"We All Must Do Our Utmost:"
Holland, Michigan in World War I
“To save the world from such a fate, we all must do our utmost.” So wrote Hope College theology professor John Kuizenga in late 1917. He was writing to Hope soldiers “over there” on the importance of making the world, as President Woodrow Wilson had put it just months earlier, “safe for democracy.” The Great War had raged since July 1914, starting as an European conflict which spiraled outward to engulf what felt like the entire world. As men from Hope College and Holland enlisted, those on the homefront decided to “do their utmost” in the great cause for America. The “utmost” manifested itself in different ways for Hollanders and Hope students, but whether through fighting or farming, fundraising or flying the flag, all participated in the war effort. The war ended in November 1918, and a stunned silence fell over the world as humanity grappled with what had transpired. Whole countries had burned, but even small communities like Holland-seemingly so far from the war's epicenter-had changed.