World War I

Though the country didn't officially enter World War I until 1917, North Carolinains like Kiffin Rockwell and Madelon "Glory" Hancock, both from Asheville, volunteered to fight with British, French and others almostly immediately after the conflict's outbreak in August 1914.

With the declaration of war by President Wilson, North Carolinians rallied to the cause. Women joined the American Red Cross, YWCA, and Salvation Army to serve as nurses in military hospitals at home and in France. Farmers grew victory acres and children grew thrift gardens to earn money to buy war bonds. Individuals and industry united to support the war effort.

Remembering North Carolinians Who Fought with Valor

North Carolinians served in all the major battles of the Western Front in 1918. They fought in the battles of 2nd Marne, St. Mihiel, and in the Meuse-Argonne, the last major campaign of the war. As part of the British army, Tar Heels in the 30th Division fought in Belgium and France in intense combat. In only five months of action in 1918, the United States suffered more than 275,000 casualties with more than 50,000 deaths.

Through 2018, North Carolina will commemorate the centennial of World War I with special publications, programs and educational resources. Check back to this page or sign up for our World War I email list to get the latest information on our plans.

  

Digital Collection

More than 1,500 maps, photographs, posters, letters and other materials from the collections and of the State Archives and State Library related to North Carolina's invovlement in "The Great War."

Browse the Collection

Save the Date

More information about the following events will be available soon: 

2017

  • March 25 - Great War Tar Heels muster in Raleigh
  • March 26 - NCNG Medal Ceremony at Capitol 
  • April 7-9 - Declaration of War activities in Raleigh
    • Museum of History flagship exhibit opening 
    • "War Requieum" performances by the NC Symphony
    • Wreath Laying at the NC Capitol 
    • "NC in the Great War" NC DNCR book publication 
  • May 20 - WWI focus for NC Military Historical Society annual meeting in Raleigh 
  • June - WWI week at the Museum of the Albemarle 
  • June 3 - Raleigh Militaria Show, WWI featured via Great War Tar Heels 
  • June 13 - Unveiling of highway marker to the NC National Guard (Morehead City, Camp Glenn)
  • June 23-24 - World War I events at Battleship
  • July 1-2 - WWI featured in Military Appreciation Days at NC Transportation Museum (exhibit)
  • July 18 - 30th Division Anniversary Event (NCNG HQ, Raleigh)
  • October - WWI featured in Military Through the Ages event at the State Fair
  • October 13-14 - Scholarly symposium at Barton College
  • October 20 - NCNG Symposium on WWI
  • TBD (Fall) - Program in Charlotte on Camp Greene (accompanies traveling exhibit)  

2018

  • May 18-27 - North Carolina Returning "Over There" World War I trip to France 
  • August - Coastal Warfare at Graveyard of the Atlantic and Chicamacomico 
  • September 29 - Solemn observances for the greatest loss of NC soldiers in a single day with NCNG
  • October - WWI featured in exhibit and Military Through the Ages event at State Fair 
  • November 11 - Solemn ceremony for end of the war at the NC State Capitol 

    North Carolina and World War I By the Numbers

    2,375Tar Heel deaths from battle and disease
    60,822North Carolinians drafted in 1917 and 1918
    214+Service awards earned by North Carolinians

    "Returning Over There"

    May 18-27, 2018

    Visit WW1 sites in France and Belgium significant to North Carolina troops, as well as Paris and Normandy.

    This eight-night trip includes full European breakfasts and dinner daily as well as guided sightseeing tours, city walks and visits to select attractions.

    Secure your spot now, as the trip is filling up fast!

    More information at www.ncdcr.gov/WW1FranceTrip.