World War I was known as the Great War and is considered the first modern war. On the home front technology was making life easier, but innovations in both conventional and chemical weapons caused more deaths than ever before. Soldiers recorded their stories in diaries, newspapers, articles and letters to loved ones. Artists provided us with a visual record. This guide provides a variety of United States Government resources which many be used to study World War I through links to exhibits, teaching guides, primary, and secondary sources.
Heeding the call from artist Charles Dana Gibson to “Draw ‘til it hurts,” hundreds of leading American artists galvanized public interest in the Great War (1914–1918). Although the United States participated as a direct combatant in World War I from 1917 to 1918, the riveting posters, cartoons, fine art prints, and drawings on display chronicle this massive international conflict from its onset through its aftermath.
Echoes of the Great War: American Experiences of World War I examines the upheaval of world war as Americans confronted it — both at home and abroad. The exhibition considers the debates and struggles that surrounded U.S. engagement; explores U.S. military and home front mobilization and the immensity of industrialized warfare; and touches on the war's effects, as an international peace settlement was negotiated, national borders were redrawn, and soldiers returned to reintegrate into American society.