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Exhibition Echoes of the Great War: American Experiences of World War I


On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, an armistice negotiated between Germany and the Allies ended the major fighting of World War I. The Meuse-Argonne offensive had given the Allies an important victory, but Germany itself had not been invaded and a large German army remained in the field. However, its allies Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria had already abandoned the fight; the Allied blockade increasingly threatened the food supply and economy of Germany; and the prospect of millions more American soldiers flowing across the Atlantic convinced German leaders that their situation would only worsen. Worldwide, the fighting killed about ten million soldiers and wounded approximately twenty million more. Included in these numbers were more than 100,000 dead and 200,000 wounded Americans. Millions of civilians also died directly or indirectly from the conflict, many by starvation and disease. The war had taken a catastrophic human toll.