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World War I Centennial News


 

Art from World War I on display at the Frist in Nashville

By Terry Bulger
via the WSMV.com web site

NASHVILLE, TN — In 1917, the United States fought and ended World War I in a little more than a year. A new exhibit at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts takes visitors back to that time.

Gassed from New York Times 600John Singer Sargent’s monumental tableau "Gassed" (from the Imperial War Museums, London) is one of many high-profile loans from both private and public collections that are part of the "World War I and American Art" exhibition at the Frist.Four-thousand Tennesseans died in what was once known as the “war to end all wars.” The images, words and mood of that time are now on display at the Frist Center.

When Uncle Sam made the call, 100,000 Tennesseans joined the effort to fight overseas.

New York, Philadelphia and now Nashville are the only three cities to see this touring exhibit, World War I and American Art. It includes the sometimes gruesome reminders of a war historians say we should never forget.

“Without World War I, there’s no World War II. Without World War I, there’s no Cold War. Without World War I, there’s no mess in the Middle East. And all of these things come directly from the conflict that took place between 1914 and 1918,” said Michale Birdwell, a history professor at Tennessee Tech University.

 

Read more: Art from World War I on display at the Frist in Nashville

Eight questions for Arizona filmmaker Thomas Perry

"These are the stories of true American heroes and we felt their stories needed to be told." 

By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

We recently caught up with documentary filmmaker Thomas Perry, to talk about his latest work. Thomas has many year experience making military documentary films, and he has a particular interest in World War I. He found rich sources of untold World War I stories in his own home state of Arizona, and decided to showcase them. The stories were so plentiful, that Thomas also created a companion blog to help tell them all!

You have a special project that focuses on Arizona's contribution to the effort in World War I. Tell us about your documentary.

Filmmaker Thomas PerryFilmmaker Thomas PerryThe ARIZONA HEROES OF WORLD WAR 1 is one hour documentary film highlighting the dramatic and inspiring story of Arizona’s brave men and women who lived, fought, suffered and died serving their country during World War 1.

The ARIZONA HEROES OF WW1 Project was designed as an educational and promotional tool to advance important American Legion veteran messages while also celebrating and commemorating the 100th Anniversary of The American Legion and the 100th Anniversary of America’s victory in World War 1.

ARIZONA HEROES OF WW1 is sponsored by The American Legion Department of Arizona and officially endorsed by The United States World War 1 Centennial Commission.

How did the idea come about?

We are military documentarians, having created a variety of military programs throughout our professional careers with World War 2 being a consistent theme. Many of these programs, including HOLLYWOOD GOES TO WAR and HITLER TO HIROSHIMA were broadcast on national cable networks and also nationally televised. Hundreds of thousands units have also been distributed internationally on VHS, DVD and Streaming.

With the 100th anniversary of World War 1 approaching, we wanted to create something that would honor and remember the great contributions and sacrifices made by my home state of Arizona. ARIZONA HEROES OF WW1 was it.

What is your attraction to this subject?

The era during which World War 1 took place is virtually unknown by most Americans and Arizonans. We wanted to explore that. When we began the research we really had no idea what we would find since Arizona had only been a state for a short time and had such a small population. In a short period of time we were very happy to find that the people of Arizona had contributed a great deal to support the U.S. victory.

Read more: Eight questions for Arizona filmmaker Thomas Perry

How a WWI-era boxcar — a gift from France — moved from Columbia to Bishopville in SC 

By Jeff Wilkinson
via thestate.com web site

The historic and ornate World War I-era boxcar donated full of gifts to the state of South Carolina after World War II will be moved Saturday from Columbia to Bishopville’s South Carolina Cotton Museum and Lee County Veterans Museum.

IMG boxcar tg00097 6 1 SABE3R3O L315770998 This World War I-era boxcar will be moved Saturday from an American Legion post near the University of South Carolina to the S.C. Cotton Museum and Lee County Veterans Museum. (Tracy Glantz, thestate.com )During both World Wars I and II, the narrow gauge boxcars were a main mode of transportation in France and much of the rest of Europe. They were called Forty and Eights because they were big enough to carry 40 men or eight horses. The boxcars moved troops, hauled supplies, evacuated wounded and, in their darkest use, transported Jews and other victims of the Holocaust in World War II to concentration camps.

