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The "Great War", European conflict from 1914 to 1918 that extended to include the United States and some Asian and African nations

World War I (often abbreviated as WWI or WW1), also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as the "war to end all wars", it led to the mobilization of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. An estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilians died as a direct result of the war, while it is also considered a contributory factor in a number of genocides and the 1918 influenza epidemic, which caused between 50 and 100 million deaths worldwide. Military losses were exacerbated by new technological and industrial developments and the tactical stalemate caused by grueling trench warfare. It was one of the deadliest conflicts in history and precipitated major political changes, including the revolutions of 1917-1923, in many of the nations involved. Unresolved rivalries at the end of the conflict contributed to the start of the Second World War about twenty years later.


The 100th Anniversary of the Great State Crime, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 8 Aug 2014
Reflections on the start of the Great War, 100 years ago, the second act (World War II) and wars in general
This week marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War, the four-year bloody nightmare that claimed 16 million lives—7 million of them noncombatants—and wounded over 20 million people ... [T]he Great War brought to an end the halting, imperfect journey toward genuine liberalism ... This was no noble war ... It was a war driven by imperial rivalries (Germany was the relatively new player ...); balance-of-power politics; the alliance system, which hid obligations to go to war from the people who would pay the butcher's bill; petty, vainglorious rulers; and nationalism ...
Albert Jay Nock: A Gifted Pen for Radical Individualism, by Jim Powell, The Freeman, Mar 1997
Biographical essay, including Nock's early life, editorship of The Freeman (1920-1924), and notable books and essays
Of the consequences of the First World War, Nock wrote: "The war immensely fortified a universal faith in violence; it set in motion endless adventures in imperialism, endless nationalist ambitions. Every war does this to a degree roughly corresponding to its magnitude." ... Nock turned some of his Freeman articles into his first book: The Myth of a Guilty Nation, which, based on the work of Francis Neilson, debunked the idea that Germany was solely responsible for World War I. Nock insisted all the participants deserved blame for the catastrophe that resulted in some 10 million deaths.
Background of the Middle East Conflict, Part 1, by Wendy McElroy, Freedom Daily, Oct 2003
Historical account of the Middle East and Northern Africa since Napoleon's invasion of Egypt at the end of 18th century to the liberation of Damascus near the end of World War I
The British believed they had little choice but to deal with the problems of that region. After all, the British fleet was running on oil from the Middle East and Britain needed its fleet. On August 4, 1914, the need for oil became imperative when Britain declared war on Germany; this was the beginning of World War I. World War I brought about an alliance between the British, French, and Russians, who were called the Triple Entente. Opposing the Entente were the Central Powers — Germany, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and what remained of the Ottoman Empire (the Turks). Britain needed Arabs to spill their blood against the Turks.
The Bathtub, Mencken, and War, by Wendy McElroy, The Freeman, Sep 1999
Relates the story behind a Mencken essay, written during the First World War, to mock and show contempt for contemporary "journalists who blithely reported fiction as fact" and subsequent (eight years later) articles confessing to the hoax
"A Neglected Anniversary" was the direct result of the anti-German propaganda that dominated the newspapers in the years before and during America's involvement in World War I ... [D]uring America's anti-German period, he could not get material on World War I published because of his pro-German views ... Mencken was enraged by the popular portrayal of Germans as "barbarous Huns" who committed atrocities such as the widely reported bayoneting of Belgian babies. (Although this accusation had been absolutely accepted by the American people, it was later proven to be pure Allied propaganda.)
Related Topics: H. L. Mencken, War
The Colonial Venture of Ireland, Part 3, by Wendy McElroy, Freedom Daily, Jul 2004
Historical account of Ireland from 1912 to 1921, including the formation of the Irish Assembly, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty that concluded the Irish War of Independence
The issue of partition was soon overshadowed by World War I. On August 3, 1914, Sir Edward Grey, the British foreign secretary, informed the House of Commons that Britain would enter the war ... Some saw the war as an opportunity. Padraig Pearse developed a view of revolution as redemption ... [T]he high death toll ... made the British public wonder why conscription was applied to Britain and not to Ireland ... Easter Sunday 1916 became the date for revolution. The Germans agreed to provide arms to the anti-British rebels. But when a German ship arrived offshore, the Irish failed to meet it.
Related Topics: Ireland, Terrorism, Woodrow Wilson
The Federal Ripoff, by George Leef, Freedom Daily, Nov 2006
Review of The Big Ripoff: How Big Business and Big Government Steal Your Money (2006) by Timothy P. Carney
During World War I, the Wilson administration gave the business world a big dose of federal control ... According to Grosvenor Clarkson, a member of the War Industries Board,
It is little wonder that the men who dealt with the industries of a nation meditated with a sort of intellectual contempt on the huge hit-and-miss confusion of peacetime industry, with its perpetual cycle of surfeit and dearth and its internal attempt at adjustment after the event. From their meditations arose dreams of an ordered economic world. ... They beheld the whole trade of the world carefully computed and registered in Washington.
