tv Lectures in History CSPAN September 1, 2016 3:21pm-4:47pm EDT
returning from their summer break next week, join us tonight at 8:00 eastern. we'll preview four key issues facing congress this fall. federal funding to combat the zika virus. >> women in america today want to make sure that they have the ability to not get pregnant. why? because mosquitos ravage pregnant women. >> but today they turned down the very money that they argued for last may, and they decided to gamble with the lives of children like this. >> the annual defense policy and programs bill. >> all of these votes are very vital to the future of this nation in a time of turmoil, in a time of the greatest number of refugees since the end of world war ii. >> gun violence legislation and criminal justice reform. >> every member of this body, every republican and every democrat wants to see less gun
violence. >> we must continue to work the work of nonviolence and demand an end to senseless killing everywhere. >> and the resolution for congress to impeach irs commissioner john koskinen. >> house resolution 828, impeaching john andrew koskinen, commissioner of the internal revenue service, for high crimes and misdemeanors. >> we'll review the expected congressional debate with susan ferrechio, senior congressional correspondent for "the washington examiner." joining us tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span for "congress this fall." on "lectures in history," chapman university history professor jennifer keene looks at myths about america's involvement in world war i, including the misconceptions that the u.s. was not involved in europe prior to entering the war or that world war i failed to have a lasting impact on american society. this class is about an hour 20 minutes.
>> all right, so today we're going to talk about america during the first world war. and i've called this lecture "americans at war: the mistbusters edition." and i did that kind of intentionally, because when we think about understanding the first world war in general, there are so many myths and misconceptions that are attached to the war that it's really interesting for us to first understand why those myths exist and then to unpack them a little bit and think more about the reality of the experience, right? and i wanted to start first by sort of talking about how this connects to the first world war overall. so it's not just america that has these myths. but even this sense of how we understand the first world war to begin with and we think of the kind of general narrative that we attach to it. one of the most common narratives is that world war i was a senseless slaughter, right? we've already talked about the
uncertainty as to why this war ever even occurred, but once it's under way, there is this sort of pre.com intent image, and we get that image a lot from popular culture -- those are the kind of images that i have up here for you -- of the idea that this really was just men sent needlessly to their deaths. and so, i've got two examples. one is "all quiet on the western front." you're going to like this image, right? this is the cover for the first english edition of the novel. you'll recognize that image from something we discussed last class. and of course, last class, this was german war bond poster and that soldier was meant to represent, you know, germany's last hope, the one who was willing, willing to sacrifice for his country. and now it becomes sort of recycled as a different image. now it's an image of a man who is needlessly sacrificed for his country, right? and then this one over here, which is from a movie from the 1960s called "oh what a lovely war." and i think that this little part over here's pretty
instructive. the ever popular war games with songs, battles and a few jokes, right? really the idea that the politicians and the generals play at war. it's a war game for them, but it's the men on the battlefield who actually have to suffer. now, i'm not trying to suggest to you that world war i did not involve senseless slaughter. what i do want to suggest to you is that this overarching image kind of obscures some other realities to the war in a more general sense. and so, here's just one example of this, right? we have this notion of how many people die overall in the war. we have less of a notion that, actually, the majority of soldiers will survive, right? most men actually will come home. so there is tremendous numbers of casualties, but there's also a high rate of survival. so here we have a statistic, nine out of ten british soldiers, for instance, will actually come home, all right? so, that's one thing that the
senseless slaughter conception kind of obscures for us. and the other is it obscures the reality that, in fact, soldiers spent a lot of their time outside of the trenches, right? they were obviously fighting, but the majority of their time was either spent in reserve trenches or far behind the lines. and we could take this one step further to point out that for all those men that are in the front lines, there need to be like two or three men behind the lines supporting them. so there are large numbers of men who survive not just because they're not in the front lines that long but because so many men are noncombatants. they're actually serving in the rear. and those are people that we never really factor into our narrative when we just think about the first world war as senseless slaughter. and so, the last point i want to make here about this is that when we have this myth of senseless slaughter overall connected to the first world war, it kind of obscures the fact that in 1918, there is a
lerveing curve that happens, and there is a breakthrough in the trench stalemate. the war does end in 1918. and i have this map up here to kind of show you that at this moment, we had movement in 1914, trench stalemate, and in 1919, there's going to be movement again. and so, there is going to be some learning that occurs about how to fight this war, and that kind of challenges a little bit this notion of lions led by donkeys, right? that the generals were just stupid, obtuse, willing to sacrifice millions of men without thinking about it. they weren't actually trying to invade and to make improvements in how they fought. so, the point that i'm trying to make here is that we can think about myths not just to, you know, point out how they're wrong, but by dissecting them, we can actually learn a little bit more about the war itself. okay? so, this is something we can do overall for world war i. what about the united states? so, what i have for you today is i have six myths about america
in world war i that i want to talk about and kind of do the same thing that i did in this introduction, okay? so, the first myth here, myth number one -- america was neutral until april 1917, right? april 1917, that's when the united states officially enters the war against germany, okay? and what i'm going to argue is untrue about this myth is that while officially the united states was neutral, that does not mean that americans were uninvolved. and so, the key point here is that neutrality does not mean noninvolvement, all right? and we can get a sense of how this is a different concept, right? neutrality from noninvolvement. if we take a look at what woodrow wilson tells the american people in 1914, right? so, here we have the countdown to war, something we've already discussed, right, how we get from the assassination of the arch duke francis ferdinand to
the army invading belgium and here's the moment where woodrow wilson has to say to the american people, where are we in this conflict? where's our stake as this war is spreading across europe? and this is the quote that we always hear. this is the one that's pulled out again and again -- "we must be impartial in thought as well as action." that's what we say. woodrow wilson told us to be impartial. but there's another thing that woodrow wilson said that i actually think is a little bit more revealing of what's going to happen. and in that same neutrality address, he said, "the effect of the war upon the united states will depend on what american citizens say and do," all right? so, he's recognizing right from the very beginning that the government can say america is neutral, right? the government can say that we have a policy of treating both sides the same, but what the
government does is only going to be one side of the story, right? what the american people decide to do, that's going to really tell the tale of how america behaves in the so-called period of neutrality, right? now, what do the american people do? again, there are well-known parts of this story and lesser known parts of the story. what are some of the well-known parts? well, we know, for instance, that the banks, american banks lend overwhelmingly to the allied side, right? that's a pretty well-known part of the story. we know that american manufacturers sell their goods overwhelmingly to the allied side, right? that's another pretty well-known part of the story. what's really less well known is what the average american says and does. and what average americans overwhelmingly do is they reach into their pockets, and they
contribute to humanitarian aid causes, right? they realize that there's some way for them to be involved in the conflict. and the way for them to be involved in the conflict is through humanitarianism. now, the person who starts this ball rolling is herbert hoover. and herbert hoover organizes a sort of massive relief effort for belgian civilians. and here you can see the kind of propaganda that he uses, right? you've got literally hungry children holding out empty tins, right? they have no food. they need to be fed. he's got propaganda here about people donating clothes and people donating food to help feed these civilians. herbert hoover, it's amazing what he does. statistics say that in terms of the amount of aid that he sent and the amount of money that he raised, there was no greater
humanitarian effort organized by americans until the recent tsunami. that's how tremendous this response was. herbert hoover is a private citizen, right? he has no official capacity. what does he do? he buys his own ships, about 40 ships. he paints them his own colors. he flies his own flag. he negotiates with the germans and the british to let him both through the blockade, the british blockade. and then with the germans to allow him to distribute this food in a german-occupied territory, right? he really, in a sense, becomes almost a quasi nation in and of himself, and he enlists the help of average american citizens in this quest. so, aiding belgian civilians is what americans overwhelmingly decide that they want to do. they're not going to take a side necessarily against britain or against germany. they're on the side of the civili civilian, the person who's caught up in this war sort of through no fault of their own.
