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World War I: Echoes of the Great War

This guide is a companion to the Library of Congress exhibition honoring the 100-year anniversary of the start of WWI and highlights collections from the Veterans History Project.


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"Under Four Flags is a picture that the Government intends every one in the United States shall an example of what the United States and the Allies can do and are doing for the cause of Liberty." (Form letter to theater owners from Dennis Sullivan). Dennis J. Sullivan Collection. Library of Congress Veterans History Project.

On April 4, 2017—nearly 100 years to the day after the United States entered World War I—the Library of Congress launched a comprehensive exhibition on the conflict. Entitled Echoes of the Great War: American Experiences of World War I, the exhibition draws on historic documents, photographs, maps, and artifacts from throughout the Library’s collection—including items from the Veterans History Project (VHP). As the home of nearly 400 personal narratives from World War I, VHP’s archive is an unparalleled source of material on the individual experience of the Great War, and we were honored to help tell the larger story of the war from the perspective of those who served in it.

Beginning this Memorial Day, we offer a three-part companion Experiencing War web feature, which presents additional VHP collections in the context of central themes explored in the larger exhibition.

World War I at the Library of Congress

Echoes of the Great War: American Experiences of World War I examines the upheaval of world war as Americans confronted it—both at home and abroad. The exhibition considers the debates and struggles that surrounded U.S. engagement; explores U.S. military and home front mobilization and the immensity of industrialized warfare; and touches on the war's effects, as an international peace settlement was negotiated, national borders were redrawn, and soldiers returned to reintegrate into American society.

Previous Veterans History Project features on World War I:

About the Veterans History Project

The Veterans History Project (VHP) of the American Folklife Center collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war.