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Interpreting the Evidence

Gold Star Roll of Honor, World War I Service Records for Felix H. Patzold

  • Documents in this Activity:
  • Historical Era:

    Turn of the Century and WWI (1890 - 1930)

  • Thinking Skill:

    Historical Analysis & Interpretation

  • Grade Level:

    Middle School
    High School
    College University

  • Topics:

    Global History and Geography
    World War I

  • Primary Source Types:

    Written Document

  • Regions:

    New York State
    United States

  • Creator:

    NYS Archives Partnership Trust Education Team

  1. Load Gold Star Roll of Honor, World War I Service Record for Felix H. Patzold, 1918 in Main Image Viewer

Suggested Teaching Instructions

Document Description
Gold Star Roll of Honor - listing information for Private Felix Patzold of White Plains, N.Y., who died of influenza on September 26, 1918, just seventeen days after enlisting in the army.

Historical Context
World War I marked a period of the enormous loss of life.  While millions died on battlefields in Europe and around the world, the open battle was not the only cause of death during the conflict.  In addition to fighting the enemy, soldiers often found that disease could be an equally devastating opponent.
Towards the end of World War I, an epidemic of influenza later called the “Spanish Flu” or the “flu of 1918” broke out, killing some 50-100 million people (between 3-6% of the population) across the world in a span of three years.  In the United States alone, the death toll was at or above half a million.  The disease was similar to the H1N1 flu of 2009.  However, due to the limits of medical science at the time, the Spanish Flu was particularly deadly.  Due to advances in transportation technology and increasing international contact, the disease spread very rapidly.  In the close quarters of training camps and battlefield trenches, the disease ran rampant.  Felix Patzold of White Plains, New York was one of the millions who caught the disease.

Essential Question
How do soldiers and their families sacrifice for the sake of their country?

Check for Understanding
Describe Felix Patxold's military experience using evidence from the document.

Historical Challenges
How did the Spanish Flu get its name? What (if anything) did it have to do with Spain?

Interdisciplinary Connections
Math: If the world’s population in 1918 was about 1.6 billion people and 1/3 of the population caught the Spanish flu, how many people were infected during the outbreak?

Science: There were two major waves of the Spanish flu between the years 1918-1919. The second wave was the deadlier of the two. How come both waves were not equally disastrous?

Health: What advances in medicine have come about to treat the Spanish Flu since World War I?