This is a guide to free online resources about the United States and World War 1 (WW1).

The War Letters 1914-1918 series will include one book based on the letters of a soldier from the United States during World War 1. It will be published in spring of 2016. The resources listed are therefore just an initial selection. This will be continually added to and expanded when I begin working on the book properly. In the meantime, if you come across any resources that you think should be included please drop me a line.



The Annual Report of the Secretary of War to the President War Department, Fiscal Year Ended 30 June 1923, gives the official statistics for the awards and decorations given to American service personnel during World War 1 (WW1).

Order of Battle of US Land Forces in the World War, (3 Vol.) is the essential, official guide to the structure and organisation of the US military during World War 1. All three volumes are available to download as PDFs.

The United States Department of State papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States are available through the University of Wisconsin Digital Collection. There are several volumes of papers relating to the war which can most easily be found by browsing through the list of volumes.

US Army Manuals – The Hathi Trust has over 100 army manuals from World War 1, all of which can be viewed on line. Their collection ranges from guides to use ten-ton artillery tractors to detailed instructions for army bakers.

The War Addresses of President Woodrow Wilson, including his speech to Congress on 2 April 1917, can be read in a collection of his wartime speeches.


United States Army in the World War, 1917-1919, is a 17 volume series. All volumes are available to download as PDFs from the US Army Centre for Military History. Most of the files  are between 20-40 MB. Less a narrative history, they are more a compilation of documents relating to different operations.

Volume 1 deals with the organisation of the American Expeditionary Forces.

Volume 2 contains the policy forming documents.

Volume 3 details the training and use of American units with the British and French.

Volume 4 is the first volume to deal with the fighting, and starts with the first American action at Cambrai in November 1917 and ends with the MontDidier–Noyon operation in June 1918.

Volume 5 covers the operations in Champagne-Marne and Aisne-Marne from mid July 1918 until the beginning of August.

Volume 6 describes the events at Oise-Aisne and Ypres-Lys.

Volume 7 covers the Somme Offensive in September 1918.

Volume 8 covers St-Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne.

Volume 9 continues with Meuse-Argonne and ends with the armistice.

The subsequent volumes contain reports from the Commander-in-Chief, AEF, General Orders, and also documents related to the armistice.

THESES [top]

PQDT Open provides online access to American theses where the author has opted to publish as open access. There are surprisingly few theses about World War 1. Those there are provide an eclectic mix:

“A Little Army Discipline Would Improve the Whole House of Israel”: The Jewish Welfare Board, State Power and the Shaping of Jewish Identity in World War I America, Cooperman, Jessica (Ph.D., New York University, 2010)

The “Genreology” of U.S. Army World War I Records: A Relationship Between Organizational Communication and War, Orwig, Marcy Leasum (Ph.D., Iowa State University, 2012)

Great War Aviation and Commemoration: Louis Bennett, Jr., Commander of the West Virginia Flying Corps, Dusch, Charles D, Jr. (Ph.D., West Virginia University, 2009)

Vaudeville and the American Experience of the First World War as seen by Variety, Kubly, Jenna L. (Ph.D., Tufts University, 2010)


American Historic Newspapers is where the Library of Congress has made available digitised copies of over 1,000 American newspapers published between 1836–1922.

Historical Newspapers Online, provided by the University of Pennsylvania, is an annotated guide with links to digitised copies of historical American newspapers. Many of them cover the period of World War 1.

The Stars and Stripes was the official newspaper of the US Army  during World War 1.  A mix of news from home, poetry, cartoons and sport, at its height it had a readership of over half a million.  All 71 volumes have been digitised and made available by the Library of Congress.

AUDIO [top]

American Leaders Speak: Recordings from World War I and the 1920 Election  is a collection of audio recordings made available by the  Library of Congress to listen to online or download. There are 59 different speeches which last between 1-5 minutes each.

IMAGES [top]

World War I Posters at the Library of Congress is an online collection of more than 1,900 posters from World War 1. Most were printed in the United States but posters from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands and Russia are included as well.

The US Army Heritage and Education Centre has over 600 photographs taken by the US Signal Corps during World War 1. [top]