Date: Fri, 14 Nov 1997 19:27:50 -0500 From: "Barry A. Popik" Subject: VETERANS DAY SPECIAL: World War This is from the San Francisco Chronicle, 2 December 1919, pg. 20, cols. 6-7: NAMING THE WAR As a name for the war which began in the August of 1914 and ended in the November of 1918, the one formally adopted by our War Department--"The World War"--is not a bad one. It is as good, perhaps, as any of the two or three others that have been suggested, and more than possibly none better will be found. Yet it is not a name to excite instant and enthusiastic acceptance, and its fate with the people of the world could not be prophesied with any safety. Of all the innumerable wars that have been waged since history began, comparatively few have required any name at all. The great majority of them, from that insignificant enough to merit Hume's comparison with "the skirmishes of kites and crows" up to those that appreciably affected human destiny and racial conditions, have had to go with no better designation than a phrase telling when and where they were fought and by whom. We have not yet fully agreed on a name for the war between our North and South, and American independence was gained by a war which we are usually content to call "the Revolution"--which is quite undistinctive for anybody except ourselves. The "Mexican War" and "the War of 1812" can hardly be said to have names, and "the war with Spain" is of designation similarly dubious. "The World War" is a fairly natural growth from the facts, and its element of exaggeration, though obvious and real, is so small as to offend only a few nations that did manage to keep out of it, and nobody much minds what they say. It might have been as wise if our departmental officials had waited a while before they named the greatest of wars. There is some excuse for denying that the war is over yet, and while that can be done nobody can be sure what name will fit the war or stand permanent wear.--New York Times.