The Veterans History Project (VHP) has launched a web exhibit that complements the Library of Congress’s major exhibition “Echoes of the Great War: American Experiences of World War I.” The three-part web companion, “Experiencing War,” will help tell the larger story of the war from the perspective of those who served in it.
Part I is now available. Part II and Part III will be available in July and September 2017.
Drawing from nearly 400 personal narratives from World War I, VHP’s archive is an unparalleled source on the individual experience of the Great War.
The concerns and stories of World War I veterans resonate today. World War I saw the use of poisonous gas, both the advancement and the devastation wrought by battlefield technology and arguments over America’s role in foreign conflicts—themes that occur in today’s world.
Part I, titled “Arguing Over War and Over Here,” focuses on veterans who served both at home and abroad. It reveals insights into public sentiment immediately before and after America’s entry into the war. From an oral history now 40 years old, Leonard Maunder recounts the days leading up to his enlistment in World War I and the feeling of the country as it prepared for war. Though not in the trenches, Maunder experienced deprivation, as did most servicemen and servicewomen in France. In the audio segment, Maunder recalls meal after meal of canned corned beef and prunes. In another offering, a newly-digitized diary—belonging to Augustus Bennett Warfield—offers an intimate view of “camp life” for the 332nd Field Artillery Regiment during its time at Camp Sherman, Ohio.
Congress created the Veterans History Project in 2000 to collect, preserve and make accessible the first-hand remembrances of America’s war veterans from World War I through the current conflicts, so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. For more information, visit the website or call the toll-free message line at (888) 371-5848.
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