One hundred years ago, in the summer of 1914, a seemingly inevitable series of events “over there” in Europe would bloom into the world’s first truly global conflict, the First World War. For 4 years, from July 1914 to November 1918, 32 countries would engage in a brutal and bloody armed conflict that would result in 16 million civilian and combatant deaths. The U.S. officially entered the war in 1917, and more than 4 million American men and women served in uniform during the conflict. More Americans gave their lives in WW1 than in the Korean and Vietnam wars combined.
While most of the fighting occurred on the battlefronts in Western and Eastern Europe, the effects of WW1 were felt in every American state, city and small town. The Kansas experience included innovations in farming to feed the nation, advanced medical and nursing programs at universities to care for the wounded and fallen, and the basic training of troops at Fort Riley in Junction City. Kansas sent over 80,000 sons and daughters to war; 2,212 of them never returned home. Two Kansas received the Congressional Medal of Honor during this war: George Seanor Robb and Erwin Bleckley. The latter, Erwin Bleckley, was killed as a result of his bravery.
To honor the sacrifices of our forebears, both on the home front and in the battlefield, representatives from educational institutions across the state of Kansas have gathered to pay tribute through education and remembrances. The work of the Kansas WW1 Centennial Commemoration Committee will continue through 2019, in collaboration with the U.S. WW1 Centennial Commission.
The website of the Kansas World War I Centennial Committee is intended to be used for educational and non-commercial purposes only, and will not include any advertisements or endorsements of products or services. All submissions to the website will be reviewed for suitability and compliance with the Committee’s editorial policy. By submitting any material for publication, the author agrees that the Committee has the right to exercise final editorial control over the content of its website, and to accept, reject or revise any material prior to publication.