VALLEY — 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI.
It was the end of the worst conflict the world had seen. The fighting officially ceased on November 11th, 1918 at 11 a.m. after the allied forces claimed victory. By the time the conflict was over, more than 16 million soldiers and civilians were left dead. It was called the “the great war,” and the “war to end all wars.” The day that is now celebrated as Veterans Day began as day to recognize the end of WWI and was first called “Armistice Day.” In a sense, it began as a plea for peace and remembrance. The day’s name was later changed by the U.S. legislature to Veterans Day to recognize all who served.
The events of WWI forever changed the way that war was/is waged. It brought unprecedented levels of casualties and changes in technology. The conflict was the first war that utilized aircraft resulting in the beginning of aircraft carriers. It was also the first conflict where submarines played a prominent role.
Furthermore, due to the seemingly immoveable fashion of trench warfare, the invention of the tank came about in England and brought a radical shift forward in tactics and mobility in battle. The war was also the first time that flamethrowers and chemical warfare were used. The devastating new tactics of the war also necessitated the invention and use of gas masks as well as the first steel helmets.
On the home front, other changes came as well. The first blood banks were established and the X-ray machine was invented.
The social upheaval that WWI brought was extensive. This included the mass entrance of women in the workforce, and the outbreak of the first global pandemic, the Spanish Flu.
The war’s end also marked the end of several global dynasties including Germany, Austria-Hungary, Russia, and the Ottoman Empire.
The Armistice negotiations at the war’s end also marked the first time that a U.S. president visited European soil when Woodrow Wilson attended the Paris Peace Conference and the signing of the Treaty of Versailles at the Palace of Versailles. The horrors of the war also resulted in the signing of the Geneva Convention in 1925. The effects of WWI are still felt today because of the enormous amounts of change that took place during that time.
This was a conflict that had been unequaled.
Veterans Day exists to ensure that the memory of those who have served will never be forgotten.
Some information taken from history.com