now, what we tend to do is stop there in the country and just talk about belgium, just talk about the western front. but if we think for a second, when wilson said the effect of the war upon american society depends on what americans say or do, right? the thing that he was really concerned about and the thing that he knew was that america had just undergone this massive wave of immigration, right? so, he know that, in fact, we had people from all parts of the world, all parts of europe here in the united states, and he didn't want the war to tear americans apart. and in a sense, he was right to realize that the different places where americans came from was going to influence their reaction to the war. and we can see this through the humanitarian effort as well. so a lot of people -- this is a map that comes from a friend of mine, michael nyberg, who did some research into the
jewish-american humanitarian aid effort and realized that we had had massive, you know, immigration coming from russia. a lot of russian jews came to the united states fleeing religious persecution. and if you take a look at this map here which shows you the eastern front, right, not the western front, but the eastern front of the war, you could see that actually a lot of the places that were caught up with the heaviest fighting, and therefore had the huge, the biggest, excuse me, refugee crisis, were places that were heavily populated by jews. and whenever the army -- in the eastern front, there's a lot of movement back and forth. and whenever the army comes through, civilians get up and run, right? they run as fast as they can because they don't want to get caught up in this fighting. and what begins to happen, you have in vienna, these massive numbers of refugees descending on these cities, and they're overwhelmingly jewish refugees. so american jews begin to organize to actually help these
people. and for a lot of these russian jews, you know, for people who are helping belgian civilians, it's sort of a humanitarian impulse, right? we want to do the right thing. but for people who are helping russian jews, a lot of times this is very personal for them, right? you have got refugee workers who walk around these encampments, and they go up to people and ask them, do you have a relative in the united states? and if somebody says yes, like do you know where they live? do you have their name? do you have their address? and they will write directly to that person and say your aunt, your grandfather, your former neighbor is in need of help. can you send some money, right? that's personal outreach, right? that's really trying to make sure that the personal becomes political -- or the political becomes personal, however you want to put it. and we can see this with italians, right? italians are also mobilizing. they're very, very concerned about this as well. places where they came from and making sure that they actually
helped those communities in need. and so, in this case, we can see that it's the personal that kind of motivates people in these immigrant groups to actually contribute to the humanitarian aid effort. but as the war goes on, it starts operating even when we talk about belgium. i'm not sure if you can actually see what these are, but i find these things sort of absolutely fascinatin fascinating. what these are is these are sacks. these are sacks that held flour. i showed you that first picture that showed you sacks of flour actually going to belgian relief. these are sacks of flour that come from kansas, donated as part of hoover's humanitarian relief effort. and what's happened is that belgian women who are very renowned for their embroidering skills have embroidered them and sent them back to that kansas community, topeka, kansas, basically to say thank you, right? and so, we say, you know, people want to make a personal connection in terms of who
they're sending money to. here's the flip side. these people in belgium are saying thank you to this kansas community for the aid they gave. and these go up in topeka storefronts, and people are able to see them. and it's that kind of personal connection that begins to fuel humanitarianism as well. in fact, one of the things that relief workers complain about on the american side is that, you know those clothes? maybe you saw that poster, donate all those clothes and everything. and they realized that when people donate clothes, the relief workers have to go into all the pockets. because what's happening is that americans are writing notes. they're writing notes to people in belgium and they're also sending bibles, things like that. and the agreement with the german authorities basically says no notes, nothing. it can only be clothes. nothing else can pass. that's how desperate people are to sort of make a personal connection about -- excuse me, as they're rendering this
humanitarian aid, right? so, the point here is that americans obviously are involved, right? they're involved through these humanitarian efforts. and the point here is that the personal and the political become very closely connected. the abstraction of the cause begins to have personal meaning for people, either because they're helping people they knew or they start developing a sort of personal investment in former strangers that they're now helping, and this begins to motivate people to really care about what's going on in europe, right? now, my last sort of major point here about humanitarianism is that humanitarianism is never neutral. it's impossible for it to be neutral. so if we agree that this is a massive humanitarian effort that americans are actively participating in and shaping it, it's not a neutral effort. first of all, just given the geopolitics of the war, the vast majority of this aid goes to the allied side, right?
i didn't give you examples of any of this aid going to germany, for instance, right? it's still going primarily to the allied side. and as much as americans are motivated by the empathy, right, that they feel for these starving civilians, there's something in it for them as well, right? they're also motivated in a sense by the way that they feel that it's increasing the stature of the united states in the world, and we can see a really good example of this in this poster from the red cross, right? they are looking to us for help. are you one of us? and i love how the "us" is kind of, almost says "u.s.," sort of connecting the same thing here. and that is the idea that in this conflict, it is america alone that can rise above and be above the fray, right? we are interested in humanitarianism, in philanthropy, in doing the right
thing. we're not interested in actually picking sides here or territorial gain or anything else that the european nations are involved in, right? we're actually above the fray. and that's going to be important, because what it means is that in 1917, when woodrow wilson actually asked for a declaration of war, and he says to america, our war goals are better than everybody else's, right? we don't want any territory. we don't seek any indemnities. we're just servants of mankind. when he says that to the american people, in a way, the american people are already there, right? they've gotten there through their own humanitarian efforts. that's not just coming out of the blue. they've already begun to see themselves as a nation that can actually rise above and do some good in the world. and so, what i think is important here is not just to think about america not being neutral but also to pay some more attention to what average americans are doing in the
period of neutrality, not just what woodrow wilson is doing or saying. not that woodrow wilson's unimportant, as i am going to say in my next myth here, okay? so, myth number two. america entered world war i because of the sinking of the "lucitana." this is my favorite one. because it'd be so nice if it wasn't true. all right, so, this is a big one, right? that people almost always get wrong. and it really makes no sense, even if you just think about the dates, right? because "lucitana" sinks in may of 1915, and the united states doesn't enter the war until april of 1917, right? so it's almost two years before the united states actually enters the war. so it's interesting to wonder why people so consistently get this wrong, right? i always tell my survey students, if you write on a test that the "lucitana's" the reason
america got into world war i, you fail automatically. like, don't write anything else the rest of the semester. i'll refuse to talk to you the rest of the class. why is this a perpetual myth we have? i think that this headline here almost gives us an indication of that, right? 1,200 people die as a result of the "lucitana," including 128 americans. so these numbers are incorrect. this is first reporting, right? but look at the subhead here. "washington stirred as when maine sank." and if you think about the overall narrative of american history, think about how many times a ship going down and america going to war works for you, right? maine goes down, spanish/american war, pearl harbor, world war ii, golf tonkin, vietnam. it's like, great, if the "lucitana" would just fit into that, like, it would be the easiest thick thing to ever remember, it would be so straightforward for you.
