America the Beautiful in World War I By: Kris Kelley

America participated in World War I because it was attacked by some German terrorists, and the people who didn’t or couldn’t fight stayed back to produce munitions and other supplies to help America fight in the Great War.

Out at sea was the Lusitania, it had munitions and passengers going to the help the British war effort, but at 2:10 in the afternoon on May 17, 1915 a German U-20 submarine fired a torpedo at the ship. The explosion killed 1,119 out of 1,924 people on board and only left 823 survivors.

Back at home and in the early hours of the morning on July 30, 1916 two German saboteurs started a fire in the T.A. Gillespie Munitions Plant that was full of railcars that were loaded with explosives. The plant exploded killing many people and breaking a water main that flooded 4 blocks

“In their first significant action, on May 28, 1918, 4,000 American troops of the 1st division stormed the strategically important village of Cantigny on the Somme, captured it and fought off a German counterattack.” Then, “ Early in June, the U.S. 2nd and 3rd Divisions attacked the German bridgehead at the riverside town of Chateau-thierry and pushed the enemy back across the Marne and blocked the way to Paris.” After that, ”Five miles west of Chateau-thierry a forest called Belleau Wood had become a German stronghold. A brigade of American Marines attached to the 2nd division stormed the stubbornly defended wood which would change hands 6 times before the Germans were finally expelled. It took 3 weeks of bitter fighting and 10,000 american casualties before the marines finally gained control. After the war ended the French name was changed from Bois de Belleau (meaning wood of Belleau) to Bois de la Brigade Marine (meaning Wood of the Marine Brigade) in honor of the Americans who fought and died there”.

There was thousands of volunteers, men and women, that were serving as nurses, nurses aides and ambulance drivers at home and in Europe. One hundred and twenty nurses actually died in Europe and another 200 were decorated for their bravery in serving our country in times of need. African American women helped in factories by making bandages, working in hospitals and troop centers and also promoting the purchase of Liberty Bonds to finance the war effort. They also served in relief organizations like the Red Cross and YWCA

As president Woodrow Wilson said about World War I, “Neutrality is a negative word. It does not express what America ought to feel. We are not trying to keep out of trouble; we are trying to preserve the foundations on which peace may be rebuilt.” - Woodrow Wilson, America was not meant to be neutral or stay out of trouble, we were meant to try to preserve peace and rebuild it if it is destroyed. America did rebuild peace with all of the enemies of the allies eventually and it lasted for about 17 years before it was contested again. After America overcame the attacks the allies came together and beat the Germans into surrendering.

Credits:

Created with images by Unsplash - "american flag usa" • Loco Steve - "Moehn Brewing Co. Burlington, Iowa. ( 2 images )" • Archives New Zealand - "The Battle of Beersheba" • Archives New Zealand - "Ormond Burton, Gallantry Medal Winner, Writer and Pacifist" • Vasnic64 - "Marius en 1912 - Classe 1911 - Pantalon rouge et veste bleu" • Vasnic64 - "Anonymes 14 - English Fighting spirit with Lee-enfield (France) - 1914/15" • casey.marshall - "YWCA" • Boston Public Library - "Over the top for you. Buy U.S. Gov't bonds, Third Liberty Loan" • Paula R. Lively - "Muskingum county Red Cross guns vs hoses softball game 9-28-13"

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