World War II eclipsed World War I in number of fatalities on all sides and in our recollection of American history. But World War I was no less a terrifying nightmare for Western Europe and the United States. And its conclusion sowed the seeds for the Second World War that followed only a generation later.
To say that the trench warfare of World War I was traumatic for soldiers on all sides is not saying enough. Many veterans returned from the front lines with what became known as shellshock, the thousand-yard stare, or what we now know as Post Traumatic Stress.
The American film auteur King Vidor recreated chilling scenes of trench warfare during the Battle of Belleau Wood (France, June 1–26, 1918) in his 1925 masterpiece The Big Parade. Not only is the movie a great introduction to early film for those who have not discovered the Silent Era, it is considered one of the best films of all time. The film has been restored for DVD and Blu-ray and is available on Amazon.
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