Forgetting Catastrophe: Influenza and the War in 1919 - Nancy Bristow

Over the last months of 1918 and the first months of 1919 Americans suffered through the worst pandemic in their history as Influenza struck. When the disease had finally receded, 675,000 Americans had died, more than ten times the number lost in World War I, yet the pandemic became little more than a footnote in public accounts of the era. In this presentation, discover how, overshadowed during the war and soon conflated with it in the aftermath, the influenza pandemic fell victim to Americans’ powerful preference for narratives of optimism and triumph, a storyline ill-suited to the catastrophe of influenza’s assault.

Lecture given as part of The National WWI Museum and Memorial's 2019 Symposium '1919: Peace?'