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Primary Sources: Letters and Diaries from World War I
Letters from a Soldier of France
Publication Date: 2014-12-19
In March 1915, a young French artist-turned-soldier went missing in action. He left behind a remarkable series of letters which, due to wartime security, had to be edited and published anonymously under the title Letters of a Soldier 1914-1915. This powerful volume was for many years out of print, but this new edition corrects that unhappy situation and provides an English speaking readership with a rare and much needed insight into what it meant to experience the Great War from the sharp end during the desperate struggles of the French Army fighting for its survival in 1914 and 1915.Originally published by Constable & Co., London in 1917 with a preface by André Chevrillon, this evocative and moving primary source volume is essential reading for anyone who seeks to understand the role of the French army in the opening battles of the Great War.
Meuse-Argonne Diary by
Publication Date: 2004-06-09
September 13, 1918 Got no sleep at all last night. 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, 1918 Considerable 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.
Despatch Rider on the Western Front 1915-18 by
Publication Date: 2015-04-30
The diary of a First World War motorcycle despatch rider, Sergeant Albert Simpkin, who was attached to the HQ 37th Division. The diary entries, and some longer descriptions of the main actions of the Division, provide a fascinating record of the life of a despatch rider on the Western Front; one day dodging shell holes and ammunition limbers to take his despatches to the front, the next observing the quaint but often courageous lives of the local populace. Throughout the diary are colourful and amusing anecdotes about his fellow soldiers, and critical comments on the strategies and tactics employed by the officers.
Nels Anderson's World War I Diary by
Publication Date: 2013-06-30
Nels Anderson's World War I Diary provides a rare glimpse into the wartime experiences of one of the most well-respected sociologists of the twentieth century, the renowned author of The Hobo (1920) and Desert Saints: The Mormon Frontier in Utah (1942). Anderson, a keen observer of people, places, and events his entire life, joined the U.S. Army in 1918 at the age of 29 and was sent to Europe to fight as part of the Allied Expeditionary Force (AEF) under General Pershing. Because keeping a journal was strongly discouraged among American forces during WWI, particularly among the rank-and-file soldiers, Anderson's diary stands as a rare gem. Furthermore, it is the only known account of war service during WWI by a member of the LDS Church. Anderson joined the Mormon faith after accepting the hospitality of an extended Mormon ranching family during his travels throughout the American West as a working hobo. Anderson's accounts of the St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne offensives are particularly remarkable given the challenges of keeping a detailed journal amidst the chaos and suffering of the war's Western Front. His insights into the depravity and callousness of war are buttressed with intimate human portraits of those to whom he was closest. The war years provided many formative experiences that would prove to have a lasting influence on Anderson's views regarding the working poor, authority, and human values; this would come to bear heavily on his later work as a pioneering sociologist at the University of Chicago, where he helped establish participant observation as a research method. The many introspective entries contained in this volume will be of reat interest to military historians and history buffs as well as to those in the social sciences looking to find the intellectual origins of Anderson's later work in the burgeoning field of sociology. Winner of the Army Historical Foundation Distinguished Writing Award for Journals, Memoirs, and Letters.
Commitment and Sacrifice by
Publication Date: 2015-08-03
For years, those who attempted to understand the devastation of World War I looked to the collections of diplomatic documents, the stirring speeches, and the partisan memoirs of the leading participants. However, those accounts offered little by way of the intimate history, or the individualexperiences of those involved in the Great War. In Commitment and Sacrifice, Marilyn Shevin-Coetzee and Frans Coetzee provide just such an "intimate look" by bringing together previously unpublished diaries of five participants in the First World War and restoring to publication the diary of a sixththat has long been out of print.The six diaries address the war on the Western front and the Mediterranean, as well as behind the lines on the home front. Together, these diarists form a diverse group: John French, a British sapper who dug precarious tunnels beneath the trenches of the Western Front; Henri Desagneaux, a Frenchinfantry officer embroiled in years of bloody combat; Philip T. Cate, an idealistic American volunteer ambulance driver who sought to save lives rather than take them; Willy Wolff, a German businessman caught in England upon the war's outbreak and interned there for the duration; James DouglasHutchison, a New Zealand artilleryman fighting thousands of miles from home; and Felix Kaufmann, a German machine gunner, captured and held as a prisoner of war.Through the personal reflections of these young men, we are transported into many of the iconic episodes of the war, from the upheaval of mobilization through the great battles of Gallipoli, Verdun, and the Somme, as well as the less familiar "other ordeal" of internment and captivity. As members ofthe so-called Generation of 1914 (each was between nineteen and twenty-four years old), they shared an unwavering commitment to their countries' cause, and possessed a steadfast determination to persevere despite often appalling circumstances.Collectively, these diaries illuminate the sacrifices of war, whether willingly volunteered or stoically endured. That the diarists had the desire and the ingenuity to record their experiences, whether for their families, posterity, or simply their own personal satisfaction, gives readers theability to eavesdrop on horrors long past. A century later, we are fortunate that they were both willing and able to set pencil to paper.
