Although Woodrow Wilson urged Americans to remain “impartial in thought as well as in action” at the start of World War I in Europe, many people living in the United States identified with the combatants and sought to shape public opinion about the war. In these lesson plans, designed for secondary schools, students will look at how Americans supported pro-Allied or pro-Central Powers positions and consider what was at stake, what citizens thought the U.S. should do, how the two camps sought to influence public opinion, and the role war front volunteers played in shaping the debate at home.

This topic is divided into three interrelated lesson plans that could be taught independently or as a whole, depending upon grade level, instructional objectives, and time:

  1. Activator, Trans-national America
  2. Lesson, Influencing Public Opinion on the Central and Allied Powers
  3. Extension Activity, Exploring Local Discourse through Archival Research