The three articles attached herein were printed five years apart and collectively recall three different events by three different arms of the American military, each claiming to have fired the opening salvo that served notice to Kaiser Bill and his boys that the U.S.A. meant business:
• The first article recalls the U.S. Merchant Marine freighter MONGOLIA that sank a German U-Boat on April 19, 1917 while cruising off the coast of England.
• The second article chuckles at the Army for insisting that the First Division fired the premiere shot on October 23, 1917 in the Luneville sector of the French front;
• following up with the absolute earliest date of American aggression being April 6, 1917 - the same day that Congress declared war - when Marine Corporal Michael Chockie fired his 1903 Springfield across the bow of the German merchant raider S.M.S COMORAN on the island of Guam.
A single page history of the 32nd Division and their struggle to eradicate the bulge in the Marne battle line that resulted in the liberation of Fismette and Fismes.
A veteran of the U.S. First Division, Sixteenth Infantry, tells the chilling story of that rainy night in November, 1917, when the first German raid upon the American trenches took place:
"It was on that night that Company F took over its first front line position, received its baptism of fire, bore the brunt of the first German raid and lost the first American troops killed and captured in the World War."
"...two hundred and forty Bavarians, the widely advertised cut-throats of the German Army, hopped down on us. The first raid on American troops was in full swing. They had crawled up to our wire under cover of their artillery barrage and the moment it lifted were right on top of us."
The U.S. Army would not launch their own trench raid for another four months.
The Americans who fought in the Second World War had Bob Hope to entertain them, and their fathers who fought in the First had Elsie Janis (1889 - 1956). Like Hope, Janis traveled close to the front lines and told the troops jokes, and sang them songs - making it clear all the while that her sympathies and affections for the Doughboys were strong - and they, in turn, loved her right back. In the attached 1936 reminiscence Janis recalls some of her experiences from the six months in which she entertained the American Army in France; she also speaks of her roll entertaining the volunteer American Army of the 1930s, as well.
Click here to read about the U.S.O. entertainers...
The attached recollection was written by a British woman who worked as a stenographer at the American embassy in London. She recalled much of what she saw from the typing pool on that dreadful August day in 1914 when the Great War began.
Written twelve years after the end of the First World War, this Collier's Magazine article recalls a number of incidences that serve to illustrate how the ruling class in Washington bungled and mismanaged the war.
Click here to read a short film review of one of Hollywood's first W.W. I movies: "Wings", directed by William Wellman.