Devotion behind War
YMCA Work Campaign


          Many young men died during the Great War, one of the greatest conflicts of the nineteenth century. Over thirty nations fighting one another caused major displacement of civilians. The amount of people fleeing and searching for help influenced many organizations and writers. One such person was Howard A. Walter who wrote "I Would Be True" in 1906 which was published as a hymn in 1917. This was mainly a reflection of his work in YMCA funded shelters and how the people who passed through affected him. He saw these people as his brothers and sisters. “Who is so low that I am not his brother?” (Peek). This feeling of attachment and understanding toward those who have been displaced by war is hard to comprehend, but Howard did his best. “Who is so poor I may not feel his hunger?” (Peek). Howard was so impacted by his time that he went on to serve in India doing similar work with the YMCA until his death in 1918. “I Would Be True” Was influential to those overseas because it helped people to connect with those who needed their help most.

          YMCA voulenteers took note and devoted their work efforts to help those people affected most by the war. The best example being in France where hundreds of locations were set up within four years. "By 1918 over 300 YMCA centres had been established in France." (Hanna). Women played a large role in these organizations because many of the men were off fighting the war and they wanted to help support in any way possible. Much of this was providing a safe space where people could be safe and continue to raise their children and take care of their family. “Activities included providing writing paper, film showings, libraries, religious services, concert parties, folk dancing and educational lectures.” (Hanna). This may not seem like much but it truly made a difference in the lives of those who needed the hospitality most. 


Works Cited

Hanna, Emma. “Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA).” International Encyclopedia,

McMein, Neysa. “United War Work Campaign Poster.” Britannica Academic,

Peek, Y. Joseph. “I Would Be True | Howard A. Walter.” Timeless Truths,  

Associated Place(s)


  • Neysa McMein

Image Date: 

circa. The middle of the month Winter 20th century