Knapp to present program on The Great War
Veterans Day 2018 is the centennial of the end of World War I. To commemorate this event, on Wednesday evening, Nov. 14, high school student Nathan Knapp will give a presentation about the history of World War I and how the Great War has affected events following that historic event.
Knapp’s presentation will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the banquet room at the Sabetha Memorial Post 7285 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, 120 S. Washington Avenue. The public is invited.
Part of Knapp’s research included a visit to the National World War I museum in Kansas City.
“I would highly recommend the National World War I museum in Kansas City for a detailed experience with the history of ‘The Great War,’” Knapp said. “During Armistice weekend [Nov. 9-11], all tickets are half-price. This year is the 100th anniversary of the Armistice.”
“World War I was called by many ‘the war to end all wars,’” Knapp said. “There was good reason to call it such, as it was a turning point in military warfare. The nations of Europe were used to employing their advanced weaponry against that of bows, arrows and spears, making a quick and easy victory.
“But World War I would be a war between the great powers and fought with the most destructive weaponry ever known to mankind up until that point. This war would claim almost 15,000,000 lives and though it would mark a dramatic change in history, World War I would only be a chapter in the story of mankind’s quest for power.”
Ushering in a century of profound social and economic change, The Great War would influence areas such as civil rights, women’s suffrage, military traditions and protocol, technology, medicine and benefits for those who served in the Armed Forces, ultimately shaping the rest of America’s 20th century.
“I did not realize the extent to which Germany had planned for World War I – about 40 years,” Knapp said. “As a result of the Seven Weeks war of 1866, many younger sons from the northern German states (who fought Prussia) emigrated to the U.S. in order to avoid conscription by Prussia for the pending Franco-Prussian War of 1870. Some of them settled in our area.
“This war in 1870 would lay the foundation for World War I, which in turn laid the foundation for World War II.”
Even before Austria-Hungary’s Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated by a Serb on June 28, 1914, Austria and Serbia experienced conflicts with each other, while the countries of Britain, France and Germany had all grown strong and had large armies.
They all wanted to sell their products to foreign countries, and Britain and France had been in several strong arguments with Germany over markets in Africa.
Before war’s end, the fighting included 32 participating nations. The Allies included Britain, France, Russia, Italy and the United States; the Central Powers included Germany, Austria-Hungary, Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria.
Refreshments will be served after Knapp’s presentation, and he will have maps and other items of interest to attendees, who are invited to visit with him after the talk.