MAINE 200 — The “War to End All Wars,” now known as World War I, affected the lives of millions around the globe, including here in Maine.
While slow to officially become involved, the United States ultimately declared war on Germany in 1917 after incidents such as the 1915 sinking of the RMS Lusitania with Americans aboard, ultimately souring public opinion for U.S. neutrality.
Even here Mainers were involved, as one of the survivors of the Lusitania was Lewiston-born James Ham Brooks, successfully swimming from the ship, avoiding serious injury from falling radio aerial wires and eventually giving a first-hand account of the incident to the New York Times.
Although European trench lines were thousands of miles away, more than 32,000 Mainers answered the call for military service, accounting for roughly 5 percent of the entire state’s population.
Remembered each Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day, more than 1,000 Maine men and women had made the ultimate sacrifice for the allied cause by the end of the conflict in 1918.