In the summer of 1917 three Wisconsin National Guard companies came together to form the 150th Machine Gun Battalion of the now famous 42nd “Rainbow” Division. As true comrades, they relied on one another for support as they fought in every major battle of the American Expeditionary Forces, including the landmark battle of Chateau Thierry, which cost the unit dearly. As one of Wisconsin’s most celebrated units, a soldier coming from the battalion was selected to represent the state at the unveiling of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington, D.C., in 1921. Today, the 150th is all but forgotten, in part because their unit history was never written. Through letters, diaries, and other recollections, Larson tells us the story of these Guardsmen’s experiences. He traces the path of their wartime service and considers the impact of war’s trauma and tedium on their lives.
Interweaving personal stories with historical photos and background, this lively account documents the history of the more than 40,000 women who served in relief and military duty during World War I. Through personal interviews and excerpts from diaries, letters, and memoirs, Lettie Gavin relates poignant stories of women's wartime experiences and provides a unique perspective on their progress in military service. American Women in World War I captures the spirit of these determined patriots and their times for every reader and will be of special interest to military, women's, and social historians.
Argonne Days in World War I
Horace L. Baker, Edited & Intro by Robert H. Ferrell University of Missouri Press, 2007 Library of Congress D545.A63B35 2007 | Dewey Decimal 940.436
When he took ship for France in the spring of 1918, Horace Baker was ill prepared for war. A private in the American Expeditionary Forces, the unassuming Mississippi schoolteacher joined the renowned Thirty-second Division and learned his soldiering skills from men who’d already fought in the Aisne-Marne offensive. Before long, he was to put those skills to use in the largest and most costly battle ever fought by the U.S. Army.
This poignant memoir recalls the great battle of the Meuse-Argonne, an epic conflict waged by well over a million men that saw casualties of 26,277 killed and 95,786 wounded. Many books have been written about General Pershing’s planning of the offensive; this one tells what happened to the soldiers who had to carry out his orders.
The Thirty-second was a shock division made up largely of National Guard units—farm boys from the Upper Midwest. But as casualties mounted, replacements were rushed into battle with little training—and devastating results. Baker knew friends and tent mates who were alive one day, dead the next, and he kept track of the battle in diary entries tucked into his Bible—and made evasively short in case of capture.
He shares his and his comrades’ thoughts about fighting in a harsh climate and terrain, relates their ongoing problems with short supplies, and tells how they managed to overcome their fears. It is a straightforward narrative that doesn’t glorify battle or appeal to patriotism yet conveys the horrors of warfare with striking accuracy. Historian Robert Ferrell’s new introduction puts Baker’s recollections in the context of the larger theater of war.
Baker fleshed out his diary in a book that saw limited publication in 1927 but has remained essentially unknown. Argonne Days in World War I is a masterpiece brimming with insight about the ordinary doughboys who fought in the European trenches. It conveys the spirit of a man who did his duty in a time of trouble—and is a testament to the spirit shared by thousands like him.
Winner, ISHS Russell P. Strange Book of the Year Award, 2017
It’s been called the “war that changed everything,” and it is difficult to think of a historical event that had a greater impact on the world than the First World War. Events during the war profoundly changed our nation, and Chicago, especially, was transformed during this period. Between 1913 and 1919, Chicago transitioned from a nineteenth-century city to the metropolis it is today. Despite the importance of the war years, this period has not been documented adequately in histories of the city. In Chicago in World War I: How the Great War Transformed a Great City, Joseph Gustaitis fills this gap in the historical record, covering the important wartime events, developments, movements, and people that helped shape Chicago.
Gustaitis attributes many of Chicago’s changes to the labor shortage caused by the war. African Americans from the South flocked to Chicago during the Great Migration, and Mexican immigration increased as well. This influx of new populations along with a wave of anti-German hysteria—which nearly extinguished German culture in Chicago—changed the city’s ethnic composition. As the ethnic landscape changed, so too did the culture. Jazz and blues accompanied African Americans to the city, and Chicago soon became America’s jazz and blues capital. Gustaitis also demonstrates how the nation’s first sexual revolution occurred not during the 1960s but during the World War I years, when the labor shortage opened up unprecedented employment opportunities for women. These opportunities gave women assertiveness and freedom that endured beyond the war years. In addition, the shortage of workers invigorated organized labor, and determined attempts were made to organize in Chicago’s two leading industrial workplaces—the stockyards and the steel mills—which helped launch the union movement of the twentieth century. Gustaitis explores other topics as well: Prohibition, which practically defined the city in the 1920s; the exploits of Chicago’s soldiers, both white and black; life on the home front; the War Exposition in Grant Park; and some of the city’s contributions to the war effort. The book also contains sketches of the wartime activities of prominent Chicagoans, including Jane Addams, Ernest Hemingway, Clarence Darrow, Rabbi Emil Hirsch, John T. McCutcheon, “Big Bill” Thompson, and Eunice Tietjens.
