The Year Before
What did the world (or at least the Western world) look like a year prior to that? A new book 1913: In Search of the World before the Great War gives us a fascinating glimpse of the political, social, and artistic events of the time. There was already a sense of unease, a restlessness, a curiosity about what this new century portended.
In the arts, there are two events that would shake up everything people had come to expect. There was the Armory Show in New York that pointed in the new directions painting would take. The Story of the Armory Show gives us an idea of where this was going.
In the world of music, there were also unsettling events. Suppose you were going out for an evening of ballet in Paris. You had certain expectations. Instead, you had fistfights breaking out in the theater and this:
As things progressed, the situation became more tense. The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 takes us on the next step along the way. But hey, what could go wrong? All of Europe's crowned heads were related. The gold standard made it economically imposable for nations to go to war or at least sustain one. Novelist John Dos Passos gives us a feeling for what this time looked and felt like for those of us living on this side of the Atlantic.
Joe Toschik is a Public Services Librarian at Half Moon Bay who has visited the battlefield at Verdun and been appalled at the moonscape that "conventional" weapons can create.