Lincoln museum honors 100th anniversary of WWI

United States Army troops stand in the trenches in France during World War I. On June 28, 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife were assassinated in Sarajevo, Bosnia. As a result, Germany declared war on Russia on August 1, 1914, with England and Belgium entering the war days later. Under President Woodrow Wilson, the United States declared war on April 6, 1917 to make the world "safe for democracy." More than nine million people died before Armistice Day, Nov. 11, 1918. (AP Photo)

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum will continue its recognition of the 100th anniversary of World War I by giving visitors a chance to see history come alive at two free events in April.

The first event, on April 4, is a presentation about the United States’ entry into WWI by Mark DePue, the museum’s director of oral historian. DePue will share stories of WWI while analyzing the events that propelled the country into war after avoiding it for three years.

“1917 is obviously the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into the war, and our presentation on April 4 will be about that very subject,” DePue said.

A follow-up event on April 11 is a free screening of the film “Paths of Glory” at the museum’s Union Theater. The 1957 film directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Kirk Douglas explores the French mutinies that took place in 1917.

The library has featured similar lecture and film series in previous years honoring the start of WWI in 1914 and plans to continue the program through 2019 for the 100th anniversary of the Treaty of Versailles.

“WWI has even a bigger impact on world history than WWII, and most people might want to argue that fact, but a lot of historians believe WWI is crucial,” DePue said.

DePue hopes the public will take interest in this important time in world history.

“It’s something that I think everybody should understand, and the American entry is a fascinating subject in and of itself,” DePue said.

The library’s events will come nearly 100 years to the day after President Woodrow Wilson asked Congress to vote to go to war on April 2, with the decision being made on April 6.

Both events are free and open to the public, but registration is required. For more information and to register, visit

–Associated Press

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