American Experience (1988– )
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The Great War: Part 1 

Explore America's tortured, nearly three-year journey to war. In August 1914, a war unprecedented in size and violence broke out on the European continent. Ever the idealistic diplomat, ... See full summary »

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Episode credited cast:
Jennifer Lee Andrews ...
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Josh Hamilton ...
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Himself - Narrator (voice)
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Explore America's tortured, nearly three-year journey to war. In August 1914, a war unprecedented in size and violence broke out on the European continent. Ever the idealistic diplomat, Wilson vowed to keep his country out of "the Great War." His neutrality was supported but reports from Europe began to challenge America's delicate position. From behind the battle lines came reports detailing German atrocities in Belgium and France: history's first chemical attack and the sinking of the British liner Lusitania, killing 128 Americans. But Wilson stood firm, asserting that America would not fight - this was not her war. Despite Wilson's pleas, American men and women, volunteered in the hospitals and on the fighting fields of France, and by 1916, there was a growing sense that the war was coming closer to home. On April 2, Wilson asked a joint session of Congress for a declaration of war against Germany, proclaiming that "the world must be made safe for democracy."

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10 April 2017 (USA)  »

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Soundtracks

I Didn't Raise My Boy To Be A Soldier
And
"I Think We've Got Another (And Wilson Is His Name) Washington"
Performed by The Peerless Quartet
Courtesy of Columbia Records
By Arrangement With Sony Music Licensing
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A Series of Events Leading to The War to End All Wars
22 May 2017 | by See all my reviews

This is relatively new ground. Documentaries devoted to World War II are so prevalent, making this foray into the early war very original. Obviously, since the amount of footage describing the events of this horrible time, it was much harder to put forth a reliable presentation. But they did. This first piece tells how things are faring in Europe as the German war machine drives its way west. President Woodrow Wilson, who doesn't come off very well, is determined to keep the U.S. out of this. But when he finally succumbs to the pressures, he is all in. We are made privy to the beginnings of the training of our forces, virtually unprepared for such a huge military engagement. Also, we see how those who speak up against the war are seen as treasonous.


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