Great American Stories: World War I, Why We Fought

State War

Great American Stories: World War I, Why We Fought

On this date 104 years ago, a U.S. president broke a solemn election-year promise and committed Americans to fight and die on Europe’s battlefields in a war characterized by unfathomable human carnage.

Woodrow Wilson’s first recollections as a boy in Virginia and Georgia during the Civil War were of the lessons of loss. By 1917, human beings had become expert at killing: More soldiers died in the first few hours of the Battle of the Somme than in three days at Gettysburg.

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