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When examining World War I as a turning point in history — including the statistics, battles, destruction and new technology — one important element often gets left out: the war was a personal and life-changing experience for those involved. It is their bravery and sacrifice that gives meaning to the unimaginable things they were forced to endure. This case features objects that belonged to or were created by people who fought, and tells stories of their experiences.

Homesickness has always been a major challenge for soldiers in combat and World War I was no exception. Letters and postcards were the most important means for soldiers to keep in contact with their friends and loved ones. Improvements in mail systems and the increase in literacy rates meant that more mail was being shipped to and from the combat zones than ever before — up to 500,000 a day for the German army on the Western Front. Packages from home were important for morale and included food items, clothing and personal mementos.


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