Details

When: Thursdays, Oct 19 – Nov 16, 1:30-3:30pm No class November 2

Where: The Hampton Inn

Cost: $115.00 for 4 session(s)

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Instructor: Richard A. Cosgrove Ph.D University Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Arizona and Fellow of the Royal Historical Society
Richard A. Cosgrove Ph.D

1917

Even though the battlefields on both the Eastern and Western fronts continued with senseless offensives and counter-attacks, little movement in the lines and high casualties, two other events anticipated global effects for the remainder of the twentieth century. The first occurred when the Tsarist regime collapsed in a series of upheavals that resulted in a Bolshevik victory. The other was the entry of the United States on the side of the Entente powers. Both cast long shadows that still resonate in 2017.

Week 1: The Russian Revolution
As many had anticipated the World War placed strains on Russian society that it was ill-equipped to resolve. Horrendous casualties, the inability to hold off German attacks and the deteriorating domestic situation led to the February Revolution that toppled the Romanov dynasty. After the Provisional Government tried and failed to reverse the military situation, the October Revolution brought Lenin and the Bolsheviks to power with the promise of peace, land and bread.

Week 2: American Entry into the War
Since 1898 the United States had embarked on a policy of a greater role in world affairs. In 1914 the United States had declared its neutrality and President Woodrow Wilson had won reelection in 1916 on the slogan that he had kept America out of the war. In Germany the announcement in January that it would resume unrestricted submarine warfare led to a declaration of war in April 1917. The United States had committed itself to participation in the War that already had dragged on for three years.

Week 3: The Western Front
Up and down the trenches the slaughter continued until finally the French army mutinied in opposition to the continuous offensives that drove up the casualty lists. Once discipline was restored the French went on the defensive while waiting for the Americans to arrive. The Germans adopted primarily a defensive posture in accordance with their hopes for victory in 1918. The British meanwhile continued the policy of attacks that sought the breakthrough that would open the road to Berlin and victory. By the end of the year only the number of casualties on all sides had really changed.

Week 4: The Home Fronts, 1917
Despite the constant government propaganda aimed at support for the war in all countries, domestic hardships and the stalemate at the front combined to arouse anti-war sentiment. Those who now opposed the war were usually vilified, often arrested and harassed by the government and civilians alike. It was not surprising, therefore, that attempts to find a peaceful resolution to hostilities went nowhere. And so the war continued.

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