World War I (1914-1918)
The First World War began on the twenty-eighth of June, 1914, with the assassination of the archduke of Austria-Hungary, heir to the nation’s throne. A series of European countries claimed allegiances to one faction or the other; and a global war resulted. After countless battles across desolate, bullet-ridden plains, in trenches with the stink of mustard gas and human decay, across the shattered skies above France, and upon the battle-torn waters of the Atlantic, four imperial world-powers had been defeated- Russia, Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire. Great Britain and the United States of America arose as the clear victors of the war; a League of Nations, similar to the present-day United Nations, was founded to prevent a second global war.
Shown to the right is a glimpse on the threshold of the Endless Mountains Museum section featuring WWI.
Endless Mountains Contribution
During the First World War, very few men and women from the Endless Mountains area enlisted in the volunteer American Expeditionary Force. Records hold that 27 men and 4 women from the city of Williamsport and surrounding areas volunteered for service in the First World War; of those alleged 31 volunteers, only 19 returned from overseas at the war’s conclusion.
Roll over the highlighted parts of the soldier's uniform for a detailed look and description of the component.
The rod shown was part of a larger, portable Pick that could be used for digging trenches and foxholes and fortifying machine gun emplacements.
The bag displayed held a variety of medical supplies, such as general anesthetics, bandages and antiseptics. A must-have item in every solider's first-aid kit was morphine, a widely used pain-killer.
The case shown housed an early version of a gas mask. Before the introduction of gas masks in 1915-1916, soldiers in trenches used gauze pads soaked with water, alcohol, or even urine to protect against chlorine gas.
The sheath displayed housed a bayonet that could be affixed to a standard-issue rifle. Because most of the warfare in the First World War took place in trenches, the bayonet was rarely used.
The bag pictured held a basic kitchen kit, including a small frying pan, a variety of spices, a fork, knife and spoon, as well as a tin cup. Items were stamped from sheet-metal, and although very thin, generally served the soldier well.
The canteen shown typically held a liter of clean water, a necessity for any battlefield soldier.
The bag pictured was used to carry a variety of documents, including army intelligence and United States mail. Additionally, personal effects, such as letters and photographs, could be kept in the pack.
The helmet displayed was made from steel, and although it did not guard against a direct bullet, it protected soldiers from shrapnel and ricocheted small-arms fire.