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About the First World War, Selective Services Act of 1917, and Liberty Loan Act of 1917
Our purpose is to provide you resources to learn about important events nearing 100 years ago. The entrance of the United States in the First World War, also known as the Great War, shaped our country as a premier world power. We honor the American Veterans and citizens that sacrificed so much so that we may continue to enjoy the freedoms envisioned by our forefathers.
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The First World War
In 1917 the US was desperately needed to relieve exhausted allied forces in midst of the Great War. President Woodrow Wilson declared war April 6, 1917. Our fledgling country had an army of only 100,000 and no mechanism to fund a massive war effort.
Selective Services Act of 1917
The first troops of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF), began arriving on the European continent in June 1917.
“No commander was ever privileged to lead a finer force; no commander ever derived greater inspiration from the performance of his troops.”
General John J. Pershing, Commander in Chief (1917 to 1919)
The First National Bank of Chadron collection at the Nebraska State Historical Society contains original documents on local implementation of the Selective Service Act of 1917. A sampling of those archives are available for review at our bank locations.
The Blue Star Flag
The Service flag, also called the Blue Star Flag, was designed and patented by WWI Army Captain Robert L. Queisser of the 5th Ohio Infantry who had two sons serving on the front line. The flag quickly became the unofficial symbol of a child in service. President Wilson became part of this history when in 1918 he approved a suggestion made by the Women's Committee of the Council of National Defenses that mothers who had lost a child serving in the war wear a gold gilt star on the traditional black mourning arm band. This led to the tradition of covering the blue star with a gold star on the Service flag to indicate that the service member has died.
An original “Blue Star Flag” (circa 1918) from the Whitney, Nebraska community is on display at the Chadron bank. Each star recognizes a local boy that was serving in the First World War.
Liberty Loan Act of 1917
A Liberty bond (or liberty loan) was a war bond that was sold in the United States to support the allied cause in the First World War. Subscribing to the bonds became a symbol of patriotic duty in the United States and introduced the idea of financial securities to many citizens for the first time. The Act of Congress which authorized the Liberty Bonds is still used today as the authority under which all U.S. Treasury bonds are issued. Local banks organized the sale of the bonds as described in the ads below.
Countdown to the 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day
History of Armistice (Veterans) Day: World War I – known at the time as “The Great War”- officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”
First National Bank has acquired an original November 12, 1918 morning edition of the Omaha World Herald (photo in post). It includes a variety of newspaper articles released the morning immediately after the signing of the Armistice and will be on display in the lobby of the Chadron bank location during the week of November 13, 2017. First National will be releasing select articles from this historic edition throughout this next year as we “Countdown to the 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day”.