The 1918–1919 Influenza Pandemic was one of the deadliest pandemics in history, affecting hundreds of millions of people around the globe.

Occurring against the backdrop of World War I, the pandemic added to the horrors and devastation brought on by that conflict.

Over the course of the war, the United States produced more patriotic posters than all other nations combined.

Posters, like James Montgomery Flagg’s “Uncle Sam Wants YOU,” were created to increase military recruitment, promote food conservation, illustrate alleged German atrocities and sell war bonds.

President Woodrow Wilson declared passage of the 19th Amendment “a vitally necessary war measure” after the U.S. entered World War I

The 19th Amendment is a provision that federal voting rights may not be denied because of gender, guaranteeing most women the right to vote across the U.S.

World War I changed everything. More than 37 million global casualties and millions more suffered from the war’s effects; empires destroyed; national boundaries reshaped and economies devastated. More Americans lost their lives in WWI than in the Korean and Vietnam conflicts combined.

The conflict brought the U.S. together and tore it apart, setting the stage for redefinition of American citizenship and the role of the U.S. in global politics. To understand the U.S. today, one must understand “How WWI Changed America.”

America Goes to War

When World War I broke out in Europe in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson declared the U.S. neutral. By 1917, President Wilson announced, “the world must be made safe for democracy” and brought the nation to war.

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Selling the War

To influence public opinion in favor of the war, the U.S produced films, commissioned colorful posters, published propaganda pamphlets and recruited everyday Americans to “sell the war.”

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Citizenship and Objection

Advocates of peace argued for the continuation of American neutrality. Objection to the war became identified as dangerous to the nation. Political fear and the controversy of war opposition led to the first Red Scare in the U.S.

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African American Experiences

African Americans made substantial contributions in WWI. By 1920, nearly one million African Americans left the rural South in a movement called “The Great Migration” which would transform the U.S.

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Immigrants and Immigration

In World War I, one out of every five soldiers in the U.S. Armed Forces was an immigrant. For some it was a path to citizenship. For the nation it proved pivotal to building a more inclusive definition of “American.”

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Native American Service

American Indian contributions to the war effort helped win the war and, in 1924, citizenship for all Native Americans in the U.S.

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Women in WWI

World War I marked the first time American women formally served in the armed forces. That sacrifice and service helped win the war and win women the U.S. suffrage movement and the federal right to vote with the 19th Amendment.

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Influenza Epidemic

Occurring against the backdrop of World War I, one of history’s most deadly pandemics added to the horrors and devastation brought on by the conflict.

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Coming Home

The “home” that soldiers returned to was quite different than the one they left in 1917-1918. It set the stage for the arts movements of the Roaring Twenties and for better veterans’ services in World War II.

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