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Editorial: Interesting facts about the “War to End All Wars”




On Monday, Wasco County will pay respects to the men and women who have served in our armed forces with several events, including a parade through the downtown blocks at 11 a.m. that will be followed by a potluck at the Oregon Veterans’ Home.

The focus on this year’s local observance of Veterans Day is the century anniversary of the end of World War I. Families who had someone serve in that war between July 28, 1914, and Nov. 11,1918, have been invited to ride in the parade in a vehicle provided by the area’s four car dealerships.

To commemorate the end of the Great War, Chronicle staff decided to list some of the most interesting facts:

• The first ever global war led to the mobilization of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans. It is the sixth deadliest conflict in world history and was fought on every ocean and almost every continent.

• Described as the “war to end all wars,” an estimated nine million combatants died, along with seven million citizens as a direct result of the battle. The Spanish flu caused about a third of total military deaths.

• U.S. President Woodrow Wilson won election in 1916 with help from the slogan “He kept us out of the war,” but a month after taking office, the U.S. declared war on Germany. The U.S. joined the war during the final year and a half of fighting, launching their first battle on Nov. 2, 1917, in the trenches of Barthelemont, France.

• A brave pigeon named Cher Ami delivered a message in France that saved 500 men during the war – despite being shot through the chest, losing a leg and an eye. She was awarded the Croix de Guerre for bravery. More than 500,000 pigeons carried messages between headquarters and the front lines.

• The Treaty of Versailles, one of the peace accords that ended the war, imposed a war indemnity on Germany equivalent to 96 tons of gold. Germany made its final payment on that debt in 2010.

• During the war, many women joined the work force and worked with the chemical compound TNT. Their skin turned yellow from toxic jaundice as they handled this dangerous chemical and they were known as “canary girls.”

• A shortage of steel during the war resulted in ships being built with concrete. Ten of those vessels are still afloat in a small coastal town of British Columbia.

• The conflict brought a new era of warfare, primary air power that put civilians in the line of fire.

• WWI transformed the U.S. into the largest military power in the world.



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