Friday, September 12, 2008

War to End All Wars?

World War I soldiers in the trenchesThis coming November 11th is the 90th anniversary of the signing of the armistice ending World War I, also known as “The Great War” and “The War to End All Wars”. Since there have in fact been additional wars since the original Armistice Day in 1918, WWI often gets overshadowed by subsequent events. A number of excellent online resources bring the magnitude and daily experience of this conflict to life.

WW1: Experiences of an English Soldier is a daily posting of letters from the front. The solider is Private Harry Lamin, and the first letter posted is from training camp, written on February 7th, 1917. The letters are posted online almost 90 years to the day that they were written. Start at the beginning, and share Harry's observations and experiences as the Great War progresses.

Other sites can assist with background information. First World War provides a multimedia history, the BBC offers a comprehensive overview, the World War I Document Archive contains primary sources, including photos, and World War I - Trenches on the Web is a labor of love from history buffs that offers online tours of the war and real-life battleground tours.

Of course, the Library has plenty of books about World War I, covering all facets of the war, for all ages. To find out what the women were doing while soldiers like Harry in the trenches, check out Vera Brittain's Testament of Youth. We also have DVDs, audiobooks, and VHS videos about the war, both fiction and non-fiction. So unlike Harry Lamin, you don't have to wait until Armistice Day, or, as we call it in the United States, Veterans Day, to find out how the War to End All Wars ends.

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