VIII
THE WAR OF 1914-18
The effects of the Great War were felt at Wake Forest, as at other
colleges, from its beginning in the summer of 1914. Owing to the war,
cotton, which was the money crop of many who sent their sons to the
College, was selling for little, and as a method of helping farmers the
"buy-a-bale" campaign got under way, with the result that a bale of
cotton could be seen in the windows of many city business houses-
hardware and jewelry stores and banks, and others. However, the
expected panic was averted by the new financial system of the Federal
Government recently adopted by Congress on the strong
recommendation of President Woodrow Wilson. For the years 1914-
15, 1915-16, and 1916-17, the College continued to function as usual,
although there was a slight falling off in the number of students for
the last year, the total being 481 in 1916-17, twenty-two fewer than in
the previous year. The situation became more serious after the entry
of the United States into the war in the spring of 1917. Already before
Congress declared the existence of a state of war in April, 1917,
interest in the conflict was powerfully moving the students, and many
were volunteering for this or that branch of service. This movement
was accelerated after the passage of the selective conscription bill on
April 28, 1917, and numbers of students were leaving the College
daily. There was alarm in all the colleges lest their students would
nearly all be drawn into the war when the act should go into full
operation; but in a few weeks this alarm was measurably alleviated by
express declaration of President Wilson and members of his cabinet
that so far as possible undergraduate students in colleges should
continue in them, for a while at least, in order to equip themselves
better for future service.1
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1 From President Wilson's letter to the Secretary of the Interior, under date of July
20, 1917: "There will be need for a larger number of persons
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