Message of the Day: War, Human Rights, Disease, Hunger, Economic Opportunity, Population, Environment, Personal Growth

Lucy Branham protests Alice Paul imprisonment, The Great War, PBS 2018 


Yesterday was the Veteran’s Day holiday in the US. The actual date of Veteran’s Day was the day before, Sunday, November 11. This was also Armistice Day and Remembrance Day in various nations worldwide.

It’s origins were the armistice day ending World War One.

Sunday, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the exact moment of the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One, known as The Great War, occurred.

The three-part six hour series, The Great War, from the American Experience franchise, premiered on PBS last year and was aired again on the eve of the 4th of July this year.

American Experience is another of the superb documentary series brought to us by PBS affiliate WGBH in Boston–the same outfit that has brought us Frontline.

It is impossible to overstate the significance of World War One on virtually every issue facing humanity. The war itself was by far the bloodiest in human history until it’s successor only two decades later, World War Two. The former formed the increasingly connected world we are in today as much as the latter.

The First World War is the most important event most people don’t know about. It’s a Pandora’s box. And we’re still ironing out everything that that war unleashed.

That’s one of the opening lines from The Great War.

The series is from an American perspective to be sure and is intended to be. The importance of this is obvious. America emerged from the war as the pre-eminent global power in many ways, cementing that role in World War Two.

We can’t cover everything here, so we cover this. However, we cannot overemphasize the importance of your own exploration of every aspect of this global conflict, its relationship to issues of equality and class, colonialism, sexism, racism, events since and to this moment all over the world–and to the usual underpinnings of basic needs and rights, deprived and achieved in the ongoing process we continuously focus on.

In the US, many of these issues are covered in The Great War. There are a number of excellent related articles and videos on the site the series can be streamed from.

We specifically bring to focus here the movement to bring women the vote, A Woman’s War, as a related article below describes it. As we’ve said before, it took until this moment, in the US and a number of other places, for half of the species to gain this basic right.

Just as we have noted before, it was the women who brought revolution to Russia and gained their right to vote in the doing. It was also a revolution made possible in many ways by World War One, and the calamity of the eastern front for Russia. It was also a revolution whose betrayal was made possible in many ways by the same thing. We’ve covered that at great length before.

The revolution by women in the US that led to their right to vote owes its success in the main to the singular will of Alice Paul and those who supported her strategy. (Paul and her close friend and ally, Lucy Burns, had learned at the side ofEmmeline Pankhurst in the UK, where the first part of the women’s vote was gained in 1918.) Women were the first to protest at The White House, during wartime, decrying the hypocrisy of a war claiming to be for democracy that denied democracy to them, getting them imprisoned with their lives on the line, with Alice Paul on hunger-strike–until they won.

Last Tuesday, women led the way to Democrats retaking control of the House of Representatives in the US, with more than 100 women (votes are still being tabulated for the final count) in the new House–the most in US history.

Some of these women served in the US armed forces–an armed forces that finally, under President Obama, officially recognized the right of women to undergo the same training alongside men and fight equally in combat. Many have qualified, with many of their male comrades seeing them as equals and more (some have said some of the women have been so impressive that they would chose them first to fight alongside)–further putting the lie to the weaker sex mendacity forming part of the rotten core of sexism.

More than one hundred women elected to the US House, as reported by CBS on the Veteran’s Day Holiday in the US–exactly one hundred years after President Woodrow Wilson was forced by both parties and public opinion to cave in to Alice Paul and the radical suffragists of the National Women’s Party (NWP), reversing course and announcing support for a constitutional amendment giving women the vote, as a war measure in the waning days of the war. The more mainstream (National American Woman Suffrage Association) NAWSA that Paul had left to form NWP also had an impact, but the momentum on the issue had been stuck at only a few states adopting the vote for women until the activism of the NWP indisputably changed the dynamics. The first vote in 1918 passed with the needed two-thirds in the House by a vote, but failed by two votes in the Senate. It passed in 1919 and was ratified in 1920.

Related articles and links are posted after the transcripts of The Great War below

We provide the transcripts of this epic series and highly recommend reading them. It’s more than a long-read–it is the equivalent of reading a short book.

But this is a case where we emphatically say that viewing the series is the more necessary thing to do. The writing is meant to accompany the images. And they are images never seen or put together in such an extraordinary way before.

Here is The Great War.

Part 1