It was supposed to be the war to end all wars. At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, the guns on the battlefield fell silent to mark the signing of the armistice that ended World War I. Yet, for all the hope of peace and a return to normalcy, this First World War, as it would later be called, merely marked the opening act of a century dominated by global conflict. As we come upon the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, the Our Missouri Podcast is launching a three part series on "Missouri and The Great War." Each episode in this series will focus on different aspects of the war ranging from soldiers and civilians on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean to how the conflict remembered in memory and monuments. This episode features Petra DeWitt sharing insights from her book, Degrees of Allegiance: Harassment and Loyalty in Missouri's Germany-American Community during World War I. In her book, DeWitt explains how the patriotism and hysteria of World War I impacted Missouri as well as its substantial German-American community.
Petra DeWitt is an assistant professor of history at the Missouri University of Science and Technology. She holds a PhD in history from the University of Missouri–Columbia. Her 2012 book, Degrees of Allegiance: Harassment and Loyalty in Missouri's Germany-American Community during World War I, won the State Historical Society’s Missouri Book Award. Recently, her article, "Heroines on the Home Front: World War I and the Council of National Defense's Woman's Committee, Missouri Division," appeared in the April 2018 edition of the Missouri Historical Review.