Sunday, January 29, 2012

World War I National Museum - January 23, 2012

After seeing the movie "War Horse", Sigrid and I decided to finally visit the World War I National Museum in Kansas City. Sigrid's work for US Citizenship involved the study of our history and she enjoyed it very much. The museum was a great way to step back in time to the world of another generation and imagine what life was like and to appreciate the fact that these weren't the "good old days". WW I was the first global war in human history. The technology didn't exist to make it a short or surgically fought war. The invention of the machine gun, airplanes, tanks, flame throwers, and poison gas made it an especially nasty one. All wars are hell, but as you learn about the trench warfare, you come to understand how gruesome the front lines were and how hopeless the soldiers life was during the conflict.

At the entrance to the museum, they have a field of poppies. There are 9,000 of them with each one representing 1,000 lives lost during WW I.

We had to share the museum with several bus loads of students who were also visiting.

I was immediately impressed with the quality of the displays. The museum definitely lives up to the "National" status that it has been given by Congress. Now if they could only provide a little funding, it would be great. The museum survives on admission fees and charitable donations. Only 15% of the items it has are on display. Just about all the staff are volunteers.

You will probably have to click on the photo to enlarge it enough to read the text if you want to refresh your memory on the causes for the war and the alliances that existed before WW I.

One of the many small artillery pieces on display. They have both German and Allied forces items.

An example of a trench. Both sides dug in for protracted and bloody battles between trenches.

German machine guns.

Boards show the location of all the ships that were sank during the war. Another board shows the German aces and the number of kills they are credited with during the war. In the photo, you can see a torpedo like the ones launched from submarines.

With most of the vegetation blasted away, the area in and around the trenches

was a quagmire.

A model of a German submarine made during the war.

The red markers indicate the location of a sunken ship.

A famous poster.

Horses were used to pull the ammunition caisson's, artillery pieces, and other supplies.

Motorized vehicles were also used but struggled more then the horses on the muddy roads and battlefields.

A French tank.

Harley Davidson's saw service during the war.

America tried to stay out of the war. We had so many German, Italian, Austrian and other immigrants, that the idea of fighting the old country was very unpopular. At the same time, we had to support Great Britain and France with supplies. Many of our supply ships were sunk with the lose of American lives. The passenger ship Lusitania was also sunk by German submarines. Eventually, America was forced to declare war on Germany and her allies.

This is an interior photo of one of the two buildings on the upper level of the museum. The two buildings were an original part of the memorial but were never large enough to display much of the museum's collection. The murals on the walls were done by French artists and when assembled, are the largest mural ever painted if I understood the guide correctly. The mural was over 400 feet wide (bigger than a football field) and 40 feet tall ( four stories).

We have friends from Germany visiting us in September. They live just outside of Dusseldorf in Leverkusen. We visited them last year in May. You can see Dusseldorf on the map below. We are learning more about world history as we travel than we ever did in school.....unless of course I just can't remember what I was taught.

A panorama of downtown Kansas City. Too bad the weather wasn't better and there wasn't so much construction going on. It was hard to avoid getting the orange construction fences in the photos. The work should be done by June and it will be worth the current inconvenience.

Kansas City's Union Station is at the center of this photo. You can see the new Performing Arts Center on the left skyline and the Sprint Center near the right edge of the photo.

One of the two original museum buildings at the memorial.

Sigrid taking a break.

More military articles in the upper museum building.

Two Spinxes guard the memorial with eyes covered. One represents the memory of the past and the other doesn't know the future......I think.

Liberty Memorial. I confess to doing a lot of photoshoping to remove the construction fences and sand bags. It should be prettier when we return in September.

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