50,000 for the A. E. F.

Congress declared war on April 6, 1917. Two of every 100 American soldiers in World War I were killed in battle or died of disease. For every man killed, seven others were wounded, taken prisoner or missing.

"Two and a half million Americans came to France in 1917 and 1918, and some of them liked what they saw--at least those who ventured away from the Front. 'How ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm,' went the song, 'after they've seen Paree?' In some ways the Great War was the Grand Tour gone haywire, the harbinger of American Express . . . The erotic charge of France, the notion of it as the homeland of transgression, the sheer irresponsibility it implied--all were received ideas reinforced and disseminated by the passage of millions of young men who happened to get in on the tail end of a war."

- Stephen O'Shea, Back To The Front: An Accidental Historian Walks the Trenches of World War I


Gateway to a battlefield in France

Gateway to a battlefield in France.

The War of the Nations Portfolio (New York: The New York Times Co., 1919), 179.


The following is an excerpt from Woodrow Wilson's War Message on April 2, 1917; Congress declared war on April 6, 1917:

"It is a distressing and oppressive duty, gentlemen of the Congress, which I have performed in thus addressing you. There are, it may be, many months of fiery trial and sacrifice ahead of us. It is a fearful thing to lead this great peaceful people into war, into the most terrible and disastrous of all wars, civilization itself seeming to be in the balance. But the right is more precious than peace, and we shall fight for the things which we have always carried nearest our hearts for democracy, for the right of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own governments for the rights and liberties of small nations, for a universal dominion of right by such a concert of free peoples as shall bring peace and safety to all nations and make the world itself at last free. To such a task we can dedicate our lives and our fortunes, everything that we are and everything that we have, with the pride of those who know that the day has come when America is privileged to spend her blood and her might for the principles that gave her birth and happiness and the peace which she has treasured. God helping her, she can do no other."

The World War I Document Archive, (26 Mar. 2003)

(image 20 of 45)

United States
ca. 1917-1918
61 x 74 cm