This April marks the centennial of American involvement in the First World War, a global conflagration that upended the established world order.
During the conflict, foreign-born soldiers represented nearly 1 out of 5 servicemen in the U.S. Army. This surge of Old World soldiers – from 46 different nations – challenged the culture of the American military, its linguistic and religious traditions, and required top brass to reconsider training methods.
Join HSP on April 12 as Dr. Nancy Gentile-Ford examines how the U.S. War Department drew on the experiences of progressive social welfare reformers & ethnic community leaders who assisted with training, socializing, and meeting the cultural and religious needs of immigrant soldiers. The lecture will also analyze why U.S. War Department policies did not call for the harsh Americanization of foreign-born soldiers, but instead created an atmosphere that made both American and ethnic pride acceptable.
This program is part of World War I and America, a two-year national initiative of The Library of America presented in partnership with The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the National World War I Museum and Memorial, and other organizations, with generous support from The National Endowment for the Humanities.
Speaker's Bio: Dr. Nancy Gentile Ford is a professor at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania where she teaches 20th century American military, cultural, and political history. Her scholarship includes three books: Americans All!: Foreign-Born Soldiers in World War I, Issues of War and Peace, and The Great War and America: Civil Military Relations during World War I. Ford has also contributed articles and essays that explore issues of war and society during the First World War. She has been interviewed by Newsweek, Al Jazeera America, BBC Public Radio, and Voice of America as a specialist in her field. Ford is currently working on a manuscript that will examine demobilization and readjustment of American society after the First World War.