The Great War—now known as World War I—seems like ancient history to us. Indeed, one of the facts Wayne Luney laid on us is that there is not a single veteran of that war still alive. It was the war of our grandfathers and great grandfathers. Yet its effects persist in our world, one hundred years after its start.
The nearly twenty of us in the audience sat in rapt attention as Wayne
presented his history of that war. He related how it started, on June
28, 1914, with the assassination in Sarajevo of Archduke Franz Ferdinand
and his wife by a Serbian militant, an act that drew most of the
European and Middle-Eastern powers, one by one, into the conflict.
The Great War altered the map of the world. Mr. Luney listed the breakup of the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires, the Russian revolution, the Sykes-Picot agreement to carve up the Arab world, and the German reparations which led to World War II as among its major consequences. Ultimately, the war caused approximately 20 million deaths worldwide.
The war eventually drew in the United States on the side of the United Kingdom and her allies, resulting in 100,000 American deaths. It also imperiled civil liberties here as war fever took hold, causing protesters to be imprisoned or worse.
Thank you, Wayne Luney, for a gripping presentation, as well as your fielding of questions and lively comments at its end. Fascinating.
Report prepared by Roger Zabkie