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The U.S. Navy Railway Guns (American Legion Weekly, 1919)

An article written for an American veterans organization one year after the war, the attached piece tells the story of the five American naval batteries that were mounted on specially made rail cars and deployed along the Western Front. The article is two pages long and is filled with interesting facts as to the whereabouts of their assorted deployments and what was expected of the naval crews who worked them.

This site has more articles about the rail-mounted guns of the First World War.

 

A Tribute to General Pershing (American Legion Weekly, 1924)

Six years after the last shot was fired, war correspondent Frederick Palmer (1873 - 1958) typed up some sweet words of praise for the American W.W. I Commanding General John Pershing:

"When the people at home were thinking in terms of thousands, Pershing planned for an army of a million men overseas...He was organizer and molder of the A.E.F.. The stamp of his character was upon it in so far as any one man can put his stamp upon a vast, modern army."

During that brief period of the war in which Pershing's Doughboys were at bat against the Germans, Palmer worked under the general as the press liaison officer and censor for the entire A.E.F. (a job he hated). His bitter recollections of W.W. I were recorded in his 1921 memoir; click here to read the review.

Click here to read an article from 1927 by General Pershing regarding the American cemeteries in Europe.

 

With the French as Their Army Collapsed (American Legion Weekly, 1940)

Attached is an article by the noted war correspondent Frederick Palmer (1873 - 1958) who observed the French and British as they attempted to hold-off the Nazi juggernaut of 1940. In this article, Palmer referred a great deal to walking this same ground with the American Army during the 1914 - 1918 war just twenty-one years earlier; he found the French to be confident of a decisive victory. The column is complemented by this 1940 article which reported on the wonders of "Blitzkrieg" and the fall of France.

Click here to read the observations of U.S. Army lieutenant Louis L'Amour concerning 1946 Paris.

 

The Dwindling A.E.F. (American Legion Weekly, 1919)

The intended readers for the attached article were the newly initiated members of the American Legion (ie. recently demobilized U.S. veterans), who might have had a tough time picturing a Paris that was largely free of swaggering, gum-chewing Doughboys gallivanting down those broad-belted boulevards, but that is what this journalist, Marquis James (1891 - 1955) intended. At the time of this printing, the A.E.F. (American Expeditionary Force) had been shaved down from 4,000,000 to half that number and re-christened the A.F.F. (American Forces in France) and the A.F.G. (American Forces in Germany). With a good bit of humor, the article concentrates on the antics of the American Third Army in Germany as they performed their "Bolshevist busting" duties in the Coblenz region.

 

The Popularly-Elected Senate (American Legion Weekly, 1920)

In 1913 a very strong, anti-Federalist step was taken to amend the Constitution and alter the manner in which U.S. Senators were to be selected and replaced in the event of vacancies. The 17th Amendment was passed: it guaranteed that senators would no longer be elected from within the legislative bodies of the state governments, but would be elected directly by the citizens of their respective states, just as the representatives are. Historian Everett Kimball pointed out in this article how the 17th Amendment altered the very nature of the U.S. Senate.

 

11/11 with the U.S. First Division (American Legion Weekly, 1919)

A 1919 article that recalled the U.S. Army's First Division Armistice Day assault in the Bois de Romaigne:

"The First Division was a pretty tired outfit. It had seen eleven months of almost continuous fighting...Rumors were around that there was going to be an armistice, but few listened and none believed. We had been bunked before."

"The artillery fire increased and the machine guns rattled. You were on outpost and you fired your rifle, just fired it at nothing in particular. Everybody was doing it. The din increased until 11 o'clock, it ended with a crash that startled you. Fini la Guerre?"

 

American English and American Identity (American Legion Weekly, 1920)

When it came to the issue of assimilating immigrants on American shores and deporting "Alien Slackers", few groups yelled louder than the editors at The American Legion Weekly. In this anonymous editorial the author "gently" advocates for the recognition of American English in all schools with heavy immigrant numbers.

"Why not inform these aliens they are about to be taught the American language... [and] announce to the world that there is a new language? Why, even in Mexico they do not stand for calling their language the Spanish language. They insist it is the Mexican language... why not quit press-agenting John Bull and have our own language - the American language."

