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George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5304

PBS The Great War
Posted on: 4/9/2017 9:02:38 PM
Premiering tomorrow April 10 on PBS stations.

The Great War/ American Experience

The trailer looks interesting and describes WW1 as more transformative for the US than people may realize.

[Read More]


Cheers,

George

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 2771

Re: PBS The Great War
Posted on: 4/10/2017 8:44:48 AM
George,

Thank's for the heads up, Sounds intriguing, I'll try to catch it!

MD
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

brian grafton
Victoria, BC, Canada
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major
Moderator


Posts: 1310

Re: PBS The Great War
Posted on: 4/10/2017 9:46:18 PM
Great quandry in my house: at the same time PBS is running "Great War: The American Experience", BC' Knowledge Network is running the second part of a two-part show on Bannockburn.

Cheers
bg
---------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly.

"The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.

brian grafton
Victoria, BC, Canada
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major
Moderator


Posts: 1310

Re: PBS The Great War
Posted on: 4/11/2017 8:18:45 PM
Got it wrong! The shows were one hour apart, so caught them both!

I was somewhat disappointed with both shows, which certainly makes me wonder where I am broken.

Neil Oliver, who co-hosted "Bannockburn" is, IMHO, over-rated. I don't trust him, and I think he is more concerned with ratings than with demonstrable proof. Maybe that explains my sense that Bannockburn did a disservice to history and to historical analysis. I'm not knocking their conclusions as such, and I think their description of the battle on the second day is probably accurate (because the clash of arms is typical and not location specific). But they certainly didn't convince me that they had defined where the battle occurred, and that was one of their aims.

PBS's "Great War: The American Experience" was pretty good (though I dislike voice-over for video), but I found the assumptions of many of the commentators irritating. What surprised me most is how nuances of US values received great attention, while rather larger issues of world values were almost elided. This was not a minor skirmish in Europe waiting until the US determined it must save the world.

I recognize I'm exaggerating, and I apologize. But I feel my comments are simply the obverse of many of the writers and historians who voice their opinions during the broadcast.

I'll try to be more open-minded if I get a chance to see Part 2 tonight.

Cheers
bg
---------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly.

"The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5304

Re: PBS The Great War
Posted on: 4/11/2017 9:26:18 PM
Yeah, there was indirect reference to American exceptionality in the sections to do with Wilson. He felt that the US had to save the world for democracy and that the US had something to offer to the rest of the world.

The description of the monarchies as proof of rot was too facile as an explanation of why the war began.

I noted that Margaret Macmillan, Canadian historian and author of both "Paris 1919" and "The War That Ended Peace" gave her thoughts throughout.

George

Lightning
Glasgow, UK
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class


Posts: 442

Re: PBS The Great War
Posted on: 4/12/2017 5:29:47 AM

Quote:
Neil Oliver, who co-hosted "Bannockburn" is, IMHO, over-rated. I don't trust him, and I think he is more concerned with ratings than with demonstrable proof. --brian grafton


Neil taught me a few years back at an evening course (in field archaeology) I was studying at the University of Glasgow. His voice is completely different as lecturer than it is as a TV presenter, and for me that tells me everything I need to know. I didn't rate him as a lecturer (not particularly engaging) and I don't rate him as a TV presenter (he's too sensationalist). That said, he splits opinion here and hence continues to get good TV work.

One interesting facet that I heard years ago about the Battle of Bannockburn was that it was the Roman road that ultimately doomed Edward's army; he followed it religiously on his route to Stirling and landed right in front of the waiting Scottish schiltrons, leaving him little opportunity for manouvre - not many historians bring it up.

I'll try and catch the PBS show.

Cheers,

Colin
---------------
"There is no course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight to the end."

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 2771

Re: PBS The Great War
Posted on: 4/26/2017 9:34:57 AM
Hi Guys,

I finally caught up with this 3 part series. I initially missed it but with our cable system, you can view it later. The thing that struck me the most was the portrayal of Pres. Woodrow Wilson, you almost could have titled it "President Wilson and the Great War!" And it didn't always put Woody in a good light. For example Wilson carried himself on a higher plane, yet he turned his back on African American Soldiers awful treatment. He ran on a "he kept us out of the war," slogan, yet he manipulated the country into it, then he put down in very strong terms & actions anyone who was even remotely critical of it! (And this is the land of the free!?) He also turned his back on women's rights. Also after the war and his part in the peace process, including his 14 points, the rest of the US Government didn't back it, and he was to proud to accept a compromise from them which would have put the US in the League of Nations! Some historians theorize that if the US was in it, it would have gave the League enough clout to have maybe avoided the atrocities that led to WWII?

