|1914: The End of an Era (The New Republic, 1915)|
World War I had only been raging for six months when this article first appeared. As the journalist makes clear, one did not have to have an advanced degree in history to recognize that this war was unique; it involved almost every wealthy, industrialized European nation and their far-flung colonies; thousands of men were killed daily and many more thousands stepped forward to take their places. The writer recognized that this long anticipated war was an epic event and that, like the French Revolution, it would be seen by future generations as a marker which indicated that all changes began at that point:
"Those who were but a few months ago assuring us that there never could be another general war are most vociferously informing the same audience that this will be the last."
Click here to read about the W.W. I efforts of Prince Edward, the future Duke of Windsor.
A War Like No Other (Hearst's Sunday American, 1917)
An article by the admired British war correspondent Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett (1881 - 1931) concerning the unique aspects of the Great War which combined to make that the sort of war that had never been seen before:
"Everything has changed; uniforms, weapons, methods, tactics. Cavalry had been rendered obsolete by trenches, machine guns and modern artillery; untrained soldiers proved useless, special battalions were needed on both sides to fight this particular kind of war that, in no way, resembled the battles your father or grand-fathers had once fought."
A good read.
If you would like to see color photographs from World War One, click here.
Articles about trench warfare can be read here.
Trench Fighting (The New Republic, 1915)
This article was written by the war correspondent Gerald Morgan (1898 - 1975), who attempted to explain what W.W. I trench warfare was and how it differed from the trench battles that he witnessed during the 1905 Russo-Japaneses War:
"There is an illusion that the range and effectiveness of modern arms tend to keep armies far apart. On the contrary, there is more hand-to-hand fighting today than at any time since gunpowder was invented... at this rate the French will not drive out the Germans in months, but on the other hand a frontal attack, and every attack must now be frontal, even if successful would cost several hundred thousand men."
Click here to read about the foreign-born soldiers who served in the American Army of the First World War.
America Commits Itself to the War (Literary Digest, 1928)
In writing a piece for LA REVUE MONDIALE ten years after the Armistice, Stéphane Lauzanne (1887 - 1928), Editor-in-Chief of the semi-official PARIS MATIN wrote a few bitter-sweet words about the American character and how it was both a hindrance and a benefit to the Allies in the war. Yet he was full of praise when he recalled the bold and forward-thinking manner in which America entered the war and committed both blood and treasure:
"...all America sees far ahead and sees on a grand scale...when America entered the war, it did not say: 'Let us get a few regiments together, give some money to our allies, and send some bushels of wheat to various ports.' No, America envisioned the matter on a big scale. Men were recruited by the millions, and the money to be sent to the Allies was calculated in the millions. The wheat for Europe was grouped in millions of bushels. The material necessary for construction of sixteen great camps was gathered in millions of cubic yards. If America had not seen the problem on this grand scale, would the war have ended as quickly?"
Click here to read an interview with the World War I American fighter pilot Eddy Rickenbacker.
Psychological Prep Used in the Training of U.S. Army Officers (Outing Magazine, 1918)
Any ol' couch-jockey well schooled in the viewing of History Channel documentaries about GIs during W.W. II can tell you that this diverse soldiery had one strong psychological element in common: they could not envision failure. The power of positive thought is still very much a vital particle ingrained within the psyche of today's recruits training within the American military behemoth, and this is the topic of the attached magazine article from 1918. This is an article about the wartime training of U.S. Army officers by Major Hermann J. Koehler, who believed deeply that "there is no limit to human endurance".
Read what the U.S. Army psychologists had to say about courage.
Secretary of War Newton Baker Visits the Front Trenches (New York Times, 1918)
Attached is a front page story from a 1918 NEW YORK TIMES that covered the important visit Secretary of War Newton Baker (1871 – 1937) had made to the American front line trenches during his World War I tenure at the Department of War. During this trip the former Ohio Governor donned trench coat, helmet and gas-mask while chatting it up with the Doughboys.
Click here to read an article from 1927 by General Pershing regarding the American cemeteries in Europe.