Those pesky World Wars—they just won’t go away: continued

U-576 and its crew

One of several recently released NOAA wartime photographs of U-576 and its crew that had been gathered by U-boat historian, Ed Caram, who died last year. Courtesy of NOAA.

The World War I veterans are gone now, but the lingering effects and presence of that war are still remembered and felt today. The observance of the hundredth anniversary of the event that sparked the war—the assassination of the Austrian heir to the throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, on June 28th—took place this summer. As much as that older war is imbued in our history and culture, World War II looms larger not just because it was larger, but because it is still recent enough to be felt by the families of men who fought in it. As enormous as the monetary cost of both wars was, the cost in lives—up to 16 million for WW I, and up to 80 million for WW II—was even more staggering.

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Those pesky World Wars—they just won’t go away

Minutes before the attack in Sarajevo that initiated WWI.

Minutes before the attack in Sarajevo that initiated WWI.

In one sense we want to forget the world wars, and in another, we want to remember. Whether it’s books, TV, radio, movies, politics, museums, games, school, road signs, national holidays, or the news, the reminders are everywhere and unending. They are on my mind for two reasons. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I. Also, I am close to completing a biographical narrative and anecdotal history of the period. Continue reading