Ralph John: The Soldier
Clip: Season 29 Episode 8 | 1m 38s
Just a few months before he jumped off with the first wave of the Meuse-Argonne offensive, Private Ralph John had been working on his family’s farm in McIntosh, South Dakota. His training as a soldier consisted of two days’ practice with a rifle, and a short stint driving a bayonet into a mannequin. Then he was shipped out, handed a gas mask, and sent into battle.
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Private Ralph John’s training for the Great War was two days’ practice with a rifle.
An American who escaped the racism of Georgia, and fought on the battlefields of France.
For Woodrow Wilson, the Great War was a chance for America to become a global citizen.
After more than two years, thousands of American soldiers boarded ships bound for France.
The climactic struggle and ensuing peace that forever changed a president and a nation.
Follow America’s entry into the conflict.
Explore America’s tortured, nearly three-year journey to war.
An inside look at the making of The Great War, premiering April 10 at 9/8c.
American Experience Executive Producer Mark Samels discusses the film and why we made it.
How WWI transformed America through those whose participation has largely been forgotten.
How WW1 to “make the world safe for democracy”—altered America’s place in the world.
Corporate sponsorship for American Experience is provided by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Consumer Cellular. Major funding by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.