November 14, 2007

National WWI Museum

Charlie was reminded over Veterans' Day weekend of the relatively new National WWI Museum in downtown Kansas City. Now, it's unlikely this blog has many KC based readers, but there may be more than a few posted at Forts Leavenworth and Riley (you have my deepest sympathy).

Compared to World War Two, the Great War is nearly completely ignored in the States. And given our relatively small and short participation, perhaps this is not surprising. But Charlie has always found the First World War to be the more interesting of the two: it is a never ending intellectual puzzle as to why it started, why it lasted so long, why it ended when it did, and why it was so miserably bloody. WWII has fairly clear answers on this front. Charlie still isn't sure exactly why it wasn't just the Third Balkans War or the specifics of German surrender without any foreign troops on their soil (and not from a lack of reading).

The WWI Museum doesn't answer all these questions, but the historiography is dealt with in a way that military history buffs and neophytes can both enjoy. Those who have been to the Imperial War Museum in London will find the panoramas and hardware displays v. familiar. And they don't just focus on US involvement: there is an extended section on each of the main players on the Western Front. And active duty military gets in free!

So if you have a chance, get lunch at Pierpont's, shop, go to the museum, make a day of it! (And you can stop by this place on the way home.)