Sergeant Alvin York (1887 - 1964) of the 328th Infantry Regiment, Eighty-Second Division, was one of the great heroes of the First World War. The attached four page article recalled those deeds as well as his glorious trip to New York City where he was luxuriated at the Waldorf Astoria and feted by the swells of Gotham.
A black and white diagram depicting the breach of the 1903 Springfield rifle, with all parts named. This rifle was the primary weapon for American troops during World War One and was in use by that army up until 1936. At the time of America's entry into the W.W. I, in April of 1917, there were roughly 843,239 Springfield '03 rifles issued; seeing that this was not nearly enough for such an adventure, the Springfield Armory manufactured 265,620 additional rifles. In some photographs from the war, American soldiers and Marines are pictured shouldering the British Enfield rifle, which had been modified to fit the ammunition of the Springfield '03. Subsequent modifications produced the Springfield 1903A3 and A4 which were issued to American snipers up until the earlier years of the Vietnam War.
Throughout the course of the war the U.S. Army was paying $19.50 for each rifle.
The novelist, journalist, anti-Semite and French Academy member Maurice Barres (1862 - 1923) had some opinions regarding the word "Poilu" (the popular and affectionate slang term for the French front line soldier, which translates into English as "hairy guy"). In the following one page essay he presented a history of the word and continued with an explanation as to why it bugged him:
"It lacks dignity. To my taste it belittles those whom it is meant to laud and serve. A hero can hardly be expressed by this brazen-faced and slanderous epithet. And yet, since it has taken root in our battlefields now for more than a year, one hesitates to speak ill of this word, in which so many admirable acts are somehow visible. It is winning it's historic titles".
In the end, no one really cared what Maurice Barres had to say on this topic and the sobriquet "poilu" remained in place.
The 1914 social register for London did not go to press until 1915, so great was the task of assessing the butcher's bill paid by that tribe. The letters written from camp and the front by those privileged young men all seemed to give thanks that their youth had been matched "with this hour" and that they might be able to show to one and all that they were worthy.
"...For not even in the Great Rebellion against Charles I did the nobility lose so many of its members as the list of casualties of the present war displays. In the first sixteen months of operations no less than eight hundred men of title were killed in action, or died of their wounds, and over a thousand more were serving with the land or sea forces."
A five paragraph account regarding the royal families of Europe; how close they were prior to the war and the important roll played by Queen Victoria in maintaining the strong bond between them. One particular line of note:
"Queen Victoria was the only human being whom the Kaiser feared."
Click here to read another article about the war and the royal families.
"France has discovered Lafayette
in this age only because America never forgot him"
This article reports that the Marquis de Lafayette (Marie-Joseph-Paul-Yves-Roch-Gilbert du Motier de Lafayette, 1757 - 1834), who seemed heaven-sent when he appeared in Philadelphia in order to aid the Americans in their revolt against the British, had been largely forgotten by the French in the Twentieth Century. Indeed, the French were baffled to hear his name invoked as often as it was during the period of America's participation in the World War One. It was said that during the war some disgruntled wit in the American Army woke up one morning in the trenches and grumbled: "Alright, we paid Lafayette back; now what other Frog son-of-a-bitch do we owe?" Oddly, there is no mention made whatever of that unique trait so common to the Homo Americanus- "selective memory": during the 1870 German invasion of France there seemed to have been no one who recalled Lafayette's name at all.