Andrew KnoxHIST&137 – Research Plan #1January 26
Part I: Introduction (619 words)
I chose the 1918 Influenza Pandemic as my topic because I had never learned much about it ingrade school, which, looking back, seems extremely odd. The Flu Pandemic was one of the worstdisasters to ever strike America, or the entire world for that matter. Approximately 675,000 Americansdied, and about 28% of the population was infected at one time or another. Worldwide, mortality wasso high and corpses were destroyed so quickly that estimates for a death total range from 20 to 100million. Since the virus killed by instigating an immune system over-response, people between ages 20and 40 suffered greater mortality rates than young children and the elderly, who naturally tend to haveweaker immune systems.
This fact, coupled with the massive slaughter of young men in World War I,led to the phenomenon of the Lost Generation, an age cohort that had become disillusioned with thepath America had gone down in their lifetimes.
Like the Bubonic Plague that ravaged Medieval Europe, the Middle East and Asia, and killedindiscriminately from peasant to king, the 1918 Pandemic's extreme lethality meant that no one insociety was safe from the disease. Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Ethiopian Emperor HaileSelassie and Walt Disney all caught the flu at some point. Due to popular nicknames like “SpanishFlu” and “La Grippe,” it is generally accepted that the flu came to America with soldiers returningvictorious from the wretched battlefields of World War I Europe. While the pandemic officially lastedfrom June 1917 to December 1920, in the year 1918, the virus swept over the planet in three waves.The first wave hit America in March 1918. The far deadlier second wave struck from September toNovember, survivors of the first wave were immune, but the rest faced a far more lethal strain. The
1 Billings.2 Tripodi.