning, yes we have school that day, I will be discussing what it means to be a veteran and to have respect for them. It is difficult to get High School students motivated to learn about anything but this one I can do to get them to see the light.

  3. Fred Weber

    Thank you Gen. Satterfield for keeping vets in our thoughts. I pray for them and wish them all the very best in their lives.

  4. José Luis Rodriguez

    I suspect that most people enjoy Vet’s Day for the simple reason they get a paid day off from work (for those that have a job). I’m happier now that our veterans can get better health care that is a result of improved management and increased resources. Thank you veterans.

    1. Shawn C. Stolarz

      Unfortunately, true that so many have no idea about Veterans Day, it’s origin and why we still honor vets.

  5. Georgie M.

    Let’s also never forget that there are folks who want to be identified as “heroes” and who never served. Go to the Stolen Valor site for a few disgusting examples. http://www.stolenvalor.com/

  6. Andrew Dooley

    Today is more special to me than Christmas or any other day of the year. My dad was killed in Vietnam protecting a people he never knew or knew why (except he was there to protect them). Our Vietnam Vets were treated disgracefully by our own people here in the US. The shame of that is a stain on the lives of many traitors to our country – yes, traitors. We know who many of them are but most will remain unknown only to themselves. They will die in their private dishonor.

    1. Greg Heyman

      Right on! Many brought dishonor upon themselves and their families for how they treated our vets. We will never forget.

  7. Forrest Gump

    I would like to add my two cents worth by also saying “ditto”. We all should honor our military as well as all first responders.

  8. Tony B. Custer

    Thanks a veteran today. Do your part and be part of the service they have provided to protect us and sometimes to protect other peoples.

  9. Gil Johnson

    Growing up in Arizona, all my relatives were to tell me about their time in the US milliary. I was envious of the excitement and adventures they had. Like them, I too joined up and did my time honorably. There is so much I learned about my time in the U.S. Navy that it is impossible to pass along all of it. But the fact that we ALL served honorably made me proud.

  10. Janna Faulkner

    Good story about WWI. My grandfather was in the war and told me stories about the horror of it all. All war should end but it never will as long as nations are unprepared for it. Only when we are all strong will it stop.

  11. Army Captain

    Acknowledging Veterans Day is the first step toward peace as a nation.

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