Repercussions from events leading up to the First World War were felt as much in Texas as in the rest of the country. Germany’s desire to involve Mexico in a war with the U.S. in order to distract the nation’s support of its Allies in Europe produced a particularly disruptive environment along the Texas/Mexican border during the first part of the 20th century, an environment already in turmoil from the Mexican Revolution. In the run up to WWI, almost two hundred thousand Texans joined the armed forces as well as four hundred and fifty women (serving as nurses). Three Texans would be awarded the Medal of Honor and over five thousand would die before it was over. Throughout Texas, military camps trained men for battle on the ground and in the air including Camp MacArthur in Waco, Camp Bowie in Fort Worth, Camp Travis and Kelly Field in San Antonio. Although the war proved brutal and bloody, it was also short-lived, ending in November of 1918 with a distinct victory for the Allies, a little over a year after Congress declared war in April of 1917. Among the places heritage travels may explore the details of the war today are the U.S. Army Medical Department Museum at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio (admission free!) and the Texas Military Forces Museum at Fort Mabry in Austin (free admission!), and Battleship TEXAS, first launched in 1912, at the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site. Bring a hard hat and flashlight and take the guided tour of this dreadnought, courtesy of volunteers with the Battleship TEXAS Foundation.
Explore World War I history with the following Texas Historical Commission travel resources:
Texas Time Travel website – Use the map and links below to explore World War I historic sites in Texas.
Mobile Tour – Go mobile with the Texas and the Great War mobile tour, featuring a rich blend of images, videos, first-person interviews, maps, and useful visitor information for exploring historical sites across Texas.
Watch our Texas and the Great War video series to learn more about Texas and Texans in WWI.