The boxcar was part of a 49-car “gratitude train” from France that sent one boxcar to each of the 48 states and the District of Columbia as thanks for the United States’ participation in World War II and America’s aid afterward. The boxcar has been displayed in a parking lot behind Columbia’s American Legion Post 6 at Pickens and Whaley streets for decades, largely unseen by the public.

“This was a piece of history sitting in the middle of South Carolina and no one had ever seen it or heard of it,” said Ronnie Williams, commander of VFW Post 3096 of Bishopville and a director of the Lee County Veterans Museum. “By putting this on Main Street in Bishopville, especially with next year being the 100th anniversary of the armistice of World War I, this gives us a great opportunity to show the history of the boxcar and the history of the wars.”

On Saturday, the boxcar will be placed on a “lowboy” trailer most often used to transport heavy equipment by a crane leased for a discount price from White’s Crane Service of West Columbia. It will then be transported free of charge on the lowboy from Columbia to Bishopville by a crew from Diamond W. Trucking of Heath Springs.

Read more: How a WWI-era boxcar — a gift from France — moved from Columbia to Bishopville in SC

Hudson, Ohio World War I Memorial restoration is one step closer

By Laura Freeman
via the mytownneo.com web site

HUDSON – The Hudson World War I Memorial Restoration and Centennial project has been selected as one of 50 grant awardees, bringing rehabilitation of the memorial on the Clocktower Green one step closer to fruition.

Hudson Ohi0 MemorialThe United States World War I Centennial Commission and the Pritzker Military Museum, in partnership with the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars, announced Sept. 27 the first 50 memorials officially designated as “WWI Centennial Memorials.”

“We are pleased to learn that the Hudson WWI Memorial Restoration and Centennial project was selected for a matching grant,” said Christopher Bach, an architect with Peninsula Architects who is leading the restoration effort. “In addition to the national press and visibility that the city of Hudson and the WWI Memorial will receive, we are also excited to learn that the Hudson WWI Memorial will officially be designated as a national “WWI Centennial Memorial” and will be presented with an official certificate and a bronze medallion of the designation.”

The matching grant of $2,000 matches the $2,200 raised so far for the project, Bach said. Another fundraiser is planned in November.

The project includes restoring the 30-inch-by-60-inch WWI bronze memorial plaque that carries 81 names of veterans from the Great War, located on the corner of Route 91 and Route 303.

The plaque will be removed and restored, Bach said. The deteriorating stone base will be replaced and the plaque will be remounted.

Read more: Hudson, Ohio World War I Memorial restoration is one step closer

American sculptor built facial prosthetics for disfigured WWI soldiers

By Gareth Davies
via the mailonline.com web site

Anna Coleman Ladd at workAnna Coleman Ladd works on the mask of one of the soldiers. The incredible set of photos from nearly 100 years ago show the impact one American sculptor had on the lives of numerous soldiers who were horrifically disfigured during World War One.Incredible before and after photographs show how British soldiers had to have their faces rebuilt having been maimed during World War One.

Images taken shortly after the conclusion of the First World War, between the end of 1918 and the beginning of 1919, show the horrible facial injuries suffered by several soldiers.

The pictures show how a pioneering sculptor and a leading surgeon used their expertise to transform the men who had become victims on the frontline.

Anna Coleman Ladd created custom-made masks for soldiers to wear over their wounds.

Ladd was an American-born sculptor who studied in Paris and Rome, and soldiers would come to her studio to have a cast made of their faces, which would then be used to help construct the prosthetic from very thin copper.

This would then be painted to try and resemble the soldiers' skin colour, and each piece would be adorned with some form of string or eyeglasses in order to keep it in place.

Before she got to work on the masks, many soldiers required surgery to rebuild their faces.

Young surgeon Harold Gillies transformed the faces of many of those who were injured and shipped back to Britain.

Read more: American-born sculptor built facial prosthetics for WWI soldiers

Five Questions for Jerry Michaud, Roll of Honor Foundation

"Make sure that those U.S. service men and women who served in this war are not forgotten by this and future generations."

