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  1. Voices of the First World War: Tanks On The Somme | Imperial War Museums
  2. John Ehrlichman
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That was my reason for being in that hell in the first place. In return, you express with pride the nobility of what we do. I fight for my brothers and sisters, but I represent you — your hopes, your dreams, your Love. When you join the warrior caste, you change. In basic training, the stress from the novelty, separation, indoctrination, and assimilation changes you. When you deploy and head off to war, you change even more. The frequency, duration, and intensity of stress impacts how you view and interpret the world around you.

You come face to face with the darkest parts of the human condition — and yourself.

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For me, I saw my own vulnerabilities. As I struggled to understand and gain control over what I was dealing with, my instinct was to shield — not share — what I was going through. The guilt, regret, and shame was a part of me, but a part I wanted to keep from my wife and kids.

My wife and kids were so proud of me, but underneath the veneer, I was struggling to reconcile these emotions inside me. You see me as a hero. To you, I would be less than what I was and undeserving of your love. The experiences, emotions, and memories made it hard for me to identify with the man I once was. I loved them too much.

Voices of the First World War: Tanks On The Somme | Imperial War Museums

When I struggle to control the negative, painful memories and emotions inside me, I become emotionally disconnected from you. You see me, but become increasingly frustrated because I am not there. I become hyper-vigilant to protect the most sacred part of my life. I worry. I numb the pain with alcohol and other, reckless behaviors.

John Ehrlichman

They had also been lied to repeatedly by their political leaders, and they weren't interested in going through that again. As far as Americans were concerned, the greed and hypocrisy of World War I belligerents discredited the idea of doing good by going to war, which is why Americans wanted nothing to do with another foreign war.

It was because pro-war people lost their credibility during World War I that nobody responded when alarms were sounded about Hitler during the s. If popular sentiment now generally opposes starting or entering foreign wars, the people who deserve considerable credit are those "internationalists" who promote participation in wars that go wrong. Often there are terrible unintended consequences, because wars are the most costly, volatile, unpredictable, and destructive human events. President Woodrow Wilson was substantially responsible for unintended consequences of the war that played out in Germany and Russia, contributing to the rise of totalitarian regimes and another world war.

American "isolationism" — armed neutrality would be a more accurate term — developed as a sensible reaction to his policies. After Germany's initial advances into the Low Countries and France, the adversaries in World War I dug trenches and seldom advanced or retreated much from those lines. German soldiers were generally outnumbered on the Western Front, but the Germans had smarter generals and more guns.

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The British navy enforced an effective blockade that made it difficult for the Germans to obtain many vital supplies, including food. Germany responded by building a submarine fleet, but it didn't give them a way to invade Britain or the United States. By , the war had been stalemated for more than three years, neither side able to force vindictive terms on the other. One of the last German offensives ground to a halt in the French countryside when German commanders couldn't prevent their starving soldiers, amazed by the abundance of food, from gorging themselves on cheeses, sausages, and wine.

If the U.

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Both sides would have complained. But a catastrophe would have been less likely after a negotiated settlement than after vindictive terms were forced on the losers. Apparently Wilson wanted to demonstrate the global influence of the U.


He had offered his services as a mediator, but his prospective allies, the French and British, weren't interested. As historian Barbara Tuchman reported, "It was not mediation they wanted from America but her great, untapped strength. French and British generals squandered the youth of their countries by ordering them to charge into German machine-gun fire, and they wanted to command American soldiers the same way. Those generals repeatedly demanded that Americans reinforce their depleted ranks and fight under French and British flags.

America's first great struggle in the war was with the French and British, who feared that if American soldiers went into battle as an independent force under American command, they — not the French and British — would get the credit for success. On April 2, , when Wilson went before Congress to seek a declaration of war, he wasn't trying to protect the United States from an attack or imminent attack, although there had been provocations. His stated aim was to destroy German autocracy.

He urged "the crushing of the Central Powers. The U.

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  5. By entering the war on the side of the French and British, Wilson put them in a position to break the stalemate, win a decisive victory, and — most important — force vindictive surrender terms on the losers. First, since he represented the largest and richest belligerent, he assumed he would be able to control what his allies did, but he couldn't, and they hijacked the postwar negotiations.

    French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau was determined to avenge Germany's humiliating defeat of France in — a war that France had started. Clemenceau wasn't to be denied, since most of the fighting during World War I took place on French soil and the French suffered some 6 million casualties. Too many veterans who struggle and get to this point choose suicide as a way out. They want you to remember them as they were and not hate them for who they have become.

    They feel alone. They feel lost and frustrated with themselves. They want to release you from the burden they have become. They do it for Love. The story of the military journey does not have to end this way. Unfortunately, too many of them do. In fact, I believe I am a better person now with a stronger relationship with those who I love.

    I discovered a better path, and you can too. We are here. Connect with us today 1. Stop Soldier Suicide is a non-profit organization committed to ending the problem of military related suicide, and we rely entirely on the generosity of individuals to fund our operations and advocacy efforts to improve the military to civilian transition process. If you would like to offer a donation, please click here. All donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law. Stop Soldier Suicide provides support and resources to all past and present military and their families. We do not provide direct clinical services or therapy, nor are we a crisis center. Love Seems counter intuitive, right? Get Help. Read More.