29 episodes

As the United States entered the “war to end all wars” in April 1917, no one could imagined that casualties would include over 35 million soldiers and civilians. For the 86,000 North Carolinians who fought in the war and for the 195 Tar Heel nurses who served overseas, as well as for the countless families left behind to wait in anguish, it was a war to make the world "safe for democracy." Based on primary sources, the films share firsthand stories from the trenches, hospitals, and homes during those troubled times. 585 Days, if You’re Lucky consists of 29 short films that may be watched sequentially or singularly. Video lengths vary from 2 to 11 minutes. Cumulative run time for all films is 100 minutes.

585 Days, if you're lucky North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and Partners

    • History

As the United States entered the “war to end all wars” in April 1917, no one could imagined that casualties would include over 35 million soldiers and civilians. For the 86,000 North Carolinians who fought in the war and for the 195 Tar Heel nurses who served overseas, as well as for the countless families left behind to wait in anguish, it was a war to make the world "safe for democracy." Based on primary sources, the films share firsthand stories from the trenches, hospitals, and homes during those troubled times. 585 Days, if You’re Lucky consists of 29 short films that may be watched sequentially or singularly. Video lengths vary from 2 to 11 minutes. Cumulative run time for all films is 100 minutes.

    • video
    Not our war, 1915

    Not our war, 1915

    World War I, or the “Great War” was triggered by the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir of the Austro-Hungarian throne, by Serbian separatists on June 28, 1914. Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia one month later. Germany immediately sided with Austria while Russia sided with Serbia. War soon broke out bringing France, Belgium and Britain against Germany, while Bulgaria and Turkey joined with Austria and Germany. Confused? So were most Americans who wanted to stay out of the messy European war. President Woodrow Wilson agreed and promised to keep the United States out of the war.

    • 1 min
    • video
    April 6, 1917, We’re at War!

    April 6, 1917, We’re at War!

    For three years, the United States stayed out of the European war. By 1917, however, German submarines regularly attacked American ships and U.S. leaders worried that their longtime friends, France and Britain, were losing the war and would be unable to repay their loans of money. So, in April 1917, President Wilson asked for a declaration of war to “to end all wars.” Asked to register for the draft, North Carolina men responded enthusiastically. North Carolina sent more than 86 thousand soldiers overseas to fight for the United States.

    • 2 min
    • video
    At the Train Station

    At the Train Station

    North Carolina National Guard members joined draftees to form part of the Thirtieth Division, nicknamed the “Old Hickory” Division, and were sent to train at Camp Sevier near Greenville, South Carolina. Another group of Tar Heels were in the Eighty-first Division, the “Wildcat Division” organized at Camp Jackson, near Columbia, South Carolina. For each recruit, the journey to the western front began when he boarded the train.

    • 1 min
    • video
    Arriving at Camp

    Arriving at Camp

    In addition to the Tar Heels in the Wildcat and Old Hickory Divisions, others served throughout the army, and in the navy and marines too. African American soldiers were separated into other units; many serving in the 92nd or 93rd Infantry Divisions. The 93rd Division was assigned to the French Army, which was known as “The Red Hand.” North Carolina American Indians also volunteered. For every man, volunteer or draftee, the call to arms meant leaving home for an uncertain future—which began at camp.

    • 2 min
    • video
    Training

    Training

    Before going overseas World War I soldiers trained to fight, although some men volunteered for the Allies before the United States entered the war. One volunteer, Kiffin Rockwell of Asheville helped form the Lafayette Escadrille, a unit of American flyers for the French Air Force in 1916, without knowing how to fly! Back home, soldiers at camp knew that qualifying as a marksman was difficult, especially when trying to hit a target without a rifle. Soldiers also trained to protect themselves from poison gas, a weapon used for the first time during World War I.

    • 2 min
    • video
    Officers at Training

    Officers at Training

    World War I training camps were being built as the first soldiers arrived. For many young men, the camp was their first extended away-from-home experience. Officers handling the men generally were patient with new recruits and left a favorable impression. This is not to say, however, that the officers were always quiet or good natured. Occasionally a soldier would gamble that an officer would be lenient.

    • 2 min

Top Podcasts In History

More by North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and Partners