In July 1914, World War I breaks out in Europe. While the United States remains neutral until 1917, many students enlist in volunteer ambulance corps and go overseas to support the allies in France and Belgium. Anti-German and pro-British sentiment arises on campus and in Berkeley.
With American involvement looming in World War I, President Woodrow Wilson signs in 1916 the National Defense Act, setting up the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC). Berkeley’s Cadet Corps evolves into the ROTC.
Once the U.S. enters the war in April 1917, many faculty and staff enlist, or go on leave, to work for the military or other federal government departments. A large number of male students enlist in the armed forces; others are drafted.
Patriotic rallies and events are held at the Greek Theatre, and the new chemistry building, Gilman Hall, is used for classified research.