- from Amazon: A Decade-by-Decade Guide to the Vanishing Vocabulary of the Twentieth Century

 

Draft-Dodgers and Deserters in Federal Prison (American Legion Weekly, 1923)

"Only eight men are serving sentences as draft deserters in Federal penitentiaries, Mr. Taylor declares. 'Yet, the number of men defying our country in its hour of need, was many times the number who deserted the Army after the Armistice.' Thirty-nine men, he states, are still serving time for desertion from the Army, and the draft deserters are serving shorter average sentences than are the soldiers who took unauthorized leave of the service after the Armistice."

 

A Clever Way to Escort Prisoners... (American Legion Weekly, 1921)

This piece reminds me of what my son's history teacher so wisely passed on to them one day in sixth grade: "History can be found anywhere". How right she was, and in this case, a seldom remembered but perhaps widely practiced method of escorting German prisoners to the rear was rendered by a cartoonist in a 1921 magazine advertisement for a firm that manufactured men's accessories [underwear]:

"Remember that big attack? You couldn't spare a whole squad to escort your prisoners back to the cages; you needed every man in front. You got around the difficulty by cutting off the Boches' trousers. That made them helpless. They couldn't run and they couldn't fight. You parked the skipper's dog robber on their flank with a warped rifle and ran'em back."

••Colorized W.W. I Footage Used to Explain the Nature of the War••

 

Resident Aliens: Not Eligible for the 1917 Draft (American Legion Weekly, 1923)

Here are a few lines from "The American Legion Weekly" that reported to their disappointed veteran readership that the foreign-born men residing legally in the United States who were previously accused of shirking the 1917 draft were, in fact, absolved from service and thus free to swear the oath of citizenship, after having been slandered as draft dodgers and alien-slackers until the finer points of the selective service law was clarified.

 

How Canada's Veterans are Fairing (American Legion Weekly, 1921)

"Second only to the part played by Canada on the battlefields of Europe is the magnificent spirit in which the dominion has dealt with the returned soldier and with the fallen soldier and his dependents. From the time the war ended to the present, Canada has led the rest of the world in looking after ex-service men."

"When the men of the Dominion returned from Europe they originally got three months' post-discharge pay at their discharge rank. On second thought this was changed early in 1919 to a war gratuity basis, as follows: For one year's overseas service or more, four months' pay and allowances; for three years' service or more, six months' pay and allowances. From these amounts deducted any sum paid out under the post-discharge system which had earlier prevailed. The men who had seen service in Canada only were not forgotten and received checks for one month's pay and allowances for each complete year of service in the army."

 

Crack of Doom for the Draft Dodgers (American Legion Weekly, 1920)

"Doomsday looms just over the horizon for the draft deserters. That wily gentleman who hid behind a tree and chuckled as his neighbor shouldered a gun and marched off to battle is soon to have that chuckle mopped off his face. He will find that no tree vegetates enough to cover from shame the miserable carcass of his manhood...According to the latest reports, 173,911 is the maximum number of draft registrants chargeable with willful desertion."

 

Deporting the Reds (American Legion Weekly, 1920)

In this 1920 AMERICAN LEGION WEEKLY article the mojo of the Red Scare (1917 to 1920)is fully intact and beautifully encapsulated by W.L. Whittlesey who condemned the U.S. Government for ever having allowed large numbers of socialist immigrants to enter the country and spread their discontent throughout the fruited plane. On the other hand, the writer was grateful that the government was finally tending to the matter of deporting them in large numbers and doing so with every legal means available.

 

P.G. Wodehouse: Master of American Slang (American Legion Weekly, 1919)

At the time this profile first appeared in 1919, P.G Wodehouse (1904 - 1975) had recently resigned his post as the drama critic for VANITY FAIR in order to realize his ambitions as a novelist and playwright. This article revealed to all Wodehouse's keen interest in American slang and American comic strips.

 

Prohibition Era Prisons Filled with Women (American Legion Weekly, 1924)

Four and a half years into Prohibition, journalist Jack O'Donnell reported that there were as many as 25,000 women who had run-afoul of the law in an effort to earn a quick buck working for bootleggers:

"They range in age from six to sixty. They are recruited from all ranks and stations of life - from the slums of New York's lower East Side, exclusive homes of California, the pine clad hills of Tennessee, the wind-swept plains of Texas, the sacred precincts of exclusive Washington... Women in the bootleg game are becoming a great problem to law enforcement officials. Prohibition agents, state troopers and city police - gallant gentlemen all - hesitate to embarrass women by stopping their cars to inquire if they are carrying hooch. The bootleggers and smugglers are aware of this fact and take advantage of it."

