Glen Foerd-HFU Speaker Series: How World War I Reshaped America's Peace Movement

Marking the centennial of the Armistice, Dr. John Hepp, a professor of history at Wilkes University, will focus on how the horrors of World War I, America’s intervention in the war, and the subsequent peace conference affected Americans’ attitudes to war and peace. This event will take place on Friday, November 9, at 7 pm in the ETC Auditorium. The lecture is free and open to the public.

The story will begin a century before, as people in both the United States and Britain began to explore non-military solutions to international conflicts, and follow Americans as they attempted to craft ways to avoid war. The peak of America’s commitment to pacifism was in the two decades between the Spanish-American War and World War I. Philadelphia was, and remains, a center of America’s peace movement and special attention will be paid to the city’s key role.

Hepp focuses his writing and teaching on cultural history in the late-19th and early-20th centuries. His current project looks at the Anglo-American-Canadian influences on international law between 1800 and 1945.

“One century ago next week, an armistice ended World War I,” said Dr. Mary Carroll Johansen, History Professor for the School of Arts and Sciences. “Around 20 million people had died during the war, more than half of whom were civilians, while another 21 million were wounded. New deadly weapons, such as submarines that torpedoed passenger ships, poisoned gas, and machine guns, helped account for the high death toll. Watching the mounting death toll during the war, American peace activists, many of whom were Philadelphians, had tried to mediate peace during the war, and to prevent American entry into the war. I am looking forward to hearing Dr. Hepp speak about the efforts of these peacemakers.”

Glen Foerd, first established in the mid-nineteenth century by Charles Macalester and listed in the National Register of Historic Places, is the last surviving riverfront estate in Philadelphia.

The lecture is part of the Glen Foerd-Holy Family University Speaker Series that showcases topics of area cultural and historical interest. The series invites a distinguished speaker to Holy Family University each semester for a lecture on a topic in American history from the War of 1812 through the early 20th century, which is the period of time interpreted by Glen Foerd on the Delaware, the historic house museum located a few blocks from campus. All lectures are free and open to the public.