How did North Carolinians contribute to the World War I home front?
In 1914, several European countries declared war on each other in a conflict later known as World War I. Many factors led to war, such as the buildup of militaries, alliances between countries, nationalistic pride, and imperialism. The most immediate cause was the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary.
The war lasted more than four brutal years. The Allied Powers, including Great Britain and France, urged the United States to join their side. They fought against the Central Powers, which included Germany and its allies. The U.S. agreed to join the Allies in 1917. This late decision came after deadly German submarine warfare. The U.S. also discovered a decoded message called the Zimmermann Telegram. The Germans sent it promising to help Mexico go to war with the U.S. over territory.
U.S. President Woodrow Wilson called for all men from the ages of 21 to 31 to register so the U.S. could draft them into the armed forces. The U.S. Army set up training camps for new soldiers throughout the country. These included three in North Carolina: Camp Greene in Charlotte, Camp Bragg near Fayetteville, and Camp Polk in Raleigh.
Being a soldier was not the only way to support the war effort. Although armies fought in Europe, North Carolinians made many contributions to the war. These contributions affected both those who went abroad and those who stayed on the home front. “Home front” is a term that describes the role of government, institutions, and individuals who contributed from home during wartime.
To show their support, North Carolinians purchased Liberty Bonds. These allowed people to help the government pay for the war with the promise they would get their money back with interest when the bonds reached their peak value later on. North Carolina women joined organizations like the American Red Cross, Young Women’s Christian Association, and Salvation Army. They also served as nurses. People grew food in wartime “victory gardens” and canned to conserve more. They also conserved coal, one of the most important raw materials needed at home and abroad.
State industry also geared up to support the war. North Carolinians built ships in Wilmington and airplane propellers in High Point. They made wagon wheels in Hickory and artillery shells in Raleigh. North Carolina’s tobacco factories produced cigarettes. Its textile mills made blankets, socks, and tents for the armed forces.
North Carolina soldiers served in all the major battles of 1918. The war was one of the deadliest in history. After four years and three and a half months of fighting, the Allied Powers emerged victorious on November 11, 1918. They signed the Treaty of Versailles, which formally declared peace, in June 1919. People around the world hoped the conflict would turn out to be “the war to end all wars.”
Nationalistic: idea that one’s own country is most important and little care or attention should be paid to others
Imperialism: the extension of the authority of one empire or nation over other countries
Abroad: outside of your own country
Institution: organization, establishment, foundation, or society devoted to a particular cause or program
Conserve: not use as much of something so it lasts longer
Artillery: mounted projectile-firing guns or missile launchers
Create a visual collage of 8-12 of North Carolina’s contributions to World War I on a blank state map which you should be able to find online easily. Your visuals may be drawn or digital images, or a combination of both. Label your icons and add color and specific geographic locations to enhance your map collage.
On the back, write about which contributions you feel were most important in contributing to World War I and why. Please reference the case study Background Information and sources to justify your answers. You should include at least five complete sentences. Create a works cited page and include site URLs for any digital images used.