Storm of Steel by
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Publication Date: 2018 99000102344
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STORM OF STEEL is possibly the greatest combat memoir of the modern era. It is a universal first-hand account of the terrifying calamity that was the First World War of 1914-18. It is told through German eyes, but appeals to all humanity, regardless of nation. This war memoir focuses on daily life in the combat trenches, and its haunting pathos. Although narrated through German eyes, it could be the story of any army of any nation. Grisly death and woundings are commonplace. However, there are also noble deeds of heroism and self-sacrifice, of average men willing to fight and die for each other. It is a universal tale of humanity, both evil and good, sin and redemption. Jünger stands as a symbol of repentance and forgiveness. He was one of the most decorated German soldiers ever, but later used his prominence to movingly advocate the reconciliation of former enemies. His narrative contains poignant passages about lost souls upon the battlefield that know no national boundaries.
Letters from Gallipoli by
Publication Date: 2011-06-01
Revealing and often heartbreaking, this collection of letters offers a powerful firsthand account of a pivotal event in New Zealand history: World War I's Gallipoli Campaign in 1915. Grouped in chronological order, the correspondence--gathered from archives, newspapers, and family collections--details the campaign’s harrowing conditions and key events, from preparation and landing on the Ottoman peninsula to the December withdrawal. In these epistles, the intense emotions of the men who survived the trenches are made known, whether it be jubilation at ground gained or sorrow at the passing of friends. Biographical notes on the letter writers, historic photographs, and a comprehensive introduction are also included.
Primary Sources: Diplomatic Correspondence, Journalistic Accounts, Posters...
World War I: Primary Documents on Events from 1914 To 1919 by
Publication Date: 2007-12-30
Primary documents from the World War I era bring to life the causes, events and consequences of those tumultuous and violent years. Varied perspectives provide a valuable overview of the many and often complicated reactions by Americans to Pre-war European politics, Archduke Ferdinand's assassination, the sinking of the Lusitania by a German submarine, the major battles fought, and of the eventual and controversial entry into the war by the United States, among others. Will be a valued resource for researchers seeking to tap into contemporary attitudes toward events long gone.
The AEF in Print by
Publication Date: 2018-05-15
The AEF in Print is an anthology that tells the story of U.S. involvement in World War I through newspaper and magazine articles--precisely how the American public experienced the Great War. From April 1917 to November 1918, Americans followed the war in their local newspapers and popular magazines. The book's chapters are organized chronologically: Mobilization, Arrival in Europe, Learning to Fight, American Firsts, Battles, and the Armistice. Also included are topical chapters, such as At Sea, In the Air, In the Trenches, Wounded Warriors, and Heroes. "Some of these stories are real gems. Irving Cobb's account of the sinking of the SS Tuscania, for example, is absolutely riveting, and the same can be said of William Shepherd's description of life aboard US Navy destroyers in the Atlantic, Floyd Gibbons's narration of his wounding at Belleau Wood, and George Pattullo's roll-out of the Sergeant York legend."--Steven Trout, author of On the Battlefield of Memory: The First World War and American Remembrance
Empires, Soldiers, and Citizens: A World War I Sourcebook by
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Publication Date: 2013 99000102344
Empires, Soldiers, and Citizens offers a vivid range of eyewitness perspectives - from female munitions workers to Indian troops in France - which explore the social, cultural, and military dimensions of World War I. Combines documents and themes that have proven successful in the first edition with new sources and topics that are currently at the forefront of historical debate and research Now features many new documents which illustrate the imperial dimensions of the conflict and broaden the coverage of 'war culture' and developments in Eastern Europe Documents have been included which pay particular attention to the experiences and perspectives of ordinary people, whose voices are often underrepresented in broad accounts The bibliography has been expanded and completely updated,complemented by a new series of maps and illustrations
The Great War Through Picture Postcards by
Publication Date: 2016-08-05
During World War I, the picture postcard was the most important means of communication for the soldiers in the field and their loved ones at home, with an estimated 30 billion of them sent between 1914 and 1918. A postcard from home offered the soldier in the trenches a short escape from their daily hell, while receiving a postcard from a man on the frontline was literally a sign of life. These postcards create a vivid record of life at home and abroad during the Great War, both from the messages they carried and the pictures on the cards themselves. The depiction of the war on the contemporary postcards is extremely diverse: The ways in which the postcards depict the war differs greatly; from simple enthusiasm, patriotism and propaganda to humor, satire and bitter hatred. Others portray the wishes and dreams (nostalgia, homesickness and pin-ups) of the soldiers, the technological developments of the armies, not to mention the daily life and death on the battlefield, including the horrific reality of piles of bodies and mass-graves. Altogether, this extraordinarily vivid contemporary record of the Great War offers a unique and detailed insight in the minds and mentality of the soldiers and their families who lived and died in the war to end all wars.
Foreign Relations of the United States, World War I Era, 20 Volumes
FRUS Volumes are edited by the Office of the Historian at The US Department of State. What kind of documents are included? Telegrams to embassies, official memos, reports from ambassadors, speeches...
World War I Era Posters
World War I began as a conflict between the Alllies (France, the United Kingdom, and Russia) and the Central Powers (Germany and Austria-Hungary). The assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand, the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary and his wife Sophie ignited the war in 1914. Italy joined the Allies in 1915, followed by the United States in 1917. A ceasefire was declared at 11 AM on November 11, 1918.The poster was a major tool for broad dissemination of information during the war. Countries on both sides of the conflict distributed posters widely to garner support, urge action, and boost morale. During World War II, a larger quantity of posters were printed, but they were no longer the primary source of information. By that time, posters shared their audience with radio and film.