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Interpreting the Evidence

An International Anthem - Britain and America

  • Documents in this Activity:
  • Historical Eras:

    Turn of the Century and WWI (1890 - 1930)

  • Thinking Skill:

    Historical Analysis & Interpretation

  • Grade Level:

    Middle School
    High School
    College University

  • Topics:

    World War I

  • Primary Source Types:

    Written Document

  • Regions:

    United States

  • Creator:

    NYS Archives Partnership Trust Education Team

  1. Load Sheet Music for "An International Anthem - Britain and America," 1917 in Main Image Viewer

Suggested Teaching Instructions

Document Description
Sheet music for An International Anthem - Britain and America, set to the tunes of "My Country 'Tis of Thee" and "God Save the King."  The music and lyrics were printed in The New York Times Magazine on November 25, 1917.
Historical Context
As you can read on the document the words of the International Anthem were written by Charles Huntington and were first sung to music composed by Mrs. Hattie Lambert Wallenstein at a dinner given by the American Peace and Arbitration League in honor of President Taft, at Sherry’s, February 22, 1912. Mrs. Wallenstein dedicated her music to Andrew Carnegie. Soon after the great war began in 1914 the anthem was heard in St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, to the tune of “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee,” and “God Save the King.”  Unlike those two songs, it has no chorus. Major Gen. J.F. Bell, commanding the national army cantonment at Camp Upton, called attention to the anthem in a letter published in THE NEW YORK TIMES.  He recommended the singing of the song at public gatherings as a means of encouraging the cordial relations between the United States and Great Britain.
Major Gen. Bell had taken part in a song rally and was disturbed to find that only the national anthems of France and Russia were included in the program.  He felt that because England had played such a prominent part in WWI, that it would not be a good time to invite bad relations between the two countries.  He felt that the International Anthem would help to cultivate good feelings at an important time in history.
Essential Question
How does a nation encourage support for war?
Check for Understanding
Summarize the main idea and explain the purpose of this song.
Historical Challenges
The song is missing a chorus. Write one that would be appropriate for the feelings expressed in this song.
Interdisciplinary Connections
Music: Play the music and/or sing the song as a group.