The Legacy of America’s Story in World War I

“Understanding World War I is perhaps more important than ever. The war, quite simply, shaped the world in which we live.” Jennifer Keene, History Professor, Chapman University

Now that you know a little bit about America and World War I, let’s end by asking the big question – why does it matter?  What is the legacy of the US in World War I? I usually have a target assessment for this important topic, but the timing didn’t work out this year.  So, please use the time remaining to check out the materials available online and write, jot, bullet, draw, diagram … you name it.  Can you put down on paper why World War I matters?

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The War to End All Wars? Peace after WWI – for March 10/11

The Signing of the Treaty of Versailles, June 28,1919

Once the war ended, what happened?  An easy peace treaty meeting in Paris – typical, right?   Not so fast …

For your next class, preview the peace process that came after the war by reading and watching some content concerning the Paris Peace Conference and the Treaty of Versailles. (don’t try to read it – just look at how long it is!) The History Channel has a decent reading.  You can also watch Peace, Diplomacy, and Reparation, and check out The Treaty of Versailles, What Did the Big Three Want? and The Treaty of Versailles, Terms of the Treaty.  As you read and watch, you should be able to :

  • … generally describe Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points.
  • … discuss why the rest of the “Big Four” opposed Wilson’s Fourteen Points.
  • … give a broad outline of the actual peace provisions of the Treaty of Versailles.
  • … discuss why the Treaty of Versailles was opposed by the Senate and some of the public in the US.
  • … describe how the Versailles process was a failure in the goal of continuous world peace.

Please come to class with some questions about the peace process, as we will discuss it in more detail.

You can also spend some time thinking about the legacy of the Great War – The War to End All Wars – World War I.

Check out Legacy of the War – World War I Centennial;  World War I Centenary: 100 Legacies of the Great War; A 100-Year Legacy of World War I – The New York Times; and WWI Casualty and Death Tables from PBS to THINK about the overall impact of the Great War, both globally and in the United States.  You may also want to check out the description of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery – we will be there in six weeks.

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Want some more from the trenches?

So, Doughboy – how were the trenches? After today’s class, you hopefully have an idea about the challenges AmericanS had when they were part of the trench warfare in World War I – and remember, they didn’t have it nearly as bad as the other Allies (or the Germans)! Want to learn more?  I did, so I went to France and Belgium to find out all about WWI on the Western Front.  You can see some of my experiences on my travel blog at

Do YOU want more? Check out the sites listed below.

SOME AWESOME INTERACTIVES FROM the ABMC! U.S. Divisions Under Allied Command, Flying Yanks: American Airmen in World War I, Ypres-Lys Offensive, The Meuse-Argonne Offensive Interactive

Trenches on the Web

Some info on the AEF and their battles from Creating America

Want some actual letters from the trenches?  Check out …

Want some games? 

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Prepare to go “OVER THERE” as a member of the AEF! for March 6/9

You should have a solid understanding of America’s entry into the Great War, including the rationale outlined by Woodrow Wilson in his war message to Congress. You also should understand the role that Americans played o the home front during WWI and how the war changed the lives of so many.

Now it’s time to go “Over There” and become part of the AEF – The American Expeditionary Force.  To prepare for your class experience ON MONDAY (everyone), please carefully read Welcome to the AEF, using this  reading guide to direct you.  We will find out the challenges that the men faced in the trenches on the Western Front.

Make sure you listen to “Over There” by George Cohen – it’s a classic! (And you may be singing it …)

If you can, make sure you have a cell phone, download HP Reveal (Android iOS).

We will meet on the ship to head “Over There”, and then it’s into the trenches of the Western Front.

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OVER HERE – The American Home Front during the Great War – for March 4/5

What was the impact of the Great War in the United States … and in Milwaukee?  Plenty! There are two video clips (with some embedded questions)  that you can use to prepare yourself for a next class activity on the WWI home front.  Your focus questions are …

How did the government get more control over the economy and citizens’ lives in WWI?

What did citizens do to support the war effort at home?

How did WWI represent conflict and change in the lives of women, African Americans, and German Americans at home?

What happened to American freedoms during the war?

What happened on the home front in Milwaukee?

Take some notes on your class handout – we will learn more in out next class! MAKE SURE YOU LOG IN!

You can also take a look at how the Great War affected Wisconsin.  I have a podcast you should listen to regarding Milwaukee and you can also check out some of the following links below – mostly because you love history and Wisconsin …

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Advice for President Wilson – LEARNING EXPERIENCE FOR MARCH 2/3


Woodrow Wilson needs your advice!