and i honestly think that's one of the reasons why so many people tend to cite that because that's the narrative we have in our head. the idea that we're attacked, ship goes down, we go to war. that's who you believe we are, right? our immediate response is going to be a forceful one. what happens in the "lucitana" is not that, right? wilson demers. it's going to take two years until we went to war. we already made that point. i think that narrative should also make us feel pretty good. if we look in our past, we have a moment where americans have died and we used restraint, right? we don't actually immediately jump into war. but nonetheless, this is something that we commonly see people making a mistake about, right here. now, i want to point out to you exactly where the "lucitana" is, because i think that's another kind of misperception about why the "lucitana" becomes the kind of, you know, highly publicized sort of, you know, cause celeb
that it is. and part of it is to actually realize where the "lucitana" was sunk, right? here you can see the sinking of the "lucitana," right off the coast of ireland. now, the "lucitania" was one of those moments where if you asked people 20 or 30 years later where they were, where they heard about it. it's like their 9/11 moment. they can remember where they were when they heard the "lucitania" went down. why? why was it such a shock to people? and the placement of the "lucitania" goes a little bit of a way of answering that question. because it sunk so fast, it sunk in 18 minutes, there was almost no time for people to get to the lifeboats, for anybody to make it off the boat. if you made it off the boat, you were basically lucky, right? they're going into this frigid cold war. and in the days after the sinking, these bodies are washing up on the shore.
so it starts with the sinking in the middle of the ocean that nobody witnesses and nobody sees the aftermath and they just sort of hear about thirdhand. here you have almost daily reports of these really grisly scenes, quite honestly, of bodies and victims washing up on the shore that a salacious press is very, very happy to report upon, right? so, in a sense, the kind of drama of the moment, the quickness of the sinking, you know, the awfulness of actually seeing the human cost of this, all of these things became sort of very visual for people, very visceral in terms of how they were responding, okay? now, for woodrow wilson, what the "lusitania" sinking is going to do is it is going to be a sort of critical moment for him in his own ideas of defining what neutrality would be, right? so, before we were talking a lot about how the average american defined neutrality, how they really turned to humanitarian efforts to kind of make their
contribution to the war. but now we have to think a little bit about official policy in terms of what's going on, right? and the dilemma for woodrow wilson. and again, we have to go back to the map here. we can kind of see it. is that both britain and germany have decided to go to the oceans to fight the war, right? they're at stalemate along the western front, so both sides are seeking an advantage. how can they do that? so the british blockade, the green dots here, they're going it use their blockade to stop goods from getting into germany. and of course, germany wants to fight back, and the weapon they have to fight back with is the u-boat. so they're going to use the u-boats. but it's important on this map to see that pink line, because that's the war zone as defined by germany. that's the zone that germany is saying t ining to neutral natio the united states, don't sail
here. don't come into the war zone. don't come into the war zone because you're at risk here of getting attacked by a u-boat, right? they're not saying don't go anywhere in the atlantic ocean they're not saying don't go anywhere in the world. they're saying don't actually sail into this zone that we've defined as the war zone, right? now, the reason that's going to be important is that you're going to see that in 1915, when woodrow wilson has to decide how to respond to the "lusitania," right, he those do something, all right, people are angry, that he does have several different options and that people are going to look at that map and interpret the "lusitania" in very, very different ways, all right? now, if i hadn't gone through all of this, right? if i had just put this up here in terms of what actually happens, i'm not going to say most of you, but i'll bet a few of you might have said that wilson goes with great diplomatic relations and asks congress to declare war on
germany, right? that's where the myth comes from, that "lusitania" causes us to enter the war. and it's true some advisers were saying that, this is the moment we have to actually enter. but then he had some people here arguing almost exactly the opposite. and they were the people who looked at that map and they saw that red line and they said, well, we don't want to get involved in this war, and here's an idea. why don't you tell americans not to sail into the war zone? if we prohibit people from actually going into this area where germany says they're patrolling, isn't that going to be a way for us to stay neutral, right? isn't that going to be a way for us to actually stay out of the war, right? so, some people are like, this means war. some people are like, listen, we have to just really, you know, stop a few people from getting us into war. and what wilson's going to decide is the middle course here, right?
