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Triumph and Tragedy: World War I

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Social Studies +2 Age Levels Elementary (9 to 12 years old), Middle School (13 to 15 years old), High School (16 to 18 years old)

This collection brings together EDSITEment and Smithsonian resources to support the initial research into a project for National History Day 2019, "Triumph and Tragedy in History."

These resources - including photographs, letters, artwork, lesson plans, and articles - explore the costs and consequences of America’s involvement in World War I and its complex legacies in the decades following. Resources highlight Woodrow Wilson and his foreign policy, the roles of African American soldiers during and after the war, artwork by soldiers and government-sponsored artists depicting the psychological effects of the battlefield, letters written by soldiers to those back home, the physical costs of war and the triumphs of medical innovation, and the sinking of the RMS Lusitania, which resulted in the deaths of 1,198 civilians. The second tile of this collection contains questions to help with the analysis of photograph, document, artwork, portrait, and object resources. 

By no means is this collection comprehensive; instead, it provides a launching point for further research.

This collection was created in collaboration with EDSITEment, a website for K-12 educators from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Share your National History Day collections and let us know what you think! Write to us on Twitter: @EDSITEment & @SmithsonianLab, #NHD2019. If you publish a collection on your National History Day topic, be sure to enter #NHD2019 in the description!

Tags: the great war, wwi, ww1, world war one, world war 1, military, perspective, 20th century, 1900s, american expeditionary forces, aef, woodrow wilson, buffalo soldiers, 92nd infantry division, 93rd infantry division, african-american, black, harlem hellfighters, art, horace pippin, claggett wilson, harvey thomas dunn, william james aylward, anna coleman ladd, prosthetic, rms lusitania, postcard, form letter, #NHD

Woodrow Wilson

National Portrait Gallery

Photograph of Lawrence McVey in uniform wearing the Croix de Guerre medal

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Peter L. Robinson, Sr.

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Bullard, Eugene Jacques. [photograph]

National Air and Space Museum Archives

Cap, American Legion

National Air and Space Museum

Group of soldiers in France during World War I

Anacostia Community Museum Archives

Colored Soldiers who covered themselves with glory in France, returning to US

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Over There: A Buffalo Soldier in World War I

National Museum of American History

Horace Pippin

Archives of American Art

Dogfight Over the Trenches

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Horace Pippin memoir fragments

Archives of American Art

Grenadier Cut Off in the Flaming Woods

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Encounter in the Darkness

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Prisoners and Wounded

National Museum of American History

Off Duty

National Museum of American History

His Bunkie

National Museum of American History

German Prisoner Type

National Museum of American History

Illustrating Prisoners in the Great War

National Museum of American History

Anna Coleman Ladd

Archives of American Art

Carnes artificial arm

National Museum of American History

Enlist. Boston Public Safety Committee. [Poster.]

Archives Center, National Museum of American History

French postcard from World War I

National Postal Museum

World War I postcard

National Postal Museum

American Red Cross postcard

National Postal Museum

A mother's solace: A letter from a World War I enemy

National Museum of American History