In the spring of 1917, the United States entered the war raging in Europe. Here’s a description from the National World War I Museum and Memorial:
“The day after an overwhelming majority in the Senate votes for war, President Wilson signs the declaration. The United States quickly puts the entire country on the road to war. Going from a standing army of 133,000 men with almost no heavy artillery pieces, millions of men were inducted into the armed forces over the next two years and given basic combat training.”
One hundred years later, the changes wrought on the world as a result of World War I – the Great War – are still being studied, discussed, and debated. You’ve probably seen a presentation or two yourself. But you might not know the part Fort Collins played.
Battery A – originally a National Guard unit formed at Colorado Agricultural College, later part of a regiment of the US Army – included Fort Collins men, and would train in Camps Baldwin (Denver), Greene (North Carolina), Mills (New York), and Merritt (New Jersey) before landing in Europe. The Archive houses a scrapbook that captures one soldier’s experience of the war, Mr. John Hurdle.
The first date that appears in Hurdle’s scrapbook is from July, 100 years ago. The scrapbook is filled with photographs and handwritten notes that track Battery A’s route through the fields of war, and includes many images of Fort Collins citizens. A few pages are featured below.
During the remainder of this year, and through the 100th Anniversary of the Armistice, we will share with you details of the war as experienced by the citizens of Fort Collins (including those at home and those who never made it home). You can expect excerpts of letters, pictures from the Front, first-hand accounts of the Second Battle of the Marne, and much more.
*Stay tuned for more research on WWI and the Hurdle scrapbook from Jenny Hannifin and Doug Ernest.