he's going to demand that germany pay reparations and accept the right of americans to travel and trade where they wished or risk hostilities. and this is why the "lusitania" is important. it's not important because it gets america into the war. it doesn't. it's important because this is the moment when woodrow wilson draws a line in the sand and says to germany, if you step over this line, it is highly likely -- i mean, you know, diplomatic, right? it is highly likely that there will be hostilities. and what's the line? the line is that we're a neutral nation and we can do what we want, right? freedom of the sea, baby. we can go where we want, we can trade with whom we want. that's our right. neutrality means that we have rights that you have to respect. now that's an interesting definition of neutrality, isn't
it, right? you might think neutrality means that we're going to treat both sides equally or at all costs we're going to stay out of it. but after 1915, what woodrow wilson is saying is that rightsd that is what germany must respect. and in 1915, germany's going to back off because they don't have enough u-boats to do that much damage to american shipping. and they've got their hands full, right? they don't want america to come into the war. but in 1917 they will change their minds. in 1917, when germany goes back to unconditional submarine warfare, and woodrow wilson has drawn this line in the sand, we're going to see him come to the decision we need to go to war against germany. so 1915 is important, but it's -- in terms of the official policy of neutrality, but it's not the thing that gets us into the war. now, you might be thinking to yourself is this average american really following all of
this? is this the intricacies of international law and debate that the average citizen is all worked up about? i think we could realistically say no. this is what makes it important in an official way. in the popular consciousness, what the lusitania does is we start having a very -- a moment where americans have died, women and children have died, and we can now connect this event -- this is a picture of a woman clutching a child, sinking to her death -- first american produced propaganda poster of world war i in response to the lusitania tragedy. comes from an actual news report. right? a report of one of these women, talk about her clutching to her baby as she washes up on the shore. now we have something tangible about american laws being lost that connects to british propaganda about atrocities committed by the german army in
belgium. right? that same idea, that you need to protect women and children from german barbarians, right, which habitat heart of the german propaganda movement now has resonance in the united states as being applied to us as well. but the ke bait is not over in 1915. if we look at this one, we can see that the debate is going to go on because for every person who says, look, this shows you about the truth about germany, as if we needed more truth, there are going to be other people that will keep beating this drum. look, they put a notice in the newspaper. they told you not to get on the trip. they told you there are munitions on this ship, which there were. they told you if you go into a war zone, surprised that you could potentially get shot, right, or attacked, right? you were warned not to do it. this is your open individual responsibility. that's going to make a
difference for woodrow wilson because it means when he finally goes and decides for war in 1917, he knows to a certain extent that he has to declare because of that line in the sand, but he also knows that he's leading a divided nation into war. the nation has not been united in terms of calling for war because of lusitania or subsequent things that happened after that like the zimmerman telegram. that leads to our myth number three. myth number three is wartime unity responsibility spontaneously appeared. we like to always believe that we'll diup until the moment wars declared. right? we argued about it but once wilson says this is our war to fight americans will rally
behind the flag and do the right thing, right? now we know there's a lot of propaganda encouraging people to do the right thing, right? this is maybe one of the most famous propaganda posters that comes out of world war i. not the jovial uncle sam. this is more of the stern task master uncle sam. we see this in terms of a recruitment poster. what does uncle sam want americans to do? in this case, i want you for the u.s. army. he wants people to obviously fight in the army. but uncle sam is going to want americans to do a lot of other things during the war as well. he is going to want them to buy war bonds. he's going to want them to conserve food. in some cases he is going to want them to spy on their neighbors and make sure their neighbors are not engaging in any sort of espionage or treasonous activities. what's interesting about this propaganda poster is it says "i
want you" for the u.s. army," kind of almost like implying that you have a choice. we see other propaganda posters like this. this is one of my favorite ones here in the list. and it's an interesting poster because it really does -- you like that? that's good, right? it really does show a mankind of wrestling with his conscience. right? he is an upperclassman. he's well dressed. he's hiding in the shadows. so he's hiding in the dark. he's trying to decide what to do. right? he is looking out the window trying to make up his mind. he sees outside all of his community walking off in unison in the bright sunlight. they're not afraid, they're not hiding in the shadows. and the question is really clear on which side of the window are you. right? you have to make a decision about what you're going to do. there's a lot that's wrong about this poster in terms of what actually happens. the first part there is with the enlist. in raising an army, america will do something it's never done
before. from the very beginning of the war, it will institute a draft. now we've had drafts before, but the drafts that we always had before always came in the middle of wars, sort of when people stopped enlisting, when they stopped volunteering. that was when we said, okay, we have to go to a draft. in this instance we go to a draft right from the very, very beginning. we do this for a few reasons. and here's sort of interesting. because of course, we don't call it a draft. and we hardly ever call it conscription. right? because if you say conscription, that pretty much underscores that the nation was divided and maybe people don't want to fight this war so you're having to draft them to force them to fight in an unpopular conflict. right? so what do we call it?
"selective service." the men here know -- right? you still have to register for that for selective service. and just think about branding here for a minute. because selective service is completely different than a draft. right? selective service means that if you're chosen, right? you're selected -- lucky you. right? you're selected for service. for service to your country. and everybody owes some service to their country. right? there's nobody in this war that's going to get off the hook for owing some service. so even just the idea of people serving in the military, the reality is difference than people sort of individually making up their own minds. stl there is, not to call all the propagandaists all outright windows, there is a very short window when you can enlist.
about four months where you can enlist in the army. then they cut it off and from that point on, you will -- it will be selective service that fills the ranks of the majority of the branches of the army. and besides the idea of making sure that everybody complies, there's also the notion that we need to organize this army efficiently. because we're coming in late -- right? almost 2 1/2 years late. we know that it is as important to have people organized on the home front producing weapons, producing food, producing all the things to keep that army going in the field. so besides making sure that people serve in the military, it's also making sure that the "right" people serve in the military. right? so you, for example, don't want all your trained engineers walking off of railroad lines and joining the military. who's going to drive your railroads? right? who's going to move goods around the country? you don't want all your farmers doing this. you don't want all your skilled laborers doing this. right? it is a way to kind of manage your workforce at the exact same time.
what i find kind of fascinating about this, besides the fact of conscription, is how conscription actually works in practice. so we've had conscription, for example, in the civil war. in the civil war, it is introduced well into the conflict, and it is kind of an individual thing. like you'd literally have federal registrars walking around new york city, they're like knocking on doors, and individually registering men. and if you know anything about the civil war, you know there is a lot of resistance to the draft, there was a lot of draft riots. it was -- you could buy a substitute. it was easy to get out of it. in the first world war what they want to do is make sure that you don't do it on your own, that you are watched when you do it. so on june 5th, 1917, there is a national day to register for selective service. that means that all the men, if you're between the ages of 21 and 30, you have to go to your polling place, church, school, wherever they're holding the registration, and you are going
to register and everybody is going to watch you do it. and if you forget or you don't show up, we're going to publish your name in the newspaper. we're basically going to use peer pressure, community pressure to make sure that you do the right thing. and this idea of turning registration and even the whole induction process into this community event, this kind of self-policing on the community level to make sure that men actually register for the draft, this is going to be very, very successful. now, in the second year of the draft, we'll have another sort of national registration day, but we're going to have another thing that happens to make sure that men go into the service. and that is going to be a phenomenon in which vigilante groups kind of wearing sort of semi-official arm bands from the justice department are going to start conducting some things that they call "slacker raids."
slacker raids are really to kind of round up all those men who they are suspecting have either not registered for the draft, or not reported when they've been told to come, or for some reason are able-bodied, maybe got a deferment because of a job, then changed jobs and so shouldn't have the deferment anymore. they fan out throughout cities across america. they go into movie theaters and just grab people by the back of the neck and throw them in the truck. they stand outside the gates of state fairs. right? it is like literally this one day of dragnets across the country. here you have an example from maine where they've literally thrown these guys in the back of a pick-up truck and they're driving them down to the police station to turn them in as suspected slackers. i'm sure they were only
motivated by patriotism, not by the bonus that they were given for each slacker that they turned in when they were coming down. right? the problem -- so many problems with this. right? first of all, these people do not actually have any authority. they're taking this authority upon themselves. most of these guys turn out not to be slackers. they have deferments or they have reasons why they're not serving in the military. they're sort of legitimate. and it is bad publicity for the war because it seems to suggest that people are not fighting, they don't want to fight, the war is unpopular. so we see the government putting an end to this pretty quickly. the importance of war time unity is to say that when we think about people complying with selective service regulations, and most people do, there's a lot of pressure on people to actually do that. just because you are a woman doesn't mean you are off the hook either. sorry. i was going to actually say a little bit here about alvin york. got ahead of myself here. alvin york is the most famous american who comes out of the first world war.
