The Great War
Premiering Monday, April 10th at 9p on WVIA-TV
April 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of America’s entry into World War I. To commemorate the occasion American Experience presents “The Great War,” a three-part series that explores how the war changed the United States and the world forever. Featuring the voices of Campbell Scott, Blythe Danner, Courtney B. Vance, Oliver Platt and others, “The Great War” premieres Monday-Wednesday, April 10-12, 9:00 pm on WVIA-TV.
American Experience The Great War trailer The Great War tells the rich and complex story of World War I.
“World War I was the soil from which so many things today grew, starting with America’s place in the world,” said American Experience Executive Producer Mark Samels. “Before the war, America was isolated and uninvolved. After the war, America stepped onto the world stage, which continues today with our troops involved in conflicts around the world. ‘The Great War’ is not only about what happened 100 years ago, but how what happened then transformed our nation and the world in ways still being felt today.”
With fresh perspectives on this major world event, “The Great War” uses unpublished diaries, memoirs and letters to bring to life — in their own words — the stories of nurses, journalists, aviators and U.S. troops known as “doughboys.” The series also includes the personal experiences of African-American and Latino soldiers, suffragists, Native-American “code talkers” and others whose participation in the war has been largely forgotten.
American Experience The Great War: Transformed How WW1 to “make the world safe for democracy”—altered America’s place in the world.
Reluctant to enter the conflict, President Woodrow Wilson steered the nation through almost three years of neutrality until circumstances compelled him to lead the country into the bloodiest war the world had ever seen. Desperate to ramp up support quickly, he chose a brilliant PR man to orchestrate a hugely successful propaganda campaign that enlisted Hollywood stars to convince citizens of their patriotic duty. But ardent nationalism and support for America’s crusade for liberty across the ocean led to an oppressive crackdowns on civil liberties at home.
“The Great War” includes stories of heroes that we know — General John J. Pershing, flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker, Sergeant Alvin York — and those less familiar, like Mary Borden, an heiress from Chicago who served as a nurse behind the front lines; James Reese Europe, a distinguished musician who volunteered to lead the Harlem Hellfighters regimental band; young Harvard graduate Alan Seeger, who joined the Foreign Legion to support France in her hour of need; and José de la Luz Sáenz, who eagerly left his tiny home town near the Rio Grande to join the fight almost 5,000 miles across the ocean.
American Experience The Great War: Culture Change How WWI transformed America through those whose participation has largely been forgotten.
Ultimately, World War I profoundly changed the nation. African Americans who fought in the war returned home and, despite reprisals, continued to push for change. Women’s suffrage gained converts, including President Wilson. The idea that the U.S. would enter a war thousands of miles away to fight for the principles of freedom and liberty was transformative. And America stepped onto the world stage for the first time, playing a new role as a global superpower that continues today.