Wednesday, July 30, 2014

From our collection: American Catholics in the War

Here's a historic work from our collection: American Catholics in the War: the National Catholic War Council, 1917-1921, by Michael Williams (call # 973.92 W67). It was published by the MacMillan Company in 1921, and it tells the story of American Catholics during the wars of the United States, particularly, what was known at the time as the Great War--World War I. The narrative is interspersed with the complete texts of letters and correspondence related to the formation of the National Catholic War Council.

"The problem of the war work of the Catholic Church in the United States, then, was in essence precisely the same problem that confronted the government it had promised to help; it was a problem of management, of organization; a question of the best practical methods for concentrating and applying swiftly and effectively the might resources which it possessed. Every nation engaged in the war was confronted by this inescapable problem. Not one was wholly prepared for the new nature of warfare. Each in turn was forced to devise and employ vast schemes of centralized organization. Exceedingly complex and almost wholly unprecedented in scope were the tremendous problems of war relief, and of civic cooperation with governmental agencies; and so, too, were the more purely religious problems connected with the supplying of chaplains to armies and navies numbering millions, and the moral safeguarding of the other millions of men and youths as they were ordered out of their homes into the mobilization camps, and of the myriads of women and girls swept torrentially from the safe and accustomed channels of ordinary life by the inescapable exigencies of universal war (pp. 88-89).

For other books from or about the period, see our World War I book display on the Main Floor.

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