One hundred years ago, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the guns stopped firing and the ‘War to end all Wars’ was over. More than 16 million people had died; almost 7 million were civilians.
In his 1918 book “The Fourth Year”, the writer HG Wells used the phrase “The War to end War” (or ‘the War to end all Wars’). Woodrow Wilson, US President 1913 to 1921, linked these words with the phrase, "make the world safe for democracy", to support his conviction that US entry into WW1 was necessary to preserve human freedom. But, even during WW1 there were skeptics who said WW1 was not going to be the ‘War to end War, and at the subsequent Paris Peace Conference, cynics called it the ‘Peace to end Peace’.
And just as people were starting to hope for a better future, ‘Spanish’ flu was identified at Fort Riley, Kansas in March 1918. The number of people who died worldwide is now estimated at 50-100 million, the majority being healthy young adults. People survived WW1 just to succumb to the flu that thrived on malnourishment, overcrowded medical facilities and poor hygiene.
But there was hope and 1918 also saw two significant events. Both Great Britain (in February) and American (in May) took the first steps to grant women the vote in recognition of the tremendous contribution they made between 1914 and 1918. And in April, the RAF was created, which was to play such a prominent role in our lives and contributed significantly to the Allies winning the second World War.
The cadets at 5BFTS needed to hope that they were helping to give the world a future and 75 years ago, the Embry-Riddle Christmas present of the year (Flypaper, December 24, 1943) was “War Bonds – the Present With A Future!” Neither the ‘War to end all Wars’ nor WW2 ended war, but thank goodness, we do have a future, and every year, hearing the Christmas Story and then having New Year celebrations reminds us of this.
And so, to everyone, I send Season’s Greetings using the words of Gerry Beardsmore, 5BFTS Chairman from 1998 to 2005:
“From me and mine to you and yours
Best Wishes for a Merry Christmas and
Health and Happiness and Peace in the New Year”
Scholarly Commons Citation
Harding, J. A. (2018). 5 BFTS Association Newsletter No 12 - Christmas. , (). Retrieved from https://commons.erau.edu/bfts-clewiston-newsletters/18