Fiery crash topples over World War I memorial in Prospect Park
By News 12 Staff
via the News 12 Brooklyn television station (NY) web site
A 57-year-old World War I memorial was damaged in a fiery car crash over the weekend in Prospect Park.
City parks crews cleared rubble Monday after a car careened off the roadway early Sunday and slammed into the memorial on Bartel-Pritchard Square.
Citizen App video captured the moment when smoke billowed out of the vehicle after it burst into flames.
"It's a real shame. This has been up here for many, many years and it's in honor of the veterans from the neighborhood," said Mickey McNally, of Windsor Terrace.
The square is named after two Brooklyn residents from the neighborhood, Emil Bartel and William Pritchard, who made the ultimate sacrifice in combat during World War I.
Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Martin Maher served in the armed forces as well. The memorial has stood in the park since 1965 and he said, with some repairs, will be there for many more years to come.
"It's a monument for valor and sacrifice for people who put their lives on their lives on the line. So, I think it's very important that we get it corrected," Maher said.
Parks officials said the monument weighs several tons. But the force of the impact toppled over the memorial which once stood vertically before the wreck.
April 6 Book Launch & Photography Reception, Washington, DC for the two-volume book “In the Centennial Footsteps of the Great War”
By Kathy Abbott
In recognition of the 105th anniversary of the American entry into World War I, the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), the Doughboy Foundation, the Embassy of Hungary, and Mathias Corvinus Collegium invite you to a Book Launching ceremony and Photography Reception for the premiere of Attila Szalay-Berzeviczy’s forthcoming two-volume book, “In the Centennial Footsteps of the Great War.” The event will be held at the DAR Headquarters, located in the heart of Washington D.C at 1776 D St NW, on Wednesday, April 6, 2022 at 5 p.m.
Daily Taps at the National WWI Memorial, in Washington, DC. All proceeds from the event will be used to complete the National WWI Memorial, DC , and to ensure that Daily Taps is played at the Memorial forever.Also attending will be Jari Villanueva, Taps for Veterans, producer and lead bugler for
In Attila Szalay-Berzeviczy’s program notes for the ceremony “Lessons from the First World War to Prevent the Third World War” he notes, “After concluding my centennial project, I am delighted to present to you the story of the Great War in full-color photographs. I very much hope that the images in this volume and the next will inspire you to visit these historic places with your children in order to discover the peace and beauty I found there, and to reflect at the exact location on the tragic events that took place there over one hundred years ago. I also hope that this two-volume book will in some small way contribute and support future commemorations beyond the centenary, and will remind everyone that peace can never be taken for granted. It is my wish that our great-great-grandchildren will be able to commemorate the bicentenary of the outbreak of the Great War on 28 June 2114, after a century of global peace.”
Below Attila Szalay-Berzeviczy reflects on “In the Centennial Footsteps of the Great War” as it chronicles and explains the historical events and the horrors of the First World War through photos that were taken 100 years later, between 2014 and 2021 in each and every theatre of the war, covering altogether fifty-seven different countries:
Virtual Field Trip - "Our Girls Over There": The Hello Girls of World War I
via the National Museum of the United States Army web site
On March 2, 1918, a U.S. Army Signal Corps unit boarded the Celtic, a transport ship, destined for England and eventually the battlefields of France . The unit, comprised of female telephone operators, would make history as first women to actively support combat operations on a regular basis. In doing so, they paved the way for expanded roles for women both in the U.S. Army and at home.
Telephone communications were vital to the success of U.S. Army operations during World War I. The first troops shipped overseas were members of the U.S. Army Signal Corps to establish telephone lines at the front. These lines required hundreds of operators to connect calls between the front and higher headquarters. The Army turned to French speaking, female, telephone operators to connect calls. Over 200 women served the American Expeditionary Forces in the First, Second, and Third Army Headquarters. The women, nicknamed the “Hello Girls,” worked tirelessly, under at times combat conditions, to connect calls on behalf of the Army.