By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

One of our great partners in our effort to create the new National World War I Memorial is the Roll Of Honor Foundation. The Roll of Honor Foundation is a nonprofit charity with the mission of honoring the military service of the men and women of America’s Armed Forces, educating the public about their legacy and encouraging public service among the next generation. The Foundation provides the Roll of Honor -- an online registry of U.S. service persons -- which allows former military members and their families to display their military experience, records of achievement and photos in a digital visual biography. In partnership with the United States World War One Centennial Commission, the World War I Roll of Honor features profiles of many of the more than 4 million American service persons who responded to the call of “Over There” in support of the war-weary Allies and helped achieve victory in "The War That Changed the World." We spoke to Jerry Michaud, who created the profile platform for the Roll of Honor Foundation, to hear about their efforts regarding World War I veterans.

Tell us about the Roll of Honor Foundation and what you do to honor our nation’s veterans.

The Roll of Honor Foundation’s mission is to honor the military service of the men and women of America’s Armed Forces, educating the public about their legacy and encouraging public service among future generations.

Jerry Michaud 300Jerry MichaudThe Foundation provides a free online registry of U.S. service men and women (www.rollofhonor.org) which allows current and former military members and their families to display their military experience, records of achievement and photos in a digital visual biography. Our ambition is to document the entire U.S. military service history – from Lexington and Concord to today’s deployments – through the individual histories of America’s military. Almost 3 million service members are currently in the Roll of Honor and new profiles are being added daily.

You recently partnered with the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission for a special edition of the Roll of Honor. What will people see when they go to the Roll of Honor?

The World War One National Memorial Roll of Honor (www.rollofhonor.org/ww1) was designed to give individual visibility to the millions of Doughboys, pilots, sailors and nurses of “the war that changed the world,” detailing their ranks, units, battles, awards, citations and other elements of their service. Through a vivid digital display, each profile page will focus on that individual’s World War One experience, making sure that everyone who took a stand for freedom – serving their country in the military, surviving extremely tough circumstances and possibly facing death – will not be unnoticed or forgotten.

On the WWI Commission’s website, visitors can use the “Find Your World War One veteran” search tool to discover their ancestor’s individual profile on the WWI Roll of Honor. If there is no profile created yet or you have additional details, photographs, letters or “Stories of Service” you want to add to an existing profile, the Roll of Honor Foundation staff will help you build or enhance the profile.

Read more: Five Questions for Jerry Michaud

Five Questions for David Hanna

"The volunteers' commitment to the cause they were defending rarely, if ever, wavered."

Before America joined World War I, a small group of Americans volunteered for the French Foreign Legion to help defeat the Central Powers. In his book Rendezvous with Death, historian David Hanna profiles seven of these volunteers: a poet, an artist, a boxer, a stunt pilot, a college student, a veteran of the Spanish American War, and an advertising executive. All seven men were united in courage; and some, like poet Alan Seeger, paid the ultimate sacrifice. Now Hanna has built a section about The American Volunteers of 1914 on the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission web site. The Rendezvous with Death site provides additional information, from both American and international sources, about the Volunteers. We talked to David about his book, the new site, what he learned personally while researching the volunteers.

Tell us about your book, RENDEZVOUS WITH DEATH, on which your new web site is based. It has a truly unique World War I topic.

My book focuses on the original group of American volunteers in the French army in 1914. I found my way to this topic when doing some exploratory research on a book on the Lafayette Escadrille. What intrigued me most was the story of the pilots that had originally served in the trenches, on the ground, in the French Foreign legion before taking to the air. I was also drawn to the stories of those of their original comrades who did not join the air service. There was something pure, for lack of a better way of putting it, about their motives and their sacrifice. They truly believed - even the most hard-boiled and/or jaded among them - that this cause was a worthy one, that they were fighting "For Civilization" ( the original title of my book, by the way - dropped because it wasn't considered marketable enough...).

Hanna DDavid HannaI also have a strong personal connection to the war, as my maternal grandfather, John Elco, served in France in 1918 with the Keystone Division and the 19th Engineers. We were close when I was a boy. He instilled in me a love of history that has persisted throughout my life.

Who were these American men who enlisted with the French Foreign Legion? Where did they come from? Where they running to the war, or running away from something? Why did they join FFL instead of an American military service?

A majority of them were expats, living in Paris when the war broke out. Some were from wealthy backgrounds, others, humble. Some black, some white. Artists, writers, poets, posers, boxers - they all had found something living abroad, living in Paris, that spoke to them. When their French counterparts in the cafes got their call-up papers, and headed to the Front, many felt they owed something and joined them.

