Today we are here to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I, to honor those who served in that war in defense of liberty and their countries, and to promote mutual history and values.
We are pleased to share with you our American Embassy exhibit entitled “WWI in American Posters, Books, Movies and Music.” The exhibit highlights the U.S. contribution to the Allied victory and tells about one of the most important events in the 20th Century- the Great War.
This collection of resources, which includes 26 reproductions of American posters that were published during the war, 42 unique books, movies, documentaries, and music about World War I, pays tribute to the tens of thousands of soldiers who died far from home in countries resisting the invading German forces and to those, who contributed to the victory at home in the U.S.
Under unprecedented government direction, American industry mobilized to produce weapons, equipment, munitions, and supplies. Nearly one million women joined the workforce. Hundreds of thousands of African Americans from the South migrated north to work in factories.
Two million Americans volunteered for the army, and nearly three million were drafted. More than 350,000 African Americans served, in segregated units. For the first time, women were in the ranks, nearly 13,000 in the Navy and in the Marines. More than 20,000 women served in the Army and Navy Nurse Corps. The United States lost 116,516 service members in World War One. Another 205,690 were wounded.
As President Woodrow Wilson said in the year of 1917, “The world must be made safe for democracy. Its peace must be planted upon the tested foundations of political liberty.” Today as never before, we should consider the suffering of that time and resolve conflicts to avoid such agony today and in the future.
I would like to thank the National Library and the Green Cross Organization for initiating and organizing and hosting and the event.