Explore the commitment, sacrifice and challenges of the Hello Girls during World War I. Learn more about how these female telephone operators were recruited for specific skills and how their contributions were critical to effective U.S. Army wartime communications. Also examine how they fought to achieve appropriate recognition and military benefits after the war. This Virtual Field Trip is supported by the U.S. Army Women’s Museum. The free program has three showings: Wednesday, March 9, 2022, 10 a.m. EST; Wednesday, March 16, 2022, 10 a.m. EDT; and Wednesday, March 23, 2022, 10 a.m. EDT.
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How war became a crime after WWI
By Dylan Matthews
via the Vox.com web site
The Treaty of Versailles, formally ending World War I and establishing a new postwar order, began with a charter for a new organization. Called the Covenant of the League of Nations, the new body was meant to resolve international disputes peaceably — and, crucially, it committed members to “respect and preserve as against external aggression the territorial integrity and existing political independence of all Members of the League.”
That promise, Article X of the Covenant, was the work of then-US President Woodrow Wilson. Wilson chaired the committee at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference that drafted the covenant, and historian John Milton Cooper, in his book Breaking the Heart of the World: Woodrow Wilson and the Fight for the League of Nations, describes Article X as “Wilson’s singular contribution to the Draft Covenant.”
Wilson’s Article would help doom the League. Opponents of US entry into the League, like Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge (R-MA), argued that the provision obligated the United States to jump to the defense of any country around the world, entangling it in conflicts it had no part in. Lodge called it “the most important article in the whole treaty,” which would send “the best of our youth” on a foolish “errand” to “guarantee the political independence and territorial integrity of every nation on earth.”
These skeptics eventually won out. The US would never join the League, a fact that contributed heavily to its eventual failure in the runup to World War II. If remembered at all, the League of Nations is usually remembered as an embarrassing failed experiment. But some of the experiment has succeeded.
I’ve been thinking about Article X amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which obviously and fundamentally threatens the territorial integrity and political independence of that country. No international law stopped Russian troops from crossing the border, but in some ways, this is the exception that proves the rule initially laid down in Article X.
Moscow’s actions are so shocking precisely because they violate what is now accepted as a strong norm against territorial conquest by nations. And that norm started with idealistic ventures in the wake of WWI, including Article X and an even more utopian effort: the Treaty for Renunciation of War as an Instrument of National Policy, often called the Kellogg-Briand Pact, signed in 1928.
Naturalized World War I Soldier Frank Capra
via the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services web site
After the United States entered the First World War, Congress passed the Naturalization Act of May 9, 1918, to expedite naturalization for noncitizen members of the U.S. armed forces. Congress wanted to reward foreign-born service members and encourage immigrant enlistments. Eventually, hundreds of thousands of soldiers, sailors, and marines took advantage of this opportunity to become U.S. citizens under this act and subsequent legislation that extended military naturalization benefits to veterans of the war.
Among them was Francesco Capra, a young Sicilian immigrant who had arrived in the U.S. in 1903 at the age of 6. Capra’s family settled in Los Angeles, where he spent his youth before studying chemical engineering at the Throop Polytechnic Institute, the precursor to California Institute of Technology. Capra graduated in 1918, about a year after the U.S. had entered WWI, and he immediately enlisted in the Army. He spent his short career in the U.S. Army stateside, teaching math and ballistics at Fort Scott in San Francisco. After serving just five months, Capra contracted influenza during the global pandemic and received a medical discharge from the army.
Though brief, Capra’s military service qualified him to become a U.S. citizen under military naturalization provisions. Originally unsure of his citizenship status, Capra learned that he was not U.S. citizen when he first attempted to enlist in the military. He immediately filed a Declaration of Intention—commonly called “first papers”—but he did not follow-up on the declaration before he received his discharge. Two years later, on June 4, 1920, Capra filed a military petition for naturalization at the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles and became a naturalized citizen that same day. Military naturalization laws allowed ex-service members to avoid long waiting periods. At the same time that he naturalized, he officially changed his name to from Francesco to Frank.
Unable to find work in chemical engineering, Capra spent the early 1920s traveling and working temporary jobs. Eventually, he found his way into L.A.’s growing motion picture industry. Rising rapidly in the field by the 1930s, Capra became one of the nation’s preeminent movie directors. During that decade he earned the Academy Award for best director three times and directed classics such as It Happened One Night, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
The first canned dog food in America was made from excess WWI horses
By Team Mighty
via the We Are The Mighty web site
When World War I ended and the smoke settled, the United States military was left with an overabundance of men, vehicles, ships, supplies and horses. The demobilization of the effort needed to fight in Europe and elsewhere was chaotic and abrupt.
