Today marks World War I centennial

Today marks World War I centennial

World War I continued for another 19 months and claimed the lives of 10 million soldiers, including 117,000 Americans.

On 6 April 1917 America finally entered the First World War. Secondly, the war had benefited the USA economy and given birth to the world's most powerful military-industrial complex.

Just two days after his powerful speech to a joint session of Congress, in the early morning hours of Good Friday, April 4, 1917, the House of Representatives passed the resolution 373 to 50.

All the manpower coming from the USA would not have meant much without safe transportation to Europe. Historians generally support the idea that Germany gambled and lost: its leaders believed they could manufacture and deploy enough advanced submarines to shut down trans-Atlantic trade and starve England, France and Italy into submission before the industrial and military might of the USA could be brought to bear in Europe. The U.S. had neither the inclination nor the military might to wage a major war in Europe, and the Americans initially sat on the sidelines under the banner of "armed neutrality". Mexico would recover land lost to the United States in an earlier war, including Texas, in exchange for German gold and weapons. The Germans calculated that if they could sink enough ships, they would starve Britain of food and supplies and tilt the war in their favour.

About ABMC:Established by Congress in 1923, the American Battle Monuments Commission commemorates the service, achievements, and sacrifice of US armed forces.

Until Wilson's April 2, 1917, address, he had argued for USA war neutrality. Germany chose to do that by promising Mexico its support for Mexican sovereignty of Texas and Arizona in the event of a full scale war between the US and Mexico.

Their greatest coup of the war was the interception and decryption of the famous Zimmermann Telegram in 1917. Even after the Armistice of 1918, domestic peace was uneasy at best, with African-American soldiers (including those of the celebrated NY 15th National Guard regiment) returning to a Jim Crow society and deadly race riots. The assassination, while ultimately a scapegoat, became the catalyst for the start of World War I, exactly one month later. The brutality, scale and mass industrialization of combat was utterly new in human history and it removed an entire generation of young men from humanity.

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Germany formally surrendered on November 11, 1918. In fact, as military historian V.E. Tarrant wrote, "From March 1918 until the end of the war, two million USA troops were transported to France, for the loss of only 56 lives".

On the battlefield was the modern technology of the day cutting down men as wheat through a combine, lungs blistering from mustard gas and the filth and inhumanity of trench warfare.

The war has left its shadow across the past century. It was also produced in such numbers that it was one of the few weapons the USA military could deploy with to Europe. The "War to End All Wars" in fact spurred an even greater cataclysm 20 years later in World War II, which historians commonly describe as an extension of the first world war. He trained with the unit at Camp Wadsworth in SC before deploying to Europe in May 1918.

"The world must be made safe for democracy", Wilson said. Only now has American returned to a more non-interventionist strategy. Christian pacifists, such as Tennessee's Alvin York, felt religious scruples against violence, and political radicals scoffed at Wilson's lofty sentiments, declaring the war a turf battle between Europe's economic rivals. The general impression among the broader public is that nobody in particular was to blame for the greatest conflagration in world history before the Second World War. Just as America entered the war, the Russians withdrew amid revolution and revolt.

World War I's bad irony is that today its disgusting carnage seems even more senseless than the far greater death toll of World War II, which ended quite differently and did not lead to another world war - at least so far.

Two national, earth-shattering events happened on this date 100 years ago.

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