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A U.S. Army gun crew fired at entrenched German soldiers on the Western Front, 1918

A U.S. Army gun crew fired at entrenched German soldiers on the Western Front, 1918.

National Archives and Records Administration

A U.S. Army gun crew fired at entrenched German soldiers on the Western Front, 1918

Images of the Era: 1913-1945

Most Americans greeted the 20th century with optimism. The early decades saw economic growth and the expansion of democracy as women gained the vote. But two world wars, the Great Depression, and the nuclear age later tested such confidence.