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The American Expeditionary Forces in Memory and Remembrance
The Great War remembered
“This book is not a history of World War I, nor is it a history of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) on the Western Front. Rather, it is a collection of essays that examines how the wartime generation and those that followed have remembered or commemorated individuals, groups, and military organizations that comprised the AEF.”<br /> —from the Preface
When the United States declared war in April 1917, President Woodrow Wilson sent the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) under the command of General John Pershing to the Western Front. After the war, Pershing became the head of the American Battle Monuments Commission, the new government agency that commemorated the AEF’s exploits.
The essays comprising Unknown Soldiers are divided into three sections: “Remembering the AEF,” “Soldiers and Their Units in Battle and Beyond,” and “The AEF in Popular Memory.” The first section provides an overview of how Americans and the government have remembered, commemorated, and interpreted the history of the AEF, its battles, and its soldiers. The four essays in the second section shed light on how the doughboys fought, how they interacted with Allied soldiers, how the war shaped their postwar careers and memories, and how heroic feats became the stuff of myth and legend. The last section explores how the AEF has been remembered through popular literature, film, and music.
This collection draws on primary sources from previously unheard voices, including memoirs, autobiographies, official records, and oral histories, to present the coherent story of the AEF’s experience and the memories they evoked. Unknown Soldiers will be a welcome addition to World War I literature and a solid addition to the fields of military history and the history of memory.
World War I and the U.S. Justice Department's Covert Campaign to Suppress Dissent
The Great War Exploits of Capt. Field E. Kindley
Capt. Field E. Kindley, with the famous Eddie Rickenbacker, was one of America’s foremost World War I flying aces. Like Rickenbacker’s, Kindley’s story is one of fierce dogfights, daring aerial feats, and numerous brushes with death. Yet unlike Rickenbacker’s, Kindley’s story has not been fully told until now. Field Kindley gained experience with the RAF before providing leadership for the U.S. Air Service. Kindley was the fourth-ranking American air ace; his exploits earned him a Distinguished Service Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster from the United States and a Distinguished Flying Cross from the British government. In February 1920, during a practice drill Kindley led, some enlisted men unwittingly entered the bombing target area. “Buzzing” the troops to warn them off the field, Kindley somehow lost control of his plane and died in the ensuing crash. Using arduously gathered primary materials and accounts of Great War aces, Jack Ballard tells the story of this little-known hero from the glory days of aerial warfare. Through this tale, an era and a daring flyer live again.
A Captain in the Great War
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 Great War to his later service as assistant secretary, under secretary, and secretary of war from 1940 to 1947.
In the Highest Tradition
Historians have been unkind to the 26th Division of the U.S. Army during World War I. Despite playing a significant role in all the major engagements of the American Expeditionary Force, the “Yankee Division,” as it was commonly known, and its beloved commanding officer, Maj. Gen. Clarence Edwards, were often at odds with Gen. John J. Pershing. Subsequently, the Yankee Division became the A.E.F.’s “whipping boy,” a reputation that has largely continued to the present day. In The Yankee Division in the First World War, author Michael E. Shay mines a voluminous body of first-person accounts to set forth an accurate record of the Yankee Division in France—a record that is, as he reports, “better than most.” Shay sheds new light on the ongoing conflict in leadership and notes that two of the division’s regiments received the coveted Croix de Guerre, the first ever awarded to an American unit. This first-rate study should find a welcome place on military history bookshelves, both for scholars and students of the Great War and for interested general readers.
France and the Legacy of the Great War
The Great War that engulfed Europe between 1914 and 1918 was a catastrophe for France. French soil was the site of most of the fighting on the Western Front. French dead were more than 1.3 million, the permanently disabled another 1.1 million, overwhelmingly men in their twenties and thirties. The decade and a half before the war had been years of plenty, a time of increasing prosperity and confidence remembered as the Belle Epoque or the good old days. The two decades that followed its end were years of want, loss, misery, and fear. In 1914, France went to war convinced of victory. In 1939, France went to war dreading defeat.