Battlefield Tours is a unique way of retrospecting on the sacrifices made by soldiers worldwide, during World War 1 (1914-1918). Although this first global war did not directly involve the United States at the onset, 116,708 American military personnel sacrificed their lives. They died in active duty as part of the alliance of forces fighting against Germany by year 1917. Decades later, and at the height of Hitler’s Nazi regime, Germany instigated a second World War.
What is a Battlefield Tour?
A Battlefield Tour is a 6-day international travel and at the same time, study of the battles that transpired during World War I. Organized by the National Museum World War I Museum and Memorial, a Battlefield Tour focuses on a specific region to visit actual places in which American soldiers fought.
Still, each tour is more than just viewing the sites in which the WWI stalwarts laid down their lives. It also offers a study of the campaigns waged by allied forces against the different empires that sought to achieve domination of their neighboring countries. Different personal experiences and evaluations of the German military, coming from members of American, British, French military troops, enrich the experience of tracing the World War I battle trail.
This year (Oct. 10-15, 2019), the Battlefield Tour will be exploring places in the Turkish peninsula where the Battle of Gallipoli took place.
Understanding America’s Involvement in World War I
World War I started as a conflict between Serbia and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Germany came into the picture as ally to Austria-Hungary. However, as the war waged on from 1914 onward, Germany started launching its own acts of aggression.
In 1915, German U-boats sunk commercial and passenger ships sailing across the waters surrounding British Isles. One such passenger ship was the Lusitania, a British ocean liner plying the seas from New York to Liverpool; whilst carrying hundreds of American passengers at the time it was sunk.
When German U-boats sunk 4 more U.S. commercial ships, then U.S. President Woodrow Wilson declared war against Germany, which meant sending U.S. troops to join the allied forces.
Unfortunately however, World War I was only the first of many conflicts that transpired and claimed more lives from members of the U.S. military. As many others made sacrifices in the decades to come, the memories of those that gave up their lives in the first World War were soon overshadowed.
If not for the National WWI Museum and Memorial put up by the citizens and the Liberty Memorial Association of Kansas City, the sacrifices of the 116,708 soldiers who died in service of the country and the world, would have been forgotten.