Summary of World War I: The American Legacy

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The video discusses the history of World War I, with a focus on the American legacy. It describes the story of the Lafayette Escadrille, a squadron of American pilots who flew in France during the war, and tells the story of Major William Donovan, a decorated officer who served in the Argonne Forest. The video also covers the aftermath of the war, including the creation of the National Park System.

  • 00:00:00 World War I was a global conflict that killed nearly a generation of young men in Europe, along with countless civilians. Historians estimate that well over 14 million people died in the great war. Today, World War I still has a profound impact on all Americans, with every day bringing new ways in which it has shaped the country. The military death count and casualty estimates are hard to believe, as close as historians can agree, nearly 2 million Germans died in the conflict and 1.7 million Russians. Austria-Hungary, Great Britain, and the British Empire lost around a million men, as did 330,000 Romanians, more than 400,000 Italians, and 325,000 Turks. Belgium lost 45,000 soldiers, with 87,000 women also dying. Bulgaria, Serbia, and Romania lost 45,000 soldiers each.
  • 00:05:00 The video discusses the causes and effects of World War I, which killed more than 1.5 million people. The video also covers the aftermath of the war, including the destruction of France and the loss of many historical sites.
  • 00:10:00 In 1914, Europe was embroiled in a series of wars. The United States, as a neutral country, did not participate in the fighting, but its industry provided war materiel to both sides. Germany, seeking to expand its empire, invaded Belgium and France, initiating a world war that would last for four years. The Allied Powers, led by Germany's enemies France and Russia, fought back, resulting in the devastation of Europe and the death of millions. The war ultimately led to the downfall of the German Empire and the annexation of parts of Russia and France.
  • 00:15:00 The United States entered World War I in 1917, when German submarines began torpedoing American merchant ships. The war was a stalemate by 1918, with both sides losing men and resources. The Doughboys, as American soldiers were nicknamed, played a significant role in the end of the war.
  • 00:20:00 World War I was a conflict that shaped the world we live in today. It destroyed the Ottoman Empire and created Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. It also created a Jewish homeland in Palestine. The revolutionary Vladimir Lenin watched the Tsar fall and plotted the Bolshevik takeover of Russia in the German trenches in Belgium. Corporal Adolf Hitler won decorations for bravery and dreamed of a thousand-year German Reich. The great war hurt German society and wounded its pride, directly leading to World War II. American involvement in World War I affected art, literature, music, race relations, and women's rights. Alan Seger was one of the Harvard volunteers who fought in the trenches. He was an unlikely soldier, coming from a cultured New York family of musicians and writers. He stayed in the trenches a brilliant writer, sending letters to the New York papers that were the closest Americans got to the war.
  • 00:25:00 The video describes World War I, highlighting the fatalistic and almost suicidal reaction of the French people to the thousands of lives lost. Author Leonard Seeger wrote to his mother about his experiences in the war, describing how he enjoyed combat stripped away the veneer of a cultured man and left an ancient warrior in all its horror. The war allowed modern men to feel a power they had never known and Seeger was killed in action the next day along with hundreds of others. His first book of poems was published the year he died. His best known poem, Rendezvous, is an eerie prediction of his death.
  • 00:30:00 World War I was a time of great innovation and progress in technology, with airplanes quickly becoming an important weapon on the battlefield. American pilots in France were some of the most famous, and their exploits helped to promote the war effort back home.
  • 00:35:00 The video describes the story of the Lafayette Escadrille, a squadron of American pilots who flew in France during World War I. The squadron was composed of young, wealthy, Harvard-educated men, and many of its members became famous for their flying skills. One of the squadron's members, Victor Chapman, was killed in action in 1916. His story is recounted in letters he wrote to his family.
  • 00:40:00 The video discusses the history of World War I, focusing on the American legacy. Teddy Roosevelt, a famous war hero, was responsible for establishing the National Park System and the country was infatuated with him. After two terms in office, he left the White House in 1909. In 1912, Teddy Roosevelt ran for president as the candidate of his own Bull Moose Party, splitting the Republican vote and winning the White House in 1917. Roosevelt was still the most popular politician in America and one of the best known Americans in the world in 1917, when he despised Woodrow Wilson for keeping the country mutual and called him a coward. He claimed that America's honor and interests were at stake in World War I, and it could be said that Roosevelt cared so much that he put his dynasty on the line. The Great War era was a different time in many ways, and in World War I the sons of the politicians fought and their daughters and wives volunteered behind the lines. Men like Ulysses Grant's grandson J.E.P. Morgan, the son of J.P. Morgan, Charles Taft's son, the son of President Taft, and George Pickett's grandson, among others, served the wives of senators. In June 1918, Lieutenant Roosevelt went
  • 00:45:00 Father Duffy was the chaplain of the Fighting Irish regiment, which he described as a "tough experience" that killed many. He was awarded the quad de guerre and the legion of honor for his service.
  • 00:50:00 In World War I, American soldiers displayed bravery and determination in the face of heavy enemy fire. Major William Donovan, known as "Wild Bill Donovan," was one of the most decorated officers in the American army, leading his battalion through some of the bloodiest combat of the war. Father Duffy, a member of the 69th Regiment, wrote about the experience of fighting alongside Donovan in the Argonne Forest, describing it as a nightmare that one does not want to remember.
  • 00:55:00 Joyce Kilmer served in the U.S. Army in World War I, and was eventually awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for bravery. After the war, he wrote a book of poems, "Trees."

