A Five-Part Series
Part I: Over Here: A “far away” war comes home
Hatfield Historical Society volunteer
The British called it “The Great War.” It started in Central Europe, in the early summer of 1914. The fighting grew in intensity and spread into Africa and Asia, with France, Britain, Russia and their assorted allies opposing Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire. Under President Woodrow Wilson’s leadership, the United States remained neutral and Americans mostly went about their normal lives.
All that changed on April 6, 1917, when the United States entered the fray on the side of France and her allies. Here in Hatfield, routines were disrupted and lives changed as citizens braced for what newspapers now referred to as “The World War.” As town resident James H. Day, known to family and friends as "Jim," would observe in a memoir written years later, Americans suddenly realized that a war seeming “far away and little in our minds… was coming home to us.”