he's highly decorated. he's credited with one assault of killing 15 germans and gathering 132 prisoners. that's a picture of alvin york. no be with it's not -- you guys are too young. that's not alvin york. that's gary cooper. who plays alvin york in a movie. called "sergeant york." that goes over really well with a certain generation, i have to say. not the young generation, an older crowd. so here's alvin york. alvin york is almost 30 years old. he's almost not going to be drafted. he applies for conscientious objection. he reports to training camp and now he has some choices that he can make. he can request non-combatant duty. he can refuse to perform any military duty. some people did this. then you will spend the war in leavenworth.
or he can actually agree to fight and serve. because i told you he was the most decorated hero of world war i, you know that he chooses number three. what's interesting is why he chooses number three. he happens to have a pretty sympathetic company commander. this commander is also very well versed in the bible and starts have theological discussions with alvin york. alvin york says to him, the bible says thou shalt not kill. the commander says what caesar says, basically obey the government. his commander says go home over the weekend and make up your mind. he goes home, studies his bible and comes back and said i'll fight. his company commander says why did you decide to fight? he says because the bible says, blessed be all peacemakers. if this is the last war that we ever have to fight, then i'm willing to be part of that. the question we have about alvin york is what does he tell us? he tells us that he comes and he
decides to fight but it shows you how hard it is to be a conscientious objector in terms of war. some interesting things in terms of training camps, once you are in the military, understanding your patriotism and understanding that you are actually for the war, this is something they are always working on. we have a lot of immigrants, we into ed to americanize them. you can always make fun of these efforts. this is one of the craziest ones i've ever seen. can you see that these are individual soldiers? these are 18,000 soldiers standing on pieces of cloth in the broiling sun in iowa. the guy taking the picture is up on a platform in the shape of a statue of liberty. when you say why are you making these guys do this, this is showing their patriotism. by standing in formation, the
statue of liberty, you are demonstrating that you actually -- you are a loyal american citizen. so these are these kind of crazy demonstrations of patriotism that even if you are a soldier in uniform, people are asking you to engage in. here's where i got ahead of myself a little bit. even if you are a woman, you are not off the hook. women are being asked to participate in the war effort in all sorts of ways. knitting. that's a big one here. sometimes you can look at knitting and wonder why knitting, right? why are they focusing on so many women knitting? if you think a little bit in terms of warfare, especially on the allied side, remember i told you the germans always dug up on the top? they were in nice, dry trenches. because men on the allied side, they were closer to the water
table, a lot of times they are standing in water for a good part of the time that they are in the trenches. wet feet need to nasty things like trench foot which is almost a gangrene. i could show you some pictures to gross you out but i decided against that. knitting socks actually has a functional purpose in that men do need socks. but it is safe to say that american women go a little crazy with knitting. if this was 1917 -- say 1918. 1918, most of this class, you'd be sitting here right now -- you wouldn't have a pencil in your hand, you'd be sitting here knitting while i was talking to show me that in this fact you were patriotic. things got so bad that you even had notices like this where women are basically being told stop knitting during performances. this is from the new york philanthropy -- philharmonic society where they are saying stop knitting when the orchestra is playing because it is really disturbing. people are trying to enjoy the music. right? you have to ask yourself why are women feeling like it is so necessary for them to knit in literally every spare moment
that they have? why can't they just enjoy the concert? why do they feel like they have to knit? they're being, in a sense, pressured to demonstrate their patriotism in ways that are somewhat similar to men who are registering in front of all of their neighbors for the draft here. knitting, yes, men need socks. is this the best way for men to get socks that they need? i'm not so sure. i don't think any of you want a pair of socks that i would knit, for example. i think you'd rather go to target than buy one. it would be cheaper, standardized and what you exactly wanted. so there are some questions we can have about whether or not this was really necessary and how much of it was just to get people on board with the war effort. we can make kind of a similar sort of suggestion about the food conservation efforts that go on in terms of the kind of pledges that people are being asked. herbert hoover who had organized the humanitarian effort for belgium now becomes food
administrator during the war. he takes great pride in the fact that we never institute formal rationing, that it is through informalism that people submit to meatless thursdays. wheatless wednesdays, porkless thursdays. you have to get people to do this. one of the ways, sign your food pledge. here's the food pledge. every family is asked to sign this food pledge that they are going to abide by the regulations that hoover has set out. and in this case, the women of the community are there to bond with the other women in the community. you can expect -- remember i told you, you aren't going to get a knock on the door about registering for the draft but you could get a knock on the door for signing the food pledge. how do i know if my neighbor signed the food pledge? how do i know if they're really complying?
oh, they thought it through. you're going to put that sign in your window demonstrating to everybody that you are doing your duty. you are demonstrating to people that you are actually involved. so for people that don't do this, the people that don't want to hang these things in their windows, don't want to sign these food pledges, that don't want to knit, this is seen as evidence of disloyalty, of not doing your patriotic duty. so in this sense, war time unity is cultivated. and it's coerced. it is not just something that naturally comes about. it's something that communities enforce upon each other. in that sense, i think that tells us something a little different than once we're at war, americans spontaneously come together. so myth number four -- world war i in no lasting impact on
american society. it's like i'm not exaggerated if i say to you that it's almost like my life's work to get this one off the books and out of people's minds. because that's always the thing we say, well, world war i, we don't really have to talk about it too much, it doesn't really matter that much for united states. right? just matters more for europe, not really for us. so i could say a lot about there. what i'm going to say are some things about how it affects social reform movements in the united states. i want to talk about three things. the civil rights movement, suffrage movement, and the movement for prohibition. because these are three movements, long standing reform movements in american society that are dramatically affected by the first world war. so i want to go ahead an start with the civil rights movement. i like this poster because it's a good counter to the traditional way that we look at propaganda. when we look at propaganda, we almost always look at the government's side of the story.
we look at the official propaganda posters that are distributed. what we fail to remember or look at are privately produced propaganda posters. there is a huge, thriving propaganda poster industry during the first world war which is important because it allows voices that we don't normally pay attention to actually show us their point of view about the war. so this is an interesting poster. obviously this is a poster that is created for the african-american community. it's published in chicago. don't know if you can see the bottom. it is true blue. that's what it is talking about. if you looking at the poster, it's kind of generic propaganda fare. you've got the father, he's serving in the military. got the flags there. we know he's alive. how do we know he's alive? the star flag in the window.
