Mary Evans Picture Library press release – London – 3 April, 2017
Mary Evans Picture Library, the UK’s leading source for historical images, is delighted to announce that Mike St. Maur Sheil’s images have been chosen for an exhibition commissioned by the U.S. National World War I Museum and Memorial to commemorate the 100th anniversary of America’s entry into the First World War on 6th April 1917.
‘The Doughboys 1917-1918’ exhibition will be on display in the Guildhall Yard in the City of London from 6th – 23rd April and in Grosvenor Square beside the American Embassy from 27th April – 12th May, before embarking on a UK tour. Mike St. Maur Sheil’s images are exclusively represented by Mary Evans Picture Library.
In 1917, the U.S. was a young and diverse nation with an army of just 120,000 volunteers drawn from a largely immigrant population. Indeed the decision to go to war only came after several years of heated public debate. In 1914 some 9% of the population of the U.S. were either of German parentage or first generation immigrants and the declaration of war was only made after the decision taken by the Germans in early 1917 to embark upon all-out submarine warfare which resulted in the sinking of U.S. merchant shipping.
The U.S. then had to place itself on a war footing and this exhibition seeks to tell the story of how within less than 18 months over 2.2 million young Americans were trained, equipped and shipped over to Europe where in late 1918 more than 1.2 million of them fought in the battle of Meuse-Argonne. To this day it is the largest ever involvement of American military in a single battle and helped bring the war to a conclusion in November 1918.
But American involvement was not just military. The German occupation of Belgium and northern France deprived those regions of access to many essential items, especially food, and in response an American business man, Herbert Hoover, (later President Hoover) set up the Belgian Relief Fund which distributed over 7 million tons of food and which is still the largest humanitarian relief operation ever mounted.
This exhibition, is the latest in the series of outdoor photographic exhibitions, Fields of Battle, Lands of Peace 14-18, created by photographer Michael St. Maur Sheil, and which have been seen by over 5 million people in six different countries since the first showing in Paris in April 2014.
To see a selection of images from Mike St. Maur Sheil that will be appearing in the exhibition, click here.
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