Wander Minnesota: From Western Front to Homefront

It was originally called the War to End All Wars. Instead, World War I led to turbulence around the world, including the USA. Starting this Saturday, April 8, the Minnesota Historical Society will have WWI America, a comprehensive exhibit that looks at the Great War from numerous angles.

The time span between 1914 and 1919 saw tremendous change in numerous aspects of life in the U.S., and in Minnesota. Just a few examples:

awwi 1 Wander Minnesota: From Western Front to Homefront

(credit: Minnesota Historical Society)

The Great Migration began. A boom in war industries in the north, combined with increased Jim Crow laws and oppression in the south, led to huge waves of African-Americans moving north.

awwi 2 Wander Minnesota: From Western Front to Homefront

(credit: Minnesota Historical Society)

The U.S. shipped nearly 6 million tons of food to Europe during the war, mostly flour. The Mill City was a major contributor to this food emigration and at one point in 1916, Minneapolis mills produced 46,000 barrels of flour each day.

awwi 3 Wander Minnesota: From Western Front to Homefront

(credit: Minnesota Historical Society)

It looks like a simple chair, but this is a deck chair—from the Lusitania, which was attacked and sunk by a German U-boat in May 1915.

awwi 4 Wander Minnesota: From Western Front to Homefront

(credit: Minnesota Historical Society)

The last years of the war coincided with a massive outbreak of influenza, which killed 100 million people worldwide and nearly 700,000 in the U.S. This photo shows soldiers trying to recover from the flu while in San Francisco.

awwi 5 Wander Minnesota: From Western Front to Homefront

(credit: Minnesota Historical Society)

WWI saw massive advances in warfare technology, including improvements in things like machine guns, tanks and planes.

awwi 6 Wander Minnesota: From Western Front to Homefront

(credit: Minnesota Historical Society)

These little phones were developed and allowed for the first transcontinental phone calls.

awwi 7 Wander Minnesota: From Western Front to Homefront

(credit: Minnesota Historical Society)

The first draft program was implemented in the U.S. in 1917, and this glass bowl was used as part of the implementation.

There are dozens of events planned by the MNHS staff surrounding this exhibit, including several history talks, art programs, the creation of a new mural, and live performances, among others. You can find more details here.

What else is happening in our state? Be sure to check out the 10 p.m. Sunday WCCO newscasts, where you can learn more in the weekly segment, Finding Minnesota.

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