On April 6, 1917, the United States joined its allies--Britain, France, and Russia--to fight in the “Great War,” or World War I. Under the command of Major General John J. Pershing, more than 2 million U.S. soldiers fought across the Western Front. These soldiers reflected the influx of immigrants to the United States during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This arrival of immigrants combined with the “Great War” challenged the culture of the American military and forced it to reconsider its training methods and linguistic, cultural, and religious traditions.
Join HSP on May 24 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. Her lecture, Americans All! Foreign Born Soldiers in the First World War, will also analyze why the U.S. War Department policies did not call for the harsh Americanization of foreign-born soldiers, but rather fostered an atmosphere that made both American and ethnic pride acceptable.
Often, we teach the First World War through military maneuvers, dates of battles, and key actors. This lecture is an opportunity to learn more about how the American immigrant population affected the U.S. military, bringing a new cultural perspective of WWI into your classroom. In addition to the lecture, HSP has an incredible collection of WWI primary sources based on the Philadelphia perspective of WWI. These resources can supplement lessons on WWI and the primary sources are all available on our digital library!
If you wish to check out these resources, or any of our other resources, visit the WWI Unit Plans on our website. If you wish to attend the Americans All! lecture, you will receive Act 48 credit as well as a free copy of our magazine Pennsylvania Legacies, featuring our WWI collections. The lecture is free, but you do need to register. We hope to see you there!