Verily, so numerous were these lush lassies - the Federal Government saw fit to construct a prison compound in which to incarcerate them; you can read about that here...

 

Blitzkrieg: In the Words of Nazi Officers (American Legion Weekly, 1940)

An article by military historian and biographer Fairfax Downey (1894 - 1990) concerning the unique manner of mechanized warfare that the Germans had introduced to the world during the opening weeks of the Second World War:

"Thunder rumbles, lightening flashes and strikes. Incredibly swiftly it is over. So, compared to the campaigns of the First World War, was the German Blitzkrieg, rumbling, flashing and striking down Poland, Norway, Holland, Belgium, and France. How did it work? What made it click?"

 

American Soldiers Remember Siberia (American Legion Weekly, 1919)

The Doughboys of the the U.S. Twenty-Seventh Infantry remember the bad old days in Vladivostok guarding the trans-Siberian railway line:

"The Czar's old government used to send its enemies to Siberia, to exile; Uncle Sam's government sent its own men there to guard a railroad. Whose railroad it was and what it was there for and why Americans should be taken away from a perfectly good war in France and stationed up there to take care of it -- surely you can answer all these questions. If you can't, don't go to any of the veterans of the Siberian Expeditionary Force, because they won't give you very coherent answers. They think the whole trip was a post-season special, staged especially for their benefit."

*Watch Harold Lloyd in 'A Sammie in Siberia'*

 

The Military Police in France (American Legion Weekly, 1923)

A genuinely funny reminiscence written by an anonymous Doughboy recalling his days as an M.P. in war-torn France during the First World War:

"Now that it is all over I wonder what did I gain from my experiences as an M.P. in the great Army of Newton Baker's Best?...Watching the dawn coming rosily up over snow-clad barracks roofs and rows of tents; informing careless privates, sergeants, lieutenants and even majors to 'button that there button'; listening to the dull bang-slamming of artillery barrages on crossroads; jotting down the names of high-spirited young men found in cafés at the wrong hours -such things aren't of much lasting value."

Click here to read an article about the sexually-transmitted diseases among the American Army of W.W. I - and the M.P.s in particular...

 

A Price was Paid at Fismette (American Legion Weekly, 1924)

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.

 

First Blood (American Legion Weekly, 1922)

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.

 

Carrier Pigeons of the US Army Signal Corps (American Legion Weekly, 1919)

Illustrated with images of maimed and disfigured carrier pigeons, this article is filled with interesting lore of the battles waged by the 'feathered aviators' of the 1914 - 1918 war. You will read about how the pigeons were often dyed black so as to be mistaken for crows; how they were used at sea and at Verdun and that spies relied upon them.

"Pigeons are not new to war. It is on record that the Romans and Greeks used them and that Hannibal carried a cote crossing the Alps in order to send word back to Carthage of his progress...it was a pigeon which first announced to an anxious London the victory at Waterloo."

During the course of World War II the U.s Army signal Corps deployed more than 50,000 pigeons.

It was said that the carrier pigeons of W.W. II were ten percent stronger.

 

General John J. Pershing (American Legion Weekly, 1924)

An interesting profile of General Pershing by the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Marquis James (1891 – 1955):

• Ever hear about the time the C-in-C saluted a French cow?
• Did you know he had the right to put 'Attorney at Law' after his name?
• That he was given eight hours extra guard duty for a breach of discipline at West Point?
• Do you know why he was chosen to command the A.E.F.?

Read another post-war article about General Pershing.

 

November 11th With the First Division (American Legion Weekly, 1919)

An American artillery officer from that famous division recalled the last minute of the war to end all wars...

 

U.S. Cemeteries: A Flag for Every Grave (American Legion Weekly, 1920)

An article that appeared in an American veterans magazine concerning the pageantry that would mark the Memorial Day of 1920 at each of the primary A.E.F. cemeteries in France.

"More than 127,000 American soldiers, sailors and Marines gave up their lives during the war...Total battle deaths in the A.E.F. killed in action and died of wounds were 50,329 including casualties in the Siberian force. Deaths from disease including the A.E.F. and men in the home cantonments, were 58,837...No American field of honor will be without it's Memorial Day ceremony, no American grave without its flag and its flowers..."

