Tuesday, September 13, 2005

"The World War I Years: America Becomes a World Power"

The Jefferson City Public Library, Stephens-Burnett Memorial Library, and the Carson-Newman History Department invite you to attend "The World War I Years: America Becomes a World Power" viewing and discussion series. The series will be presented in Thomas Recital Hall at 7:00 p.m. on Mondays. Each of the sessions will focus on a particular time period or aspect of the Great War. Viewing of the video -- clips in some cases, complete (short) films in others -- will be followed by a time for questions & discussion of the issues raised in the film. The topics are especially timely, with American military involvement and the nation's position as the only remaining "Super Power." We hope the opportunity to better understand how the United States came to its current status in the world will be well received.

Below is a summary of each session's primary focus:

  • September 19: "Over There." This session will cover the last 19 months of the Great War, from America's entrance in April 1917 to the declaration of Armistice on November 11, 1918. The focus is on the American troops "over there," and we will be viewing the entire 52-minute film "The Great War -- 1918."

  • September 26: "Modern War." Session three will begin with an excerpt from the ABC News and The History Channel production "1914-1918: Shell Shock," hosted by Peter Jennings. We will be viewing only 27 minutes of footage, but it is rather intense material covering, among other things, combat infantry's experience in trench warfare, the psychological toll on soldiers of continuous artillery bombardments, and the German's "sweeping fire" tactic.

  • October 3: "African Americans and World War One." Here is our first divergence from the program guide provided for the video series. A 27-minute clip from "Men of Bronze: The Black American Heroes of World War I" will be paired with the 22-minute clip from "Up South: African American Migration in the Era of the Great War." The first excerpt looks at the the 369th Combat Regiment, New York -- an African American unit that faced violent racism from fellow Americans, but fought beside the French army in some of the fierest battles of the war's last year. "Up South" treats the War's impact on the African American population of the Southern United States, from 1916 - 1921.

  • October 10: "Women, Suffrage, and World War One." Beginning with an excerpt from "One Woman, One Vote," this evening's general topic will be the impact of the Great War on women, and in particular the effects the war had on the women's suffrage movement. We'll be seeing 30-minutes of the film.

  • October 24 -- United Nations Day: "After the War: The Turbulent Years." What better day to discuss the failure to create an international body to provide for peaceful negotiation between all nations? Another pairing of two video segments will be shown this evening. The first, running 20 minutes, is "Return to Isolationism" by Anthony Potter. An analysis of the political and economic events of 1919 America, the clip's primary focus is on the conflict between Woodrow Wilson and the United States Senate regarding America's role in the world after the war. The second excerpt is entitled "Lost Peace: Ideals for a United World Fail" (from The People's Century), a film that covers the years after the Treaty of Versailles and the events that led to the Second World War -- and, eventually, the establishment of the United Nations.

  • November 7:"Peacemaking." Our 40-minute film excerpt will begin with President Wilson setting sail for the Paris Peace Conference at the close of 1918, and conclude with his death in 1924. What was said in the Senate's "bitter debate" about America's place in the world? What were the American objections to the League of Nations? What became of the League of Nations without American support? This, our last session, comes just four days before the 87th anniversary of Armistice Day. What happened to the agreement between all nations to lay down arms?