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World War One - Letters

               Letters Film Clips

The Effects of War on Character (New York Times, 1915)

The attached W.W. I letter is a reflection on the effects of war upon character written by a British officer on the western front to his wife.

"You need not fear for a 'disgraceful peace' coming from fatigue on the part of the fighting men. It is the resolution of the talking men you will need to look to."

No truer words...


Britain's King Welcomes the Doughboys (April, 1918)

A colored scan of the widely distributed seventy-word letter that Britain's King George V wrote to all members of the American military who had stepped on British soil. The letter is dated April, 1918 and was made to appear as though it was from the King's private stationery; the Windsor Castle letterhead is engraved in scarlet while the cursive body of the letter (in dark gray ink) is beautifully printed below in the conventional manner. It would seem that the California Doughboy who received this particular letter was not impressed; he simply turned it over and addressed a letter to his parents.

*A Quick Film Clip Regarding George V*


Tales of the Mounted German Corpse (New York Times, 1915)

A ghastly story from a 1914 front is told in this letter written by British trooper S. Cargill as he recalled a skirmish between German Lancers and British cavalry.


A Letter from the Freshly Dug Trenches (New York Times, 1915)

This World War I letter makes for a wonderful read and it gives such a vivid picture of what the war must have been like once both sides had resigned themselves to trench warfare. The letter was dated October 8, 1914 and the British officer who composed it makes clear his sense that no war had ever been fought in this queer manner before.


A Letter from the Trenches (New York Times, 1915)

An interesting letter written during the opening weeks of the war by a Canadian officer stationed with a British Guard regiment. The letter is filled with earnest enthusiasm:

"We are all one in aim, in spirit and in that indefinable quality of loyal co-operation which holds together the British Army fighting against enormous odds in France, as it binds together the British Empire by bonds not less strong because they are invisible."


A Letter from One Who Saw the First German Prisoners (New York Times, 1915)

This W.W. I letter was written by a French infantryman who had participated in one the earliest battles of 1914. In this letter, that managed to make it into the French, British and American papers, the Frenchman took a good deal of time to describe his impressions of the first German prisoners to be taken in the war:

"Their appetite is so great that, though in [the] presence of a French officer they will click their heels together properly, they never cease at the same time to munch noisily and to fill out their hollow cheeks."


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