President Trump has announced where he will be to celebrate the WWI centennial. The Washington Examiner reports:
Whatever you think of President Trump’s decision to cancel the military parade in Washington, D.C., you should welcome his attendance at the centenary of the Nov., 11, 1918, armistice that ended the First World War. There, Trump will honor the more than 115,000 Americans who died in the war and the many others who served there. The president will also honor our allies by recognizing what cost that bloody conflict imposed.
….attend the big parade already scheduled at Andrews Air Force Base on a different date, & go to the Paris parade, celebrating the end of the War, on November 11th. Maybe we will do something next year in D.C. when the cost comes WAY DOWN. Now we can buy some more jet fighters!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 17, 2018
It’s an important moment, because human losses in the First World War losses were massive. Between 1914 and 1918, France saw nearly 1.4 million of its citizens killed and Britain lost more than 1.1 million. Russia, an allied power until its peace treaty with Germany in 1917, suffered 1.8 million dead. The enemies: the German Empire and its Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman imperial partners collectively suffered more than 4 million dead and of course saw their empires dissolved.
And while these numbers pale into comparison with the total human losses in the Second World War 20 years later, they did illuminate a new public perception of warfare. In and before 1914, war was widely seen as a glorious endeavor. By 1918, it was widely regarded for what it is: hell.
In his book on the 1916 battle of the Somme, Hugh Sebag-Montefiore documents the annihilation of entire battalions in short moments. And he adds many harrowing personal accounts from the battlefield.
This will be a grand event to celebrate the victory over the Kaiser’s Germany.