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"Total Hero Dead from N. Y. State Listed at 12,276," World War I, c. 1920

“Total Hero Dead From N. Y. State Listed At 12,276”

New York State Archives, NYSA_A3166-78_B1_F05_HeroDead
Document Description
Newspaper article about the number of New Yorkers killed in World War I, c. 1920.
Who supplied the data?
What are the figures for New York State?
Why publish this information?
Why use the term ”hero”?
Historical Challenges
Compare the dead wounded of the United States in its wars of the 20th century and determine where the First World War ranks in terms of losses.
Interdisciplinary Connections
Math/ Science: Calculate and compare the ratios of fallen soldiers from the various nations involved in World War I.
Harries, M. & Susie Harries. The Last Days of Innocence: America at War 1917-1918. NY, Random House, 1997.
Kennedy, David. Over Here: The First World War and American Society. NY, Oxford University Press, 1980.
New York Times Articles of the time period.
Paxson, Frederic. American Democracy and the World War. NY, Cooper Square, 1966.
Schaffer, Ronald. America in the Great War. NY, Oxford University Press, 1991.


About this Activity


Lesson Topic:

Historical Context
The costs of World War I in monetary and human terms are difficult to ascertain. While America’s late entrance mitigated some of her losses, this news article shows the effects of war dead and wounded on states like New York.

In sum, at least ten million soldiers littered the fields of Europe, with many thousands of Americans among them. At least twice that many were wounded as devastating technological advances took its toll on the individual soldier and those figures don’t include the psychological damage inflicted by modern warfare on soldiers and civilians alike. Questions quickly emerged about inept leadership and outdated tactics used by nearly all the militaries during the war. Equally disturbing though was the loss felt in European and American consciousness. “The Lost Generation”, as it came to be called, disillusioned by the seemingly senseless losses, limped into the twenties questioning the very fabric of Western values that may have helped start the war in the first place.

As difficult as it would be to deal with the individual lives lost or shattered by the war, it would be a long time before America and Europe came to terms with the far-reaching effects of modern warfare.
Essential Question
How are citizens informed during times of war?
Check for Understanding
Summarize the key ideas found in the article and evaluate the validity of the information provided.