An interesting article that was written at a time it was believed that the A.E.F. cemeteries were going to be closed and the interred repatriated. There is a photograph of an early prototype headstone that was later rejected in favor of a stone cross; references are made to Suresnes Cemetery in Paris.

 

Edward VIII: A Regular Guy (American Legion Weekly, 1919)

"George V's son is a regular. He has the 'bonhomie'of a Broadway John, smokes all the time, admires a pretty face with an open affection, is bored by Beethoven, is a disciple of American jazz, and he hates to get up early in the morning."

*Watch a Film Clip and Litsen to the Abdication Speech of Duke of Windsor*

 

In Search of the W.W. I Draft Dodgers (American Legion Weekly, 1920)

This is a fiery editorial from a U.S. veteran's magazine covering American law enforcement's search for the 487,003 young men who resisted the draft of 1917-1918.

"The War Department will take care of the actual deserters, the men who went into camp and then deserted. Such men are liable to prosecution at any time in their lives. The Department of Justice will get after the draft dodgers, who never answered the summons..."

 

Benito Mussolini And His Followers (American Legion Weekly, 1923)

A 1923 article about the earliest days of Mussolini and the Italian Black Shirts; their discomfort with neighboring Yugoslavia, their love of the Italian poet Gabriele D'Annunzio (1863 – 1938) and their post-war struggle against the Italian Communists:

"When the Communists virtually ruled over Italy in 1920 and 1921, they set up a detestable tyranny. Railways could not carry troops. Officers were forbidden wear sidearms, and men with war medals were spat on and beaten."

and when Mussolini took power in 1922:

"The Fascisti today take Caesar's legions for their model...'Whatever was Roman before will be Italian' the officers used to remark modestly to their troops.'"

 

Armistice Cartoon (American Legion Weekly, 1919)

A cartoon that appeared in an American veterans magazine on the first anniversary marking the last day of W.W. I. What is especially amusing is the satirical depiction of American combat officers and the last frame, which fully supports the thesis of Joseph E. Persico's book, "11th Month, 11th Day, 11th Hour" that the American Army was on the attack all the way up to the bitter end.

 

General Billy Mitchell: Advocate of American Airpower (American Legion Weekly,1921)

This is one of the editorials written by U.S. Army General Billy Mitchell (1879 – 1936) that only served to annoy the senior army leadership and their civilian overlords in Washington. On these pages General Mitchell made his case for the creation of a unique branch of the military confined entirely to air power that was distinct and independent of the Army. He points out that numerous armies are doing just this and the U.S. would be wise to do the same. He was particularly keen on seeing to it that everyone know that that the Imperial Japanese Army was doing the same thing.

 

Stars and Stripes Folds it's Tent (American Legion Weekly, 1919)

An article by AMERICAN LEGION WEEKLY correspondent Rex Lapham about the last issue (until the next war) of THE STARS AND STRIPES. The article recorded many sentimental remarks, words of praise and seldom heard facts about the history of the Doughboy newspaper.

"If the paper found it's way across, as it surely did, into the hands of the German intelligence officers - if that's what they could be called - it must have given them something to ponder about. How could they have reported anything favorable to the ears of the German high command after having perused this defiant and determined manifestation of Doughboy psychology?"

Click here to read how the newspaper was staffed and managed in 1918 Paris.

 

Armistice Cartoon (American Legion Weekly, 1919)

A good nine-panel cartoon that appeared in an American veterans magazine on the first anniversary of the Armistice. What is especially amusing is the satirical depiction of American front-line officers and the last frame, which fully supports the thesis of Joseph E. Persico's book, "11th Month, 11th Day, 11th Hour" that the American Army was on the attack all the way up to the bitter end.

 

Americanizing the Immigrants (American Legion Weekly, 1920)

"Why are tens of thousands of foreigners in ignorance of the privileges and obligations of American citizenship?... Where they are isolated in groups, left entirely to their own devices and not brought into contact with the life of the country, there is little opportunity for the melting pot to reach them."

 

Armistice Cartoon (American Legion Weekly, 1919)

A good nine-panel cartoon that appeared in an American veterans magazine on the first anniversary of the Armistice.

What is especially amusing is the satirical depiction of German soldiers in the final frame, which fully supports the thesis of Joseph E. Persico's book, Eleventh Month, Eleventh Day, Eleventh Hour that the American Army was on the attack all the way up to the bitter end.

 

 
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