Although its focus is Chicago, this book provides insight into change nationwide, as many of the effects that the First World War had on the city also affected the United States as a whole. Drawing on a variety of sources and written in an accessible style that combines economic, cultural, and political history, Chicago in World War I: How the Great War Transformed a Great City portrays Chicago before the war, traces the changes initiated during the war years, and shows how these changes still endure in the cultural, ethnic, and political landscape of this great city and the nation.
As World War I dragged on into 1915, German armies along the Western Front settled into stalemate with entrenched British and French forces. But in the East the picture was quite different. The Kaiser’s army routed the Russians, took possession of Polish territory, and attempted to create a Polish satellite state. Elusive Alliance delves into Germany’s three-year occupation of Poland and explains why its ambitious attempt at nation-building failed.
Dubbed the Imperial Government-General of Warsaw, Germany’s occupation regime was headed by veteran Prussian commander Hans Hartwig von Beseler. In his vision for Central Europe, Poland would become Germany’s permanent ally, culturally and politically autonomous but bound to the Fatherland in foreign policy matters. To win Polish support, Beseler spearheaded the creation of new institutions including a Polish-language university in Warsaw, reformed the school system, and established democratically elected municipal governments. For Beseler and other German strategists, a secure Poland was essential to ensuring Central Europe against a threatening tide of nationalism and revolution.
But as Jesse Kauffman shows, Beseler underestimated the resistance to his policies and the growing hostility to occupation as Germany plundered Polish resources to fuel its war effort. By 1918, with the war over, Poles achieved independence. Yet it would not be long before they faced a second, far more brutal German occupation at the hands of the Nazis.
During American participation in World War I, many events caught the public’s attention, but none so much as the plight of the Lost Battalion. Comprising some five hundred men of the Seventy-seventh Division, the so-called battalion was entrapped on the side of a ravine in the Argonne Forest by German forces from October 2 to 7, 1918. The men’s courage under siege in the midst of rifle, machine-gun, mortar, and artillery fire (coming both day and night), with nothing to eat after the morning of the first day save grass and roots, and with water dangerous to obtain, has gone down in American history as comparable in heroism to the defense of the Alamo and the stand at the Little Big Horn of the troops of General George A. Custer.
Now, in Five Days in October, historian Robert H. Ferrell presents new material—previously unavailable—about what really happened during those days in the forest. Despite the description of them as a lost battalion, the men were neither lost nor a battalion. The name was coined by a New York newspaper editor who, upon learning that a sizable body of troops had been surrounded, thought up the notion of a Lost Battalion—it possessed a ring sure to catch the attention of readers.
The trapped men actually belonged to companies from two battalions of the Seventy-seventh, and their exact placement was well known, reported by runners at the outset of the action and by six carrier pigeons released by their commander, Major Charles W. Whittlesey, during the five days his men were there. The causes of the entrapment were several, including command failures and tactical errors. The men had been sent ahead of the main division line without attention to flanks, and because of that failure, they were surrounded. Thus began a siege that took the lives of many men, leading to the collapse of the colonel of the 308th Infantry Regiment and, many believe, to the suicide of Major Whittlesey three years later.
This book grew out of Ferrell’s discovery of new material in the U.S. Army Military History Institute at the Army War College from the papers of General Hugh A. Drum and in the National Archives in College Park, Maryland. The Drum papers contain the court-martial record of the lieutenant of a machine-gun unit attached to the battalions, who advised Major Whittlesey to surrender, while the Seventy-seventh Division files contain full accounts of the taut relations between the Lost Battalion’s brigade commander and the Seventy-seventh’s division commander. By including this material, Ferrell gives a new accounting of this intriguing affair. Five Days in October will be welcomed by all those interested in a fuller understanding of the story of the Lost Battalion.
Flying for the Air Service provides a realistic picture of the typical flying experiences of the pilots who flew for the fledgling American Air Service during World War I. The narrative describes two brothers from Boston, George and Gerard Hughes, as they progress from apprentice pilots to flight instructors and combat pilots. After completing their pilot training program together, both were assigned as instructors. Then George was sent to France with the 12th Aero Squadrom, where he flew two-place observation aircraft over the front lines. Gerard, meanwhile, remained in America, instructing students in Texas. Eventually Gerard joined his brother's squadron in France as the war ended. Through the detailed letters and narrative comments of these two pilots, we can see clearly the hazards and challenges that were faced by those who flew in the early years of American aviation.
