Free photography exhibition
7 - 23 April 2017
Then transfering to the Grosvenor Square until 12 May.
Fields of Battle, Lands of Peace - The Doughboys 1917-1918 is sponsored by the U.S. National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City and after the grand opening at the City of London Guildhall on 6 April it will be transferring to Grosvenor Square, in front of the U.S. embassy before commencing on a U.K. wide tour which will take it to Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Liverpool & Newcastle over the rest of the year.
The exhibition is created in the same format as previous Fields of Battle, Lands of Peace exhibitions with photographs of the First World War battlefields as they are today supplemented with archive pictures and explanatory text, all presented as a free-to-view outdoor exhibition to enable ease of access to the general public.
This exhibition, launched on the centenary of the day when the U.S. formally declared war, is intended to present the American role in the war. Here in Britain we tend to be quite dismissive about the American contribution and denigrate them for their perceived late entry into the war. This exhibition seeks to present a rather different case in that, in the early years of the war, the U.S. was actually a very new country whose immigrant population, of whom almost 10% were German, were not really very taken with the prospect of going back to fight in countries which they had just left for a new life.
In April 1917 the American Army consisted of just 120,000 men without heavy artillery or aircraft and the subsequent mobilisation saw an American army of 1.2 million men fighting in the Meuse-Argonne offensive just 17 months later in what is still the largest ever land battle involving American armed forces. To put that in perspective it is worth considering that it took the British Army almost two years to produce a much smaller force capable of mounting the Somme offensive and even then Haig argued that he had noted sufficient time to prepare his men.
So credit to the Americans: for many of the men it was not “their” war and one division had 42 different languages to content with in it’s ranks and they not only raised an army of over 2 million men but they shipped them across the Atlantic so perhaps we should reconsider their performance.
Details on the City of London website.