A century ago, as the First World War devastated Europe, Americans watched in horror at the war’s human costs. But they did not just watch- they got involved. Volunteers distributed food, clothing, and medicine to soldiers and civilians in Belgium and France. They drove ambulances, operated field hospitals, and steered relief trucks. Some served under arms as soldiers or pilots in the French and British armies. Prompted by altruism, personal ambition, a search for adventure, or hope for the redemption of a devastated Europe, volunteers engaged with the world before the United States entered the conflict. The choice that tens of thousands of young men and women made transformed the meanings of volunteerism as well as the position of the United States in the world.

The Volunteers: Americans Join World War I, 1914-1919 is a free curriculum consisting of twenty-two lesson plans aligned with UNESCO Global Learning standards for secondary school classrooms worldwide. The curriculum helps students analyze the history of World War I through the lens of this volunteer service, both before and after the period of American neutrality. It also aims to continue the legacy of volunteerism established during World War I by encouraging students to engage in local, regional, and international service.

The Volunteers: Americans Join World War I, 1914-1919 was created by AFS Intercultural Programs and received an official endorsement from the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission. The curriculum was generously supported by the General Representation of the Government of Flanders to the USA, and was developed in partnership with the National World War I Museum and Memorial and the curriculum specialists at Primary Source, a non-profit resource center dedicated to advancing global education.

Learn more and download the free curriculum at http://thevolunteers.afs.org.