Kansas State Guard: Company D, 34th Battalion

Because the Kansas National Guard was going to serve overseas during World War One, the state was left without forces to defend the state.  Civilians organized their own “Home Guards,” and in February 1918 these groups gave way to the Kansas State Guard, which were created and supported by the state government.  Listed at left are the men who served in Lindsborg.  Among those listed are Bethany College President Ernst Pihlblad.

Home guards or state guards often had a reassuring effect on communities, but they could also threaten civil liberties, depending on how these men viewed threats within their communities.  A more notorious organization during World War I that undermined civil liberties was the American Protective League.  During summer 1918 the Salina branch of the American Protective League contacted Emil O. Deere, a biology professor at Bethany and an officer in the Lindsborg battalion of the Kansas State Guard, inquiring about the “conditions about Lindsborg” stemming from the “great many complaints from there” the writer heard about.  You can read the letter here.