Thursday, April 6, 2017 – Over There! The Yanks Are Coming. 100 Years Ago Today
Over there, over there, Send the word, send the word over there – That the Yanks are coming, The Yanks are coming, The drums rum-tumming Ev’rywhere. So prepare, say a pray’r, Send the word, send the word to beware. We’ll be over, we’re coming over, And we won’t come back till it’s over Over there.
Today marks the 100th anniversary of the United States entry into World War I. Who wrote the most famous United States propaganda song upon the entry into the war in Europe?
At the time, 1917, the fighting was called The Great War. Sometimes it was called The War to End all Wars. Obviously the ending of end of all wars name did not work out.
By the time the United States entered the war, Europe had endured three years of trench war fare. This combination of antiquated Napoleonic military tactics (long parallel lines with soldiers now in trenches) was met with the new mechanized war fare of the machine gun, airplanes, poisonous gas and bombs. The combination left hundreds of thousands on both sides dead in places named The Somme. Verdun, Ypres and all across Europe.
It was the war that destroyed the monarchies of Europe. Governments did away with the kings or reduced the powers of them. It was the war that left the French country side littered with trench cities filled with decaying remains of men and animals.
It was the war that made the United States a global power. It was the war that created waves of nationalism and all of the other “isms” (imperialism, socialism, communism, isolationism, and ethnocentrism) that would eventually take the world to September 1, 1939. “Good job, well-done Neville Chamberlain for bringing us “Peace in our time.” On that date in history, The Great War was renamed World War I as nations aligned to fight World War II.
Upon the eve of Britain’s entry in to WWI on August 3, 1914, the British Foreign Secretary Edward Grey is quoted to have said, “The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our life-time.”
How prophetic. I wonder if it is still true today and includes my life-time.
George M. Cohen wrote Over There.