National World war I Museum at Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri is the only museum in America dedicated to the memory of millions who died, including over five million Turks, both before, during and after the tragic war, and to the veterans from around the World (1).
One of the mightiest empires of all times, the 600-year-old Ottoman Empire, came to an end in 1922 and the Republic of Turkey was proclaimed on October 29, 1923. Close to 30 new states were established on the territories that were once part of the Empire that spanned three continents following the WW I.
There is a great deal to explore and experience at the WW I Museum, housed in a semicircular building both below ground level and street level. The visitors enter the building after walking over a glass bridge and a poppy field and watch a 15-minute film on the causes of the war. Although the 28 June 1914 of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria is stated to be the reason, the guide questions this theory as he leads the group into the building and invites everyone to watch another movie on the other side.
A large Chronology of the war between 1914 and 1917 is displayed on the walls with brief statements on the events that took place each month. For 1914, the following information is written:
February – Turkish Army disarms its Armenian troops. Ottoman Turkish army segregates Armenian soldiers into labour battalions. The Turks fear that Christian Armenians are aiding Russian in their fight against Turkey.
24 April – Turkish government arrests 200 Armenians. Community leaders are targeted; they are deported and later reported killed.
25 April – Gallipoli. the Turkish controlled Peninsula protects Dardanelles Straight. Troops from Australia and New Zealand land at Helles and Anzac Cove.
7 May – Turkey issues Edict to deport. In 1915 alone, more than i million Armenians marched to the Syrian Desert.
Aug 6-12 – Allied troops renew Gallipoli offensive. the operation is a disaster with tens of thousands of casualties.
Of course, all of the above statements either do not tell the truth or presents false information, and yet these are read by millions every year, including many school children who was going around the exhibition with a “family Guide” in her hand, answering questions on the WW I.
There is a large mural of the world across from two huge cannons on the first floor, showing the countries united as allies, which includes the United States of America after she declares war on Germany in 1917, and those on the offensive, given in Note 1 below. There are many items displayed, including guns, uniforms, photographs. letters, etc.
One of the Museum officials told me that temporary exhibitions are held on various aspects of the WW I throughout the year. The US Turkish Library and Museum for Friendship and Peace by 2015 Working Group could make an official recommendation to Turkish-American Associations and the Turkish Government Officials to prepare an Exhibition and a Presentation for the WW I Museum, and other institutions as well, to tell the true story of Turkey’s involvement in the tragic war. One of the objectives of the proposed TLM will be to tell true history of the Turks and to correct information on displays in American Museums, including the horrible and fabricated statement of Hitler at the US Memorial Museum of Holocaust in WDC.
Kansas City (2) has many other museums, including the Museum and Library of Harry S. Truman. Information on the Truman Library and other Museums will be presented in a subsequent article and posted in the web page of www.turkishlibrary.org.
Yuksel Oktay, PE
Kansas City, MI
May 30, 2011
(1) From Wikipedia – World War I or the First World War, commonly abbreviated as WWI and formerly called the Great War, was a major war centred in Europe that began in the summer of 1914 and lasted until November 1918. It involved all of the world’s great powers, assembled in two opposing alliances: the Allies (centred around the Triple Entente) and the Central Powers. More than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, were mobilised in one of the largest wars in history. More than 9 million combatants were killed, largely because of great technological advances in firepower without corresponding advances in mobility. It was the second deadliest conflict in Western history.
The assassination on 28 June 1914 of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, was the proximate trigger of the war. Long-term causes, such as imperialistic foreign policies of the great powers of Europe, such as the German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the Russian Empire, the British Empire, France, and Italy, played a major role. Ferdinand’s assassination by a Yugoslav nationalist resulted in a Habsburg ultimatum against the Kingdom of Serbia. Several alliances formed over the past decades were invoked, so within weeks the major powers were at war; via their colonies, the conflict soon spread around the world.
On 28 July, the conflict opened with the Austro-Hungarian invasion of Serbia, followed by the German invasion of Belgium, Luxembourg and France; and a Russian attack against Germany. After the German march on Paris was brought to a halt, the Western Front settled into a static battle of attrition with a trench line that changed little until 1917. In the East, the Russian army successfully fought against the Austro-Hungarian forces but was forced back by the German army. Additional fronts opened after the Ottoman Empire joined the war in 1914, Italy and Bulgaria in 1915 and Romania in 1916. The Russian Empire collapsed in 1917, and Russia left the war after the October Revolution later that year. After a 1918 German offensive along the western front, United States forces entered the trenches and the Allies drove back the German armies in a series of successful offensives. Germany agreed to a cease-fire on 11 November 1918, later known as Armistice
By the war’s end, four major imperial powers—the German, Russian, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires—had been militarily and politically defeated. The latter two ceased to exist. The revolutionised Soviet Union emerged from the Russian Empire, while the map of central Europe was completely redrawn into several smaller states. The League of Nations was formed in the hope of preventing another such conflict. The European nationalism spawned by the war and the breakup of empires, and the repercussions of Germany’s defeat and the Treaty of Versailles led to the beginning of World War II in 1939.
(2) From Wikipedia. Kansas City is the largest city in the state of Missouri and is the anchor city of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area, the second largest metropolitan area in Missouri. As of 2010, the population census was 459,787 with a metro area of 2.1 Million. Kansas City was founded in 1838 as the “Town of Kansas”.