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Resources for Teaching the 100th Anniversary of the U.S. Joining World War I


World War I

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Although World War I started in Europe in 1914, the United States did not enter until April 1917.

On April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson asked Congress to declare war on Germany, signaling the United States’ entry into The Great War (later known as World War I). April 6, 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of Congress passing the resolution to go to war. 

The United States World War I Centennial Commission and the National World War I Museum and Memorial have teamed up to bring teachers the largest curated collection of World War I resources ever seen. The Museum and Memorial will host an official observance at 11 a.m. CDT on April 6, 2017, which will be livestreamed on their website. They are encouraging teachers to hold their own commemoration with students and share projects on their website.

On social media, check out #USWW100, #WWI#greatwar #worldwarI for some fantastic resources!

The Wisconsin Veterans Museum will open a new special exhibit on April 21, 2017.  The topic will be Wisconsin soldiers in World War I.  

DocsTeach offers a lesson plan to help students look at the big picture of the American Homefront during the Great War, where students match documents about the war effort at home and find a payoff image of the 1918 armistice.

The Library of Congress has a complete lesson "World War I: What are we fighting for over there?".

The New York Times has a well designed interactive site on the 100th anniversary of US involvement.  It includes a time lapse map, and a number of different news stories, including a focus across Europe on different points of the war.  

PBS' American Experience will premiere "The Great War" on Monday, April 10, 2017.  

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History outlines a lesson with arguments for and against neutrality from 1914-1917.

The National Archives have a Teaching with Documents lesson on the  Zimmermann Telegram. On the right side of the page you can see "teaching activities". The primary source is included (ability to zoom in).

The Smithsonian has an article "The Origins of the World War I Agreement that Carved Up the Middle East", focusing on the Sykes-Picot Agreement.  It has interactive portions and a map that could be used in class analysis.  

Stanford History Education Group (SHEG/Reading Like a Historian) has a lesson on the US Entry into WWI, including primary sources and student activities.

The Organization of American Historians have curated resources from their own archives on the U.S. entrance into WWI.  These include a conversation between leading historians of WWI, and a 2002 issue of their flagship The OAH Magazine of History that focused entirely on WWI (may require access through your library or BadgerLink).

For questions about this information, contact Kristen McDaniel (608) 266-2207