"On the afternoon of December 8, 1918, the troops of the Third American Army entered Koblenz. This was the goal of the occupation. The Yankees had reached the Rhine."
"Probably never in all its stressful history did enemy troops enter it so in quite the matter-of-fact manner which marked the American entry last Sunday. There was no band. There were no colors. 'We're just going in sort of casual like,' one of our generals had said the day before, and he was right."
1919 marked the third anniversary of the Battle of Verdun and the grounds were still littered with the dead, surrounded by a tons of equipment, lying in open fields pock-marked by thousands of high explosive shells:
"Spring will come to France next month, but Spring will not come to the field of Verdun. Already the grass is green on the broad stretches of Champagne; in the Vosges the snow patches linger only in the stubborn shelter of rocks that bar the sun,; but there is no portent of resurrection in all the stretch of churned up gravel marking the line of forts that protect the citadel of the Meuse from the Northeast...the shell holes are filled with clear water, and between them course new born brooks, sublimating in crystal pools from which no man would dare drink."
A few historians tend to believe that the sobriquet Doughboy had it's origins in the 1846 - 48 war with Mexico (a perversion of the Spanish word 'adobe'), but the attached article makes a different reference, dating the term to the American army's period in the Philippines. An effort was also made to explain the term Buck Private.
Click here if you would like to read an article about the Doughboy training camps.
By the time this news column was read by the American Doughboys the truce was old news, however it makes for an interesting read as it is able to impart much of the Armistice excitement that filled the streets of Paris when the news of the surrender hit the boulevards. This front-page column makes clear that many of the rumors pertaining to the German collapse could not be verified, yet affirms reports concerning the revolution in Germany, it's food shortages and the Kaiser's exile to Holland.
Click here to read World War II articles from YANK MAGAZINE.
Sergeant Alexander Woollcott (1887 - 1943) wrote this article so that his New York readers (whom he had not addressed since signing on with the Doughboys) would know the key roll Corporal Harold Ross (1892 - 1951) played as Managing Editor at the Paris offices of The Stars & Stripes. Anyone who glances at those now brittle, beige pages understands how sympathetic the The Stars & Stripes and their readers were to the many thousands of French children orphaned by the war; Woollcott makes it clear that it was Harold Ross who was behind the A.E.F. charities that brought needed relief to those urchins.
"It seems certain that no man in the A.E.F. had a greater influence on it's thought and spirit...The men who worked with him on The Stars & Stripes considered him the salt of the earth."
To read another W.W. I article by Alexander Woocott, click here.