By Rebecca Price Janney, Oct 2 2018 12:54PM
I’m a fan of classic movies, and right up there in my top five is “Sergeant York,” an early 1940s film featuring Gary Cooper, one of my favorite actors. He stars as a winsome, principled man from rural Tennessee, who comes up hard but ends up steady and strong. Although he dislikes the idea of killing in a war because his Christian faith teaches the sanctity of human life, York concludes the only way to end a destructive war is to destroy the enemy, which will probably involving killing the enemy at some point.
York was part of the massive Meuse-Argonne Offensive, which began at the end of September, 1918. The largest conflict of WWI, this action signaled the beginning of the end of that bitter war which had decimated Europe over the course of four brutal years. York became one of the most well-known of the offensive’s heroes. I tell his story on my podcast, “Great Stories in American History with Rebecca Price Janney: