Introduction

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"Troopship Mt. Vernon being pulled into dock after sailing from France." Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection via Digital Commonwealth.

World War I officially ended on November 11, 1918, with Armistice. Throughout the course of the war, two million American troops traveled to France, with approximately three-quarters of those soldiers participating in combat. Some 60,000 Americans died in battle, while over 200,000 were wounded. An additional 60,000 died of disease, many from the influenza pandemic that killed over twenty million people across the globe in 1918 and 1919.

The homecoming of Americans who had gone to the frontlines was met with much fanfare and many a parade. Meanwhile, memorials began to spring up for those soldiers who did not return home. While 340,000 total Americans were lost during the war, a staggering nine million people were lost on a wider scale, putting in perspective the devastation felt by the European nations.