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New Jersey WWI Facts

  • Prior to becoming president of the United States and overseeing the American entry into World War I, Woodrow Wilson graduated from Princeton, served as the University’s president, and was elected the 34th governor of the State of New Jersey.

  • On July 30, 1916, railroad cars packed with ammunition blew up at the Black Tom depot in Jersey City, killing seven people and spewing shrapnel that tore holes in the Statue of Liberty. The incident was part of a German plan to destroy military supplies for the Allies.

  • Anti-German sentiment during World War I inspired Morris County officials to change the name of German Valley to Long Valley, a name which it still maintains to the present day.

  • One of the most famous training grounds for World War I soldiers – Camp Dix – was situated in rural Burlington County. With a peak population of 35,000, Camp Dix rivalled a medium-sized New Jersey city.

  • HobokenEmbarkation1917Cropped4Hoboken was a major point of embarkation for troops leaving the United States for Europe. In 1918, that same city served as the point of arrival for veterans returning home from the battle front.

  • The first Battleship New Jersey (BB-16) served as a training vessel during World War I. The “second” Battleship New Jersey (BB-62) is the more well-known, World War II-era vessel currently moored at the Camden waterfront.

  • The New Jersey Council of Defense, a civilian group attached to the governor’s office, helped coordinate four major Liberty Loan campaigns in the Garden State. These fundraising drives raised millions of dollars for the war effort.

  • As demand for military supplies increased, New Jersey’s strong industrial infrastructure made the state the largest supplier of munitions in America by 1918.

  • New Jersey would ultimately provide 72,946 conscripts and 46,960 volunteers to the war effort. With those already in the service, more than 140,000 New Jerseyans served by war’s end.

  • kilmer2Joyce Kilmer, one of the most famous Americans to serve during World War I, called New Jersey home. Born in New Brunswick, the soldier/poet earned national recognition for his popular poem, “Trees.” Today, a New Jersey Turnpike travel plaza bears his name.

  • Needham Roberts, an African American from Trenton who enlisted with the 369th Infantry Division (old 15th New York), was one of the first two Americans to receive the French Croix de Guerre for heroism in battle.

  • Eight New Jerseyans received the Congressional Medal of Honor for their service during World War I.

  • Headquartered in New Brunswick, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) was a 19th-century pioneer in sterile surgical dressings, absorbent cotton, and bandages. During the Great War the Allies obtained the bulk of these necessities from the New Jersey firm. 

  • Although the Armistice took place in 1918, the United States did not formally end the war until 1921. President Warren G. Harding signed the congressional resolution that officially ended American involvement in World War I while golfing in Raritan, New Jersey.