Today marks the centennial of the United States declaring war on Germany, thus entering World War 1. Note it is rather intriguing and perhaps coincidental that Wonder Woman’s film releases this year and takes place during World War 1. Then again, maybe it’s not….
Most people usually always associate Wonder Woman’s history with that of World War II rather than its predecessor. Then again, WWII is the war to be associated with many of comic book’s legacies including Captain America, Superman, Sub-Mariner, Aquaman and many more. In fact, some comic book characters were created just to fight Nazis, and once the Nazis were snuffed out so too were those particular heroes. With all this ingrained into comic book lore and history, why not pull from it? There is the one theory to differentiate itself from that of Captain America: The First Avenger, which is most certainly plausible. Then again, when do people turn down Nazi punching entertainment? So then why WW1 instead? Note the film is not out, I have no clue of what is in the script and have only seen the trailers. Hence, I am basing this off what I know, have seen and some are possibilities and thoughts.
The era of what is also known as “The Great War” is an intriguing one. It was the first international “modern war” but was hardly fought like one. Hell, they still had horses pulling their equipment not trucks. They based most of their methods on old Napoleonic models. The airplane enters the battlefield. This sets up a interesting bridge and blend of two different generations, much like Diana and Steve Trevor. Diana who is quite possibly hundreds if not thousands of years old, granted her looks do not give it away. Whereas Steve is no younger than 21 but no older than 45 under the Selective Service Act of 1917. Diana comes from a rather idyllic, sometimes romanticized and simpler era. Steve on the other hand comes from a time of post-industrial boom, corrupt politicians and fading Victorian values.
WW1 has two names and or themes going for it, both coined by President Woodrow Wilson as “The war to end war“ (the war to end all wars is more well known and used though) and “the world must be made safe for democracy.” Both of these sound rather appealing and idealized. Diana is a young woman who regardless of her setting or status in other media always wants to do good and make a difference. However, such ideals strike hard for younger people all the time. As she notes she cannot sit idly by while innocent people die. If anything, this is very true to the common origin of Wonder Woman, rather it be in her 1941 debut or in the Justice League animated series. The world was in peril and she intervened.
When the U.S. Senate debated the possibility of war, Senator Lodge of Massachusetts stated there are worse things than war such as the “division of our people into race groups” noting America should not be entangled in multiple interests such as the war but bounded under “one allegiance, one hope and one tradition.” However, he later defers stating that whatever “suffering and misery war may bring[…] it will unify us into one nation.” It is thus possible Diana believes that a worldwide conflict will bring separatist Paradise Island of Themyscira into man’s world. Hence, there will be no division of people into genders and sexes, instead they will be one people fighting against suffering and misery. This was the thought process back then in how a war would curb petty self-interests for a collective goal and interest for the common good. Driving this home more is what Frank Miller said to NPR years back under the Bush administration…
“Where I would fault President Bush the most was that in the wake of 9/11, he motivated our military, but he didn’t call the nation into a state of war. And he didn’t explain that this would take though a communal effort against a common foe. So we’ve been kind of fighting a war on the side, and sitting off like a bunch of Romans complaining about it.”
WW1 was the opposite of that. On a side note, on making the world safe for democracy is that we cannot forget democracy has ancient Greek roots and origins much like Diana herself. That is it for now, but check back as there is more to Diana and World War 1.
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