Instructor: Laurie Button
3 Part Tuesday evening Series, 4-5:30pm
September 19, 26, and October 3
Location: Estes Park Middle School History Room
Registration Deadline: September 17
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Class 1) The first session will cover the factors leading up to WWI: border conflicts; rising nationalism; industrialization; German imperialism; the confusing set of treaties pitting countries against each other; and much more. We will also talk about the first years of the war (1914 through the end of 1916), trench warfare, tunneling, the immense cost in human and animal lives, and the devastation of European landscapes.
Class 2) Button will present issues that contributed to the political climate in the United States before it entered the war in 1917. Among them were the desire to maintain the country’s isolationist status, racial discrimination and women’s rights, and battles with Pancho Villa in Mexico. The group will also learn about the factors forcing the United States to declare war and General Pershing's military tactics. Button has a special interest in and done extensive research regarding The Hello Girls and the American volunteer organizations that assisted before and during the conflict, including the American Red Cross and the YMCA.
Class 3) Button will share what transpired in the aftermath of the war: The Treaty of Versailles; Wilson’s failed attempt at garnering US support for the League of Nations; repatriation of American soldiers; Gold Star Mothers; and how all the foundation for World War II was formed in these post-war years.
Laurie Button has a passion for The Great War and brings this class to the community on the 100 year anniversary of the war, and the 99 year anniversary of the The Armistice (signed November 11, 1918).
Button has done extensive traveling and research to prepare for this three part series, which spans the international environment leading up to the war, the conflict itself, and how seeds were sewn for WWII. Button is writing a historical fiction novel about WWI; she has a special interest in the critical role played by the “Hello Girls” (recruited by General Pershing) who operated switchboards in France during WWI.