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America, Here's My Boy: Gender in American Popular Music during World War I: Case 2

Case 2-Attitudes Before America Entered the War

case 2 photo

Prior to America’s entry to World War I, Americans differed greatly in their attitudes toward the war, as demonstrated in these pieces all published after the start of the war, but before America joined the fight.

Klickmans, F. Henri, and Arthur J. Lamb. As The Lusitania Went Down. Chicago: Frank K. Root & Co., 1915.

As the Lusitania Went Down, cover art

The sinking of the ocean liner RMS Lusitania on May 7, 1915 by a German U-boat killed over 1,000 passengers, including over 100 Americans. The sinking caused immense outrage in the American public.

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Williams, W. R. We Stand for Peace while Others War. Chicago: The Chicago Publisher, 1914.

We stand for peace while others war, cover art

Many Americans felt that keeping out of the war was best for the United States. Woodrow Wilson won the 1916 election running the campaign slogan “He Kept Us Out of War.” By April 1917, however, America joined the fight overseas.

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Piantadosi, Al, and Alfred Bryan. I Didn’t Raise My Boy To Be A Soldier. New York: Leo Feist, 1915.

I didn't raise my boy to be a soldier, cover art

This piece appeals to all mothers, encouraging anti-war sentiment in order to keep the United States out of the war. It contrasts greatly with pieces such as America, Here’s My Boy published just a couple years later, after America had declared war on Germany.

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Holland, Frank J. We’ll be Ready Whenever You Call. Terre Haute, IN: Holland-Hartley Music, 1916.

We'll be ready whenever you call, cover art

Although many were opposed to entering the war, others viewed the supposed atrocities enacted against Belgium and France by the Germans as intolerable and believed America had a moral obligation to enter the war.

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