Making the World Safe for Democracy
Nov. 11, 2018 commemorated 100 years since the end of World War I. Generally referred to as the first “total war,” WWI blurred the boundaries between front and home front, forever changing the face of modern warfare. By its end, the “Great War” was one of the deadliest armed conflicts in history, with the toll of civilian and military casualties reaching 40 million. In its aftermath, the rise of social and political movements in many countries supported suffrage and political activism by minority groups, but also caused a radicalization of nationalist movements. This led to totalitarian regimes in several countries, as well as changes in political configurations on the world stage. Today, representations, reactions and responses to WWI are found in art, film, literature and theatre throughout the 20th century and all over the world.
University of Toledo brought scholars from various disciplines and institutions to discuss and critically examine cultural representations and memories of WWI.
Dale Snauwaert, Professor of Educational Theory and Peace Studies, College of Education, spoke on “Crossing the Line.”
On April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson appealed to Congress for a Declaration of War against Germany in order that the world “be made safe for democracy.” Subsequently, Congress voted to declare war. The paper explored the idea of the protection of democracy as a justification for the use of military force. It argued that military force did not protect democracy in the case of WWI, that WWI was fought over empire and not democracy; and that European democracy is the result of political and economic integration, paralleling Immanual Kant’s idea of a democratic republican peace.
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