News Release

Trump Going to France; 100 Years After World War I: Who to Celebrate?


This weekend, Trump is scheduled to travel to France to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of fighting in World War I; see calendar.

ADAM HOCHSCHILD, adamhochschild at
Hochschild is a lecturer at the Graduate School of Journalism at University California at Berkeley and the author of nine books, including To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918, which won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He has also written about the First World War in this week’s New Yorker, the Guardian, and elsewhere. He is available for interviews.

He said today: “November 11 is the 100th anniversary of the Armistice that ended the First World War. The most destructive conflict the world had yet seen, it killed more than 9 million soldiers, wounded another 21 million, left millions of civilians dead as well, and left a toxic legacy of bitterness that led to an even greater war. It is impossible to imagine the Second World War happening without the First.

“This war, like most, didn’t have to happen. On its eve, the major countries of Europe were getting along quite peacefully. On both sides, however, leaders were full of illusions that going to war would solve problems for them — and that the battles would be over in a matter of weeks. Instead, the war created vast and unimagined suffering and lasted more than four years. These are lessons worth remembering today, as the U.S. makes threats against China and Iran and prepares to pull out of an arms control treaty with Russia.

“On this anniversary, we need to celebrate not the politicians and generals who led the world into the carnage of 1914-1918, but the brave, outspoken people of that time who had the wisdom to know that the war was a catastrophe and should be stopped. They included Americans like pioneer social worker Jane Addams and labor leader Eugene V. Debs — who was sent to prison for speaking out. They had counterparts in all the warring countries, and these are the men and women we should be honoring on this centennial.”