The Eleventh Hour: The Lessons of the Great War

On June 2nd, 2019,  a special presentation of this project aired on WGBH-FM. You can listen to it here:

BOSTON—History is absent from public discourse at a time when it seems most needed. On the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended World War One, GroundTruth explores whether world powers can learn the lessons of The Great War after the guns fell silent on the “eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month” in 1918.

Hope for resolving many of the modern world’s most pressing conflicts is dependent on the correct answer.

From the burning conflicts in Syria, Israel-Palestine, Iraq and Nigeria to the still-smoldering, post-conflict societies of Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Kosovo, a consistent lesson endures: peace cannot be imposed from a conference table, but must emanate from the hearts of people.

Over the last four years, GroundTruth founder and Editor-in-Chief Charles M. Sennott has coordinated an international reporting effort to try to understand the legacy of “the war to end all wars” and how the peace treaty that brought it to a close became known as “the peace to end all peace.”

Since 2014, the 100th anniversary of a war that started on June 28, 1914 with the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand,  Sennott has pulled together a series of dispatches, short videos, audio podcasts, commentaries and analyses published from the field.

The team of contributors includes WGBH’s Brian O’Donovan, the host of the weekly radio program ‘A Celtic Sojourn,’ who used the 100th anniversary of the armistice to reflect on the powerful poetry and music that has risen from the ashes of the war. And there are many others who’ve contributed, including photographers Heidi Levine and Ron Haviv; the legendary columnist HDS Greenway,  the writers Michael Moran and Noga Tarnopolsky and historical researcher Will Sennott. Digital producer Emily Judem contributed to this project as part of both GroundTruth and WGBH.

These writers have all contributed to this exploration of divided cities around the world, looking at what works and what doesn’t in peace processes. And along the way it is clear that running through so many modern conflicts are the arrogant and imperialistic decisions made by the victors of World War I a century ago.

This Special Report, produced by The GroundTruth Project, appeared on in 2014.