In Sacrifice for Liberty and Peace

Educator Resources for April 6, 2017

On April 6, 2017, the United States will commemorate the centennial of its entry into World War I. The nation's official observance, organized by The World War I Centennial Commission, is taking place at the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri. Dedicated shortly after the war, the Memorial was the first national monument dedicated to the 4.5 million U.S. World War I veterans and to the over 110,000 Americans who lost their lives in the conflict.

This once-in-a-century event will include a world-class multimedia production and live presentation, featuring speakers from around the globe! We invite you to join us for this unique teaching and learning opportunity, using the resources provided below.

Click here to learn more about the ceremony (including a full schedule) and register here to share images and summaries of your centennial activities to be added to the nation’s historic record!

Watch the Ceremony Livestream

Be a part of the national commemoration ceremony, wherever you are located. The official ceremony starts at 10:45 a.m. CDT (Central Daylight Time) on April 6, 2017. The YouTube stream will follow the entire ceremony, including the pre-ceremony which begins at 10 a.m.
Recommended Grade Levels: All levels
Format: Live YouTube video

Discussion Guide: Why did the U.S. go to War?

This short resource includes an excerpt of President Wilson's Address to Congress and a quick discussion on why the United States became involved in the World War.
Recommended Grade Levels: All levels
Format: Downloadable PDF

Host Your Own Commemoration

Create your own mini-ceremony with this resource, which includes scripts, links to period music, and more. Click above to download the ceremony guide.
Recommended Grade Levels: All levels
Format: Downloadable PDF

Watch the Colloquiums

Two in-depth panel discussions start at 2:30 p.m. CDT on April 6. The first, Why the US entered WWI will be moderated by Robert Dalessandro, and the second, How do we build peace after a great conflict? will be moderated by David Ignatius will start at approximately at 3:40 p.m.
Recommended Grade Levels: High School and above
Format: Live YouTube video

U.S. Enters the War

Learn about the events that led the U.S. to enter World War I in 1917 with this collection of online articles and videos.
Recommended Grade Levels: All levels
Format: Website, Digital Video

Analyze Propaganda Posters

This lesson plan asks students to examine their understanding of "patriotism" by analyzing propaganda posters that called America to action during World War I.
Recommended Grade Levels: Middle School, but adaptable for all grade levels
Format: Downloadable PDF

Why did the United States enter World War I in 1917?

In this lesson plan created by teacher Matt Moore for National History Day, students investigate primary sources to discover why the U.S. joined World War I. This module is a part of the larger curriculum for Middle and High Schoolers, Teaching World War I.
Recommended Grade Levels: High School
Format: Lesson Plan (PDF)

U.S. Entry into WWI

Students are asked to read like a historian in this lesson plan from the Stanford History Education Group. Students will analyze Woodrow Wilson's speeches as well as other documents to gain a broader understanding of why the U.S. joined the Great War in 1917, three years after fighting began in 1914. Click the link above to view and download the lesson plan (website requires free registration to download.)
Recommended Grade Levels: High School
Format: Lesson Plan (PDFs)

Poppies for Remembrance and Commemoration

Examine the importance of remembrance and commemoration through the symbolism of the poppy, engage your younger students with poppy crafts, and learn how to get your class involved in the fundraising effort to build a national WWI memorial in Washington, D.C.
Recommended Grade Levels: All levels
Format: Website, Downloadable PDFs

President Wilson's Declaration of War Message to Congress, April 2, 1917

On April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson addressed a joint session of Congress requesting a declaration of war against Germany. The National Archives uses from its collection parts of the original address, a full transcript of Wilson's message, and the joint resolution from Congress formally declaring war on Germany for this resource.
Recommended Grade Levels: Middle School and Above
Format: Digital Images, PDF, Text Transcript

Topics in Chronicling America - World War I Declarations

The Library of Congress provides a sampling of historic newspaper articles on the U.S. declaration of war from the Chronicling America: American Historic Newspapers digital collection.
Recommended Grade Levels: All Levels
Format: Digital Images, OCR Text, and PDFs of Historic Newspapers

Need more resources on the history of the U.S. entry to the war?

Check out the full education resource archive and take a look at the archive of our recent education newsletter issue which are full of resources from the National Archives, Library of Congress, Stanford History Education Group, Smithsonian magazine, and others.