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World War I: the Home Front and Abroad

The United States was reluctant to join the “Great War,” or World War I, due in part to its belief that this was a European conflict, as well as resistance from many German immigrants in the United States. After several years of neutrality, the United States joined the war in April, 1917, on the side of the Allied Powers. However, in order to become involved, we first needed to bolster our military recruitment, war industry, and, most importantly, support from citizens. This unit examines propaganda posters and photographs, letters the Gibbon children wrote their father serving in France, and a collection of plane reconnaissance information and photographs by Captain Stephen H. Noyes. These primary sources portray the war effort on the homefront as well as on the front lines. The unique perspective portrayed in each of the lessons will provide students with a well-rounded look into one of the deadliest eras of our history.


20th century

World War I


Big Ideas

Perspective on Events

Essential Questions

What does it mean to be a United States citizen, and what is your role in the history of the world?

End of Unit Assessment

After completing the two lessons, have students answer the following:

  • In what ways were Americans on the homefront called to join in the war effort during World War I? In what ways did the Gibbon children answer that call?

  • Which organizations aided the United States during World War I, and in what ways? How did these organizations specifically seek help from citizens on the homefront?

  • In what ways were youth invloved in the war effort? How do you think that youth would be involved if war were to break out today?

  • How did aviation technology change the course of the war?

  • In what ways did United States society change over the course of World War I? Which of these changes do you think were positive or negative, and why?


Plans in this Unit

Mobilization for World War I

The Gibbon Children During World War I

Evolution of Air Power during World War I

Disabled Veterans in WWI

Grade Level

Middle School

High School

About the Author

Claire Lippay

Education Intern at HSP

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