World War I

J. Edgar Hoover (second from left) stands behind Franklin Delano Roosevelt as the president signs a bill in 1934.

How World War II Helped Forge the Modern FBI

Under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, J. Edgar Hoover consolidated immense power—and created the beginnings of the surveillance state

American ambassador Joseph C. Grew (left) meets with Japanese Foreign Minister Teijiro Toyoda (right) in October 1941, two months before the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Untold Stories of American History

The American Ambassador Who Tried to Prevent Pearl Harbor

A new book explores the diplomatic efforts of Joseph C. Grew, who was assigned to Tokyo between 1932 and 1942

Paula, Sam and Sol Messinger aboard the M.S. St. Louis in May 1939. The U.S. denied the ship entry, forcing its 937 passengers to return to Europe. More than a quarter of these refugees were later killed in the Holocaust.

Untold Stories of American History

Why Was America So Reluctant to Take Action on the Holocaust?

A new Ken Burns documentary examines the U.S.' complex, often shameful response to the rise of Nazism and the plight of Jewish refugees

Pages from Plastic Surgery of the Face by Harold Gillies

Inside a Trailblazing Surgeon's Quest to Reconstruct WWI Soldiers' Disfigured Faces

A new book profiles Harold Gillies, whose efforts to restore wounded warriors' visages laid the groundwork for modern plastic surgery

Communist revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg speaking at a conference in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1907

History of Now

The 20th-Century History of Anti-Semitic Attacks on Jewish Politicians

Russian rhetoric against Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy echoes the language directed toward Jewish leaders in post-WWI Europe

According to author Christopher A. Thomas, the dedication "was a microcosm of the strained race relations of its day, marked by the rhetoric of good intentions and the behavior of bigotry."

A Century Ago, the Lincoln Memorial's Dedication Underscored the Nation's Racial Divide

Seating was segregated, and the ceremony's only Black speaker was forced to drastically revise his speech to avoid spreading "propaganda"

The massive sculpture by Sabin Howard consists of five tableaux about a U.S. soldier. This is “Battle Scene.”

World War I: 100 Years Later

An Exclusive Preview of the New World War I Memorial

One sculptor and his team of artists take on the epic project of conveying the century-old conflict through a massive bronze installation

On March 15, the Senate unanimously passed legislation calling for year-round daylight saving time.

Untold Stories of American History

What Happened the Last Time the U.S. Tried to Make Daylight Saving Time Permanent?

A 1974 switch to year-round DST proved unpopular, with Americans expressing "distaste" for the long, dark winter mornings

Last Call at the Hotel Imperial centers on journalists Dorothy Thompson, John Gunther, H.R. Knickerbocker and Jimmy Vincent Sheean.

A Century Ago, American Reporters Foresaw the Rise of Authoritarianism in Europe

A new book tells the stories of four interwar writers who laid the groundwork for modern journalism

Divers can explore the wrecks of 14 warships, including the HMS Majestic and HMS Triumph.

Underwater Museum Allows Divers to Explore Shipwrecks From the Battle of Gallipoli

A new undersea park in Turkey preserves boats sunk during the 1915–16 World War I campaign

Italian artist Girolamo di Tommaso da Treviso created the ceremonial shield around 1535.

Ornate Medieval Shield Looted by the Nazis Will Be Returned to the Czech Republic

Created in the 16th century, the intricately decorated piece of armor was once owned by Archduke Franz Ferdinand

Procession marking the opening of the Belfast-based Ulster parliament in June 1921

One Hundred Years Ago, Northern Ireland's 'Unholy War' Resulted in a Deadly Summer

In July 1921, an outburst of sectarian violence in Belfast claimed 16 lives on the eve of a truce between Great Britain and Ireland

Cher Ami, April 1918–June 1919

Smithsonian Voices

Solving a 100-Year-Old Mystery About the Brave Pigeon Cher Ami

Science determines the most famous pigeon in World War I history was not a female, but a cock bird

Visitors explore during a sneak preview of the newly renovated Harry S. Truman Presidential Museum and Museum in Independence, Missouri. The $29 million expansion took 2 years to complete.

At the Harry Truman Library and Museum, Visitors Get to Ask Themselves Where the Buck Stops

Interactive exhibitions pose questions about the decision to drop the nuclear bomb, the Red Scare, Truman's foreign policy and more

This July 9, 2020, photograph shows a 14th-century bell tower peeking out of Lake Resia in northern Italy. The building—and the historic town it once stood in—were submerged in an artificial lake in 1950 to generate power for a nearby hydroelectric plant.

Submerged Italian Village Briefly Resurfaces After 70 Years Underwater

Construction work revealed the foundations of Curon, a historic alpine town, for the first time since 1950

Cheez-It’s 11-month shelf life is impressive, but so is the company’s history.

A Brief History of the Cheez-It

America's iconic orange cracker turns 100 this year

Warming temperatures allowed archaeologists to begin examining the barracks, which had previously been sealed off by a glacier, in 2017.

Cool Finds

Melting Glacier in the Italian Alps Reveals Trove of World War I Artifacts

Excavations at the summit of Mount Scorluzzo offer rare glimpse into lives of soldiers fighting in the White War

Some facets of the 1918 influenza pandemic echo today's crisis: There were mask mandates, campaigns against spitting and pleas for people to cover their mouths, and more than half a million Americans died. The decade that followed the pandemic, however, was marked by social change and economic prosperity—for some.

What Caused the Roaring Twenties? Not the End of a Pandemic (Probably)

As the U.S. anticipates a vaccinated summer, historians say measuring the impact of the 1918 influenza on the uproarious decade that followed is tricky

Rendering of the National World War I Memorial's wall of remembrance, which is set to be installed in 2024

How D.C.'s Newly Unveiled WWI Memorial Commemorates the Global Conflict

The space's central feature, a 60-foot-long wall of remembrance, remains unfinished

Cpl. Lawrence McVey poses at attention in a photographic postcard. The word "Hero" is inscribed at the top.

The Unmatched Bravery of the Harlem Hellfighters

A salute to the all-Black World War I fighting unit

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