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"World War I has occupied an uneasy place in the American public and political consciousness.1 In the 1920s and 1930s, controversies over the war permeated the nation’s cultural and political life, influencing memorial culture and governmental policy. Interest in the war, however, waned considerably after World War II, a much larger and longer war for the United States. Despite a plethora of scholarly works examining nearly every aspect of the war, interest in the war remains limited even among academic historians. In many respects, World War I became the 'forgotten war' because Americans never developed a unifying collective memory about its meaning or the political lessons it offered. Americans remembered the Civil War as the war that ended slavery and saved the union, World War II as 'the good war' that eliminated fascist threats in Europe and the Pacific, the Cold War as a struggle for survival against a communist foe, and Vietnam as an unpopular war. By comparison, World War I failed to find a stable place in the national narrative."



Publication Date



Berghahn Books


New York, NY


Cultural History | European History | Military History | Oral History | Other History | Political History | Public History | Social History | United States History


In Christoph Cornelissen and Arndt Weinrich (Eds.), Writing the Great War: The Historiography of World War I from 1918 to the Present.


Christoph Cornelissen and Arndt Weinrich

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Finding a Place for World War I in American History 1914-1918