World War I

World War I

Britain declared war on Germany in August 1914. By this time Germany had already declared war against Russia and Russia’s ally France.

Even after the sinking of the Lusitania, May 1915, President Wilson refused to get involved in the European War.

The problems with the United States and Mexico were not resolved until 1916.

During 1916 the Germans advocated peace with the United states. But, in January 1917 the German High Command ordered a total blockade of the British Isles. A major factor that pushed America into the war was a secret German message intercepted by British Naval Intelligence. It read as follows: “WE INTEND TO BEGIN UNRESTRICTED SUBMARINE WARFARE. WE SHALL ENDEAVOR TO KEEP THE UNITED STATES NEUTRAL. IN THE EVENT OF THIS NOT SUCCEEDING, WE MAKE MEXICO A PROPOSAL OF ALLIANCE ON THE FOLLOWING BASIS: MAKE WAR TOGETHER, MAKE PEACE TOGETHER, GENEROUS FINANCIAL SUPPORT, AND AN UNDERSTANDING ON OUR PART THAT MEXICO IS TO RECONQUER THE LOST TERRITORY IN TEXAS, NEW MEXICO AND ARIZONA.”

President Wilson then severed all diplomatic relations with Germany. He went to Congress on April 2, 1917, to ask for a Declaration of War against the Imperial German Government. The vote in the Senate was, 82 for, 6 against. In the House, 373 for, 50 against.

Our ground forces, lead by General John J. Pershing fought side by side with French and British soldiers. General William Mitchell commanded all U.S. Aviation in Europe. America’s Ace, Captain Eddie Rickenbacker shot down 26 German planes in just seven months.

By November 11, 1918 the German Kaiser asked for “allied terms” and the fighting stopped. The Germans had no choice but to accept treaty terms, signed, May 1919.

The Motts Military Museum exhibits a comprehensive World War One collection and highlights many items from flying Ace, Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker including a full-scale replica of the home in which he was raised.


     This is a WWI German Maxim machine
     gun 7.92 mm (MG08/15). It is
     named after its inventor,
     Hiram Maxim.




     This is the dress uniform of William
     C. Byrd, U.S.M.C. Aviation Mechanic,
     with one red service strip and one
     U.S. victory.




     This is a leather WWI
     document container carried
     by horses. Soldiers would
     slap the horse on the rump
     and run it through the lines.



     In reference to this medal, the following is a portion
     of a letter sent from Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker to
     his niece, Miss Marian Darby of Columbus, Ohio.

     “…In checking I found that I have an extra French
     Legion of Honor Medal, which I am sending
     under separrate cover, that was awarded to me
     by the French Government for a successful
     action on the Western Front during Word War I
     when I attacked seven enemy airplanes and was
     successful in bring down two…