The destruction of Rheims cathedral in 1914 by the invading German armies forced American preservationists to action. While New Yorkers demanded that belligerents respect international laws protecting antiquities, Bostonians requested diplomatic intervention by the Wilson Administration. Virginia preservationists, despite some reservations about the war, stressed Anglo-American unity. With patriotic groups setting the focus and mastering the coalition, preservationists joined the preparedness movement, using historic sites to rally the then-neutral nation. When the United States declared war in April 1917, preservationists aided the home-front effort, recognizing in the end the necessity for more concerted action both at home and abroad.

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