Georges Clemenceau (1841 - 1929) served as one of France's wartime Premieres (1917-1920). The following is an excerpt from his "letter to the American people" imploring them to share in his outrage concerning Germany's open defiance to the Versailles Treaty. Clemenceau would die seven years later, fully convinced that another devastating war with Germany was just around the corner.
Click here to read more articles about the German violations of the Versailles Treaty.
"I predict increasing ferment and unrest throughout all Islam; a continued awakening to self-consciousness; an increasing dislike for Western domination."
So wrote Lothrop Stoddard (1883 - 1950), an author who was very much a man of his time and tended to gaze outside the borders of Western Civilization with much the same vision as his contemporary Rudyard Kipling, seeing the majority of the world's inhabitants as "the white man's burden". Yet, for all his concern on the matter of Anglo-Saxon hegemony, he seemed to recognize the growing discontent in Islam, even if he was some sixty years early.
The British philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970; Nobel Prize for Literature, 1950) used to get mighty hot under the collar when the topic of American society came up and this column is just one example. During his 1922 American speaking tour Russell rambled-on about how prone Americans were to confuse the truth with commercial messages; believing that altruism was seldom a motivating factor behind a single American undertaking. He will have none of the thinking that America's main concern for jumping into the meat grinder of 1914-1918 was entirely inspired by "wounded France" and "poor little Belgium" but was rather an exercise in American self-interest.
Read the thoughts of one W.W. I veteran who regrets having gone to war...
"Not pacifists, but soldiers, have signed what several editors term one of the most striking and remarkable appeals for peace that have come to their tables."
Veterans of the 1914-1918 slaughter called for their respective governments to "oppose territorial aggrandizement" and demanded "that an international court be established to outlaw war"; following the establishment of said court, the immediate effort "to disarm and disband sea and air forces and destroy the implements of warfare" should begin. The American Legion Commander-in-Chief, Alvin Owsley (1888 - 1967), was among the signators.
Click here to read an article about the German veterans of W.W. I.
During the closing months of the American presence in France, one element can be found in the majority of the letters written to loved ones at home:
"The French aren't treating us as nice".
In the war's aftermath, writer Alexander Woollcott (1887 - 1943) attempted to explain the situation to his readers; what follows were his observations.
During the Great War Alexander Woollcott (1887 - 1943) was writing for the U.S. Army newspaper THE STARS & STRIPES, and in that position he saw a great deal of the war: the destroyed villages, ravaged farmland, flattened industries. In the attached 1920 article Woollcott reported that the war-torn provinces of France looked much the same, two years after the Armistice. He was surprised at the glacial speed with which France was making the urgent repairs, and in this article he presented a sort-of Doughboy's-eye-view of post-war France.
In later years Woollcott would go on to become a prominent player in 1930s American journalism; his books included such titles as "Mrs. Fiske" (1917), "Shouts and Murmers" (1922), "Mr. Dickens Goes to the Play" (1923), "Enchanted Aisles" (1924) and "The Story of Irving Berlin" (1925) among others.