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World War I

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Sat, July 14 2018

The Grave of Quentin Roosevelt

On July 14, 1918, Quentin Roosevelt, son of President Theodore Roosevelt, died outside of Chamery, France, his Nieuport 28 shot down by a German pilot. To American aviators and soldiers, the grave of Quentin Roosevelt became a shrine, his death a touchstone for service and sacrifice, appearing in many World War I era scrapbooks and collections held by the National Air and Space Museum Archives.

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Soldier Views Grave of Quentin Roosevelt, Chamery, France
Mon, June 25 2018

Armistice and Peace: Victory Letters from WWI

Letters home from the front reveal the personal side of wars.  On Armistice Day, November 11, 1918, marking the end of World War I, many American soliders serving abroad were instructed to write victory letters to their fathers. As we move towards the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, a pair of victory letters from France and Connecticut illustrate a different understanding between home and the front, armistice and peace. 

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Portrait of Harold F. Pierce, September 1918
Thu, March 29 2018

Pioneering Women in Cryptology

A guest post from the National Cryptologic Museum shares the story of two pioneering women cryptologists.

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Cryptologists Genevieve Grotjan and Agnes Driscoll
Mon, November 6 2017

Exploring Duty and Social Class in World War I

La Grande Illusion is widely regarded as a masterpiece of French cinema and is often cited as one of the greatest films ever made. The story explores class relationships among a small group of French soldiers who are prisoners of war during World War I (WWI) and are plotting to escape. 

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The Grand Illusion Promotional Material
Mon, October 16 2017

Bringing WWI Air Battles to the Big Screen

The Blue Max (based on the 1964 critically acclaimed novel of the same title by Jack D. Hunter) brings a new complexity to the flying ace protagonist.

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Bringing WWI Air Battles to the Big Screen
Mon, September 11 2017

Sharing the Story of the World War I Gallipoli Campaign 

Gallipoli sets a classic tale of innocence lost in war during the World War I (WWI) Gallipoli Campaign against the Ottoman Empire (modern-day Turkey). One of the few Hollywood movies to illustrate that WWI took place not only on the Western Front in France, Gallipoli tells the story of this major campaign through the experience of several Australian young men who travel halfway around the globe to fight for their country.

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Sharing the Story of the World War I Gallipoli Campaign 

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Beyond the Western Front: A Film About WWI's Gallipoli Campaign
Thu, September 7 2017

Documenting America’s First Naval Aviation Reserve Unit

“The Millionaires’ Unit” was a moniker given by the New York press to group of wealthy Yale students who formed a private air militia in 1916 to learn to fly in preparation for the United States entering World War I. Author and historian Marc Wortman wrote a book about them in 2006, and a college friend of mine, Ron King, saw his grandfather’s face on the book’s cover. The archival material seemed rich, and we decided to make a documentary.

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Documenting America’s First Naval Aviation Reserve Unit
Wed, August 16 2017

World War I Through the Eyes of Paul Stockton

While the National Air and Space Museum Archives collections feature many WWI materials, the Paul R. Stockton Scrapbook is available to view online in its entirety in slideshow mode.  Stockton documented his experiences from training at Mineola, New York, and the Third Aviation Instruction Center, Issoudun, France, to life at the front in France, to the post-war occupation of Germany.

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Paul R. Stockton FAI Pilot's License
Wed, July 12 2017

Paths of Glory: An Early Kubrick Film

A Cold War era treatment of an earlier conflict, Paths of Glory engages injustice within the ranks during World War I through the efforts of a regimental commander in the French army, played by Kirk Douglas, to stem callous treatment of line troops by the French high command. Built upon class divisions, the film depicts an entrenched establishment that cannot be challenged no matter how irrational or heartless the orders from above.

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Paths of Glory: An Early Kubrick Film

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Paths of Glory
Thu, June 15 2017

The Eagle and the Hawk

Although less well known than Wings, The Dawn Patrol, and Hell’s Angels, The Eagle and the Hawk was one of the best World War I dramas of the 1930s.  Based on an original story by John Monk Saunders, who also wrote the original story for Wings, The Eagle and the Hawk focuses on the psychological aspects of wartime aerial combat.  It explores the cumulative effects on pilots and crews who fought in the skies during World War I, rather than on the romanticized heroic exploits of fighter pilots.

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The Eagle and the Hawk

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