There were others, smaller in number, who felt that France's cause was noble and Germany was a bully. They booked passage on their own to France, and joined the Legion too. Probably the most famous of these were the Rockwell brothers, Paul and Kiffin. Kiffin would go on to become one of the founding members of the Lafayette Escadrille.

The reason they joined the Foreign Legion was because it was the only outfit that would allow them to serve while retaining their U.S. citizenship. With Wilson firmly opposed to intervention in the war, the only way to come to France's aid was to do so directly. But they were the trailblazers. The hundreds of thousands of their countrymen that would follow in 1917-1918, were walking in their footsteps.

Read more: Five Questions for David Hanna

The Trains & Traction Project

Six United States WWI-era railcars to be rebuilt in France for the Centennial Commemoration

By Ashleigh Shaw
Staff Writer

unnamed 25Alaine (L) and Phillippe, volunteers from Trains & Traction, shown at work restoring the American military rail cars from World War I, with the exact-reproduction stencil markings from the era.Trains and Traction: Le Train des Mouettes, a French train association, is rebuilding six United States World War I railcars. These train cars were originally constructed by U.S. Doughboys from the 35th Engineer Regiment in 1917-1918.

Olivier Jaubert, Heritage Director for Trains & Traction, says it is a heartfelt project of friendship between the people of America and France. "Our project is relatively big and involves a lot of partners, including French Ministry of Culture. It may interest American citizens to know that the people of France vividly remember the past help that came to us from the United States".

100 years ago, the Doughboys of the 35th Engineers worked to assemble railcars in order to move supplies and men to the front lines. Across France, U.S. Army Engineers would assemble thousands of rail cars, and create a brand new railway system. Many of the railcars were assembled in La Rochelle, France by the 35th Engineers.

Train des Mouettes is working to complete all six rail cars before the end of the Centennial. In honor of the first of these railway cars being completely reconstructed, the Consul of the United States in Bordeaux visited the car during its formal presentation in July 2017.

Read more: The Trains & Traction Project

‘Rodin at The Met’ Celebrates a Centennial

Rodin inspired more emotion in the World War I memorial sculpture

By Milene Fernandez
via the Epoch Times web site

Rodin exhibit“Rodin at The Met” exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on Sept. 15, 2017. (Milene Fernandez/The Epoch Times)NEW YORK—If you would be asked to imagine a sculpture, you would most likely conjure an image of a robust male nude sitting on a rock, hunched over diagonally with his right elbow digging into his left knee, his chin resting on his right hand, his head downcast—that iconic sculpture by Auguste Rodin (1840–1917), “The Thinker.” This year marks the centennial of Rodin’s death. It gives us ample opportunity to re-think this larger-than-life sculptor. Rodin may be difficult to pinpoint in art history yet he continues to influence artists today.

Museums around the world are celebrating Rodin’s legacy and The Metropolitan Museum of Art is no exception. Since cementing a fruitful relationship with Rodin during the artist’s lifetime and owning a wide array of his work, The Met has put together a most refreshing and uniquely comprehensive exhibition, “Rodin at The Met,” on view until Jan. 15, 2018.

Rediscovering Rodin

“The exhibition tells the story of this great artist but also the story of a hundred years of gifts and acquisitions of his works,” said Daniel H. Weiss, president and CEO of The Met at a press preview on Sept. 15. Many of the works The Met acquired as gifts from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation, which also made the exhibition possible.

The Met owns 91 Rodin sculptures, in marble, bronze, plaster, and terracotta. More than half, 49, are on view, featuring iconic sculptures like “The Thinker” in the same size as in “The Gates of Hell” portal, and “The Hand of God,” among others. One of the curator’s joys of working on this exhibit was discovering the exquisitely carved sculpture, “The Tempest.” It had been kept in storage well over 20 years. The only other marble known of it is in the Musée Rodin in Paris.

“Rodin actually changed the way that I work. I had to learn drama and storytelling, and Rodin helped me with that.”
-- Sabin Howard, sculptor for the national World War I Memorial at Pershing Park in Washington, DC.

The statue that marked the beginning of Rodin’s public career, “The Age of Bronze,” stands as usual in the center of the gallery, as the axis of two major themes of the exhibition—creation and death.

On the west side of the gallery, stands the literary giant, the “Monument to Balzac,” and “The Hand of God,” Rodin’s great tribute to Michelangelo and to artistic creativity. In contrast, the east side of the gallery focuses on despair, displaying “Adam” and “Eve” on both sides of ‘The Thinker,” mimicking their placement in the great portal, “The Gates of Hell.”

