Pullman in the First World War

April 6, 1917

Despite Wilson's most fervent wishes, the United States declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917. Provocations included the sinking of the Lusitania, the death of Edith Cavell, and the atrocities of occupying German forces in Belgium and the Netherlands. The act that led to war was the release of the Zimmerman Telegram.

When the United States entered the war, the combatants had been in desperate conflict for three years.  The brutality and suffering in theaters in conflict around the world was unimaginable. Winston Churchill wrote of the war, “There were battles in the beginning, and there were battles in the end, and in between was slaughter.”

With the collapse of the Russian Empire in 1917, Germany and Austro-Hungary were able to move troops from the Eastern front and concentrate them on the Western front. England and France were desperate for American troops and supplies to join the fight.

Pullman employees and residents did answer the call. Many Pullman employees became part of the 35th Engineers, headquartered at Fort Grant in Rockford, Illinois.

Portraits of Pullman Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines

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