Sacramento Public Library

Is the Great War over? How scholars view its impact today

Join us for the remaining installments of World War I and America
Starting July 9, Sacramento Public Library will move into the third of a six-installment series called World War I and America. The series provides a better understanding of the First World War and its various impacts on how we live today and focuses on the events and themes of 1917.
Powered by the Library of America and funded through the National Endowment for the Humanities, the remaining part of the series covers civil liberties, poetry, military science, and the emergence of United States as a global player. All events will be held at Central Library.
A few of the speakers were able to provide their thoughts regarding the value of both their specific topics and the overall footprint of the war and what it means today.

Professor Jennifer Keene of Chapman University, who spoke on the African American soldier experience in World War I on June 11, states that “women war workers, foreign-born soldiers, and African American troops all had distinct experiences…[facing] enough discrimination to turn the war into a crusade to both defeat Germany and protect their civil rights.”
Col. Terrence Finnegan (USAF ret.), who will be speaking to his groundbreaking title covering the American military’s first test in the trenches Great War on July 9 at 1 p.m. — A Delicate Affair on the Western Front — calls Woevre the place where “the lessons that shaped [General John] Pershing and his senior staff came together [as]…up until that time, the US relied almost entirely on the management of French military leadership — Woevre served as the incubator for the US Army’s ability to fight.”

Also addressed will be the emergence of some of the most exquisite poetry of the modern era. Doing so on August 6 at 1 p.m. with “Dulce et Decorum Est: Poetry of the Great War” will be Library Literacy Specialist Anita Dash. She refers to Great War poetry as “so powerfully resonant, that we are able to develop our own ideas and impressions of the poets’ experiences and struggles. The poems provide a link to our shared history and the paths that brought us to our shared present circumstances – politically and culturally.”
Finnegan summed up his thoughts on the Great War’s resonance down to the current day by stating that it has “transformed the entire planet — the established global order under monarchies met their decline and new institutions such as democracies evolved. All the issues facing the planet today such as Middle East incessant wars and terrorism met their genesis in WW1.”
Dash sees the Great War, and a meaningful analysis of it, as a vehicle to better “[understand] our current global structures, and how we relate to them.” 
For these reasons and so many others, this is why World War I matters and also why the Central Library will continue programming on the topic to discuss events and themes through the conclusion of the war in 1918.
James Scott
World War I and America 
is curated locally by James C. Scott MA, MLS, CA, Librarian/Certified Archivist. Add one of the upcoming discussions to your calendar. 

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