World War I remains a “Forgotten War” in comparison with other major U.S. conflicts, but on its centennial anniversary, the Elisha D. Smith Public Library in Menasha hopes to change that by chronicling the history and significance of the Great War through five thought-provoking presentations and a memorable exhibit.
The event will partially depict local efforts during the war, including those of Menasha’s Company E of Wisconsin’s National Guard fourth infantry division, and focus will also be placed on comparing WWI’s efforts at home and abroad with other wars. Spectators will leave considering and evaluating how history remembers these events having broadened their understanding of WWI through a local perspective.
“History, in many ways, is about how groups of people and individuals experience a particular event at the local and personal level. By studying how people in the Fox Cities experienced World War I, we gain a much fuller and more nuanced understanding of its impact,” says Steven Sheehan, event speaker and professor at UW-Fox Valley.
Various history experts will present during five separate days. On November 5, historian Tom Sutter will discuss how WWI is remembered today. Then Sheehan will recount on November 9 how the war began and why the U.S. got involved, followed on November 11 by the Menasha Historical Society’s own Rhys Kuzdas, speaking on Company E’s local influence on the war. On November 16, UW-Sheboygan history professor Mark Karau will analyze the development of the war, showing the factors that influenced its progression and end. Finally, UW-Fox English professor Scott Emmert will demonstrate how WWI is depicted in literature, art and film November 20.
All the events are free and open to the public. For those excited to learn more about the Forgotten War, there will be exhibits on the art wall and in display cases in the foyer and Circulation room November 1 through 30. More information can be found at www.menashalibrary.org or by calling the reference desk at 967-3690.