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The Centenary of the Battle of the Somme

Americans (myself included) have tended not to be attentive to the Great War. Our attention is focused instead on World War II, and we think of the Great War as "World War I" - and regard the "First" merely as wind-up to the "Second." It took me a long time to understand intellectually that the 20th century (and the 21st as well, to judge by current events in the Middle East) takes place in the shadow of the towering mountain range of the First World War. In historical terms, the First World War stands above even the Second in its influence upon the world.

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