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Garrett Peck -- The Great War in America: World War and Its Aftermath

Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum
Independence, MO

Wednesday, December 5, 2018 - 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.


He will discuss his latest book, The Great War in America: World War I and Its Aftermath, which examines the American experience during War War I and the unexpected changes that rocked the country in its immediate aftermath - the Red Scare, race riots, women’s suffrages and Prohibition, particularly timely on the centennial of the Armistice.

Though overshadowed by the tens of millions of deaths and catastrophic destruction of World War II, the Great War was the most important war of the twentieth century. It was the first continent-wide conflagration in a century, and it drew much of the world into its fire. By the end of it, four empires and their royal houses had fallen, communism was unleashed, the map of the Middle East was redrawn, and the United States emerged as a global power – only to withdraw from the world’s stage. President Woodrow Wilson’s dream of the League of Nations and a world at peace was shattered on partisan squabbles. President Harry Truman learned the lessons from Wilsonian diplomacy and built the post-WWII institutions that helped the U.S. win the Cold War and embraced America’s role as a global superpower, a role we were not ready to play in 1919.

Come early for a cocktail demonstration and sampling of the French 75, a WWI-era cocktail named after the deadly artillery piece. Captain Truman led a battery of these guns in France, and he was the only future president to fight during the Great War. As he wrote his fiancée Bess, his battery of Kansas City men were already making bootlegging plans for Prohibition. The “Thirteen Awful Years,” as literary critic H. L. Mencken described it, ended on December 5, 1933 with the ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment, and we will raise a glass to our right to drink on this anniversary of Repeal Day.

Copies of The Great War in America will be available for purchase and signing. Admission is free but registration is requested.

All events listed in the calendar are free unless noted.