if he had been killed, it would be a gold star. look how it advertised to the community that he's serving. we know that he's been on front lines. look at that german helmet that's above the flags. he's had time to send home a war souvenir. and it is full of patriotic symbolism. american flags. washington. wilson. abraham lincoln in posters marketed to the african-american community, abraham lincoln is always the big guy, the big, big figure. very proud patriotic content scene. not have spectacular of an image if you think about it. but i am going to tell you why this is so important. the government is a good collector so we have the propaganda posters. at the end of the war, some agency puts those things in onion skin paper, slides them into a draw so 100 years later we can come and look at them. these things at the end of the war, they're trash. right? i'm sure you guys all had posters in your room and the day
you went to college, your mom went in there, ripped them all down and threw them in the trash. end of the war, most of these things go into the trash. but we have this poster because a white post mistress in melbourne, florida, sent it to the postmaster general to ask him if this was the kind of seditious material that should be banned from the mails under the espionage act. let that sink in for a minute. she considered this seditious material. what's seditious about this poster to her? do you want to say something? >> because of the color of their skin? >> it's the color of their skin. in what sense? >> they are in a very
upper-class home. >> they probably live better than this white postmistress does. right? it's the sense of economic achievement, the assertion of equality, the sense that in fact they are on the same level as whites, that we could surmise is at the heart of her objection. in fact, she actually notes in her letter, quote, the considerable insolence from the negro element lately. right? what's insolent in her mind? this. this kind of privately produced poster. that this war for democracy with african-american men and communities doing their bit is going to advance the civil rights movement. it is going to mean that finally, there will be honor and justice for all. and what that exchange demonstrates to us is that this is exactly what white supremacists are petrified is going to happen. right? they are petrified.
and they are preparing during the war to make sure it doesn't happen. and one thing is to shut down from the mails anything that advocates racial equality, and another is after the war, of course, to engage in racial rioting and an upswing in lynching. we see a dramatic upshift in lynching after the first world war. but that's not only what happens. that's not even the most important thing in my mind what happens. what also happens is a change in the mentality of the civil rights movement itself. here we see that african-american soldier and what we see happening in the first world war is that military service politicizes african-american soldiers. and you think of what we have now as a really rallying slogan for civil rights activists. right? black lives matter. that's like a very potent moment -- set of words that are really energizing civil rights
movement at our time. what the world war i generation has is a set of words from w.b. dubois. we return from fighting, we return fighting. right? the idea that we have fought for democracy elsewhere, now we will fight for democracy at home. why can see that this new notion of fighting back is going to be the new tenor of the civil rights movement. in racial riots in 1919, african-americans fight back. african-americans fight back by joining the naacp in record numbers making it a strong civil rights organization. i can just point to one example here from charles huston who writes some years after the war -- i made up my mind that if i got through this war i would study law and use my time fighting for men who could not strike back. this is just one example. you may never have heard of him but he is the guy who devised the legal strategy for the naacp that resulted in brown versus
board of education. he is like the legal genius of our time that in a sense made the modern civil rights movement possible. so sometimes because for the first world war in 1919, we can't -- it is not a success story. but those successes start here. this is the foundation of that. that comes out of the first world war. now the second sort of big movement that we have here is the suffrage movement. again, we look at this cartoon here where it is like, if you're good enough for war, you're good in you have to vote. kind of like almost giving the impression that a grateful nation bestowed the vote on women for all that knitting.
right? thanks for knitting. here's the vote. right? that kind of thing. that's just so not what happens. it is so not what happens. what happens in the first world war is, again, activists. activist women. look at what they're doing? picketing in front of the white house. nobody had ever done that before. this is in you. this is a new idea. you have women like this. the world must be made safe for democracy. they're digging it. and they're saying -- they're holding up posters saying, woodrow wilson, what about women in this country? why aren't women going to be allowed to vote? now this picture is deceiving because this is the before picture. the after picture is the mob that attacks these women, rips that poster down, and the police that come and arrest these women send them to jail where they're manacled to their selves, force fed, put in solitary
confinement. what's their crime? they stood outside the white house with a banner. but these women -- i mean if you ever have time to study them in-depth, it's pretty amazing. from "the new york times." woodrow wilson does back female suffrage in the middle of the war. again, you want to think it is because of women supporting the war effort, but the real secret is down at the end. some states are beginning to pass female suffrage. new york just passed female suffrage in 1917. they were worried that when women started voting in new york state, that was going to hurt the democratic party. now they start thinking about women actually having power. but this campaign goes in to 1919, it goes into 1920 when the amendment is finally ratified. even in 1919, suffrage, the
women are still out in front of the white house protesting. there was no assumption that the war was going to lead to suffrage. these women had to organize. they were radical. they were militant. right? they were the ones that were out there pressing their cause. so i don't think anybody can say it doesn't matter that women got the right to vote. that comes out of the first world war. then the third kind of major thing, a long-standing reform movement is prohibition. i don't want to say too much about prohibition. just it is kind of interesting that the war somehow becomes their winning argument. they've talked about you will a sorts of things, venereal disease, domestic abusing with poor health. but the thing that kind of seals it for the prohibition movement is a lot of breweries are owned by germans. so suddenly it becomes kind of, again, a sort of more patriotic thing to save grain by not
making beer, to not buy products from german brewers, that prohibition suddenly is -- it is an amazing success. they didn't even expect a constitutional amount prohibiting use of alcohol. myth five. america was bloody in world war i. along with it didn't change society at all, comes this. america was pretty bloody in world war i. another reason we don't need to study it. i'm here to tell you something quite different. where does this myth come from? this myth comes from these kinds of numbers. from taking the united states and comparing its death toll to those of other belligerent nations. if you look at a chart like this and here we see 116 to 516 deaths in the american army. i can tell you even a fewer number of people die on the battlefield. half of those deaths are actually from spanish influenza.
