Tag Archives: World War One

Armistice Day, World Peace, and Feeding the Hungry

One of the guns of Battery D, 105th Field Artillery, showing American flag which was hoisted after the last shot had been fired when the armistice took effect. Etraye, France. 11/11/1918Credits: National Archives

It was just a piece of paper. Yet on the morning of November 11, 1918, it meant peace.

For on that paper was a message from United States General John Pershing, ordering ceasefire on all fronts at 11 a.m. Germany had accepted the armistice. The Great War, or World War I, was over.

While the battlefields were filled with the most devastating firepower ever assembled, it was a small piece of paper that was the most powerful instrument of that day.

The announcing of the armistice on November 11, 1918, was the occasion for a monster celebration in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Thousands massed on all sides of the replica of the Statue of Liberty on Broad Street, and cheered unceasingly. Philadelphia Public Ledger. (National Archives)

Celebrations sprang up across the world. The Cincinnati Enquirer wrote, “It was Victory Day, and all Cincinnati helped celebrate this most momentous event in the history of the world.”

Americans fought and died right up to the armistice. Many who survived lived with the effects of shellshock . A whole world was in fact left shellshocked by the Great War, and millions of people were threatened with starvation and poverty as a result.

“Hunger knows no armistice,” a poster for the Near East Relief Committee stated. To tell the full story of World War I and its aftermath is to tell of hunger and great humanitarians.

The article in the Cincinnati Enquirer made it a point to mention the city’s impressive record providing relief throughout the conflict. In fact, in 1917 the paper printed the appeal of Frederick Chatfield, a leader for Belgium relief, who said one dollar a month would save a Belgian child from starvation and give him the extra food needed to keep him from disease. The newspaper even printed the names of those who sent in donations.

Cincinnati adopted the town of Hastiere in Belgium in order to help it rebuild from wartime destruction. Among the buildings damaged was a little church, built in the eleventh century, that was bombarded by shells.

The men and women who suffered through World War I deserved a lasting peace. However, the world was at war once again just two decades later. The Second World War would bring even more destruction than the first.

But on this Armistice Day, 2011, let’s remember that dream of world peace that should have followed the First World War, and not give up on that dream. The pursuit of world peace is the best memorial we can leave to the generation that sacrificed so much in the horror of the first World War.

Lands struck by war can recover. Interestingly, I recently received two messages from Belgium, one confirming that the country is a donor to the UN World Food Programme to help this agency fight hunger in conflict and disaster zones around the globe. The second message is from Hastiere. All is well there, and the little church is rebuilt-the Great War long in the rearview mirror.

Article first published as Armistice Day, World Peace and Feeding the Hungry on Blogcritics.

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The Road to Peace: From the Disarming of the Great Lakes to the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

At a press conference President Eisenhower stated, “the concept of atomic war is too horrible for man to endure and to practice, and he must find some way out of it.” In “The Road to Peace” read about President Eisenhower and President Kennedy’s pursuit of a nuclear test ban treaty, a first step in nuclear arms control with the Soviet Union. The attempt to control nuclear weaponry came at a time when the Soviet Union and the United States were engaged in the Cold War. Tensions were running high.

A lesser-known arms control measure is also discussed in the book, how the Soviet Union and the United States actually agreed to ban nuclear weapons from at least one part of the globe in 1959. Also read how a diplomat from Mexico led the struggle to create a nuclear weapons free zone in Latin America in the aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

“The Road to Peace” includes the struggles between America and Britain over the Great Lakes and the Oregon territory. The now peaceful border of the United States and Canada did not come about easily. Read about diplomatic initiatives after World War I when the great hope of mankind was an end to warfare. Also, there is a concluding section on the INF and Open Skies treaties. Featured in “The Road to Peace” are notable peace efforts by extraordinary statesmen who served in government here and abroad from 1812 to the 20th century. Lessons of diplomacy and cooperation between countries are applicable to today’s conflicts.

Table of Contents
Introduction
1. War and Peace on the Great Lakes
2. The Oregon Treaty
3. Peace After the Great War?
4. Eisenhower, Kennedy and the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty
5. The First Nuclear Weapon Free Zones
Epilogue- The INF and Open Skies Treaties
Notes
Index

The Road to Peace is available from

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