Missouri Over There


Written by some of the most renowned scholars in the field, the authoritative articles on Missouri Over There give users an overview of the Missouri’s significant role in World War I.

From the war’s complex origins, Missouri’s home front contributions, combat on the Western Front, and the war’s troubled legacy, these articles provide important context for the diverse collections.


Lieutenant E.V.M. Izac "Living Heroes of U.S. Forces" - October 22, 1939

Image courtesy of Missouri History Museum

The Espionage and Sedition Acts

Written by Petra DeWitt

The search for the enemy within the United States and the frenzy to reduce opposition to the Great War resulted in several attempts to curtail expressions, outlaw the speaking of German, and suspend the publication of any newspaper critical of the government. States, such as Missouri, usually preferred to deal with dissent in their own way through gubernatorial proclamations and municipal orders and insisted on minimal federal government interference.1 Congress’ passage of the Espionage Act in 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918 transformed this citizen-to-government relationship.   Article III, Section 3 of the American Constitution defines treason as taking up arms against the United States and “giving…Aid and Comfort” to the enemy. But until 1917, few acts addressed vocal dissent or oppo… Continue Reading

Photograph of Hugo Schroeder - n.d.

Image courtesy of Velma Schroeder Rohan

The German American Experience in Missouri during World War I

Written by Petra DeWitt

During the Great War, German Americans and those of German or Austrian extraction, felt pressured to demonstrate their loyalty to the United States owing to national, state, and local mobilization efforts. Men volunteered for active duty, registered with the Selective Service, served when drafted, or if too old participated in the Home Guard. Families invested in Liberty Bonds, purchased War Savings Stamps, conserved food, and supported the Red Cross. Most did so to express their heartfelt patriotism; others intended to appear loyal to divert attention from their ethnicity; and some resented the war’s and government’s interference in their daily lives.1 Federal legislation directly impacted many German Americans. Immigrants from Germany and Austria who had not yet become naturalized citiz… Continue Reading

Photograph of Governor of Missouri Frederick Gardner reading a welcome address to General John J. Pershing in Laclede, Missouri - January 11, 1920

Image courtesy of General John J. Pershing Boyhood Home State Historic Site

The Missouri Council of Defense during World War I

Written by Petra DeWitt

Newton D. Baker, Secretary of War and chairman of the Council of National Defense, requested in April 1917 that all state governors create state councils of defense “as the official war emergency organization of the states … charged with conducting all of the war activity of the states not directly within the fields of the established executive departments.”1 Governor Frederick D. Gardner responded by calling for a statewide conference to establish the Missouri Council of Defense and appointed Frederick B. Mumford, the dean of the Missouri College of Agriculture, as the council's chairman. Although instructions required that Missouri establish a state council and county councils, conference delegates decided to create additional councils at the township and school district level. The gover… Continue Reading

Photograph of Women's Troop Train Service parade - n.d.

Image courtesy of Missouri History Museum

US Women's Overseas Service in World War I

Written by Tammy M. Proctor

With the entry of the United States into World War I in April 1917, women mobilized to show their service to the nation just as men did.  At home women formed the front line of food and resource conservation, they volunteered for the Red Cross and other war relief organizations, and worked in war-related capacities.  However, this essay focuses on another part of female war service, namely their overseas service.  World War I marked the first major mobilization of American women in Europe in U.S. History.  More than sixteen thousand women served as part of the AEF in sex-segregated environments in non-combat roles.1 Thousands of women worked stateside in the armed services (army, navy and marines) in order to free up men for war. Hundreds more traveled to France to work for other organizat… Continue Reading

Photograph of Wayne Miner, American Legion Post #149 - October 20,1921

Image courtesy of Black Archives of Mid-America

African Americans and World War I

Written by Jennifer D. Keene

President Woodrow Wilson’s proclamation that the United States was fighting “to make the world safe for democracy” rang hollow for many African Americans. Wilson had already disappointed civil rights leaders by allowing federal agencies to re-segregate their offices and by endorsing the white supremacist message of the controversial film Birth of a Nation.  Determined to fight for democracy at home and abroad, many African Americans saw the war as an opportunity to press forward with their demands for equality.  During the period of neutrality most African Americans (like most Americans) remained indifferent to the larger geo-political issues surrounding the war. Many workers, however, immediately recognized the economic opportunities the war provided. The war had disrupted the flow of ch… Continue Reading