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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Carleton kicks off “Winter of the World: Remembering the Great War” series to honor Armistice of World War One

<rld War I was truly a defining moment in the 20th century,” Professor Roger Paas said. For many living in the 21st century, World War I is an event that exists solely in the pages of history textbooks. Yet starting this week, the significance of WWI will come alive on the Carleton campus with a series of events and exhibitions entitled, “The Winter of the World: Remembering the Great War.“

From October 9th to November 11th, there will be a multitude of opportunities for members of the Carleton community and the general public to explore the importance of this historic war and commemorate the 90th anniversary of the armistice.

The event is the brainchild of Professor Paas, Professor of German and the Liberal Arts, as well as the Chair of German and Russian Deparments. Through a series of personal experiences, from joining the military to visiting battlefields such as Verdun, he developed an acute curiosity and awareness about The Great War. His travels have taken him to Ypres, a Belgian town that was on the Western Front, “It was a very moving experience to visit several military cemeteries,” Paas said, and he further realized that a large majority of those men who had sacrificed their lives were the same age as current college students.

He maintained his interest in The Great War and was able to couple it with his affinity for political graphics. Stumbling upon sheet music from the war at an antique market, Paas was captivated by the lyrics and cover designs. “I was fascinated,” he said, “and from that point on I have kept an eye out for new material. It is actually not too difficult to find, for thousands of different songs were published, sometimes in various editions.”

The sheet music and audio files collection is just one type amongst the plethora of original materials that will be on exhibit in Gould Library. Already on display in glass cases are postcards, books, pamphlets, and a variety of artifacts, all of which provide a very telling description of the public’s wartime mentality. The official exhibit opening will be on Wednesday, October 15th. Photographs of the material on display are provided online.

Other academic departments are involved in this commemoration event as well. For instance, throughout the course of the month, there will be lectures on Thursdays, at 4:30 in room 104 of the Language and Dining Center. The topics include, but are not limited to, a history lecture, entitled “A Harrowing Sight,” to be given by Professor Baird Jarman from the Art & Art History Department, and an economic based lecture called “The Economic Consequences of the War and Peace” to be given by Professor Martha Paas from the Economics Department. Students are also involved in the program of events, with one of the lecture series being a student reading of poetry from an assortment of languages.

The department of Cinema and Media Studies offers something for those with an interest in movies as well. Each week, a film will be shown, accompanied by an introduction by Professor Carol Donelan. The series will feature films such as “All Quiet on the Western Front, Paths of Glory, and Behind Enemy Lines.”

“It truly was a world war and one that radically changed the world,” Paas said. The enormity of The Great War and all that it left in its wake is sometimes hard to grasp, he said. Yet, while The Winter of the World intends to make this easier by provoking thought and consideration, it also functions as a celebration of the significance of the armistice. A significance that the creators of these events hope will not soon be forgotten.

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