War diaries, letters from home, photographs, newspaper articles, and the papers of organizations such as the Missouri Council of Defense can be found in the collections of the State Historical Society of Missouri. These records from those who participated in the war help us to better understand Missourians' experiences during World War One, both at home and overseas. Researchers are encouraged to explore additional resources at the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial and Over There: Missouri and the Great War.
After the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in 1914, Europe quickly became engulfed by war. The political murder pushed the continent's diplomatic alliances of the nineteenth century past their breaking point, drawing the continent into one of the twentieth century's deadliest conflicts. Few imagined that the war between the Central Powers(Austria-Hungary, Germany, and the Ottoman Empire) and the Allied Powers (France, Britain, and Russia) would last more than four years, leave thirty-seven million dead and wounded, and bring Europe to the brink of ruin. The United States initially chose a policy of nonintervention, but by 1917 it was clear that America could no longer remain neutral.