The Federal War on Gold, Part 3, by Jacob G. Hornberger, Freedom Daily, Oct 2006
Describes Franklin Roosevelt's 1933 executive order confiscating gold held by U.S. citizens and the congressional act nullifying gold clauses in contracts, its constitutional ramifications and subsequent related history
In issuing his [1933] executive order [which prohibited gold hoarding], Roosevelt relied on the Trading with the Enemy Act, which had been passed in 1917 as part America's war against Germany in World War I. Yes, World War I, the infamous war that was supposed to make the world safe for democracy! This "temporary emergency" law, which should have expired with the end of the war, had instead been left on the books through the 1930s ... [T]he Trading with the Enemy Act is still on the books and is still being used as the basis for presidential decrees.
Felix Morley: An Old-fashioned Republican, by Joseph R. Stromberg,, 7 Dec 1999
Biographical and bibliographical essay
[Morley] studied briefly at Oxford University. With the coming of World War I, he volunteered for the Red Cross in the British sector of the western front. Returning to America, he joined the Army as an officer candidate, but was asked to leave–with an honorable discharge–because he expressed too freely his views about the war. (Free speech had mysteriously dropped off the roster of freedoms: perhaps that was what was "new" about Woodrow's New Freedom.)
Felix Morley – Washington Post & his Career, by Leonard Liggio
Review of Morley's autobiographical For the Record (1979)
The First World War focused his attention on naval issues, in particular the naval battles such as the escape of two German cruisers from the British Mediterranean fleet to internment in Istanbul and British threats that forced the Ottoman Empire into the war allied with Germany ... Felix quotes historians Samuel Eliot Morrison and Henry S. Commager on the Creel Committee: "one of the most appalling revelations of the entire war was the ease with which modern technique and mass-suggestion enables a government to make even a reasonably intelligent people, with an individualistic, democratic background, believe anything it likes."
Forgotten Lessons: Selected Essays of John T. Flynn, by Paul Gottfried, The Freeman, Nov 1995
Review of Forgotten Lessons: Selected Essays of John T. Flynn, edited by Gregory P. Pavlik and published by FEE
There are two strong impressions which the anthology made on me, that did not come from Flynn's own words. One is the account given by his son in the preface about his father celebrating the end of the First World War. Then an editor of the New Haven Register (which I grew up reading), the senior Flynn flew a plane over New Haven in November 1918 and marveled at the happy relief of his countrymen below. At that time he hoped that a victorious America would turn its energies inward and presumably restore the freedoms that President Wilson had torn from his fellow-citizens in 'making the world safe for democracy.'
The Great Lie of Modern Unions, by Wendy McElroy, 31 Oct 2013
Details the history of labor organizing, from the Knights of Labor in 1869 to the 1935 Wagner Act
By the 20th century, the power of labor movements had also become more blatantly political as exemplified by the Industrial Workers of the World, or Wobblies. Organized in 1905 ... With a large immigrant membership, the Wobblies also became a potent voice against America's entry into World War I. This dismayed the Department of Justice. In September 1917, 48 IWW meeting halls were raided and 165 leaders were arrested under the new Espionage Act. Of those arrested, 101 of them went on trial; all were convicted and received sentences of up to 20 years.
Related Topics: Labor, Monopoly, Unemployment
Killing in the Name of Democracy, by James Bovard, Attention Deficit Democracy, 27 Jan 2006
Excerpt from the chapter 4 "Messianic Democracy" of Bovard's Attention Deficit Democracy (2006), details various U.S. presidents' policies and actions from McKinley to Eisenhower
The deaths of more than 100,000 Americans in World War I did nothing to bring Wilson's idealistic visions to Earth. The 1919 Paris peace talks became a slaughter pen of Wilson's pretensions. One of Wilson's top aides ... later commented: "We had such high hopes of this adventure; we believed God called us and now we are doing hell's dirtiest work." Thomas Fleming ... noted, "The British and French exploited the war to forcibly expand their empires and place millions more people under their thumbs." Fleming concluded that one lesson of World War I is that "idealism is not synonymous with sainthood or virtue. It only sounds that way."
Leonard Read, the Founder and Builder, by Mary Sennholz, The Freeman, May 1996
Biographical essay written by Read's secretary in the early days of FEE, as well as author of Leonard E. Read: Philosopher of Freedom
World War I had been raging in Europe since August 1, 1914; the United States had joined on April 6, 1917. Soon after his graduation [in June 1917], Leonard enlisted with the Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps ... Soldiers rarely question the justifiableness of war, or virtue and righteousness. Leonard Read was skeptical of President Woodrow Wilson's pronouncements that the war was the "culminating and final war to end all wars." He wondered about Theodore Roosevelt's oration that he was to fight "in the quarrel of civilization against barbarism, of liberty against tyranny."