On the walls, paintings from The Met’s collection by some of Rodin’s most admired contemporaries are displayed. “We could make the paintings for the first time really speak to the sculptures and the sculptures speak to the paintings and that’s [the result of our] collaborative effort,” said Denise Allen, curator of European sculpture and decorative art at The Met and the main organizer of the exhibition. Allen led a team from three departments.

Read more: Rodin inspired more emotion in the World War I memorial sculpture

Vintage baseball game in Newport honors WWI hero

By Mark Reynolds
via the Providence Journal web site

NWC Baseball gameAir Force Lt. Col. Chris Cornette, playing for the Army team, takes a practice wsing while Navy and Army managers go over the ground rules with the umpires before the WWI baseball game in Providence, RI on September 29. [The providence Journal / Glenn Osmundson]NEWPORT, R.I. — Bernardo Cardines was an Italian immigrant, a resident alien, a tailor and a future soldier who lived just a short distance from one of the earliest baseball parks in the United States.

He had journeyed to Rhode Island by his 15th birthday, registered for the draft by his 22nd birthday. He never celebrated his 23rd birthday. He was killed on a battlefield in France during World War I.

Remembering the sacrifice of the immigrant was one of the story lines Friday when the iconic ball field on America’s Cup Way was rededicated in Cardines’ name.

The event, organized in part by the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission, also featured an old-fashioned baseball game between Naval War College students dressed in World War I-era Navy and Army baseball uniforms.

Baseball was an element in diplomacy that glued together the Western alliance and paved the way for the meaningful service of Cardines and many other U.S. aliens, according to a member of the centennial commission, John D. Monahan, a retired U.S. Army major who knows his history.

About 25 percent of the individuals who served in the American Expeditionary Forces were not natives of the United States, says Monahan.

“That’s absolutely critical to the story,” said Monahan.

Cardines was born in Venafro, Italy, and he arrived in the U.S. in 1909, joining his father, a tailor. He became a tailor himself. He worked in a business on Thames Street and lived with relatives on Sanford Street — on the other side of the ballpark.

A year after the United States entered World War I, he was among U.S. soldiers who boarded a troopship in Philadelphia for deployment to Europe to serve under Gen. John J. Pershing.

Read more: Vintage baseball game in Newport honors WWI hero

Four Question for Cypher, "The Cynical Historian"

WWI: "A clear breaking point in world history, and American history is no exception to that."

By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

As part of our series on historical resources online, we wanted to showcase a remarkable YouTuber named Cypher, who hosts the channel "The Cynical Historian. Cypher is an offbeat, frank, and fresh, voice in the world of historical review -- and thorough his insight, he has earned a wide & enthusiastic following online, with nearly 40,000 subscribers. His latest episode was one that he produced as a commemorative partner with the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission. The episode discusses the lasting effects of World War I.

Tell us about your new WWI episode on your YouTube Channel -- "What Were the Effects of WWI?" sounds like an pretty ambitious topic!

Unknown 9Cypher, "The Cynical Historian"Awhile back I did an episode on the causes of WWI. Since we’re still within the centennial of the war, I thought I would talk about its effects. It is a clear breaking point in world history, and American history is no exception to that. But there is an interesting interpretive layer that many don’t explore when discussing WWI’s end.

Some of our readers are not well-acquainted with the history shows on YouTube, or with your particular Channel. Tell us about what aspects of history that you specialize in, and what interests you pursue in producing your shows.

I do a lot of analytical history on whatever I feel like doing really. The best explanation I can give for the channel is to direct you to the channel trailer: The Cynical Historian | Channel Trailer

Read more: Four Question for Cypher, "The Cynical Historian"

Announcing the First 50 Official 'WWI Centennial Memorials'

Via the Veterans of Foreign Wars web site

On September 27th, the United States World War One Centennial Commission and the Pritzker Military Museum & Library announced the first 50 official “WWI Centennial Memorials” from 100 Cites/100 Memorials program.

100C 100M Logo largeAlthough the 100 Cities / 100 Memorials program submission period lasted a full year, from July 2016 to July 2017, since the April 6 centennial of the U.S. declaration of war and the subsequent national awakening about World War I, the interest and focus on local WWI memorials around the country has had a large resurgence.

