The outbreak of war in Europe in the summer of 1914 surprised Americans. Although most hoped to avoid involvement in the conflict, the German submarine campaign against shipping in the north Atlantic brought the United States into the war in April, 1917 as an ally of the British, French, Italians, and Russians. Before World War-I ended in November 1918 the United States mobilized over four million men and suffered over 350,000 casualties, including 120,000 who were killed in action or died from disease. 200,000 Texans served in the American armed forces during what contemporaries called 'the Great War'. Over 5,000 Texans in uniform died during the conflict. Four Texans were awarded the Medal of Honor for gallantry in action. Several Texans received the Distinguished Service Cross, the Distinguished Service Medal, or the French Croix de Guerre. Three qualified as 'aces' by shooting down five enemy aircraft. Military historian Ralph A. Wooster describes the role Texans played in the war, both overseas in the major battles and campaigns and on the home front producing the materials needed to carry on a modern war.
He shows that the mobilization of the mind and spirit during the war kindled the growth of patriotism and brought Texans into the mainstream of American life for the first time since the American Civil War.
RALPH A. WOOSTER, distinguished professor of history emeritus, spent his academic career at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. After completing military service with the Historical Division, Headquarters, U.S. Army Europe, he joined the Lamar faculty in 1955. Over the next 52 years he served in a variety of academic positions. He is past president of the Texas State Historical Association, East Texas Historical Association, and Texas Association of College Teachers and a Fellow of the Texas State Historical Association and East Texas Historical Association.