For many of the 200,000 black soldiers sent to Europe with the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I, encounters with French civilians and colonial African troops led them to imagine a world beyond Jim Crow. They returned home to join activists working to make that world real. In narrating the efforts of African American soldiers and activists to gain full citizenship rights as recompense for military service, Adriane Lentz-Smith illuminates how World War I mobilized a generation.
Black and white soldiers clashed as much with one another as they did with external enemies. Race wars within the military and riots across the United States demonstrated the lengths to which white Americans would go to protect a carefully constructed caste system. Inspired by Woodrow Wilson’s rhetoric of self-determination but battered by the harsh realities of segregation, African Americans fought their own “war for democracy,” from the rebellions of black draftees in French and American ports to the mutiny of Army Regulars in Houston, and from the lonely stances of stubborn individuals to organized national campaigns. African Americans abroad and at home reworked notions of nation and belonging, empire and diaspora, manhood and citizenship. By war’s end, they ceased trying to earn equal rights and resolved to demand them.
This beautifully written book reclaims World War I as a critical moment in the freedom struggle and places African Americans at the crossroads of social, military, and international history.
In the fading evening light of August 4, 1914, Great Britain’s H.M.S. Telconia set off on a mission to sever the five transatlantic cables linking Germany and the United States. Thus Britain launched its first attack of World War I and simultaneously commenced what became the war’s most decisive battle: the battle for American public opinion.
In this revealing study, Chad Fulwider analyzes the efforts undertaken by German organizations, including the German Foreign Ministry, to keep the United States out of the war. Utilizing archival records, newspapers, and “official” propaganda, the book also assesses the cultural impact of Germany’s political mission within the United States and comments upon the perception of American life in Europe during the early twentieth century.
Hero of the Angry Sky draws on the unpublished diaries, correspondence, informal memoir, and other personal documents of the U.S. Navy’s only flying “ace” of World War I to tell his unique story. David S. Ingalls was a prolific writer, and virtually all of his World War I aviation career is covered, from the teenager’s early, informal training in Palm Beach, Florida, to his exhilarating and terrifying missions over the Western Front. This edited collection of Ingalls’s writing details the career of the U.S. Navy’s most successful combat flyer from that conflict.
While Ingalls’s wartime experiences are compelling at a personal level, they also illuminate the larger, but still relatively unexplored, realm of early U.S. naval aviation. Ingalls’s engaging correspondence offers a rare personal view of the evolution of naval aviation during the war, both at home and abroad. There are no published biographies of navy combat flyers from this period, and just a handful of diaries and letters in print, the last appearing more than twenty years ago. Ingalls’s extensive letters and diaries add significantly to historians’ store of available material.
Pierpont Stackpole was a Boston lawyer who in January 1918 became aide to Lieutenant General Hunter Liggett, soon to be commander of the first American corps in France. Stackpole’s diary, published here for the first time, is a major eyewitness account of the American Expeditionary Forces’ experience on the Western Front, offering an insider’s view into the workings of Liggett’s commands, his day-to-day business, and how he orchestrated his commands in trying and confusing situations.
Hunter Liggett did not fit John J. Pershing’s concept of the trim and energetic officer, but Pershing entrusted to him a corps and then an army command. Liggett assumed leadership of the U.S. First Army in mid-October of 1918, and after reorganizing, reinforcing, and resting, the battle-weary troops broke through the German lines in a fourth attack at the Meuse-Argonne—accomplishing what Pershing had failed to do in three previous attempts. The victory paved the way to armistice on November 11.
Liggett has long been a shadowy figure in the development of the American high command. He was “Old Army,” a veteran of Indian wars who nevertheless kept abreast of changes in warfare and more than other American officers was ready for the novelties of 1914–1918. Because few of his papers have survived, the diary of his aide—who rode in the general’s staff car as Liggett unburdened himself about fellow generals and their sometimes abysmal tactical notions—provides especially valuable insights into command within the AEF.
Stackpole’s diary also sheds light on other figures of the war, presenting a different view of the controversial Major General Clarence Edwards than has recently been recorded and relating the general staff’s attitudes about the flamboyant aviation figure Billy Mitchell. General Liggett built the American army in France, and the best measure of his achievement is this diary of his aide. That record stands here as a fascinating and authentic look at the Great War.