Who knows, but they painted Wilson as an enigema!?
What say you?
MD

BTW Another earlier series on the topic;

[Read More]
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

morris crumley
Lawrenceville, GA, USA
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major
Posts: 1189

Re: PBS The Great War
Posted on: 4/26/2017 8:10:02 PM
It is an absolute disgrace that the carcass of Woodrow Wilson is entombed in the National Cathedral.

Woodrow Wilson was, almost without question, the most pitiful excuse for a man this country ever elected as President.

He was a progressive hack who had no respect for the US Constitution, and who felt that bureaucratic (and white) administrators were what the country needed, not an old outdated document that limited what he could do. An unmitigated racist who re-segregated the US government.

He ran on a ticket of keeping us out of war... many loyal Americans did not want us getting involved in European wars. Then, having reneged on that pledge..then preceded to imprison thousands of anti-war American citizens for daring not to kiss his imperial....

He was a despicable educator who said it was his duty to make young men as different from their fathers as possible. No doubt in my mind many of those fathers were of better character than Woodrow effin Wilson.

Oh, and as the PBS told...Wilson stroked out and his wife and his staff hid his inability to function from the congress for many, many weeks..until a delegation showed up and demanded to see Wilson in the flesh. The man` wife was an un-elected President until the filth left office.

Other than that, I have no position on Woodrow effin Wilson.

Respects, Morris
---------------
"You are a $70, red-wool, pure quill military genius, or the biggest damn fool in northern Mexico."

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 2771

Re: PBS The Great War
Posted on: 4/27/2017 9:02:21 AM
Morris,

Right on!

MD
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5304

Re: PBS The Great War
Posted on: 4/27/2017 1:54:01 PM
Hang on Morris and Dave. I defer to you both on matters Presidential but while I think that Wilson had too much influence on the peace after the war given the short and limited involvement of the US military, I do think that he presented a new view of the world that had some appeal.

He was received in Europe when he arrived for the treaty negotiations as a messiah of peace, not as a military warlord but as someone who maybe, just maybe had some ideas that would assure Europe and its colonies that a conflagration like the Great War could be avoided.

His 14 Points were compelling. And he wasn't European.

Do I think that he was naive? Yes I do.

But I often wonder how history would have unfolded had the US Congress accepted the Treaty of Versailles and especially the League of Nations.

I understand what you both are saying about Wilson and his personal beliefs that make him seem hypocritical in retrospect.

But Morris, a little credit is due, don't you think?


Cheers,

George

bubble_head
Austin, TX, USA
New User
E-2 Private


Posts: 25

Re: PBS The Great War
Posted on: 4/27/2017 11:26:17 PM
Really? Thank you so much for reminding us on this. Ya know, I had seen a couple commercials for this series on PBS way back last winter, I think. But I effectively forgot all about it and likely would have missed it, or at least some of it, had I not read your post here.

I can only hope it as even half as good as was Ken Burns' Civil War series, which I just finished binge watching on Netflix! LOL. I of course saw it when it first came out, several years ago. And I think this past viewing was the third time I've watched it. Hey---I hear he is doing Vietnam next! I believe that will be aired this Fall.

I don't believe I have ever seen a good full-length series on WWI. It's probably more talked about in Europe than in the US, here, eh? Maybe since we came to the War so late, not until early 1817 I believe? So that's only, what? Maybe 18 months out of a four-year War?

Terrible thing, WWI. To this day I often shake my head in awe at reading of the casualty counts from some of the Battles. Especially the crazy big ones like Verdun, the Somme, etc. Wow.

But I ramble! Sorry. And thanks once again.

scoucer
Berlin, Germany
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 1923

Re: PBS The Great War
Posted on: 4/28/2017 3:20:29 AM

Quote:
It is an absolute disgrace that the carcass of Woodrow Wilson is entombed in the National Cathedral.

Woodrow Wilson was, almost without question, the most pitiful excuse for a man this country ever elected as President.

He was a progressive hack who had no respect for the US Constitution, and who felt that bureaucratic (and white) administrators were what the country needed, not an old outdated document that limited what he could do. An unmitigated racist who re-segregated the US government.

He ran on a ticket of keeping us out of war... many loyal Americans did not want us getting involved in European wars. Then, having reneged on that pledge..then preceded to imprison thousands of anti-war American citizens for daring not to kiss his imperial....

He was a despicable educator who said it was his duty to make young men as different from their fathers as possible. No doubt in my mind many of those fathers were of better character than Woodrow effin Wilson.

Oh, and as the PBS told...Wilson stroked out and his wife and his staff hid his inability to function from the congress for many, many weeks..until a delegation showed up and demanded to see Wilson in the flesh. The man` wife was an un-elected President until the filth left office.

Other than that, I have no position on Woodrow effin Wilson.

