Fortnight For Freedom: Over There

        Something for the weekend.  George M. Cohan wrote Over There, the song which will always be associated with America in World War I.  He was immortalized by James Cagney in the 1942 film biopic Yankee Doodle

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June 5, 1917: Alvin C. York Registers for the Draft

As millions of other American men registered for the draft, so did twenty-nine year old Tennessee mountaineer Alvin C. York.  On June 5, 1917 he filled out his registration form.  He claimed exemption with the simple words:  “Yes.  Don’t Want

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Good-bye Broadway, Hello France

Something for the weekend.  Good-bye Broadway, Hello France.  Like the Civil War, World War I produced endless songs, most of which were never heard of again after the  War was concluded.  Quite popular during the War was Good-bye Broadway, Hello

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June 14, 1917: Pershing Arrives in France

On June 14, 1917 General John J. Pershing and 190 of his staff, military and civilians, arrived in France.  The first American combat troops would land on June 26, 1917.  America would not have a full division in France until

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1917: The Star Spangled Banner

  Thomas Alva Edison, among his many other achievements, was the first entertainment mogul in the United States which was only fair since he invented the motion picture camera.  His favorite singer was soprano Anna Case, who appeared on Edison

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Roosevelt’s Letter to His Volunteers

  With the entry of the US into World War I, Theodore Roosevelt began organizing a volunteer force of four divisions.  The reaction around the nation was enthusiastic with over 100,000 men volunteering, and many professional officers in the Regular

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June 1, 1917: Hank Gowdy Enlists

Hank Gowdy was a great ball player and a great patriot.   The high point of his ball career was in the 1914 World Series where he was the most valuable player for winning the World Series for the Boston Braves. 

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The Big Red One Goes to France

  President Wilson realized it would be many months before the US ground forces could be trained, equipped and shipped across the Atlantic in numbers sufficient to make a difference on the battlefields of France.  However, he also knew that

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May 18, 1917: Wilson Signs Selective Service Act of 1917

  The first draft imposed since the Civil War, the Selective Service Act of 1917, passed by overwhelming majorities in Congress, was signed by President Wilson a century ago.  The Act provided for the enlistment, at the discretion of the

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May 10, 1917: Pershing Appointed to Lead the AEF

After the death of Frederick Funston on February 19, 1917, it was inevitable that the newly promoted Major General John J. (Blackjack) Pershing would command the American Expeditionary Force that would be sent to France.  It must have seemed somewhat

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Fearless Freddie Dies

All but forgotten today, Major General Frederick Funston would almost certainly would have led the American Expeditionary Force in World War I if he had not died at age 51 of a heart attack on February 19, 1917.  Nicknamed “Fearless

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Anzac Day 2017

[19] Wilt thou give strength to the horse, or clothe his neck with neighing? [20] Wilt thou lift him up like the locusts? the glory of his nostrils is terror. [21] He breaketh up the earth with his hoof, he

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April 6, 1917: Congress Declares War on Germany

WHEREAS, The Imperial German Government has committed repeated acts of war against the people of the United States of America; therefore, be it resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

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Killing People Won’t Help Matters

  That quote comes from Congresswoman Jeannette Rankin, the lone dissenting vote in the House against declaring war on Japan after Pearl Harbor.  A Republican from Montana, Rankin is an interesting figure.  The first woman elected to Congress, she served two

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April 2, 1917: Wilson Asks Congress to Declare War on Germany

Gentlemen of the Congress: I have called the Congress into extraordinary session because there are serious, very serious, choices of policy to be made, and made immediately, which it was neither right nor constitutionally permissible that I should assume the

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Theodore Roosevelt, the Rough Riders Corps and the Great War

I make no pretense to accuracy. I shall be quite content if the sensibilities of no one are wounded by anything I may reduce to type. Recollections of Thomas R. Marshall:  A Hoosier Salad (1925)     Something for the

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Theodore Roosevelt and His Four Divisions

    In 1917 a century ago Theodore Roosevelt was 58 years old.  He was not in the best of health and he had put on a fair amount of weight since his “crowded hour” leading the charge up Kettle

