World War One - Aftermath
Aftermath Film Clips
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.
In the later years of the First World War, the American journalist Alexander Woollcott (1887 - 1943) served as a writer for the Doughboy newspaper The Stars & Stripes. In this roll he was able to travel far afield all over the American sectors of the front where he saw a great deal of the war: flattened villages, ravaged farmland, factories reduced to ruble. In the attached article from 1920, Woollcott reported that the war-torn provinces of France looked much the same, even 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.
More on this topic can be read here
In the attached magazine interview, Kaiser Wilhelm's son and fellow exile, Crown Prince Wilhelm III (1882 - 1951, a.k.a. "The Butcher of Verdun"), catalogs his many discomforts as a "refugee" in Holland. At this point in his life, the former heir apparent was dictating his memoir (click here to read the book review) and following closely the goings-on at Versailles.
Click here to read an article about the German veterans of W.W. I.
H.L. Mencken and George Jean Nathan, editors of The Smart Set, surmised that as the Europeans bury their many dead among the damp, depressing ruins of 1920s Europe, America is neither admired or liked very much:
"...the English owe us money, the Germans smart under their defeat, the French lament that they are no longer able to rob and debauch our infantry."
While debating the 1922 issue of benefits to be paid to the American W.W. I veterans, this record of salary and the post-war benefits paid by the other combatant nations was distributed to members of Congress.
A 1921 column that clearly pointed out all the hardships created for Germany as a result of the Versailles Treaty.
The framers of that agreement could never have envisioned that the post-war landscape they designed for Germany would be pock-marked with such a myriad of frustrations - such as the border skirmishes between Germany and Poland, inflation, famine, the Salzburg Plebiscite and such harsh reparation payments that, when combined with all the other afflictions, simply served to create the kind of Germany that made Hitler's rise a reality.
Another article about the despondency in 1920s Germany can be read here...
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