America Over There! A 10-Film Introduction to World War I

Check out the previous installments in James Jay Carafano’s ongoing series exploring war films: The 10 Best Movies to Watch to Understand the Cold War10 War Movies Guaranteed to Make You CryAmerica’s First Wars in 10 Movies10 Movies For Understanding the Civil War, A 10 Film Introduction to America’s Turn of the Century ‘Small Wars’.

They called it the Great War, but not the good war. “The world must be made safe for democracy," declared President Woodrow Wilson.

Others were not so sure. Many Americans were none too excited about Wilson’s war, Wilson’s peace or the anti-saboteur measures implemented at home that also swept up political dissidents, union activists and other innocents.

Over the years, American films have reflected a variety of views about World War I and its aftermath. After all, movies tell us more about the people who made them and their audience than the war they featured. Here are 10 examples of schizophrenic Hollywood in action.

The-Lost-Battalion-1919-cover

10. The Lost Battalion (1919)

Wilson told Americans they were fighting the “war to end all wars.” America’s first filmmakers wanted to show America’s first movie audiences America’s doughboys in action. This silent film includes some of the real soldiers, including Medal of Honor recipient Lieutenant Colonel Charles W. Whittlesey, reenacting the true-story of a U.S. battalion, cut off and surrounded, that holds out for six days until relieved. Six hundred men went into the battle. Fewer than 200 marched out.