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March 21: 1917: Loretta Perfectus Walsh Enists in the Navy

A bit of naval history was made a hundred years ago when twenty year old Loretta Perfectus Walsh enlisted in the Navy as a Yeoman F, becoming the first woman to be a member of the US military.  Some 13,000

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March 20, 1917: Lansing Memorandum

On March 17, 1917, President Wilson met with his Cabinet to consider the question of whether the US should enter the Great War.  Fortunately for historians of this period, Secretary of State Robert Lansing drafted a detailed memorandum of the

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World War I Day by Day

  A century ago the US was on the cusp of declaring war on Imperial Germany.  A good time to take a look at this War courtesy of a map tracing areas of control by the Allied and Central powers

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March 3, 1917: Zimmerman Telegram Confirmed

In the wake of the revelation of the Zimmerman telegram, President Wilson had a problem.  Large segments of the American population, most notably Irish-Americans and German-Americans, had doubts about the validity of the telegram.  The Hearst newspapers claimed it was

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March 1, 1917: The Zimmerman Telegram Story Breaks

On February 20, 1917 British intelligence revealed to the US ambassador to Great Britain the contents of the Zimmerman telegram, go here to read about the telegram.  The Brits disclosed to the Americans the code breaking that they engaged in

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February 3, 1917: The US Breaks Diplomatic Relations With Germany

Germany’s resumption on January 31, 1917 of unrestricted submarine warfare made war with the US inevitable.  President Wilson recognized this fact on February 3, 1917 by advising a supportive Congress that the US had broken diplomatic relations with Germany:

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January 31, 1917: Germany Announces the Resumption of Unrestricted Submarine Warfare

In a letter dated January 31, 1917 the German ambassador to the United States,  Count Johann von Bernstorff, informed Robert Lansing, the US Secretary of State, that Germany was resuming unrestricted submarine warfare:

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Theodore Roosevelt and The Curse of Meroz

    Theodore Roosevelt had long been a harsh critic of the neutrality policy of the Wilson administration.  On January 29, 1917 he gave a memorable response to the January 22, 1917 speech to the Senate of President Wilson in

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January 22, 1917: Peace Without Victory

The United States was two months from entering the Great War when President Wilson addressed the Senate a century ago, calling for Peace Without Victory and laying out the beginnings of what would eventually be his Fourteen Points as the

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October 8, 1918: Alvin C. York Renders Unto Caesar

    13And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and of the Herodians; that they should catch him in his words. 14Who coming, say to him: Master, we know that thou art a true speaker, and carest not

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Hills Are For Heroes

  My favorite TV show when I was a boy was Combat!  In 152 grittily realistic episodes from 1962-1967, the experiences of an American infantry squad fighting in France in World War II were detailed.  Most of the cast members

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First Day of the Somme

    Enemy superiority is so great that we are not in a position either to fix their forces in position or to prevent them from launching an offensive elsewhere. We just do not have the troops…. We cannot prevail

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May 31, 1916: Battle of Jutland Begins

  It is often said that generals usually are preparing to win the last war.  That was certainly the case with admirals during World War I.  They imagined a clash of mighty battleships, dreadnaughts, and auxiliaries, that would prove decisive

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Benedict XV, Rudyard Kipling, John Bunyan and G. K. Chesterton

  The cheapest and most childish of all the taunts of the Pacifists is, I think, the sneer at belligerents for appealing to the God of Battles. It is ludicrously illogical, for we obviously have no right to kill for

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Heia Safari!

  Something for the weekend.  Heia Safari!.   The lyrics were written in 1916 by noted German painter of African wild life Hans Aschenborn, and became immensely popular.  When Paul Emil von Lettow Vorbeck wrote his memoirs, he entitled the book Heia Safari (Hurray

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Two Nations Under Red, White and Blue

We will wait for the Americans and the tanks. General Philippe Petain, 1917   Today is Bastille Day.  Our relationship with our oldest ally has been frequently rocky over the years, in spite of the aid France gave us in

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