Missouri Over There


Soldiers pointing guns over the top of a sandbag trench - n.d.

Trench Warfare

Written by Nicholas Murray

Pictures of trenches are often used to symbolize the First World War: indeed it is rare to see an image from the conflict that does not include men in trenches, or a battle scarred landscape with trenches in it. Furthermore, understanding the role trenches played in the conflict is critical to understanding the nature and destructiveness of the war, yet relatively little is understood about their use. In order to explain why trenches were so important it is necessary to ask several questions. What are trenches? Why did soldiers need them? How did they change over time? What effect did all of this have on the battlefield? It is the interaction of the answers to these questions that helps to explain why trenches were so important and why the war was such a long bloody deadlock. A trench is… Continue Reading

Soldiers posed with guns - n.d.

America Joins the War

Written by Michael S. Neiberg

In 1914, most Americans blamed the outbreak of the war either on the overly-aggressive actions of Germany or the essentially undemocratic nature of many of the belligerent governments. In 1914, few Americans wanted to see their nation become directly involved in the war, but most Americans who did not blame both sides equally sympathized with the Allies. They sent money, medical supplies, and sometimes went themselves as volunteers to help Britain and France. As the war evolved, Germany’s defenders in the United States became fewer and fewer until by 1917 the American people had come to see the need to fight against Germany to protect both the future security of Europe and the United States itself. Most Americans took a nuanced attitude toward Germany’s role in causing the war.  They blam… Continue Reading

Soldiers enjoying a snack - n.d.

American Doughboys Overseas

Written by Jennifer D. Keene

The United States entered World War I in April 1917, two and a half years after the war started. Having made few preparations beforehand, it took the nation nearly a year to raise, train, and transport an expeditionary force overseas. American soldiers only fought along the Western Front in 1918, a period when the trench deadlock broke open and a war of movement resumed. Doughboys certainly spent a fair amount of time in the trenches, but sustaining momentum in battle proved the greater challenge during the fall 1918 when most American soldiers entered the front lines.   The nation relied primarily on conscription to raise the wartime force, although Regular Army and National Guard units accepted volunteers until December 1917. The enlisted population reflected the multi-ethnic and racial… Continue Reading