I have been supplying some information to the lead state agency in California, the Department of Veterans Affairs, for proposing a Centennial World War I Commission for our state. To respond to possible questions along these lines, "How was California involved before the April 1917 Declaration of War?" I sent the following email. I believe some similar statement could be made for every state in the Union. I invite our readers to submit similar entries for your states or hometowns.
|Captain Nelson Holderman, on the Left, Served with the California National Guard
on the Mexican Border in 1916 and Later Would Receive the Medal of Honor
for Service with the Lost Battalion in the Argonne Forest
1. In 1916 California mobilized 135,000 National Guardsmen for service on the Mexican border. Frankly, most of the troops and most Americans didn't quite understand the Wilson Administration's policy with respect to Mexico. However, this whole brouhaha is considered part of the American run-up to involvement in the Great War, connected to the preparedness of the army, General Pershing, and the Zimmerman Telegram of early 1917, which tried to entice Mexico into joining the war against America.
|Aftermath of the Preparedness Day Bombing
2. The Preparedness Day bombing in San Francisco on 22 July 1916 that killed about ten people and injured many more was a BIG DEAL at the time, and it links the terrorism of the times to the world of today.
|Holt Tractor Model 120, Note the Tracks, Later Adapted for Tanks
3. The Holt Tractor Company of Stockton, California, was intimately involved in the development of the tank, which debuted in combat on 15 September 1916 in the Battle of the Somme.