Today’s headlines are full of references to jihad and jihadists, but they’re nothing new: a century ago, the entry of the Ottoman Empire into World War I was accompanied by a loud proclamation of jihad as well. This book resurrects that largely forgotten aspect of the war, investigating the background and nature of the proclamation, as well as its effects in the wider Middle East, the fears it stoked among German and British military leaders, and the accompanying academic debates about holy war and Islam.
On April 5, 1918, as American troops fought German forces on the Western Front, German American coal miner Robert Prager was hanged from a tree outside Collinsville, Illinois, having been accused of disloyal utterances about the United States and chased out of town by a mob. In Labor, Loyalty, and Rebellion: Southwestern Illinois Coal Miners and World War I, Carl R. Weinberg offers a new perspective on the Prager lynching and confronts the widely accepted belief among labor historians that workers benefited from demonstrating loyalty to the nation.
The first published study of wartime strikes in southwestern Illinois is a powerful look at a group of people whose labor was essential to the war economy but whose instincts for class solidarity spawned a rebellion against mine owners both during and after the war. At the same time, their patriotism wreaked violent working-class disunity that crested in the brutal murder of an immigrant worker. Weinberg argues that the heightened patriotism of the Prager lynching masked deep class tensions within the mining communities of southwestern Illinois that exploded after the Great War ended.
About two o'clock in the morning Col. Heintzelman, chief of staff of the corps, came out and he was much pleased with what the division had accomplished and with the way they had gone through. It was the division's first battle and it played a very important and creditable part. Certain things fell down. . . . The truth of the matter is the troops got away from the wire and it was impossible to keep the wire up through the tangle of barbed wire and woods. We captured 3,000 prisoners on our front alone and have lost 521.
November 1, 1918Considerable heavy artillery fire all night. The preparation fire went down promptly at 3:30, it was very heavy. . . . The barrage went down promptly at 5:30. Troops jumped off. At 7:30 thirty prisoners reported from Le Dhuy Fme., taken by the 353rd and 354th infantries. I don't understand what the 353rd Infantry is doing in there, as it is out of the sector. At 7:00 a.m. there was a distinct lull in the artillery fire. . . . I told Hanson at 8:05 to move his troops forward to parallel 86 immediately. He stated that he would get them going about 8:30, but actually did not get them started until about eleven o'clock. I sent for him on arrival and told him to hurry his men up. Before Lee left I had ordered the divisional reserve to move forward with its advance element on the first objective to maintain their echelonment in depth. Smyser came in at one o'clock and I ordered the divisional machine guns to the front to take position about one-half kilometer east of Dhuy Fme. At the time the reserves were ordered forward. I ordered Hanson to take his P.C. to Dhuy Fme. . . . Hanson has just arrived. I do not understand why he is always so slow. He seems to be inordinately stupid.
During America’s participation in World War I, 1917–1918, only a single commander of a division, William M. Wright, is known to have kept a diary. In it, General Wright relates his two-month experience at St. Mihiel and especially the Meuse-Argonne, the largest and most costly battle in American history. In the Meuse-Argonne, the Eighty-ninth Division, made up of 28,000 draftees from Missouri and Kansas and under Wright’s command, was one of the two American point divisions beginning November 1, 1918, when the U.S. First Army forced the German defenders back to the Meuse River and helped end World War I as the main German railway line for the entire Western Front came under American artillery fire. It was a great moment, and Wright was at the center of it. Robert Ferrell skillfully supplements the diary with his own narrative, making use of pertinent manuscripts, notably a memoir by one of Wright’s infantry regiment commanders.
The diary shows the exacting attention that was necessary to keep such a large, unwieldy mass of men in motion. It also shows how the work of the two infantry brigadiers and of the two supporting artillery brigades required the closest attention. Meuse-Argonne Diary, a unique account of, among other things, a singular moment in the Great War in which American troops ensured victory, will fascinate anyone interested in military history in general and World War I in particular.
The Money Doctor in the Andes is an account of the technical assistance missions to five Andean republics—Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia, and Peru—undertaken by Princeton University economist Edwin Walter Kemmerer during the 1920s. Drake demonstrates that in each case the Kemmerer mission recommended an identical series of monetary, fiscal, and banking reforms, adding occasional recommendations on everything from administrative reorganization to penal code reform as local circumstances seemed to warrant. In each case, too, local legislatures adopted all the main Kemmerer proposals virtually without debate or modifications.