President Woodrow Wilson quickly set to work getting the U.S. military and the government bureaucracy that managed it back to its prewar size and role. In hindsight, the quick movement was a huge mistake.
During the war, Britain experienced a shortage of horses early on, which led to the U.S. sending 1.1 million horses overseas. By the end of the war, the U.S. forces had some 60,000 horses at its disposal. Back home, horses were plentiful, but no longer in demand.
Four million soldiers and sailors were suddenly discharged from the military, and were subsequently unemployed. Those who were working found themselves in the middle of labor strikes amid an economic crisis. Critical industries were not as productive as they were during wartime and farm prices dropped.
This included the meatpacking industry, which also saw production shortfalls. The prices of meat rose sharply as Americans abandoned some of their wartime practices, which included swapping out beef for horse meat so the beef could be sent to the front lines.
Horse meat gained a reputation for being inferior, even the cause of illness, and fell out of favor, leading to surplus of horses in the United States.
But one dealer in range-bred horses found a solution to the overabundance of horses: commercially available canned food for dogs in the form of the Ken-L-Ration brand.
Ken-L-Ration, get it? Because soldiers eat rations. It’s a colorful play on words at a time when most Americans were familiar with many aspects of military life. As for the horses, the animal was still as beloved as they are today, but Americans had been raising horses as food animals for years, even before World War II.
They also made the same dietary changes during World War I and the interwar years. It was never as popular as other meat animals, but Americans did what they had to support the country’s war efforts.
Kansas City veterans' WWI fight shows democracy is durable — and a work in progress
By Luke X. Martin
via the KCUR National Public Radio station (MO) web site
World War I was cast as an effort to make the world safe for democracy. A photography exhibit at Kansas City's World War I Memorial and Museum shows that was a complicated prospect for the African Americans who served.
Even before the current war in Europe was cast as an effort to make the world safe for self-determination, Americans of all political stripes worried about the health of democracy at home.
A collection of World War I photos housed in Kansas City shows, in beautiful black-and-white detail, another time democracy's durability and promise came into question.
For some of the African Americans in the military during what is sometimes referred to as "the war to end all wars," time serving in France prompted a curious revelation.
“That was the only time I ever felt like that I was a full-fledged American citizen,” Army veteran Robert L. Sweeney said in 1980, decades after the war. “Because (the French) treated the Black soldiers just like they treated the white soldiers — no difference whatever.”
Sweeney was born in Highland, Kansas, and moved to Kansas City after serving in the Army’s 92nd Division, one of two segregated divisions during WWI. Like many other Black service members at the time, Sweeney faced discrimination from white American troops.
But, as is depicted in the National WWI Museum and Memorial’s “Make Way for Democracy!” exhibit, the Black experience of WWI was complex and multifaceted.
How Basic Healthcare Became Big Business in America after World War I
By Alexander Zaitchik
via the Literary Hub web site
The Great War was a short one for the United States. But in sixteen months of fighting alongside the Entente powers, 116,000 American soldiers were killed. Contemporaries grasped that a break had occurred, forming two distinct periods in the political and cultural life of the country. The defining novel of the prewar decade was Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, a work of social protest and journalism that captured the tone and preoccupations of the Progressive Era. Sinclair’s depiction of the Chicago meatpacking industry will forever be paired with the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, signed by Teddy Roosevelt six months after the novel’s publication.
In the postwar decade, the shrunken public imagination and concerns of the Harding Era were indelibly recorded by the other Sinclair of American literature. Sinclair Lewis’s 1922 novel Babbitt depicted America’s stultifying embrace of the idea, expressed with pith by Calvin Coolidge in 1925, that the country’s natural concern is not civic duty or social improvement, but “the business of business.”
The celebration of commerce and its values colored the drug patent debate when it resumed shortly after the war. But the main theater of this debate shifted from the drug companies to the American university, where a collision of science and commerce spurred development of institutions and mores to manage and rationalize the new business of “ethical” academic patenting. Together, the worlds of academic science, organized medicine, and drug companies initiated the process of revising and shaking off the honor codes that had long buffered them from the crass commercialism of other industries and their own worst natures.
