World War I: Lessons and Legacies explores the history of the war and its lasting impact on American life. Sparked by the assassination of one man, the war eventually included the forces of the world’s major industrial powers (over 18 countries in all) and ended with millions dead. But beyond the countries involved and the people affected, World War I gave rise to significant and enduring changes in America. Wartime technologies and medical advances resulted in new industries and novel ways to both fight disease and treat disability. The critical roles that women and minorities played in the war led to the right to vote for women and a raised consciousness of civil rights issues throughout society.
From the Great Migration to the 1918 flu pandemic and from the unionization movement to women’s suffrage, World War I led to pivotal changes in America’s culture, technology, economy, and role in the world. It redefined how we saw ourselves as Americans and its legacy continues today.
World War I: Lessons and Legacies is organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and the National Museum of American History, with funding from The United States World War I Centennial Commission and the Smithsonian Women’s Committee.