And so it began

It was April 6, 1917, that the United States finally entered World War I, after the Germans sent Mexico a telegram, in effect saying that they would provide military assistance to our southern neighbor so that Mexico could make another try at Texas.

The so-called Zimmerman telegram, intercepted by the British, might have been the final straw that turned the American people against Germany, but Germany’s return to unrestricted submarine warfare was costing American lives as well as tons of shipping, and opposition to war was wavering.

At the declaration of war, the U.S. Army had only 133,000 troops, but all of Europe knew to expect millions of American soldiers to join the fight. No one sat back and waited: In April, the French launched the murderous attacks on the Chemin des Dames that drove soldiers to mutiny, and in July the British wallowed into the horror of Passchendaele’s mud. The Russians collapsed into revolution in November. It was a series of disasters. The Americans were coming, but when?

North Carolina National Guard soldiers in July 1916. The men were in training at Camp Glenn in Morehead City, N.C., in preparation to fight Mexican troops at the Texas border.

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