On April 6, 2017, the United States observed the 100th anniversary of America's entry into the First World War. This "war to end war," as H.G. Wells put it, had a profound impact on the country. An army which in 1914 ranked 17th in the world had swelled to 4.7 million in 1918. By the war's end over 116,000 Americans would be dead—more than in the Korean and Vietnam Wars combined—and more than 200,000 would return home wounded.
Politically the United States emerged from the war as an important, albeit reluctant, player on the international stage. At home, it weathered intense social and technological changes that would affect the country for years to come. These included the growth of aviation, prohibition, and women's suffrage, the Great Migration, and anxieties about race, class, and gender that spilled into the 1920s. Texas was at the epicenter of much of this change.
The THC, as part of the centennial celebration, has taken on the ambitious goal of producing a World War I Legacy Project – a book, accompanied by a teaching guide, that highlights the Texan experience of the First World War and, on its 100th anniversary, its centennial response.
The World War I Legacy Project will be a first of its kind, focused on not just the political and military history of Texas in World War I, but also providing an equal measure of attention and insight into the social and cultural history of the state during that time.
Numerous World War I commemorative efforts have been organized at the national and state levels in honor of the “Great War. Read more about the Texas Historical Commission's efforts here.