New World War I Teacher Resources from the Library of Congress

The Library’s new World War I primary source set

Shots ring out on the streets of Sarajevo. Uncle Sam tells recruits that he wants them for his army–and declares that it’s time to round up undesirables. Women face danger in stateside munitions factories and on the battlefields of Europe. A soldier writes in his diary about the last bullets of Armistice Day.

Teachers can help their students explore these moments and many more using the Library’s newest primary source set, World War I. This set brings together primary sources that document a war that was like no other, and that brought about tremendous political, social, and technological changes. From newspapers, photographs, and political cartoons to poems, recordings, and sheet music, these historical artifacts bring to life an era in which the lyrics of popular songs debated the decision to go to war; posters and cartoons posed questions about the nature of loyalty to one’s country; and soldiers’ notebooks prosaically described terrifying new mechanisms for waging war.

In addition to primary sources, this set also includes background information and teaching suggestions that support student inquiry into the many questions the war offers. The set is also available as a free interactive Student Discovery Set for iPads that allows students to annotate and analyze the primary sources.

The Library of Congress World War I topic page

The Library of Congress World War I topic page

To take a deeper dive into the Library’s rich collections related to the war, visit the Library of Congress World War I topic page. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of U.S. entry into the war, the Library is offering exhibitions, lectures, symposia, film programs, recordings, publications, veterans’ stories, educational tools, and research guides to its remarkable World War I resources.

How are your students exploring the events and legacy of World War I? Please let us know in the comments.

Americanism: Two Perspectives Following the First World War

Following the Allied victory in World War I, the United States entered a period of rapid change, experiencing changes both in its stature as a global leader and changes from social experiments, including universal women’s suffrage and the prohibition of alcohol. One widely discussed topic of this time was “Americanism,” the idea that certain unique qualities, traditions, and ideals set apart the United States.

Soldiers’ Poems of World War I in Newspapers: Personal Responses in Public Media

How can you share your response to a major world event? In the 19th and early 20th centuries, you might have put your thoughts down in a poem and sent it to a newspaper. The 1918 entry of the United States into World War I triggered an especially dramatic outpouring of these personal responses in verse.