This spring and summer marks the 100th anniversary of the US military entering World War 1. The United States declared war on Germany in April of 1917 after intercepting a German telegram that was asking Mexico to ally with Germany against the US. A German submarine had also sunk the passenger liner “Lusitania” with the loss of many Americans on board. An incensed America revved up it’s engines of war to “keep the world safe for democracy” (as the popular saying went back in those days).

US troops finally started arriving in France a year later (May of 1918)…just in time to thwart the last German offensive of the war. The British and French armies, as valiant as they were, were exhausted from three and a half years of fighting. The American soldiers and Marines were a welcome sight to them. The Americans fought fiercely in such famous battles as Cantigny, the Marne, Belleau Wood (where the Marines earned their nickname “devil dogs”), and the Meuse-Argonne offensive.

An armistice was declared on November 11, 1918; the Allies won and Germany lost. The US military was in combat for only six months. In those six months, 112,000 troops died–30,000 of them died from the influenza epidemic that had killed millions around the world.

One hundred and twelve thousand in only six months.

Imagine if that happened today.