World War I

Crackdown on Dissent | The Great War

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Explore how President Wilson’s crackdown on dissent during World War I, which was strengthened by the Sedition Act in 1918, put civil liberties at risk, in this video adapted from The Great War: AMERICAN EXPERIENCE. Anyone who spoke out against the United States government, the flag, or the armed forces could be arrested and/or imprisoned. This led to a “chilling effect” on civil liberties at the same time that the United States was fighting in a war to “make the world safe for democracy.” This resource is a part of the The Great War: AMERICAN EXPERIENCE | Collection.

A New Kind of War | Black Jack Pershing: Love and War

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Restructuring was successful. The Americans still suffered high casualties but German losses were higher. Out of the trenches, the Doughboys advanced so swiftly orders could barely keep up with their victories. British and French in the north forced German retreat. Germany surrendered. Pershing wanted occupation to prevent future war. Though battles raged to the last, the Great War finally ended.

                 

 

Kehinde Wiley: African American Service during World War I

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Artist Kehinde Wiley learns that his great grandfather, Lewis Standifer, was one of 380,000 African American men that served during World War I. 

As an African American during World War I, service in the military meant that you were serving in a segregated unit. Very few African American men were in combat, instead, they were assigned to service units, which often included digging trenches, removing unexploded shells and burying soldiers. 

Like many black soldiers, Lewis Standifer was assigned to the Quartermaster Corps, a non-combat unit relegated to supply tasks. Black soldiers were not always treated well, and in the camp where Lewis spent his time in training, there were reports of soldiers being harassed and beaten. When he arrived in France, his position in the army was to remove dead bodies from temporary graves for reburial in army cemeteries. 

Due to prejudice and racism, the armed forces remained largely opposed to placing African American soldiers in combat. When the War Department finally created black combat units in 1917 - the 92nd and 93rd Divisions - African Americans still did not receive equal treatment and were often treated with hostility. 

Despite their service to this nation, when these veterans returned home, they were at risk of experiencing violence and many were targets of white aggression. Because of their military service, black veterans were seen as a particular threat to the Jim Crow segregated South and it was feared that these veterans would demand better working conditions and greater equality. As a result, some black veterans were assaulted, threatened, abused, or lynched following military service.

Fierce & Heartbreaking | Black Jack Pershing: Love and War

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In 1915, amid reports Pancho Villa might attack, Pershing was sent to the border. He missed his family deeply. One night, a fire killed his beloved wife and three daughters. Only his son survived. Pershing was devastated. Months later, after his son was settled with relatives and Pershing had returned to duty, Villa struck and Pershing pursued, winning recognition for his field command skills.

Wartime Propaganda | The Great War

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Discover how the Committee on Public Information (CPI), led by George Creel, launched a massive publicity campaign to support the United States’ entry into World War I, in this video adapted from The Great War: AMERICAN EXPERIENCE. Appointed by President Woodrow Wilson, Creel created innovative ways, including using the movies—the new mass media—and celebrity culture, to dispense pro-war propaganda to create enthusiasm for the war and dampen dissent. This resource is a part of the AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: The Great War Collection.

Have All the Men Gone Mad? | Black Jack Pershing: Love and War

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Pershing led American and French troops in the 47-day battle of the Meuse-Argonne. Germans used tactical advantages and machine gun nests to wreak havoc on ill-trained American troops amid cold, confusion, and mud. Ignoring calls for his replacement, Pershing stopped everything to reorganize and resupply. Allies took the Argonne forest. Germany was weakened but still inflicting heavy casualties.

 

Zionism and the Balfour Declaration

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This enhanced video resource for The Story of the Jews provides a look at the people and negotiations behind the Balfour Declaration and explains what was promised to Jews in this famous letter. The resource also explores Zionism and examines a text called "Auto-Emancipation," which argued for the necessity of a Jewish nation. The discussion questions and optional student activities ask students to summarize and analyze primary sources and historical events for context and meaning.

An Army from Scratch | Black Jack Pershing: Love and War

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In 1918, Germany’s all-out onslaught forced Pershing to mobilize all American assets despite any doubts about readiness. Pershing missed his son. The Doughboys’ first battle victory raised morale and US leverage. Pershing commanded African American regiments, but rather than integrate US forces, he had African American troops serve with French troops or carry out cargo or construction tasks.

Progressive Age

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The Progressive Era was a time of great economic growth and social change in the United States. It’s also a great topic for an essay on the Regents Exam. This video includes the rise of Teddy Roosevelt's "Bull Moose" party.

Soldier & Citizen: Suffrage

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This excerpt from the full length documentary Soldier & Citizen gives a brief historical overview of the woman suffrage movement. Experts include Dr. Carole Bucy, professor of history at Volunteer State Community College and Davidson County Historian; Dr. Lisa M. Budreau, senior curator of military history at the Tennessee State Museum; and Ronald R. Krebs, Ph.D., professor of political science, University of Minnesota.

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