Liberty in America during the Great War, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 15 Aug 2014
Examines how various areas of American society were influenced by Woodrow Wilson's decision to enter the First World War, including Supreme Court cases decided after the war
The propaganda campaign was remarkable, the repression more so, as though the policymakers feared that a little dissent could turn the whole country antiwar ... Washington's efforts to disseminate a particular view of the war — democracy versus German authoritarianism — reached into the schools, and local school officials obliged by stepping up the effort, for example, by outlawing the teaching of German ... The Justice Department under Attorney General Thomas Gregory encouraged citizen surveillance through its link to the American Protective League, "a group of amateur sleuths and loyalty enforcers" ...
The Middle East Harvests Bitter Imperialist Fruit, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 20 Jun 2014
Describes how the seeds of the current turmoil in the Middle East were planted a century ago by British and French imperialists
The stomach-wrenching violence in Iraq ... are direct consequences of the imperialist acts of the British and French governments at the end of World War I, the history-altering catastrophe that began 100 years ago this August 4 ... This is a story about arrogant Western imperialists who thought enlightened, civilized Europeans should govern the Arabs (and Kurds) ... This view was voiced by men representing countries that had just engaged in over four years of savage trench warfare in the "war to end war," not to mention the previous centuries bloodied by Europe's religious and political wars.
Mises, Ludwig von (1881-1972), by Leland B. Yeager, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
Biographical and bibliographical essay
During World War I, [Mises] served as an artillery officer, and at war's end, he briefly held the post of director of the Austrian Reparations Commission at the League of Nations ... Nation, State, and Economy (1919) warned against an excessively harsh peace after World War I, as well as against revanchism on the part of the vanquished. It examined the background of the war, including linguistic-ethnic conditions in Austria-Hungary and Germany that had hampered the flourishing of democracy in those empires.
Not Just Japanese Americans: The Untold Story of U.S. Repression During 'The Good War', by Jeffrey Rogers Hummel, The Journal of Historical Review, 1986
Detailed and well-annotated survey of United States government's repression of civil liberties during World War II, both before and after the attack on Pearl Harbor
Because of disillusionment with the First World War, Americans initially wished to stay out of the Second. An early generation of revisionist historians had successfully debunked the official justifications for U.S. participation in World War I, and had overturned the judgment of exclusive German war guilt. In 1934 and 1935, a Senate committee, under the chairmanship of Gerald P. Nye, a progressive Republican, investigated the munitions industry. It concluded that American financiers and arms merchants had maneuvered the U.S. into the previous European conflict for their own profit.
Peace and Pacifism, by Robert Higgs, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
Reviews what prominent classical liberals and libertarians had to say on the subject of peace and war, as well as the history of United States wars from the War of 1812 to the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the efforts of those who opposed them
The outbreak of war in Europe in 1914 shocked most Americans, who wanted nothing to do with it. Afterward, as President Woodrow Wilson moved steadily closer to seeking direct U.S. engagement in the war, many sorts of opposition were expressed ... A small group of Progressives led by Wisconsin Senator Robert A. LaFollette spearheaded the opposition in Congress, where LaFollette risked ... his political future by waging a heroic stand against the folly of U.S. entry. Despite his valiant efforts, only 6 senators and 50 representatives ultimately voted against the declaration of war.
Warfare-Welfare in Yugoslavia, by Jacob G. Hornberger, Freedom Daily, Jun 1999
Criticizes U.S. involvement in the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) during the Kosovo War, viewing it as continuation of the American warfare-welfare empire that stretches back to U.S. entry in World War I
More than 80 years ago, the United States entered World War I with the express purposes of making the world safe for democracy and making that war the one that would end all future European wars ... Even the most ardent defenders of foreign wars and foreign intervention admit that World War I was a waste of American life. The consequences of World War I were exactly the opposite of what were intended. The chaos of war, the devastation of Germany, and the Treaty of Versailles gave rise to Adolf Hitler, Nazi Germany, Communist Russia, and, a short time later, World War II.


Wartime Attacks on Civil Liberties, by George Leef, Freedom Daily, Dec 2005
Review of Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime: From the Sedition Act of 1798 to the War on Terrorism (2004) by University of Chicago Law School professor Geoffrey R. Stone
Federal prosecutors repeatedly brought cases under the Espionage and Sedition Acts alleging that the defendants—ranging from ... labor leader Eugene Debs to obscure pamphleteers—had attempted to impede the government's war efforts. A speech or a flyer criticizing the war or the draft was argued to be illegal because the speaker or writer should have anticipated that his action might lead others to violate the law—by draft evasion, for example. When the cases reached the appellate courts, a number of jurists distinguished themselves by standing up for civil liberties, most famously Learned Hand.

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "World War I" as of 30 Oct 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.