THE GREAT CRUSADE AND AFTER
WORLD WAR I DIVIDES TWO EPOCHS. Before 1914 a century had unrolled whose prevailing peace had been only seldom interrupted. Its wars, though some were significant, were brief and limited in the area involved. It was the last great age of empirebuilding by European nations, and the time of Europe's pre-eminence in the world. The glories of England's Victorian and Edwardian Ages were matched in different ways by the Germans and the French on the Continent. In 1914 an age of violence and revolution opened. The 1914-1918 War, to use a British name, with its long stalemate of the trenches, destroyed the flower of the young manhood of the great nations that had contributed so much to the building of Western civilization. After the guns had been silenced, Europeans moved swiftly to new and even greater disasters.
For Americans what was long called the Great War marked a major turning point in their history. The century of immunity from involvement in the combats on the eastern continent had ended. The old sense of security against which Americans for a hundred years had developed their institutions and their democratic philosophy had been shaken, to disappear completely with the fall of France in 1940 and Pearl Harbor in 1941. Perhaps most important of all, the events that led up to the first war had called into question that philosophy of freedom and of a fundamental law that for earlier generations had reinforced the belief in progress and the hope of a better future. World War I presented the American democratic faith with its first great challenge.
The American press on Sunday, August 2, 1914, announced that the Giants were holding a precarious lead over their Chicago rivals in the National League and that the Athletics were, for the time