not from battlefield deaths. if we stack that number up against what happens in britain, france, russia, it does look barely bloodied. numbers are so funny. what does a number actually mean? it's so relative. it matters how you contextualize it this way. you can say america's barely bloody. but we can contextualize it this way, too. which is to say, look at the number of battle deaths in world war i and compare them to korea and vietnam. and more people -- more americans die in the first world war than in either of those wars. i'm going to contextualize it to you this way. it takes america a year. one year. to get itself organized, train those men, get them over to france and get them into battle. this is really not even a
year-and-a-half. this is six months of fighting. 53,402 people die. six months. this is three years. this is nine years. i'm going to put it to you another way. let's say in the first six months of fighting in iraq, 52,000 coffins came home. is america going to say, oh, that was nothing. right? we're not. we're not. so for the people that are fighting this, this is not nothing. right? this isn't sort of barely bloodied. for them, this is actually a pretty significant number of people who die. we can ask, why it is that we
don't really remember that. and i think that there probably are a lot of reasons for that. but i do have a question for you. this one i want you to answer. what is the most lethal battle in american history? most lethal battle in american history? >> are we asking this in terms of how many americans died or how many people total died? >> how many americans. in american history, the most. what's the most lethal battle for americans? >> gettysburg? >> gettysburg is a good answer. >> well, if you count multiple days, people would generally say antietam. >> we say bloodiest day, yes, is antietam. anybody else want to give a guess? so when you don't know something, where do you go to look? don't lie to me. i know where you go. i know. this list of most lethal american battles. look what's number one? world war i. i will bet nobody's heard of this.
this is a 47-day battle. it goes from september 26th until november 11th, the last day of the war. 47 days, 1.2 million men involved. 26,227 killed. 100,000 wounded, 100,000 men considered stragglers on the battlefield. this is the most lethal battle in american history. nobody knows about it. why is that? why is that? i think those are really good questions. it is why we remember certain things and why we don't remember other things. i think that for a lot of people, even at the time, they didn't really want to dwell on this because one of the logical questions you could ask is, why?
why did so many of these men have to die? it raises some uncomfortable questions about american military leadership and were we sending untrained men into battle who weren't really ready to fight. right? when you think of the needless, senseless slaughter era of the world wars. this is a battle in which sergeant york performs this sort of heroic feat and he gets really pumped up, not to take anything away from him, almost like they kind of need a hero. they need somebody there to say something great about this hard, hard slog. there is no sense of satisfaction that americans seem to feel about this. a lot of people died. why did they die? that's what americans actually want to know. that's what they're not sure about. and this kind of feeds in to our last myth here, world war i was quickly forgotten. we have forgotten world war i. but the generation that participated in it did not forget world war i. and i can demonstrate this in just a few quick ways. the first is that we built huge overseas cemeteries. eight of them in france and belgium for our war dead.
now this becomes an interesting tussle between the government and the families of the fallen because at the beginning of the war, secretary of war newton baker had promised american families that the government would bring the bodies of their loved ones home if they fell on the battlefield. now the government reverses course and they want to build these cemeteries overseas, in part because they want americans to stay invested in what happens in europe, and they want europe to remember how many men from america died to save them from germany. but, a lot of families want their loved ones brought home. so you see again this personal and political sort of tussling at each other once again. 70% of americans bring the bodies home. you'd never know that if you went to the cemeteries. they're huge. lots of space between each plot. they want to make it look as impressive as possible.
but this is a lot of effort. it takes lots of years to build these. this is not forgetting the war. right? this is making a visible presence about it. at the height of the great depression, those mothers and widows who let the bodies stay in europe are given a free trip to go visit the grave. gold star pilgrimage to the battlefields of the world war. this is 1930. 1931. 1933. what's going on in america during those times? height of the great depression. we're spending all this money to send these women to europe to visit the graves of their fallen soldiers. this is important to remind the country that patriotic service will not be forgotten. so you could forget about all this in the height of the depression. we got other problems, right?
it's not forgotten. it's also not forgotten by the veterans themselves who come to washington, d.c. in 1932 and stage a demonstration called the bonus march. right? six weeks, 40,000 veterans. they want early payment of a bonus that they had been given in 1924. they're forcibly evicted from the city. they're driven out by the army. their shanty towns are burned down. and they're somewhat credited with helping fdr win the election in 1932. because it is herbert hoover, ironically enough, the great humanitarian, who fed the starving belgium civilians who allows the army to drive them out of the city. but the most important thing about the bonus march is the memory of it. the memory of the bonus march is really, really strong in people he a minds in 1944. why 1944? because in 1944, as you start looking towards the end of world war ii and you think, well, we're going to have 12 million, 13 million, 14 million veterans coming home when this war ends. look at all the trouble those 4 million men gave us after world war i when they didn't properly
prepare for their homecoming. we have to do better this time around. if world war ii would stage a demonstration like this, we could have the government overthrown. right? who knows what could happen. what did they do? they institute the gi bill of rights. the gi bill of rights is a direct desire to learn the lessons of the past and not have similar dissatisfied veterans organizing and marching in demonstrations in washington, d.c. and nobody's going to underestimate the importance of the gi bill of rights in american society. also important about the bonus march, it is integrated. you have black and white veterans participating side by side. what's significant about this is what the civil rights movement sees. what the civil rights movement sees is a march on washington. you have progressive commentators saying, this is the first time we're really trying to implement gandhiian principles of collective
nonviolent protests in the united states. seeds of idea are placed in terms of marching on washington being an effective political protest strategy. now the last thing that i want to mention today is how this memory of world war i really begins to -- well, it has a dramatic influence on how we respond to war clouds gathering in europe in the 1930s. this is a pretty interesting painting, "parade to war allegory." it goes back to world war i and shows a couple, she's the sweetheart, sending her sweetheart off to war. you see the kids, boys, right. they're all caught up in the pageantry. their heads are down, it is a really, really big parade. they're really happy. but if you go outside the painting, this is the war mother whose son was lost, sort of hiding in the shadows crying.
