One hundred years ago today, the United States officially declared war on Germany and entered into what turned out to be a conflict that transformed our state, or nation, and the world. World War I has long been overshadowed by World War II, but I'd argue it is equally significant in its impact.
For the last year, my colleagues and I have been working on a web-based project that examines this complicated and under-examined war. I invite you to explore the result at Montana and the Great War.
Look in these pages to find links to download pertinent articles, primarily from the Montana Historical Society's award-winning magazine, Montana The Magazine of Western History; information on archival collections in the Montana Historical Society Archives; clips from oral histories; and (still to come) educator resources. (I'm looking for grades 5-8 teachers to test a one- to two-day lesson plan that uses the online resources we created. If you are interested, please email me! We're also still recruiting high school teachers to participate in our June 12-13 Educator Workshop. Learn more here.)
Of all the aspects of this project, I'm most excited about the ArcGIS Story Map, which features 70 stories from across Montana that reflect the various ways the war changed the lives of Montanans both at home and while serving overseas--as well as ways the war's impact continued into the 1920s.
To encourage you to explore this map, I'm proposing a contest and scavenger hunt. The first 5 people to find the correct answers to the following questions will win a fabulous as-yet-to-be-determined prize. All answers can be found in the Story Map, a link to which is on the main page of Montana and the Great War. Feel free to recruit your students or friends to help you. Ready?
- Name an African American soldier from Montana and the town from which he was from.
- What was the American Protective League and name one Montana community in which it was active.
- What did telegraph operator Minda Brownell McAnnally use to protect her fellow operators when she was sick with the flu?
- Who came from this latitude and longitude--46.3629015,-104.2789468--and what made her remarkable?
- Name the Montanan who participated in the dedication of the Tomb of the Unknown soldier.
- What was the Montana Council of Defense's Order #3?
- Which town's Red Cross Society published a cookbook of “tempting recipes … [to] help banish memories of forbidden things”?
- Find the story that is connected to the site nearest to your town (remember to look at all three sets of stories: Over Here, Over There, and Home Again.) What is it? Where did it take place? How many miles from where you live?
- How many men in your county served in World War I?
- Name one new thing you learned from the stories on this map that particularly disturbed, intrigued, confused or excited you.
P.S. Spots are still available for our Montana and the Great War: Bringing It Home Workshop, designed for high school teachers interested in working with their students to uncover the war's local impact. Application deadline is May 1. Learn more here.