In July 2014, JoJo Palko, University Archives intern, wrote a post on the beginnings of the “war to end all wars”. On June 28, 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated. That tragic moment put into motion the dominoes that would fall one month later, resulting in a war that would last four years and forever change the course of history. The war would forever change the University of Kansas as well. This post provides information about the Student Army Training Corps (SATC) and about KU graduate, Dr. William T. Fitzsimmons, the first American army officer killed in World War I.
Click here to read the full post.
It’s probably worth a few more words about Fitzsimons. Born April 18, 1889 at Burlington, he attended St. Mary’s College at St. Mary’s prior to transferring to the University of Kansas. He is well remembered in Kansas City, where there is a memorial fountain at The Paseo at 12th Street, dedicated in 1922. The Fitzsimons – Battenfeld American Legion Post No. 8 monument stands at The Paseo and Emanuel Cleaver II Boulevard. His name is also included on memorial plaques at the Meyer Boulevard and Ward Parkway, and Memory Hall at the Liberty Memorial. While it’s being converted to new use, the Fitzsimons Army Medical Center in Aurora, Colorado, is also named in his honor.
For additional information about Fitzsimons and the Kansas City memorials, see James J. Heiman’s “Voices in Bronze and Stone: Kansas City’s World War I Monuments and Memorials.”