Sunday, November 11, 2018 will mark the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice in Compiègne, France ending the First World War. Life Isn’t So Sweet As It Used To Be, An American in the Great War, is a compilation of the letters, recollections and poetry of Maryland Senator Millard E. Tydings covering his time as a soldier in the First World War. The book was compiled and edited by his niece Mary E. Campbell and her son John S. Campbell.
Mary and John are Wilson’s guests today on Delmarva Today: Writer’s Edition to discuss Tyding’s writings about the war.
There are a number of world events one could cite that have had a major impact on human history. The First World War is undoubtedly one of the most significant of the 20th century. It truly marked the end of the old world order. On the political side, for example, it resulted in the fall of four monarchies, and contributed to the Bolshevik rise to power in Russia in 1917.
It also marked a shattering of confidence in the way we saw ourselves and our place in the world. Glory and honor, words spoken without embarrassment in the old order were left on the battlefield where death was impersonal and indiscriminate for the nine million soldiers, sailors, and flyers it took. To this number can be added the approximately five million civilians killed.
Finally the end of the old order was also marked by a grand state of disillusion. The security of the future and our place as its author had never come more under question. At the dawn of the 20th century no one expected a war of this magnitude or duration. It all started with carrier pigeons for communication and horses for transport. It ended with tanks, trucks, submarines, airplanes for reconnaissance and bombing, machine guns, and poison gas. The sun had set on the old world order and confidence in the future was shattered by a war no one wanted, a war that ultimately bled into the horror of the Second World War. Click to listen.