The Great War: AMERICAN EXPERIENCE | Collection


The Great War: AMERICAN EXPERIENCE Collection covers key topics in the timeline of World War I—from the factors that turned U.S. neutrality into engagement to the challenges of making a just and lasting peace. Classroom support materials offer ways to engage with questions raised during the war that persist today, including ones related to balancing civil liberties with national security, the role of women in politics, the loyalty of immigrants, and racism.

Check out the first three resources in the collection, and come back at the end of May when additional resources will be available.

  • The Great War: The United States Enters World War I

    Examine Woodrow Wilson’s reasons for entering World War I using primary sources and video adapted from AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: The Great War. On January 31, 1917, facing stalemate on the Western Front and with millions of its people at home on the brink of starvation, Germany made a tactical decision. It announced that German submarines would attack any ship in the war zone around Great Britain. When U.S. merchant ships were sunk, President Wilson resolved to fight. On April 2, with Americans still divided about whether to enter the war against Germany, Wilson gave a speech to Congress justifying U.S. participation. This resource is a part of the The Great War: AMERICAN EXPERIENCE Collection.

    Grades: 9-12
  • The Great War: Alice Paul and Women’s Suffrage

    Meet suffragette leader Alice Paul and learn about her undaunted fight for the right of women to vote, in this video adapted from AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: The Great War. Not wanting to be cast as unpatriotic, many women’s suffrage groups suspended their protests after the United States entered World War I in 1917. Paul and a small group of supporters continued their efforts. Paul accused President Woodrow Wilson of “obstructing the cause of democracy at home, while Americans were fighting for it abroad.” With Paul in prison and his administration’s credibility under attack, Wilson would eventually come out in support of women’s suffrage. This resource is a part of the The Great War: AMERICAN EXPERIENCE Collection.

    Grades: 9-12
  • The Great War: A Postwar Vision in Fourteen Points

    Examine the national and global context that motivated President Woodrow Wilson to write the Fourteen Points, his vision for attaining peace after World War I, in this video adapted from AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: The Great War. By the fall of 1917, with millions of U.S. soldiers heading into battle, a competing world vision emerging from Russia, and protests mounting at home, Wilson needed to propose a way forward. His January 8, 1918, speech to Congress included the Fourteen Points, which reflected his vision for the postwar world. Thanks to strong publicity, Wilson’s Fourteen Points reached people on both sides of the war—the Allies and Central Powers—and provided hope for ending the war with a lasting peace. This resource is a part of the The Great War: AMERICAN EXPERIENCE Collection.

    Grades: 9-12

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