World War I

The American “Doughboy” seen on this monument is a particularly fitting tribute to World War l. Inspired by sculptor E.M. Viquesney, his creation honors American soldiers who served during this conflict.

Fought between 1914 and 1918, World War l, or the “Great War,” was the first conflict of its kind in many ways: It was the first time that so many countries had gone to war at the same time; the first time the battlefield had been so massive; and the first time genocide, poison gas and chemical warfare had become weapons of combat.

The stage was set for World War l on June 28th, 1914 when Archduke Franz Ferdinand (heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne) and his wife were assassinated in Sarajevo by a Serbian fanatic. A month later, Austria declared war against Serbia.

This seemingly small conflict between two nations spread rapidly. Because they were involved in treaties that obligated them to defend other countries, European powers quickly drew up sides. The allies — Russia, France and Britain, went to war against the Central powers — Germany, Austria-Hungary and Turkey. Eventually, the war spread beyond Europe and the United States joined the war in 1917 when President Woodrow Wilson called on Americans to “make the world safe for democracy.”

The war went on for 1,500 days, before the official armistice was declared on November 11, 1918. World War l cost more lives and more money than any previous war in history. 14 million soldiers and civilians were killed.

The war changed the world forever. There was the emergence of fascism. A communist movement by the Soviet Union. The British Empire reached its pinnacle. New boundaries were drawn in Europe and the Middle East. And The United States became a world power.

The brutality of the conflict and the enormous loss of human life inspired a renewed determination among nations to rely upon diplomacy to resolve conflicts in the future. This resolve inspired the birth of the League of Nations.

However, history shows that lasting peace was not to be. German nationalist, Adolf Hitler attracted millions of followers who rejected the peace and blamed Jews and Communists for their defeat. And the seeds were sown for World War ll.