|German Defense Accessories (L'Illustration, 1915)|
A collection of black and white drawings that illustrate the variety of items used along the Western Front to defend the German trench lines.
This article appears on this site by way of a special agreement with L'Illustration.
New York Welcomes Sergeant York (Literary Digest, 1919)
Sergeant Alvin York (1887 - 1964) of the 328th Infantry Regiment, Eighty-Second Division, was truly one of the great heroes of the A.E.F. during World War One. The attached four page article recounts those deeds as well as his glorious trip to New York City where he was luxuriated at the Waldorf Astoria and feted by the swells of Gotham.
"For a hectic half-hour this Tennessee hill-country blacksmith was the vortex of a swarm of photographers, reporters, movie-camera men, and members of the reception committee, all of these last fighting for the privilege of carrying some part of the dunnage that Sergeant York bore on his flat shoulders for many a weary mile in French mud."
At the end of the article you will find a poem by Richard Butler Glaenzer (1876 - 1937) titled, "A Ballad of Redheads Day", which celebrates Sergeant York and that day in the Argonne.
=Watch A Sergeant York Film Clip=
The American Springfield '03 Rifle (U.S. Infantry Drill Manual, 1911)
A black and white diagram depicting the breach of the 1903 Springfield rifle, with all parts named. This rifle was the primary weapon for American troops during World War One and was in use by that army up until 1936. At the time of America's entry into the W.W. I, in April of 1917, there were roughly 843,239 Springfield '03 rifles issued; seeing that this was not nearly enough for such an adventure, the Springfield Armory manufactured 265,620 additional rifles. In some photographs from the war, American soldiers and Marines are pictured shouldering the British Enfield rifle, which had been modified to fit the ammunition of the Springfield '03. Subsequent modifications produced the Springfield 1903A3 and A4 which were issued to American snipers up until the earlier years of the Vietnam War.
Throughout the course of the war the U.S. Army was paying $19.50 for each rifle.
*Watch a Film Clip About the Springfield '03*
'Poilu' is not the Right Word! (New York Times, 1916)
The novelist, journalist, anti-Semite and French Academy member (1906) Maurice Barres (1862 - 1923) had some opinions regarding the word "Poilu" (the popular and affectionate slang term for the French front line soldier, which translates into English as "hairy guy"). In the following one page essay he presented a history of the word and continued with an explanation as to why it bugged him:
"It lacks dignity. To my taste it belittles those whom it is meant to laud and serve. A hero can hardly be expressed by this brazen-faced and slanderous epithet. And yet, since it has taken root in our battlefields now for more than a year, one hesitates to speak ill of this word, in which so many admirable acts are somehow visible. It is winning it's historic titles".
In the end, no one really cared what Maurice Barres had to say on this topic and the sobriquet "poilu" remained.
The Cockpit of the Giant Goltha Bomber (j'ai vu..., 1918)
During the spring of 1917 the Germans developed a squadron of large aircraft capable of dropping 660-pound bombs on London -and drop them they did, killing as many as 788 human beings between May of 1917 and May of 1918. The Giant Goltha Bombers conducted these raids primarily at night and utterly terrified the East End of London. Eventually, German losses escalated and the London raids were canceled in favor of Paris and various other French targets. In 1917 this image of a Goltha cockpit appeared in the French press.
Click here to read an article about the development of aerial reconnaissance during W.W. I.
The British Aristocracy and the Great War (Vanity Fair, 1916)
The 1914 social register for London did not go to press until 1915, so great was the task of assessing the butcher's bill paid by that tribe. The letters written from camp and the front by those privileged young men all seemed to give thanks that their youth had been matched "with this hour" and that they might be able to show to one and all that they were worthy.
"...For not even in the Great Rebellion against Charles I did the nobility lose so many of its members as the list of casualties of the present war displays. In the first sixteen months of operations no less than eight hundred men of title were killed in action, or died of their wounds, and over a thousand more were serving with the land or sea forces."
This article speaks with some urgency as to the crises experienced by that titled class during the war years, as well as a doubtful future for the House of Lords.
Click here to read about the W.W. I efforts of Prince Edward, the future Duke of Windsor.
Click here to read another article about the old European order.