Drake links the Kemmerer missions to vital developments in the political economic history of the Andean republics in the interwar period. He analyzes the domestic interest groups and political forces whose convergent strategies gave the Kemmerer missions their remarkable record in achieving local success for the reforms proposed. Second, Drake situates the Kemmerer missions at the center of a process of political modernization that created new institutions and policy agencies in each of the five countries; the missions thereby contributed to the expansion of the central government as an agent of development in ways that later differed sharply from Kemmerer's orthodox policies. Finally, The Money Doctor in the Andes regards developments in the Andean countries in the context of the region's developing economic ties to the United States. Expectations that Kemmerer's plans would simultaneously attract foreign capital and control inflation drew support from sectors as diverse as trade unions and landowners. When the Depression deepened, Kemmerer's policies proved counterproductive and the fragile consensus that had installed them fell apart, but the political and administrative reforms endured—with far-reaching consequences.
In an illuminating study that blends diplomatic, military, technology, and business history, Jonathan Reed Winkler shows how U.S. officials during World War I discovered the enormous value of global communications.
At the outbreak of war in 1914, British control of the cable network affected the Americans’ ability to communicate internationally, and the development of radio worried the Navy about hemispheric security. The benefits of a U.S. network became evident during the war, especially in the gathering of intelligence. This led to the creation of a peacetime intelligence operation, later termed the “Black Chamber,” that was the forerunner of the National Security Agency.
After the war, U.S. companies worked to expand network service around the world but faced industrial limitations. Focused on security concerns, the Wilson administration objected to any collaboration with British companies that might alleviate this problem. Indeed, they went so far as to create a radio monopoly and use warships to block the landing of a cable at Miami.
These efforts set important precedents for later developments in telephony, shortwave radio, satellites—even the internet. In this absorbing history, Winkler sheds light on the early stages of the global infrastructure that helped launch the United States as the predominant power of the century.
During the Great War, composers and performers created music that expressed common sentiments like patriotism, grief, and anxiety. Yet music also revealed the complexities of the partnership between France, Great Britain, Canada, and the United States. At times, music reaffirmed a commitment to the shared wartime mission. At other times, it reflected conflicting views about the war from one nation to another or within a single nation.Over Here, Over There examines how composition, performance, publication, recording, censorship, and policy shaped the Atlantic allies' musical response to the war. The first section of the collection offers studies of individuals. The second concentrates on communities, whether local, transnational, or on the spectrum in-between. Essay topics range from the sinking of the Lusitania through transformations of the entertainment industry to the influenza pandemic.Contributors: Christina Bashford, William Brooks, Deniz Ertan, Barbara L. Kelly, Kendra Preston Leonard, Gayle Magee, Jeffrey Magee, Michelle Meinhart, Brian C. Thompson, and Patrick Warfield
This concise people's history of Europe tells the story of the last hundred years of a very old continent and the ordinary people that shaped the events that defined it from World War I to today.
From the Russian Revolution, through May '68 and the Prague Spring, to the present day, we hear from feminists, trade unionists, conscientious objectors and activists and learn of immigration struggles, anti-colonial conflicts and labour movements. Cutting against the grain of mainstream histories, this is a history of Europe told from below.
Containing new and fascinating insights, Raquel Varela paints a different picture of the European story; one where ordinary Europeans are active agents of their own history.
Mixing film history with social history, Reel Patriotism examines the role played by the American film industry during World War I and the effects of the industry’s pragmatic patriotism in the decade following the war. Looking at such films as Joan the Woman and Wings and at the war-time activities of Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin, film distributors, including George Kleine, and the National Association of the Motion Picture Industry, this book shows how heavily publicized gestures of patriotism benefited the reputation and profits of the movie business.
Leslie Midkiff DeBauche shows how the United States government’s need to garner public support for the war, conserve food, raise money, and enlist soldiers was met by the film industry. Throughout the nineteen months of American involvement in World War I, film studios supported the war effort through the production of short instructional films, public speaking activities of movie stars, the civic forum provided by movie theaters, and the National Association of the Motion Picture Industry’s provision of administrative personnel to work directly with government agencies. While feature films about the war itself never dominated the release schedules of film distributors, they did become a staple film industry offering throughout the late 1910s and 1920s.
The film industry had much to gain, DeBauche demonstrates, from working closely with the U.S. government. Though the war posed a direct challenge to the conduct of business as usual, the industry successfully weathered the war years. After the war, film producers, distributors, and exhibitors were able to capitalize on the good will of the movie-goer and the government that the industry’s war work created. It provided a buffer against national censorship when movie stars became embroiled in scandal, and it served as a selling point in the 1920s when major film companies began to trade their stock on Wall Street.