War broke out in Europe in 1914, with the entire continent being affected by the “war to end all wars.” The United States did not get involved militarily until 1917, however.  Did they need to join in the fray “over there”? In our next class, we will discuss American involvement in the war.  To prepare, you should also complete “Should America Enter the Great War”?” using the handout from class and the Advice  for Mr. Wilson website.  Make sure you follow the directions carefully – you should come to class with advice for the President!

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After the class intro, hopefully you have a basic idea about the origins of the Great War – The War to End All Wars – WORLD WAR I.  You can review the material below to get a better understanding about the long term causes of the war in Europe – and maybe think of some questions!  Want some more info?  Check out …

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IMPERIALISM DEBATE – In the 50s in March!

I can discuss the the positives and negatives of American imperialism at the turn of the century.

I can successfully and effectively prepare for and participate in an academic discussion.

How do you hit these targets (and learn a ton in the process)?

  • You prepare, making sure you have details, statistics, quotes, multiple arguments.
  • You participate, making sure you stay on task, support your statements, listen to others, use the back-channel properly and effectively.
  • You have a positive impact on the discussion/debate, refraining from personal attacks, put downs, nit picking approaches, and buffoonery.
  • You reflect on your participation and your learning during and after the discussion. 

In your next 50 minute afternoon class, we will examine American imperialism in more detail as we have a fun little discussion about the United States “spreading its wings” at the turn of the 20th century.

 The class will be divided into two groups, with one side defending the affirmative to the question and one side defending the negative.  Each individual will be responsible for a general understanding of the Age of Imperialism through the preview video.  In addition, each individual will become an expert on one area or example of American imperialism.  You will be responsible for developing a DEBATE PREPARATION SHEET in which you create a statement of facts, identify what aspects and details of your argument you will use in the debate, identify possible ways in which the opposing side will challenge you and how you will respond, and identify specific questions that you will ask the opposing side to strengthen your argument. Your DEBATE PREPARATION SHEET must be completed by the beginning of the debate – and you will be evaluated on your preparation, as well as your participation in the debate. 

As you prepare, think about the list we created at the beginning of class about American involvement in foreign affairs.  Consult the online sources available below  in order to be prepared.  Look for statistics, primary source quotes, and detailed events that can strengthen the impact of your arguments!’

SOME SOURCES (You can use any others – just make sure you cite any stats, primary or secondary statements, and images. )

General sources on American Imperialism – The Age of Imperialism / The United States Becomes a World Power

Hawaii – The Annexation of Hawaii from Digital History,  Americans overthrow Hawaiian monarchy from History, The Annexation of Hawaii from the Library of Congress

The Spanish American War – The Spanish American War from Digital History,  Spanish-American War from History,  Spanish American War from the National Museum of American History

China and the Open Door – Secretary of State John Hay and the Open Door in China, 1899–1900 from the Department of State, The Boxer Rebellion from Small Planet, Open Door Policy for China fromHistory Central, Open Door Policy Cartoon, Boxer Rebellion cartoon

The Philippine Revolution – The Philippines from Digital History, The Philippine American War from the Department of State, Crucible of Empire – Revolt in the Philippines- from PBS Online, Philippine Independence Declared from History,  Crucible of Empire – Aguinaldo captured by U.S. troops“Another ‘Large Draft on our Credulity” cartoon

Panama – “A Man, A Plan, A Canal, Panama” from Digital History, TR and the Panama Canal from American Experience, The Panama Canal from Small Planet, Panama declares independence from History, “Held Up The Wrong Man” – Panama Cartoon

Involvement in Latin America – Policing the Caribbean and Central America from Digital History, Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine, 1904 from the Department of State, U.S. Intervention in Latin America from Small Planet,  Dollar Diplomacy, 1909–1913 from the Department of State

Mexico and Pancho Villa

Roosevelt, Wilson, and the Morality of PowerAmerican President: President Woodrow Wilson: Foreign Affairs , Wilson and Foreign Affairs

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IMPERIALISM – Learning Experience for February 25/26

I can describe and evaluate the causes, events, and impact of American imperialism.

While the US was pushing for reform at home, the country was also expanding abroad in the era of IMPERIALISM.  Was American imperialism right or wrong?  That’s our essential question!  How will we answer it?


To preview our discussion, you should spend 30 minutes (yup, it’s timed) watching America in the 20th Century: America Becomes a World Power (usmstudent, wildcats).  As you watch, use the viewing guide to consider the reasons why the United States became an expansionist country in the late 1800s, and then consider each example of American imperialism – ESPECIALLY THE SPANISH AMERICAN WAR.  Should the US have been an imperial nation? That’s your goal!

Want more? Check out our pal John Green!

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