World War One was arguably the least justifiable war the US was ever involved in. It was also a major turning point toward bigger government. The US was not directly attacked, but rather then President Wilson, our first globalist president, decided it was time for the US to fix Europe and “make the world safe for democracy.” Here are three films on the subject of the war from a libertarian perspective.
All Quiet on the Western Front, based on the novel, was a response to the idea of romanticized war, and depicts the tragedy of those young people sent into battle. The film follows a group of young soldiers through the war years as they increasingly question the morality and usefulness of their actions and one by one fall victim to enemy fire. It won the Academy Award for Best Picture.
The film Gallipoli depicts how cheaply and foolishly governments spent the lives of the young recruits in the battles of World War One. In the case of the “Gallipoli Campaign” tens of thousands were sent into enemy machine gun fire on the hope that enough would get through it to win. This film stars a young Mel Gibson as one of the soldiers who joins from faraway Australia with romantic ideas of war, only to be sent into one of the fateful battles. Artistically, this is generally regarded as a great film, and so it is. Mark Lee and Mel Gibson are ideal as the likable pair of Aussie pals, and director Peter Weir tells their story in such an endearing way that you’d have to have a heart of stone not to be moved by what ultimately happens to them.
Power’s War is a documentary that tells the true story of the Powers family of Arizona. “Separated from the rest of the world, the Powers family was only dimly aware of ‘The Great War,’ which they, like many Americans, viewed as none of their business…But on June 5th, 1917, all American men between 21 and 31 were ordered to register for the draft.” The Powers family resisted the draft and fought when an attempt was made to force their sons into the war; the resulting shootout was the largest in AZ history. This documentary won the Anthem Film Festival Grand Prize.