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Florida Tech Scholars to Explore US Entry Into World War I at April 14 Event

Fateful April 1917 Decision
Had Far-Reaching Impact

MELBOURNE, FLA. — Four scholars at Florida Institute of Technology will explore different aspects of one of the most fateful moments in U.S. history in “From Civvies to Trenches: A Commemoration of America’s Entry into World War I” at 6:30 p.m. Friday, April 14, at Evans Library.

The event, hosted by the library and the School of Arts and Communication, is free and open to the public. The four participating speakers are Robert Taylor, history professor and the associate dean and head of the School of Arts and Communication; Matthew Ruane, assistant professor of humanities; William Allen, associate professor of computer sciences; and Jacob Ivey, visiting assistant professor of history.

Each will cover different aspects of America’s involvement in the war:

  • Taylor will offer, “The End of American Innocence: The United States Enters World War I.”
  • Ruane will speak about, “America’s First War on Terror: Germany’s Plot to Destabilize the US, 1915-1917.”
  • Allen will focus on cybersecurity and the Zimmerman Telegram, the secret diplomatic cable from German Foreign Minister Arthur Zimmerman proposing a Germany-Mexico alliance if the U.S. were to enter the war against Germany. The note was intercepted and decoded in January 1917 and ended up galvanizing American opinion in favor of entering the war, which the U.S. opted to do on April 6, 1917.
  • Ivey will offer, “Jim Crow and Croix de Guerre: African American Experiences in the Great War.”

In addition to the presentations, the event will include displays of historical items.

“America’s entry into World War I had a profound impact on the nation at home and ‘over there’ in Europe,” Taylor said. “We found out the true cost of being a world power, and how difficult it is for a democracy to operate in wartime.”

For more information, please contact Nancy Garmer at ngarmer@fit.edu or 321-674-7542.

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