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Racial, Ethnic, and Religious Minorities in World War I: A Resource Guide

Cultural, ethnic, and religious minorities served on the front lines, in military support roles, and on the home front during the First World War. This guide comprises Library of Congress digital resources and print materials related to the topic.


American ethnic, religious and cultural minorities served during the First World War in the front lines, in support units, at sea, and in factories and on farms. Their contributions were vital to the war effort. They came from families of recent, naturalized immigrants and from long-established immigrant families. They served in infantry units such as the African American 369th Infantry Regiment (the Harlem Hellfighters), and the Irish American 69th Infantry Regiment (the Fighting 69th) of the New York National Guard. They served in the Hawaii National Guard. They served from various tribes as Native American Code Talkers, providing unbreakable secret communications. They served throughout the military in all branches. They also served as nurses and helped keep the military supplied through food and materiel production. Together they all contributed to victory for the Allies and the United States.