State Historic Site
Wake Up America Day, April 1917
A Whole-House Exhibit at the Trail End State Historic Site
April 2017 through December 2018
WORLD WAR ONE, optimistically known as “The War to End All Wars,” began in 1914 as a dispute between Serbia and Austria. Because of a complicated maze of treaties, their small conflict soon engulfed most of Europe – along with parts of Africa, Asia and the Americas – in the flames of the most devastating war the world had known to date. America joined the fray in 1917, sending over a million soldiers, sailors and Marines overseas to fight.
For Americans left behind, this was no “background war” – one in which soldiers fought and died while life carried on as usual back home. Instead, the entire country was put on a war footing. Citizens in all walks of life – from housewives and school children to ranchers and tradesmen – supplied food, clothing, raw materials, ships, ammunition, medical supplies and – perhaps most importantly of all – moral support for the men fighting overseas. Fueled by a heady mixture of patriotism, propaganda and politics, the American public took to their duty with a vengeance. Through the purchase of government bonds, they even paid for the bulk of the war’s cost themselves.
"Wake Up America: Life At Home During the War, 1917-1918," examines how the average American – including those who lived in Sheridan and at Trail End – worked together to help America’s sons win the war.
Poster, James Montgomery Flagg, 1917 (LOC)
Detail from Poster, "Wake Up America," 1917 (LOC)