Send the Alabamians recounts the story of the 167th Infantry Regiment of the WWI Rainbow Division from their recruitment to their valiant service on the bloody fields of eastern France in the climactic final months of World War I.
To mark the centenary of World War I, Send the Alabamians tells the remarkable story of a division of Alabama recruits whose service Douglas MacArthur observed had not “been surpassed in military history.” The book borrows its title from a quip by American General Edward H. Plummer who commanded the young men during the inauspicious early days of their service. Impressed with their ferocity and esprit de corps but exasperated by their rambunctiousness, Plummer reportedly exclaimed:
In time of war, send me all the Alabamians you can get, but in
time of peace, for Lord’s sake, send them to somebody else!
The ferocity of the Alabamians, so apt to get them in trouble at home, proved invaluable in the field. At the climactic Battle of Croix Rouge, the hot-blooded 167th exhibited unflinching valor and, in the face of machine guns, artillery shells, and poison gas, sustained casualty rates over 50 percent to dislodge and repel the deeply entrenched and heavily armed enemy.
Relying on extensive primary sources such as journals, letters, and military reports, Frazer draws a vivid picture of the individual soldiers who served in this division, so often overlooked but critical to the war’s success. After Gettysburg, the Battle of Croix Rouge is the most significant military engagement to involve Alabama soldiers in the state’s history. Families and genealogists will value the full roster of the 167th that accompanies the text.
Richly researched yet grippingly readable, Nimrod T. Frazer’s Send the Alabamians will delight those interested in WWI, the World Wars, Alabama history, or southern military history in general. Historians of the war, regimental historians, military history aficionados, and those interested in previously unexplored facets of Alabama history will prize this unique volume as well.
This exploration of the noncombatants who earned the love and respect of the doughboys should appeal to armchair historians and scholars alike. Enhanced with photographs and an appendix summarizing the biographical information for each man, Sky Pilots is the first comprehensive look at the role of the Army chaplaincy at the divisional level. In August 1917, the U.S. 26th “Yankee” Division was formally activated for service in World War I. When the soldiers arrived in France, they were accompanied by more than three dozen volunteer chaplains. These clergymen experienced all the horrors of war, shared all the privations of the common soldier, and earned the love and affection of their “boys.” Two died, several were gassed or wounded, and many were decorated by France and the United States for their heroism, yet their stories have been lost to history. Through extensive research in published and archival sources, as well as firsthand materials obtained from the families of several chaplains, Michael E. Shay brings to life the story of these valiant men—a story of courage in the face of the horrors of war and of extreme devotion to the men they served.
Just as important, Sky Pilots follows the chaplains home and on to their subsequent careers. For many, their war experiences shaped their ministries, particularly in the area of ecumenism and the Social Gospel. Others left the ministry altogether. To fill in the chaplains’ stories, Shay also examines the evolution of the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps, the education of the newly appointed chaplains, and the birth of the Yankee Division.
In April 1917 a sophomore at Indiana University, inspired by his grandfather's service in the Union army during the Civil War, left school and enlisted with a National Guard unit in Indianapolis that became the 150th Field Artillery Regiment. Before long the young man, Elmer W. Sherwood, found himself fighting in France. Sherwood kept a diary of his time overseas, including his experiences in the army of occupation following the war's end. A Soldier in World War I: The Diary of Elmer W. Sherwood captures the words of the Hoosier as he wrote them on the front lines. The book also includes a shipboard diary Sherwood sent home from France shortly after his arrival, which appeared in his hometown newspaper.
Finalist for the 2021 Army Historical Foundation Distinguished Writing Awards in Unit Histories Americans Face the Horror of a Modern European War for the First Time
When America entered World War I in April 1917, state National Guard units had never planned to mobilize for this kind of war, and the men who made up the hometown companies of each regiment never imagined that they would be asked to fight in what was then the most savage war in human history—they were “innocents” being thrown into a horrendous European conflagration. Made up of companies from ten Ohio towns, the 166th Infantry Regiment became part of the famous 42nd Division, known as the “Rainbow Division.” They were the third American division to arrive in France, where they fought courageously in the trenches at Lunéville and Baccarat before being a key part of the American effort in the Second Battle of the Marne and the Saint Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne offensives. Despite their initial lack of training in modern warfare and weapons, the 166th Infantry compiled an impressive combat record. However, that record came at a terrible cost, with the regiment suffering over two thousand casualties in just nine months of fighting. While they battled the Germans, these hometown Guardsmen lived in trenches and foxholes for weeks at a time, while subsisting on canned beef and coffee amid near constant rain, deep mud, rats, and body lice that made their lives miserable. Because of poor planning and leadership from higher headquarters, they were often asked to achieve impossible objectives amid withering enemy machine-gun fire without proper logistics or artillery support. Yet, despite these challenges, they would persevere, overcome, and emerge victorious.
