Armistice Day

Nov 11, 2018 by

All was quiet on the Western Front on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1919. At that time, an armistice between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect. One year later, the first “Armistice Day” was celebrated in the United States. It became a national holiday in 1938 and was changed to Veterans Day in 1954.

One hundred years ago, the struggle for the battered village of Passchendaele — officially called the Third Battle of Ypres — was drawing to a close. The town’s remnants would be reclaimed by British and Canadian forces on November 6, but the fighting would continue.

Edwin Vaughan — an officer of the 1st/8th Warwickshire Regiment of the British Expeditionary Force — wrote about the carnage of the First World War in his journal:

“Up the road we staggered, shells bursting around us. A man stopped dead in front of me, and exasperated I cursed him and butted him with my knee. Very gently he said, “I’m blind, Sir” and turned to show me his eyes and nose torn away by a piece of shell. “Oh God! I’m sorry, sonny,” I said. “Keep going on the hard part,” and left him staggering back in his darkness . . . A tank had churned its way slowly behind Springfield and opened fire; a moment later I looked and nothing remained of it but a crumpled heap of iron; it had been hit by a large shell. . . .

From other shell holes from the darkness on all sides came the groans and wails of wounded men; faint, long, sobbing moans of agony, and despairing shrieks. It was too horribly obvious that dozens of men with serious wounds must have crawled for safety into new shell holes, and now the water was rising about them and, powerless to move, they were slowly drowning. Horrible visions came to me with those cries, (of men) lying maimed out there trusting that their pals would find them, and now dying terribly, alone amongst the dead in the inky darkness. And we could do nothing to help them; Dunham was crying quietly beside me, and all the men were affected by the piteous cries.”

On August 25, when he awoke to take muster, Vaughan’s worst fears were realized: “Out of our happy little band of 90 men, only 15 remained.”

Such were the horrors of Passchendaele and the “War to End All Wars.” In 1914 as war was declared, there were street celebrations across Europe. No one envisaged the stalemate of the trenchs nor the appalling casualties of four years of fighting. About 8.5 million soldiers on both sides of the conflict died of wounds and disease. According to the ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA“It has been estimated that the number of civilian deaths attributable to the war was higher than the military casualties, or around 13,000,000. These civilian deaths were largely caused by starvation, exposure, disease, military encounters, and massacres.”

PulpFest 2018 honored the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War by focusing on the so-called “war pulps” of the early twentieth century, as well as the depiction of war in popular culture. Beginning on Thursday evening, August 15, and running through Sunday, August 18, PulpFest 2019 will celebrate the “Children of the Pulps and Other Stories,” an examination of the pervasive influence of pulps on contemporary pop culture. We hope you’ll join PulpFest at the beautiful DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry.

You can book your room directly through our website. Book early and don’t miss the chance to stay at the beautiful DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry. Just click the link that reads “Book a Room” below the PulpFest banner. You’ll be redirected to a secure site where you can place your reservation.

(Designed by PulpFest’s artistic director, William Lampkin, our PulpFest 2018 post card featured the work of artist Gertrude C. Orde. Her painting was originally used as the cover for the January 1932 number of Fawcett Publications’ BATTLE STORIES. It was based on the poster art for the classic World War I film, ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT.)

 

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