Respects, Morris
--morris crumley


Morris,

We agree completely on something. The guy was a disaster. Especially for Europe.

Trevor
---------------
`Hey don´t the wars come easy and don´t the peace come hard`- Buffy Sainte-Marie

Some swim with the stream. Some swim against the stream. Me - I´m stuck somewhere in the woods and can´t even find the stupid stream.

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5304

Re: PBS The Great War
Posted on: 4/28/2017 6:59:45 AM
Margaret MacMillan, historian and author of "Paris 1919: 6 Months that Changed the World, described Wilson as a man who arrived to negotiate the Treaty of Versailles with an agenda that included the League of Nations in his 14 points.

He discovered that his agenda did not necessarily match that of Lloyd-George and Clemenceau and Orlando.

In a sense, he was out of his depth. The big 4 and later the big 3 when Orlando left in a huff, were unprepared for the Solomon like decisions that they had to make about borders and ethnic groups.

Hundreds of delegations made their way to the negotiations from countries and regions that perhaps the negotiators had never heard of.

Even Ho Chi Minh came to argue and persuade Wilson in particular to intervene on behalf of the oppressed Vietnamese people. Wilson did not. This was during Ho's pre-Marxist days.

There are many other examples of borders redrawn to reflect the needs of an ethnic population in a region.

Wilson approved of self determination of a cultural group but had no idea that many countries or regions were comprised of multiple cultural groups. It became impossible to satisfy the nationalistic views of every cultural group in a region. And this took up a great deal of the time of the negotiators.

Wilson and the others didn't care about many of the delegations that presented their cases unless it affected their colonial empires. Rather Wilson didn't care about colonial empires. The other two did.

So I think that Wilson was overwhelmed as were L-G and Clemenceau. Wilson wanted nothing to do with the maintenance of colonial empires but he was primarily interested in making a treaty reflective of his 14 points.

The other two were interested in ensuring peace in Europe, in maintaining colonial Empires and were determined that Germany should not rise again as a military power.

If Wilson came to Europe hoping to lay the foundations for world peace, in that he was a failure. But clearly, the other two failed in that regard as well.

The task to create and write this particular treaty was rather overwhelming and given the number of subtext issues that the negotiators were compelled to address, it is perhaps understandable that they were often distracted from the immediate and central task.


What did Wilson get?

1. Acceptance of the League of Nations which ironically the US Congress rejected.

2. Many of Wilson's ideas on the border lines of Europe were accepted.

Failures:

1. Most of the 14 points other than the League were rejected

2. Wilson wanted freedom of the seas for trade purposes. Britain said no.

3. Wilson wanted the colonial powers to grant self determination in their colonies. That was a non-starter

4. I believe that he felt that the union of Austria and Germany would be a good thing. The other two said no. Of course, Hitler corrected that didn't he?

5. Even while Wilson preached self-determination some countries in Europe like the Poles and the Czechs seized lands that they felt rightfully belonged to them in 1919. Wilson didn't like it but couldn't do much about it.

6. Finally, his League and the Treaty were rejected by the US Congress.

I don't know whether the treaty negotiations and the repudiation of his work in Congress broke the man but he was dead by 1921.


Note to Morris: I realize that his bad condition after the stroke was kept from the public and it is suggested that his wife was acting as President but I think that the condition of the President has been kept from the public in other instances.

Ronald Reagan's cognitive skills had declined in the latter years of his Presidency. Who was making the decisions at that point?

Now that I think of it, I am having the same concerns about the cognitive competency of the current President? . Morris, I couldn't resist.



Hello Trevor, if you have time I would be interested in your reasons for suggesting that Wilson was a disaster for Europe. I don't disagree but I would bet that you have greater insight in the matter than I do.


Cheers,

George

scoucer
Berlin, Germany
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 1923

Re: PBS The Great War
Posted on: 4/29/2017 4:24:40 AM

Quote:
Hello Trevor, if you have time I would be interested in your reasons for suggesting that Wilson was a disaster for Europe. I don't disagree but I would bet that you have greater insight in the matter than I do.


Cheers,George--George


I´d be happy to do so George. A problem of time.

I like Mageret McMillan. I was lucky enough to see her last year in Berlin as she gave a lecture on the Versailles Treaties. Yes, I´ve adopted the modern german historian´s use of the plural as the Versailles Treaty was solely with Germany.

In many ways it´s a cross thread subject - as in the Chamberlain thread - so I´ll be putting something together to answer you and Phil´s question about Isabel Hull.

Trevor


---------------
`Hey don´t the wars come easy and don´t the peace come hard`- Buffy Sainte-Marie

Some swim with the stream. Some swim against the stream. Me - I´m stuck somewhere in the woods and can´t even find the stupid stream.

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