The context for this shift was the maturation of scientific medicine. New research fields were extending the vistas of medical science in every direction, but conducting this research cost money and required expertise. This reality drew academic researchers, medical gatekeepers, and drug companies closer together by necessity. The only guidebooks on hand for ordering these new relationships, however, amounted to a long list of restrictions and negative commandments dating to Hippocrates. The process of formulating and establishing new rules and codes would occur in fits and starts during the interwar decades, eventually supplanting the “ethical” system that had provided medicine and drug making with identity and purpose since Benjamin Rush collected leeches in the swamps outside Philadelphia.
Fargo woman finds 100-year-old letter to her great-uncle from the King of England
By Tracy Briggs
via the Dickinson Press newspaper (ND) web site
FARGO — When 20-year-old Jens Olaf Kittlesrud arrived in England with a few thousand other American troops to fight in World War I, he was handed a letter from the King of England.
Heady stuff for the son of a Norwegian immigrant from Barnesville, Minn.
The letter on ivory stationery topped with the red crest of Windsor Castle was written in script:
“Soldiers of the United States, the people of the British Isles welcome you on your way to take your stand beside the armies of many nations now fighting in the Old World the great battle for human freedom. The Allies will gain new heart and spirit in your company. I wish that I could shake the hand of each one of you and bid you Godspeed on your mission.”
It was signed by King George V and dated April 1918.
Basically, the king was giving an enthusiastic shoutout and thank you to the Americans joining the fight.
The letter had apparently been tucked away for years when Jens Kittlesrud's great-niece, Betty Hoff, found it among her parents' possessions. She was curious about the story behind the letter and wondered if other soldiers had received it.
There were few clues, except that the letter was folded in an envelope and addressed to Miss Lillie I. Hoff, 814 3rd St. N., in Fargo. (There was no ZIP code on the envelope. They wouldn't be around until 1963.)
“He sent it to his future wife with a note on the back that he had arrived there safely,” Hoff said.
WWI veteran considered for Medal of Honor receives recognition in Texas
By Rose L. Thayer
va the Stars and Stripes newspaper web site
Army Pvt. Marcelino Serna came back to Texas from World War I as the state’s most decorated veteran of the war.
Gen. John J. Pershing pinned the Distinguished Service Cross on the soldier for heroic actions that included single-handedly killing and capturing 50 enemy soldiers during the Meuse-Argonne offensive in France.
But to his great-grandchildren, who referred to Serna by the nickname Tata, he was a quiet man who gardened at his home in El Paso.
When his family would visit for a week or two each summer, Serna would wake all seven great-grandkids at 6 a.m. and take them on a long walk, said Genny Stopani, one of the great-grandchildren.
When Serna died in 1992 at age 95, many veterans and members of the military showed up for the funeral, giving Stopani, then 22, the first clue into her Tata’s legacy.
“The internet wasn’t around back then,” she said. “We started doing some digging and then we really learned all that he did as a young man and we were just blown away.”
Del Mar author releases book based on WWI-era letters
By Luke Harold
via the Del Mar Times newspaper (CA) web site
More than 100 years ago, Don Martin was a war correspondent for the New York Herald when the United States entered World War I.
About a month ago, his grandson, James Larrimore, published a book centered around letters Martin exchanged with his daughter (the author’s mother), who was 11 years old at the time.
“This book gives you a day-by-day description of what he was doing as a primary war correspondent in France in 1918,” said Larrimore, who lives in Del Mar. “He covered all things, all the battles and that stuff.”
Titled “In Their Own Words,” Larrimore described the book as a “very touching story about separation of a father and daughter” based on century-old letters. It provides insight into the life of Martin, whose wife had already died years before he left New York City to cover the war for the New York Herald.
The book also includes diary entries and other writings by Martin that shed light on the trials and tribulations of life as a war correspondent.
Martin died in Paris in 1918 from pneumonia and Spanish influenza, according to a New York Times obituary that called him “one of America’s foremost newspaper men.”
“For one who braved so many dangers at the front to get news, it seemed a cruel fate to die as he did,” the obituary said.
Larrimore said the book was years in the making.
