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World War I 1914-1918

1917 - U. S. Declares War

April 6, 1917 - Germany continues to sink non-military, or civilian ships, some American. The U.S. can no longer stay out of the war. Over the next two years, more than one million U.S. troops will go to fight the war in Europe, and help its friends, or allies. The disputes of colonial times are long past, and the Americans join with Britain and France to become allies fighting against Germany.

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1918 - Auto Factory Expands

The Ford Motor Company in Charlotte produces 85 cars each day. The factory, which opened in 1915, will operate until the 1930s. There will also be a Ford repair shop in the 200 block of North College Street, operated by Doc Crowell and W.G. Frye.

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1918 - Chaplin Pushes Bonds

April 11, 1918 - Film star Charlie Chaplin visits Charlotte to promote the sale of bonds that raise money for the war effort. He speaks for 10 minutes and raises over $20,000. Chaplin also entertains troops at Camp Greene, on Charlotte's west side.

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1918 - Terrible Epidemic

November 1918Millions of people worldwide are dying from Spanish influenza, or flu. To keep the infection from spreading throughout the community, Charlotte officials close parks, churches, schools and other public buildings. Still, in the U.S. alone, the disease races through the population in an outbreak called an epidemic. More than 500,000 people will die.

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1918 - Peace

November 11, 1918 - In a railroad car outside Paris, France, German leaders sign a pledge to stop fighting, called an armistice. With the help of American troops, the war has been won by France, England and their supporters, called allies. More formal negotiations must follow, and the official end of the war will come next June with the Treaty of Versailles, France. Worldwide, 10 million servicemen have died and 20 have been million wounded. Among US troops, 116,000 have died in the war.

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1914 - Archduke Killed

July 28, 1914 - The European nation of Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia, one month after a Serbian kills the Archduke of Austria-Hungary. World War I begins. The deadliest war in history to date, it will last nearly five years. The U.S. will remain uninvolved, or neutral, for three years.

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1914 - Women's Suffrage

November 9, 1914 - Across the nation, a movement called Suffrage has been gathering support since Revolutionary days. Women are allowed to vote in some states, but not in North Carolina. Today, Charlotte's Selwyn Hotel hosts the state's first suffrage convention. Only when the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution passes will women win this crucial right in 1920.Suffragettes

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1915 - Sinking of the Lusitania

May 7, 1915 - Germany dominates Europe's war. A German submarine sinks a British passenger ship, the Lusitania. Nearly 1,200 non-military people, or civilians, die, including more than 100 Americans. Germany claims the ship is carrying war supplies. But the British deny it. The American public begins to support U.S. involvement in the war.

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1915 - Movie Premiere

November 15, 1915 - Five thousand people crowd into the Academy of Music in downtown Charlotte. It is the premiere of the silent film Birth of a Nation. A 30-piece orchestra accompanies it. Based on a novel by Shelby's Thomas W. Dixon, the controversial D.W. Griffith movie glorifies the Ku Klux Klan and its role in the Reconstruction era that followed the Civil War.

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1916 - Woodrow Wilson Visits

May 20, 1916 - The man who attended Davidson College for one year comes to Charlotte. He is now President Woodrow Wilson. It is blisteringly hot on Meck Dec Day, Mecklenburg's celebration of Independence. Mayor T.L. Kirkpatrick speaks so long when introducing the president that wool-clad members of a marching band faint.From l. to r.: Governor Manning of South Carolina, President Wilson, Governor Craig of North Carolina, Mayor Kilpatrick of Charlotte

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