Using regimental histories and the letters and diaries of the soldiers who fought in France, Suddenly Soldiers: The 166th Infantry Regiment in World War I by author and historian Robert Thompson tells the compelling story of the young men—“citizen soldiers”—who have always borne the cost of America’s freedom with quiet courage.
For self-made artist and soldier Horace Pippin—who served in the 369th all-black infantry in World War I until he was wounded—war provided a formative experience that defined much of his life and work. His ability to transform combat service into canvases of emotive power, psychological depth, and realism showed not only how he viewed the world but also his mastery as a painter. In Suffering and Sunset, Celeste-Marie Bernier painstakingly traces Pippin’s life story of art as a life story of war.
Illustrated with more than sixty photographs, including works in various mediums—many in full color—this is the first intellectual history and cultural biography of Pippin. Working from newly discovered archives and unpublished materials, Bernier provides an in-depth investigation into the artist’s development of an alternative visual and textual lexicon and sheds light on his work in its aesthetic, social, and political contexts.
Suffering and Sunset illustrates Pippin’s status as a groundbreaking artist as it shows how this African American painter suffered from but also staged many artful resistances to racism in a white-dominated art world.
To Advance Their Opportunities chronicles the development of federal policies and programs impacting African American workers, examining the fascinating and rarely seen workings of federal bureaucracies as they attempted to rein in racism in the nation's federally funded workplaces. The book traces the hard-won gains made by African American workers and the crucial role of the civil rights movement and its supporters in urging the federal government to action. This scholarly and timely work also brings to light the little known story of the birth of affirmative action.
Driven by persecution and poverty from their ancestral lands, thousands of Armenians fled to the New World before World War I. But their hearts and minds remained in part on the Old World with their persecuted countrymen in Turkey and their aspirations for a free Armenia.
This first comprehensive study of the Armenian American community examines the rich background, the patterns of migration and settlement in the New World, the complex economic and social adjustments, the family life, and the religious and political institutions of the newcomers. The author shows that the experience of the Armenians differed from that of other contemporary immigrant groups from Southern and Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean in two critical respects: they were rapidly successful in business and agriculture in the first generation, and they were tormented by their history and politics. Of particular interest is his trenchant, detailed analysis of the Armenian revolutionary parties in the United States: their formation and structure, their fundraising and propaganda activities, and their resort to terrorism.
Lucidly written, this study is an important account of the Armenian American community, which is today the largest Armenian community outside Soviet Armenia.
For nearly one hundred years, the 92nd Division of the U.S. Army in World War I has been remembered as a military failure. The division should have been historically significant. It was the only African American division of the American Expeditionary Forces in France. Comprised of nearly twenty-eight thousand black soldiers, it fought in two sectors of the great battle of the Meuse-Argonne, the largest and most costly battle in all of U.S. history. Unfortunately, when part of the 368th Infantry Regiment collapsed in the battle’s first days, the entire division received a blow to its reputation from which it never recovered.
In Unjustly Dishonored: An African American Division in World War I, Robert H. Ferrell challenges long-held assumptions and asserts that the 92nd, in fact, performed quite well militarily. His investigation was made possible by the recent recovery of a wealth of records by the National Archives. The retrieval of lost documents allowed access to hundreds of pages of interviews, mostly from the 92nd Division’s officers, that had never before been considered. In addition, the book uses the Army’s personal records from the Army War College, including the newly discovered report on the 92nd’s field artillery brigade by the enthusiastic commanding general.
In the first of its sectors, the Argonne, the 92nd took its objective. Its engineer regiment was a large success, and when its artillery brigade got into action, it so pleased its general that he could not praise it enough. In the attack of General John J. Pershing’s Second Army during the last days of the war, the 92nd captured the Bois Frehaut, the best performance of any division of the Second Army.
This book is the first full-length account of the actual accomplishments of the 92nd Division. By framing the military outfit’s reputation against cultural context, historical accounts, and social stigmas, the authorproves that the 92nd Division did not fail and made a valuable contribution to history that should, and now finally can, be acknowledged. Unjustly Dishonored fills a void in the scholarship on African American military history and World War I studies.
