April 07, 2017

FRIDAY'S WITH FARLEY: America Enters The Great War


One hundred years ago, Europe had endured nearly three years of horrific, industrialized war while the United States stayed officially neutral. Testing the patience of President Woodrow Wilson, repeated German effrontery finally spurred Wilson to lead the nation into the Great War. On April 2, 1917 Wilson called Congress in to an “extraordinary session,” to request a declaration of war against Germany. He assured members of Congress that “the world must be safe for democracy” and that “[the United States has] no quarrel with the German people . . .” but only with its “little groups of ambitious men who . . . use their fellowmen as pawns and tools.”

He continued: "It is a fearful thing to lead this great peaceful people into war, into the most terrible and disastrous of all wars, civilization itself seeming to be in the balance. But the right is more precious than peace, and we shall fight for the things which we have always carried nearest our hearts—for democracy, for the right of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own governments, for the rights and liberties of small nations, for a universal dominion of right by such a con-cert of free peoples as shall bring peace and safety to all nations and make the world itself at last free.."

Four days later the United States was officially at war...


The Great War
Premieres April 10, 2017
Drawing on unpublished diaries, memoirs and letters, The Great War tells the rich and complex story of World War I through the voices of nurses, journalists, aviators and the American troops who came to be known as “doughboys.” The series explores the experiences of African-American and Latino soldiers, suffragists, Native American “code talkers” and others whose participation in the war to “make the world safe for democracy” has been largely forgotten. The Great War explores how a brilliant PR man bolstered support for the war in a country hesitant to put lives on the line for a foreign conflict; how President Woodrow Wilson steered the nation through years of neutrality, only to reluctantly lead America into the bloodiest conflict the world had ever seen, thereby transforming the United States into a dominant player on the international stage; and how the ardent patriotism and determination to support America’s crusade for liberty abroad led to one of the most oppressive crackdowns on civil liberties at home in U.S. history. It is a story of heroism and sacrifice that would ultimately claim 15 million lives and profoundly change the world forever.


I Want You
by James Montgomery Flagg (1877-1960)
Originally published as the cover for the July 6, 1916, issue of Leslie's Weekly with the title "What Are You Doing for Preparedness?" this portrait of "Uncle Sam" went on to become--according to its creator, James Montgomery Flagg--"the most famous poster in the world." Over four million copies were printed between 1917 and 1918, as the United States entered World War I and began sending troops and matériel into war zones.

Flagg (1877-1960) contributed forty-six works to support the war effort. He was a member of the first Civilian Preparedness Committee organized in New York in 1917 and chaired by Grosvenor Clarkson. He also served as a member of Charles Dana Gibson's Committee of Pictorial Publicity, which was organized under the federal government's Committee on Public Information, headed by George Creel.

Because of its overwhelming popularity, the image was later adapted for use in World War II. Upon presenting President Franklin Delano Roosevelt a copy of the poster, Flagg remarked that he had been his own model for Uncle Sam to save the modeling fee. Roosevelt was impressed and replied: "I congratulate you on your resourcefulness in saving model hire. Your method suggests Yankee forebears."

Uncle Sam is one of the most popular personifications of the United States. However, the term "Uncle Sam" is of somewhat obscure derivation. Historical sources attribute the name to a meat packer who supplied meat to the army during the War of 1812--Samuel (Uncle Sam) Wilson (1766-1854). "Uncle Sam" Wilson was a man of great fairness, reliability, and honesty, who was devoted to his country--qualities now associated with "our" Uncle Sam. James Montgomery Flagg (1877-1960)

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