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The video discusses World War I and how it affected America and its people. It talks about the different types of cigarettes that were available to soldiers and how they helped to keep them morale high during the war.

  • 01:00:00 The video explores the life and death of Ernest Hemingway, one of the most celebrated authors of the 20th century, who served in World War I as a war correspondent. Hemingway was killed in action while driving an ambulance in Italy during World War I. His death was a blow to the regiment he loved, and his poetry about the men he fought with was later collected into a book called "The Killers." Another ambulance driver, Alex Wolcott, wrote of Hemingway that he was a "soldier to tell the truth" and that death was too common to distinguish anyone. Hemingway's friend and fellow writer, E.E. Cummings, also served in World War I as an ambulance driver. They spoke fluent French and spent most of their time with French soldiers, learning about the slaughter in the trenches and mutinies. When they put this news into letters home, the American military sent French security officers to interrogate them about their motives. Cummings was suspected of being a Irish revolutionary helping the Germans, and was arrested and imprisoned. Hemingway's answer to the interrogator sealed his fate, and he was never accused of spying for the Germans.
  • 01:05:00 The 369th Infantry Regiment, known as the "Harlem Hell Fighters," was an all-black unit that served in World War I. Despite discrimination and racism, these soldiers fought courageously and were instrumental in the Allied victory.
  • 01:10:00 The 369th Infantry Regiment, also known as the "Hell Fighters," is credited with winning the war in Europe through their bravery and charisma. After returning home from World War I, the regiment was met with a warm welcome from the people of New York City. The 369th is also noted for their contributions to jazz music, which was in its early stages of development at the time.
  • 01:15:00 In World War I, Colonel William Hayward put together the 15th New York, which consisted of black musicians from America and Europe. Lieutenant Europe organized for Hayward the best band in the United States Army, and the 15th New York became a household name for their music. After the war, the african-american soldiers returned to Paris, where they experienced the freedom from discrimination. Many of the black musicians and former soldiers returned to Paris to pursue their musical careers, and they never forgot their French comrades in arms.
  • 01:20:00 Charles White, a lawyer and war hero, committed suicide by jumping from a ship in the Caribbean after finishing a drink and a cigarette. His body was never found. White was a popular speaker and raised money for the Red Cross and veterans' organizations.
  • 01:25:00 During World War I, animals were used in a myriad of ways, from being used as messengers to pulling artillery pieces and supply wagons to serving as mounts for cavalry charges. Horses and mules were particularly important, as they were able to cover more ground and were less likely to break down than machines. Thousands of horses and mules died in the war, and their remains were often left on the battlefield or burned.
  • 01:30:00 The video discusses World War I, focusing on the American legacy. It notes that, while men were needed to fight in the trenches, women were needed in a number of different capacities, most notably as nurses. The article also notes that, while women at the time could not vote, run for office, or become engineers, they had the opportunity to do something different during World War I, as hundreds of thousands of women enlisted in the military.
  • 01:35:00 The U.S. Army Signal Corps planned a telephone system to help commanders keep track of the progress of the war. Despite some initial language difficulties, the Signal Corps was able to train 300 women to operate the system. These women served alongside men during the war, and some faced discrimination afterwards. In 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed a bill granting the women honorable discharges, which helped them receive veterans benefits and long-delayed recognition.
  • 01:40:00 Marianne Cunningham was a French teacher from Iowa who volunteered to serve in World War I. She was killed in 1918 when a German shell landed on her hostel, and she was the first American woman to die in combat. Other female war casualties include 22 nurses of the U.S. Army's 8500 nurses killed in France, and the Red Cross estimates that there were 330 female war casualties in World War I. Because they were women, nurses were also romantic fantasy objects for the doughboys, and in particular, Stars and Stripes magazine. One columnist wrote that nurses exchange confidences just like all other women, and if your duplicity is discovered, act as though you were going to propose to all of them and keep them dancing attendance on you. Not all the dough boys who rode in Stars and Stripes were so shallow, many left moving tributes to the nurses. One sergeant sent in a poem called the Army Nurse. There isn't a nurse for each hero all steeped in german gore, but air the day's work is finished she has cared for a score or more. She comes in with a cheery good morning then a word to the fellow who's blue and really now it's amazing what her pleasant smile will do. American
  • 01:45:00 The video discusses World War I, focusing on the American legacy. The American soldiers returned home and left Europe to deal with its problems. Many changes took place in America while the soldiers were away, including the women gaining the right to vote, prohibition on alcohol, and organized crime. Hollywood and jazz music were also born during this time. The American women's image changed from housewives to independent flappers, who danced, smoked, and drank like the men. The industrial mobilization caused thousands of rural people to move to the cities, and America began to look different than it had before. Veterans Day is commonly forgotten, but it was originally called Armistice Day and celebrated the end of the war. Modern era soldiers began with World War I veterans, and the video finishes with a tribute to those who died.
  • 01:50:00 The narrator of the video talks about World War I and the different types of cigarettes that were available to soldiers. He also discusses the importance of cigarettes for soldiers and how they helped to keep them morale high during the war.

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