When Nick meets Gatsby, before he even knew it was Gatsby, they discussed their service in World War I. This takes place in Chapter 3 of The Great Gatsby, at Gatsby’s party. Nick mentions that he served in the ninth machine-gun battalion. Gatsby then says he served in the Seventh Infantry. They continued on to talk about their experiences in France during the war.
World War I officially began on July 28, 1914. The war is said to have been caused by the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Truthfully, the war was a longtime in the making and everyone knew the delicate peace of Eastern Europe would not last. The tremendous amount of political instability didn’t help either. The assassination of the Archduke was just the breaking point for a long and costly war.
The United States entered World War I on April 4, 1917, despite all of Woodrow Wilson’s best efforts to remain neutral. Fighting only lasted for another year and a half after the entry of the US. WWI officially ended on November 11, 1918. This date is now known as Veterans Day. Overall, more than nine million soldiers and ten million civilians lost their lives (History.com Editors).
World War I was also called “The War to End All Wars”. Unfortunately, we know now that it was not the last war, or even World War. World War II began just 20 years after the end of WWI. World War II was the largest and deadliest war in history.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. Harmondsworth, Penguin Books, 10 Apr. 1925.
History.com Editors. “World War I.” HISTORY, A&E Television Networks, 29 Oct. 2009, www.history.com/topics/world-war-i/world-war-i-history.