WORLD WAR I

 

With this exhibition we recognize the one-hundredth anniversary of the United States involvement in World War I, April 6, 1917.  

World War I was one of the deadliest conflicts in human history affecting over thirty-eight million people.  Over seventeen million deaths and over twenty million wounded, the war reshaped the landscape in Europe politically.  It was the first use of weapons of mass destruction, poison gas, and the wide spread use of machine guns, not to mention the 1918 influenza pandemic from prisoners of war and military personnel.    

The war officially began on July 28, 1914, with the Austro-Hungarian Empire declaring war on Serbia.  The reason for the declaration of war was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria on June 28 in Sarajevo.  Austria believed that the Serbian government was involved in the assassination.  In early July the Austro-Hungarian Empire received a treaty of support with Germany.  Austro-Hungarian Empire served Serbia with an ultimatum.  The Serbian Republic sought a treaty with Russia.  When the Austro-Hungarian Empire decided that the Serbian response was not acceptable, it declared war on July 28, 1914.  Russia mobilized its army, causing Germany to declare war on Russia on August 1.  On August 3 Germany declared war on France.  On July 4 Germany invades Belgium and the United Kingdom declared war on Germany.  By the end of the month almost all of Europe was involved with the war.  On August 23 Japan declared war on Germany.  

The United States had declared neutrality on August 4, 1914, and President Woodrow Wilson tried to broker a peace treaty which proved futile.  U-boat atrocities, which were reported to be German sabotage, included the sinking of the Lusitania on May 7, 1915, with 128 United States citizens aboard and the Black Tom explosion (a munitions depot in New York Harbor part of Jersey City).  The public was inflamed.  Wilson came under great pressure from the war hawks in the government, including former president Theodore Roosevelt, as well as the general public.  With the interception of the Zimmermann telegram in January 1917, it became clear that the only way for the United States to find a peaceful resolution was to declare war.  On April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson asked Congress to declare war on Germany.  Item 3 in this catalogue is The Evening Telegram which announced that Congress would take up the War Decree on April 3.  Congress voted 373 to 50 and the Senate voted 82 to 6 in favor of going to war. 

The exhibition on World War I will be in our first floor exhibition space April 1 through April 29, 2017.  In our second floor exhibition space, the shop will feature a show of WWII and the Vietnam War images.

To preview the web show please visit the online exhibition by clicking here.