BY THE DELPHOS CANAL COMMISSION
It all began with a single shot. Nearly 100 years ago on July 28, 1914, Serbian Gavrilo Princip assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire on a back street in Sarajevo. Austro-Hungarian demands of Serbia were refused and their subsequent invasion of Serbia started a domino effect between allies on both sides that quickly drew all of Europe into war.
While Europe suffered through a horrific and bloody stalemate, the United States maintained a strict non-interventionist policy. While not actively participating in the War, the United States was an important supplier to the United Kingdom and other Allies. In 1917, Germany, in an effort to turn the tide of the war, declared unrestricted submarine warfare. They hoped to disrupt supply lines to England and starve them out of the war before United States, angered by attacks on American ships, joined the war. However, England held out and the United States, furious over hostile acts by Germany, declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917.
When war was declared on April 6, the United States had a small, ill-equipped army but a draft was implemented and soon nearly three million new soldiers swelled the ranks of the American military. Back home in Delphos, the local boys flocked to recruiting stations to join the fight. Those who passed their physical were soon off to camp to train, some leaving from the Delphos train station. Camp Sherman in Chillicothe was one of the largest military training camps in the nation and trained more than 40,000 soldiers before the war ended.