During World War I it was the task of the U.S. Department of Justice, using the newly passed Espionage Act and its later Sedition Act amendment, to prosecute and convict those who opposed America’s entry into the conflict. In Unsafe for Democracy, historian William H. Thomas Jr. shows that the Justice Department did not stop at this official charge but went much further—paying cautionary visits to suspected dissenters, pressuring them to express support of the war effort, or intimidating them into silence. At times going undercover, investigators tried to elicit the unguarded comments of individuals believed to be a threat to the prevailing social order.
In this massive yet largely secret campaign, agents cast their net wide, targeting isolationists, pacifists, immigrants, socialists, labor organizers, African Americans, and clergymen. The unemployed, the mentally ill, college students, schoolteachers, even schoolchildren, all might come under scrutiny, often in the context of the most trivial and benign activities of daily life.
Delving into numerous reports by Justice Department detectives, Thomas documents how, in case after case, they used threats and warnings to frighten war critics and silence dissent. This early government crusade for wartime ideological conformity, Thomas argues, marks one of the more dubious achievements of the Progressive Era—and a development that resonates in the present day.
Best Books for Special Interests, selected by the American Association of School Librarians
“Recommended for all libraries.”—Frederic Krome, Library Journal
“A cautionary tale about what can happen to our freedoms if we take them too lightly.”—Dave Wood, Hudson Star-Observer
With US soldiers stationed around the world and engaged in multiple conflicts, Americans will be forced for the foreseeable future to come to terms with those permanently disabled in battle. At the moment, we accept rehabilitation as the proper social and cultural response to the wounded, swiftly returning injured combatants to their civilian lives. But this was not always the case, as Beth Linker reveals in her provocative new book, War’s Waste.
Linker explains how, before entering World War I, the United States sought a way to avoid the enormous cost of providing injured soldiers with pensions, which it had done since the Revolutionary War. Emboldened by their faith in the new social and medical sciences, reformers pushed rehabilitation as a means to “rebuild” disabled soldiers, relieving the nation of a monetary burden and easing the decision to enter the Great War. Linker’s narrative moves from the professional development of orthopedic surgeons and physical therapists to the curative workshops, or hospital spaces where disabled soldiers learned how to repair automobiles as well as their own artificial limbs. The story culminates in the postwar establishment of the Veterans Administration, one of the greatest legacies to come out of the First World War.
“This memoir illuminates key aspects of the war experience: the enthusiasm for fighting, tensions with officers, tedium with regard to noncombatant work, the variety of trench experiences, the sharp learning curve that the army underwent on the ground, and the confusing nature of combat for ground troops. As the centennial of the war approaches this well-annotated memoir that connects Patterson’s individual experiences to the larger U.S. experience of the war will appeal to general readers and specialists alike.” —Jennifer D. Keene, author of World War I: The American Soldier Experience
A journalist once called Under Secretary of War Robert P. Patterson “the toughest man in Washington” for his fervid efforts in managing U.S. mobilization in World War II. The World War I Memoirs of Robert P. Patterson: A Captain in the Great War recounts Patterson’s own formative military experiences in the First World War.
Written in the years following the conflict, this is a remarkable rendering of what it was like to be an infantry line officer during the so-called Great War. Patterson started his military career as a twenty-seven-year-old, barely-trained captain in the American Expeditionary Forces (A.E.F.). He was part of the 306th Infantry Regiment of New York’s famous 77th “Statue of Liberty” Division from July to November 1918. In this detailed account, Patterson describes in understated yet vivid prose just how raw and unprepared American soldiers were for the titanic battles on the Western Front. Patterson downplays his near-death experience in a fierce firefight that earned him and several of his men from Company F the Distinguished Service Cross. His depiction of the brutal Meuse-Argonne battle is haunting—the drenching cold rains, the omnipresent barbed wire, deep fog-filled ravines, the sweet stench of mustard gas, chattering German machine-guns, crashing artillery shells, and even a rare hot meal to be savored.
Dealing with more than just combat, Patterson writes of the friendships and camaraderie among the officers and soldiers of different ethnic and class backgrounds who made up the “melting pot division” of the 77th. He betrays little of the postwar disillusionment that afflicted some members of the “Lost Generation.”Editor J. Garry Clifford’s introduction places Patterson and his actions in historical context and illuminates how Patterson applied lessons learned from the GreatWar to his later service as assistant secretary, under secretary, and secretary of war from 1940 to 1947.
J. Garry Clifford, a professor of political science at the University of Connecticut, is the coauthor of America Ascendant: American Foreign Relations since 1939 and The First Peacetime Draft, as well as the coeditor of Presidents, Diplomats, and Other Mortals.