National World War One Museum

OK, this is a very nice museum.

In Europe, people remember World War One as if it were yesterday. It wiped out an entire generation of young men. But in the US, we barely remember it–probably because we didn’t join in until it was almost over, and militarily we didn’t really do a whole lot in it. But the “Great War” of 1914-1918 set the stage for the entire 20th century–it produced the Nazis, it produced the Bolsheviks, it removed England as a global superpower and allowed the US to take its place. The World War One Museum presents all that history.

Some photos from a visit:

The Museum and its Memorial Tower

Inside the museum

A reconstructed trench. The trench lines ran from the Swiss border all the way to the English Channel, and in most places they barely moved throughout the war.

British 5-inch artillery piece. WW1 was the first major war to use recoil-absorbing field guns. They were deadly.

Russian copy of a German Maxim machine gun. Machine guns dominated the battlefield and mowed down men by the dozens.

German 24.5cm trench mortar. It delivered high-explosive projectiles as well as poison gas.

Gas masks. Both sides used chemical weapons during the war, hoping to break the trench stalemate. Instead, it just bogged everything down and made things more miserable for everyone.

Chauchat, a French light machine gun. When the US entered the war in 1917, it had virtually no army and had to use French equipment. The Chauchat was a piece of crap, but the US used it anyway because it didn’t have anything better.

An exhibit commemorating the French army mutiny, when entire divisions of troops went on strike and refused to carry out any more murderous and futile charges into machine guns and artillery.

Replica Fokker D7. WW1 saw the airplane grow from a rickety canvas contraption to a modern weapon of war.

Average life expectancy for a pilot at the front was about two weeks.

Mark I torpedo, used by the Entente allies. The Germans used submarines in the war to lethal effect.

Another new weapon introduced during the war was the armored tank. This is a Renault light tank used by the French.

Artificial limb. The Great War killed and maimed an entire generation of European men.

 

 

 

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