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Interpreting the Evidence

Women of the American Red Cross Auxiliary Standing on a Tank, Albany, NY

  1. Load Women of the American Red Cross Auxiliary Standing on a Tank, Albany, NY, World War I, March 12, 1918 in Main Image Viewer

Suggested Teaching Instructions

Document Description
Women of the American Red Cross auxiliary with the tank "Britannia" in Albany, New York on March 12, 1918.
Historical Context
The American Red Cross, founded in 1882, grew rapidly during World War I. Red Cross volunteers supported American and Allied troops and provided limited services for prisoners of war and victims of the war. Support for the troops including a camp service, a canteen service, a home service, and a hospital service. The American Red Cross set up fifty-four hospitals overseas during the war which provided medical services for the wounded. Four hundred Red Cross workers lost their lives in World War I, of which 330 were women.

The British tank “Britannia” was part of a tour to recruit Canadian and British citizens residing in the United States to join the army before the draft was initiated. According to an article published in the New York Times in March of 1918, the tank was unloaded at the rail station and was driven up State Street by Captain Haig and a crew of seven other veterans of the war. Three American Red Cross workers, all young women, were given rides in the tank. A warning was issued to all British citizens living in the United States indicating that they must enlist or they would be drafted. A recruiting theatrical production entitled, “Getting Together” was performed later that evening as part of the recruiting event.

Essential Question
How do women contribute to the solving of national issues?
Check for Understanding
Describe the scene in the photograph and explain the role of these women in World War I.
Historical Challenges
What year did the United States join the Allied forces in Europe? What recruiting efforts were used in the United States to recruit U.S. citizens during World War I?
Interdisciplinary Connections
Science: What new technology was used in the manufacturing of the British tanks? How did this technology aid the war effort?
English Language Arts: Write a short play encouraging citizens to volunteer to join the army during wartime.