there is the war widow. she's actually trying to reach the men. she's trying to say something to them but the policeman stops her from speaking the truth about war to these men who are marching off. look at these guys, look at their faces. what's happening to them? they're literally turning into corpses before our eyes. they kind of look like the walking dead here as we're seeing. and this is a political statement. this is saying to people in 1938, hitler's in power, right? fascism is on the rise. is there going to be another war in europe? most people think that there will be. and the question is what should america do. this is clearly an anti-war painting. saying remember what happened last time. all the promises. war means just needless deaths of our men. that's going to be a memory that's very influential in terms of lou the united states responds to the second world war, which -- a war in which we also stay out of for two years until pearl harbor, until we have that attack on a ship
that's going to bring us to war. i want to end the lecture by sort of reiterating i think the message of this painting is, which is really that, in a sense, the first world war, like all wars, is at its core, the story of countless personal tragedy. all right. thanks, you guys. now i think we want to have a few minutes for questions. as they're sort of finishing up what they need to do with taping. anybody have any questions or comments? now is the time you are allowed to actually talk. you were trying so hard not to say anything. i'm sure you have to have at least something. go ahead. >> so when the germans created the line of war in the ocean
saying don't come through here, had they already -- had herbert hoover already worked out his like approval or plan, whatever, to get through those war zones? >> yes. that was exactly right. what he had to do was he had to have permission. that's why had he his own flags that he flew and he painted his ships his own colors so that they would be identified as humanitarian ships that were coming in. now it was still dangerous because of course what the british did a lot of times was they flew the flags of neutrals and there was a lot of cheating going on. so it was a dangerous thing for them to be doing. that's exactly right. that's one of the reasons why we had to have almost his own fleet, in order to do that sort of thing. that's a good question there. who else has a question? let's get like two or three more. i know you got something. go ahead, evan opinion >> so this one, which battle that the united states participated in had the total gross members of death of all
nationalities then? >> that americans participated in -- i do not know. that's a good question. you mean in terms of both sides. >> yes. >> in terms of both sides. yeah, i don't know. i'm not sure. that's a good question. i mean one of the reasons with civil war battles be with it's one of -- being as complicated because when we talk about american deaths we do count both sides because we consider both sides american. we don't do that in any other conflict. that's a good question. maybe wikipedia can answer it for you. give us one more question so they can get what they need for the taping. i'm going to make maisie ask a question. she knows. she's, like, i'm thinking, i'm thinks, i'm thinking. go ahead. >> the united states decision to
enter the war in 1917 also have to do with waiting for the russians -- or at least their government to back out of the war? >> well, that kind of goes back to -- i went over it quickly about that suffrage banner, when they are standing outside like to the envoys of russia, they're actually protesting as a russian delegation is come and visiting the white house. when the united states enters the first world war we had had the first russian revolution which is a democratic revolution. find our complete television schedule at c-span.org and let then of course what makes the war effort really so what i would say potentially catastrophic for the allied side is the second russian revolution when the bolsheviks take power and they sign a second peace and this is before the americans get there so britain and france are
thinking my god, now it's a one-front war for germany and america is not here yet. like this is the end. when we look at the casualty figures, why did they throw those young men into battle? they needed that extra man pow,er. so that's important for understanding the experience but not a reason america goes to war. ago ahead. >> the poster that you showed of the african-american soldiers and the white soldiers, they didn't fight together. >> i'm glad you brought that up. the army was rigidly segregated and there were some units that had black officers and then over the course of the war there was an effort to remove all black officers and have all officers be white.
but the army was segregated. it wasn't desegregated until 1948, until after world war ii. go ahead, dylan. >> with the segregation, was it known that the white soldiers of world war i saw their -- the black soldiers as more -- like they were more friendly to them? were they considered their friends or just other american soldiers that -- >> well, i think another important thing to say is not just that they were segregated but they were disproportionately drafted. african-americans were 10% of the population and 13% of the army. 89% of african-american soldiers will serve as noncombatants. that means you're only going to have 40,000 african-american soldiers for combatants. i think that answers your question, even as the army treated them, segregated them, put them in primarily noncombatant roles and then you had these campaigns to remove
them from a position of leadership was reinforcing the message that they are not equal. like, we'll take their manpower but we don't want them -- their manliness, if that makes sense, in terms of that. and that's why for the african-american press, what -- how those african-american soldiers perform in battle is so, so important. and they have one great example. because the american army is so uncertain about what to do with black combatants, they have two positions. one of those two, they give to the french army. so you're going to have 20,000 american men who are going to fight under french command for the entire war. the french are very happy to have them, right? they fight, they get a tremendous -- they get medals, recognition, right. so now these men will come home
and it's not just that they were treated badly but they say, look, you say african-americans can't fight but look what we did when the french treated us fairly. we performed very well. they come out of the war with also a strong example to throw back in white america's face when they are told they can't actually -- they are not up to snuff. so in other words, it's the beginning of a long campaign. but what you're seeing is a huge shift in tenor. those are good questions. i'm glad you guys asked me those things because we're covering a lot of ground. anyone -- anything else? go ahead. macy came up with one. >> if the americans built the cemeteries in europe, how come they didn't build any national monuments here? >> that's a good question. the preoccupation that we have with national monuments is a new phenomenon. really until it started with
vietnam, it was vietnam and then we did korea. we're going sort of backwards, korea and now we have world war ii and now, just now, because it's centennial, they are talking about building a monument -- a national monument in washington, d.c. but you guys are going to be paying attention and look around your towns, you're going to see monuments everywhere. memorial hall, soldier's field, the l.a. coliseum, pershing park in downtown l.a. those are all monuments to the first world war. we just don't remember them that way. those exist. towns that have statues and plaques. but they like to build things that the community can use. over time, you forget -- soldier's field doesn't exist anymore but it was a football stadium in chicago, all of these things opened to the general public.
it's one of those things that you walk by it a million times and don't even notice it. once you start paying attention, you're going to realize it's all around you. it really, really is. if you realize that, i've done my job. world war i mattered for america and its history. okay. good deal. so we'll see you on monday. i look forward to your presentations. during american history tv in primetime, we're showing our lectures in history across the country into college classrooms. we're debuting a new lecturer each night. tonight, it's lectures on sea power. experiences of somes and myths about the u.s. during the first world war. american history tv in primetime starts at 8:00 p.m. eastern. this weekend, c-span cities
tour with our comcast cable partners explore the literary life and history of denver, colorado. on book temperature we visit the tattered cover bookstore, founded in 1971, considered the cornerstone of literary culture of denver. >> if you look at tattered cover, you'll see in the store green carpets and sometimes brass fixtures and the dark wood. the orange original barngs and noble superstores were modeled on this. >> author juan thompson talks about living with his father hunter s. thompson and his book "stories i tell myself." >> you know, he was born in 1936, so when he's growing up, he didn't grow up in an era when fathers were, you know, typically heavily involved with raising the kids. so that was part of it. and second, writing was always -- that was the most important thing. family was -- was secondary for sure. >> also this weekend as part of our c-span cities tour, some
history of denver, colorado, on american history tv. cindy sauters, national fish and wildlife service ranger on the rocky flats nuclear site's transition into a national wildlife refuge. >> so we do have elk that use this area. they use the drainages for calving. we also have mule deer so, there may be some mule deer farms out here. coyotes are other common mammals. occasionally there's a bear in this area. >> and then kimberly field author of "the denver mint: 100 years of gangster, gold, and ghosts" talks about how the mint changed the city. >> by the 1880s denver itself had gotten rich from mining, and it wanted to become the queen city of the plains, the center of commerce, the leader in the western united states. and the city fathers at that point decided that a mint they
could be proud of was going to be part of that process. >> the c-span cities tour of denver, colorado, saturday at noon eastern on c-span2's book-tv and sunday afternoon at 2:00 on american history stv on c-span3, working with our able affiliatings and visiting cities across the country. with the house and senate returning from their summer break next week, join us tonight at 8:00 eastern. we'll preview four key issues facing congress this fall. federal funding to combat the zika virus. >> women in america today want to make sure that they have the ability to not get pregnant. why? because it will mosquitoes ravage pregnant women. >> but today they turn down the very money that they argued for last may, and they decided to gamble with the lives of children like this. >> the annual defense policy and