Detail from Poster, "Wake Up America," 1917 (LOC)
Poster, James Montgomery Flagg, 1917 (LOC)
State Historic Site
A Whole-House Exhibit at the Trail End State Historic Site
April 2017 through December 2018
Wake Up America Day, April 1917
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.