“I had to retype all of these letters, I had to put them together, I had to get them into shape so the editor could work with them,” he said.
One of the biggest lessons that readers can expect from the book? “War is hell,” Larrimore said.
“Inevitably with war, you have losses,” he added.
“In Their Own Words, Writings of war correspondent Don Martin and his 11-year-old daughter Dorothy. An intimate view of WWI” is available on Amazon and at the Del Mar Library.
Who was the first woman to receive a Purple Heart? 7 things to know about WWI nurse Beatrice Mary MacDonald
By News 12 Staff
via the News 12 Network television (NY) web site
Beatrice Mary MacDonald, a World War I nurse, was the first woman to be awarded the Purple Heart.
Here are a few things to know about McDonald:
1. Although serving in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps, MacDonald was a native of Canada, where she grew up in a large family on Prince Edward Island. She had come to New York to get her nursing training in 1905 and chose to live there afterward to pursue her career. When war came, she volunteered for the American war effort. She was part of a unit organized by Presbyterian Hospital, now part of New York-Presbyterian Hospital.
2. One night in August 1917 during World War I, a German aerial bomb exploded at a military field hospital in Belgium. It was about four miles behind trenches where hundreds of thousands of British, French, Belgian and German troops were fighting the Third Battle of Ypres, also known as Passchendaele. Metal shrapnel ripped through a tent at Casualty Clearing Station #61, where the 36-year-old was rising from her cot to start her shift caring for wounded Allied soldiers. Jagged shards struck her face, damaging her right eye so badly that it later had to removed by doctors.
3. After a six-week recovery from her injury, Macdonald returned to duty serving in military hospitals in France and Belgium.
4. After the war ended in 1918, MacDonald served with Allied forces in Germany until returning to the U.S. There, she resumed living in New York City to continue her profession, and later served as director of the Pennsylvania Hospital School of Nursing for 23 years until her retirement in 1956.
5. The war had been over for years when MacDonald received her Purple Heart in 1936, four years after the award had been reestablished under an order by President Herbert Hoover.
6. MacDonald received numerous awards in recognition of her bravery, and is perhaps one of the most highly decorated women of World War I.
Meet the very good boy who brought smokes to soldiers in the trenches of WWI
By Miranda Summers Lowe
via the Task and Purpose web site
Have you ever gotten exactly what you wanted? It’s hard to imagine that any PlayStation 5 on Christmas morning could beat a pack of cigarettes showing up when you’re stuck in the trenches, but add to it that it’s delivered by an adorable dog. That’s what the soldiers of the 11th Engineers were treated to when Mutt, a YMCA trench runner loaded with ciggies, visited them in 1918 in the Aisne-Marne operation during World War I.
Mutt knew the uniform of the day and wore it with pride, as the photos clearly show his jaunty cravat proudly displaying the YMCA logo. And while it’s mission first, he takes time to get some well-earned trench scritches while the doughboys pass out a carton of cigarettes, no doubt providing a morale boost.
If it seems odd that the Young Men’s Christian Association was running smokes to the troops in 1918, it’s fair to say that just a few years prior, the YMCA would have thought the same. In fact, at the start of World War I, cigarettes were considered immoral, and trashy, if not necessarily unhealthy. Pipe smoking was the preferred method of nicotine hit for the refined set. However, the multi-step process of preparing a pipe required time and equipment that were not ideal during combat.
In many ways, World War I was the first American war where morale was taken seriously. The old guard disliked the “molly-coddling,” and “pink tea parties” and left relief work to civilians. The YMCA was the largest, which provided 90% of aid work through uniformed combat civilians, ranging from essential services like feeding and nursing the troops to hosting singalongs, passing out baseball gear, and soon, delivering cigarettes.
There were no smoke pits in World War I, or more accurately, everything was a smoke pit. Tobacco addressed a number of needs. It alleviated boredom and gave a psychological lift, much as it is used now, but also more dire concerns. The buzz was thought to steady the hands and create wakefulness and alertness. The smell helped to cover the grotesque stench of war: human waste, decaying bodies, and intense body odor. And, dulling taste buds were an advantage when rations were repetitive and boring and best and rancid or molding at worst. As a top staff aide to General Pershing described it, “A cigarette may make the difference between a hero and a shirker.”