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World War I

WWI | Beyond the Front Lines | Knights of Columbus Museum | Father Devalles

World War I: Beyond the Front Lines
April 6, 2017 - December 30, 2018.

Fought in 1914-1918, World War I was the modern world's first international conflict. Nearly 11 million soldiers were killed, and the war's death toll including civilians approached 20 million. There were approximately another 20 million military and noncombatant injuries.

The United States formally entered the war April 6, 1917, although American soldiers did not engage in significant combat until spring of the following year. By Armistice Day, November 11, 1918, more than 116,000 Americans died as a result of the war. Of these, more than 1,600 were Knights of Columbus. Both the first and last American military officers to die during the war were K of C members.

In addition to Knights who served on the battlefield as soldiers, the organization was active in war relief efforts, managing highly successful fundraising drives and providing hospitality to servicemen in America and abroad through Knights of Columbus recreation centers known as “huts.”

The impact of World War I was felt for generations. Industrialized weapons were introduced and methods of combat were forever altered. The map of Europe was completely redrawn at the conclusion of the war, and decisions that followed may be attributed to the start of World War II in 1939. No one was unaffected during this time period.

The exhibition provides a historical retrospective of the war and includes interactives, images and artifacts from the Knights of Columbus archives and museum collection, as well as items from private lenders and organizations. A series of WWI-related lectures and presentations will be offered throughout the course of the exhibition.