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Education News from the National WWI Museum and Memorial


SAME GREAT RESOURCES.  A new school year means a new look including for the Understanding the Great War newsletter. Responding to requests, we are also adding a rotating spotlight section, this month looking at an artifact in the Museum and Memorial's collection. Want to share your thoughts? Email us at

U.S. After WWI: A Divided Nation

In the aftermath of WWI, millions of servicemen and women returned home to find the world changed. Civil rights movements were gaining momentum, the economy was in upheaval and the U.S. was more involved in international affairs than ever before. Returning to civilian life presented challenges for many.

In this issue, we explore opportunities and challenges the United States faced at the Great War's end and the groundwork laid to move forward.  

We return fighting.

Dr. Saje Mathieu and Wall Street Journal reporter Cameron McWhirter discuss the racial, cultural and political legacies of the 1919 race riots known as the Red Summer. | Recommended Grade Levels: 9-12, Adult Learners; Format: YouTube Video  

Did WWI Cause the Great Depression?

War reparations, substantial debt and efforts to protect fragile financial networks created a dubious international economic climate following WWI. 

This article from History traces the repercussions of economic difficulties and the uncertain politics that followed the end of the Great War. | Recommended Grade Levels: 9‑12; Format: Article 

Debate over the League of Nations

Which is more important: collective security or national security? What are the responsibilities of powerful nations? The same questions that resonate today are addressed in this lesson examining President Woodrow Wilson’s vision of peace following WWI and the central issues in the debate over the League of Nations. | Recommended Grade Levels: 9‑12; Format: Curriculum

Suffragists bonfire and protest in front of the White House

Suffragists bonfire and protest in front of the White House, 1917-1918.

"We have made partners of the women in this war; shall we admit them only to a partnership of suffering and sacrifice and toil and not to a partnership of privilege and right?"

– President Woodrow Wilson, in a 1918 address to the U.S. Senate.

The Fight for Women's Suffrage

Initially opposed to the right to vote for women, President Woodrow Wilson changed his mind after witnessing the powerful impact of women’s contributions to WWI efforts. On Sept. 30, 1918, prior to the Congressional vote on the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Wilson addressed the Senate with a speech urging them to give women the right to vote.

Women Workers in Wartime

Although women held a variety of jobs from factory worker to doctor during the war, employment opportunities diminished when soldiers returned home. An examination of personnel records at the National Archives provides insight as to why women struggled with employment in the post-war U.S. | Recommended Grade Levels: 9-12; Format: Article

We're Home - Now What? Exhibition Banner

The Army's Message to Returning WWI Troops? Behave Yourselves.

As millions returned to civilian life, the U.S. faced a national duty to care for veterans and their needs. A New York Times article also discusses this exhibition of Gordon Grant posters and identifies how the U.S. Army encouraged soldiers to reintegrate. | Recommended Grade Levels: All Grades; Format: Primary Source Images and Lesson


Welcome Home Pennant

This paper pennant from 1919 reads “Well Done My Boys.” Many service personnel were greeted by similar decorations welcoming them home. Some questions to consider:

-How do you think seeing this pennant would make returning service personnel feel?

-Who is depicted on the pennant? Is anyone missing?

-This pennant was kept in a scrapbook by Olga Catherine Moody Johnson. Why do you think it was important to her? 

ACTIVITY: Have students craft pennants to welcome home current Armed Forces personnel. What text and images will be meaningful for 2019 servicemen and women? How is this different than 1919?   

Welcome Home Pennant

The United States World War One Centennial Commission and the National WWI Museum and Memorial are dedicated to educating the public about the causes, events and consequences of World War I and we encourage the use of these resources to better understand the Great War and its enduring impact on the global community. 

Partners from around the world participate in the Educator Resource Database, some of whom are highlighted in this newsletter.