Rather than simply extending the submission period, the 100 Cities / 100 Memorials program Executive Committee has resolved to select and to name the first 50 awardees now, and then to re-open a new submission period starting today, September 14, 2017, through January 15, 2018. In this way, we are opening the National Matching Grant challenge to the many additional WWI memorial projects manifesting around the country. Aside from the dates and deadlines, the competition rules and regulations will remain essentially unchanged and can see found at ww1cc.org/100Memorials.

The extension is called: 100 Cities / 100 Memorials Round #2. All entries that were submitted in Round #1, but were not awarded a grant, are automatically entered into Round #2. Additionally, those participants’ entries will be opened for editing allowing them to add to, edit and update their submissions until the closing of Round #2.

Through this program, we found that every project submitted is amazing in its own right. Though we are announcing 50 awardees today, literally every submission received deserves recognition and congratulations. The program sponsors, supporting organizations and project staff wish to thank everyone who has and everyone who will be participating in the program. The dedication and honor you have shown to your community, your history and our national heritage is genuinely humbling. Thank you.

Furthermore, during the World War One Centennial Commission meeting in Washington DC on September 13, 2017, the Commission resolved to designate the awarded memorials as “WWI Centennial Memorials” and as the congressionally designated U.S. government body for the national Commemoration of World War One, to make such a designation an official national designation.

Read more: Announcing the First 50 Official 'WWI Centennial Memorials'

WWI: Immigrants make a difference on the front lines and at home

By Ryan Reft
via the Library of Congress Blog

By 1910, nearly a third of the United States’ 92 million residents were either born abroad or the progeny of parents who immigrated to America. The idea of “hyphenated Americans”—citizens who identified as Polish-American or Italian-American, for example—discomforted many native-born citizens. Former President Teddy Roosevelt insisted all citizens, no matter their birthright or ethnic heritage, embrace “the simple and loyal motto, America for Americans.” Future president Woodrow Wilson, too, expressed doubts about foreign-born citizens, worrying they might harbor “alien sympathies.”

Americanization DayIn the years immediately surrounding World War I, organizations like the New York National Americanization Day Committee hoped to use patriotic holidays such as the Fourth of July as a means to unify the country’s diverse populations.Although Americans did not know it at the time, immigrants would soon prove critical to the country’s effort in World War I, both in military service and in industry. Despite their importance, America closed its borders in the years after the armistice, ending what had been the largest immigration flow in the country’s history.

The complicated experience of immigrants on the American home front during the WWI era is conveyed in the Library’s current exhibit “Echoes of the Great War: American Experiences of World War I,” which features artifacts from divisions across the Library. In addition, case files from the Manuscript Division’s Woodrow Wilson Papers shed further light on the wartime lives of American newcomers.

Whatever nativist doubts the native-born harbored, immigrants in 1917 poured themselves into the war effort. Nearly 500,000 servicemen in the newly conscripted army consisted of individuals born abroad in 46 different nations. Like their African-American counterparts, however, immigrants were over drafted: nearly 18 percent of enlisted men were foreign born despite making up less than 15 percent of the nation’s total population.

Initially, the military subscribed to the 100-percent Americanism promoted by Roosevelt. U.S. Army Captain Ralston Flemming, for example, wrote of successful efforts at Camp Jackson in South Carolina to inculcate immigrants with “enthusiastic militant Americanism.” But the military soon adopted the gentler Americanization program of progressive reformers, which allowed for retention of cultural traditions. Congress also helped by passing legislation that enabled foreign-born soldiers to obtain expedited naturalization. Eventually, about 300,000 immigrant soldiers would attain citizenship through military service in the war.

On the home front, with immigrant labor concentrated in wartime industries—coal, steel, textiles, oil, lumber and many others—newcomers to the U.S. contributed mightily to mobilization and war work. At Bethlehem Steel, one of the largest wartime steel producers, nearly 10,000 of the plant’s 30,000 workers were immigrants.

Unions, too, saw an opportunity to expand through immigration. Historically, the American Federation of Labor (AFL) had expressed ambivalence and even reticence toward immigrant labor. But during the war, it incorporated the foreign born into the labor movement. AFL membership boomed, as did that of other unions, like the International Association of Machinists.

Read more: Immigrants Make a Difference on the Front Lines and at Home

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