The American Red Cross World War I Effort 

American Red Cross Postervia The Great Republic web site 

The outbreak of World War I affected millions of troops and civilians in the United States and overseas. The American Red Cross, championed by President Woodrow Wilson, contributed in a major way during the war to not only aid the wounded, but aid troops actively in battle, families in distress, and veterans. Within the first few weeks of the war, the Red Cross dispatched the SS Red Cross, also known as The Mercy Ship, which brought surgeons and nurses, surgical equipment, and hospital supplies to seven warring European nations. 170 surgeons and nurses were aboard the ship, ready to combat casualties on both sides, with an emphasis on the idea of neutrality and impartiality.

When the United States officially entered the war in April of 1917, the organization began a period of remarkable growth. Wilson called upon the American people to back the organization in its support of thousands of young men heading to the battlefields of Europe. Bankers and businessmen volunteered to help build up the organization and expand its services, so much so that the needs for local establishments grew faster than infrastructures could be built.

Many different War posters were created in an effort to help fund the Red Cross, like our examples below, "At the Service of Mankind" Vintage WWI Red Cross Poster by Lawrence Wilbur, 1917. and "American Red Cross. Chartered by Congress" Vintage WWI Red Cross Poster by Franklin Booth, 1918. Posters such as these were successful in spreading the word about how people could help.

To encourage membership, the American Red Cross enlisted the pro-bono services of several well-known artists and produced a series of posters for the Roll Call. With an annual fee of one dollar, the first Christmas Roll Call boosted membership significantly and raised millions for the organization. At the start of the war there were only about 10,000 Red Cross members, but by 1918 this number jumped into the millions, with over 20 million adults and 11 million youth becoming members. By the end of the war, about a third of the United States population was either a donor or a volunteer of the American Red Cross.

The Red Cross developed multiple different services during the War, which included home, camp, canteen, nursing, hospital, and motor services along with a production corps and hospital & recreation corps. 

 

Commissioners split on relocating World War I monument 

By Connie Clements
via the Navasota Examiner newspaper (TX) web site 

Grimes County World War I monumentGrimes County World War I monumentIn a 3-1 vote Wednesday, June 15, Grimes County commissioners approved the relocation of the World War I monument from Historic Anderson Park to the Grimes County Justice and Business Center. Voting in favor of the motion were commissioners Phillip Cox, David Dobyanski and Chad Mallett. Voting against was Commissioner Barbara Walker. Judge Joe Fauth was not present.

The request for approval of the $1,500 bid to move the monument was presented by Grimes County Historical Commission (GCHC) member and IT Tech III Andrew Duncan, on behalf of GCHC president and county Tax Assessor-Collector Mary Ann Waters and prompted lengthy discussion about employees circumventing the court’s authority to make this decision, whether or not the monument was considered in the construction phase and potential future requests for monuments on county grounds.

Commissioner Phillip Cox pointed out the lack of a monuments policy and stated that the authority for overseeing county facilities belongs to the County.

Cox said, “And in order to move that monument, it would have had to come before commissioners court and be approved for that task. The pedestal or concrete was not in the building plans and was an afterthought.”

Commissioner Walker stated her issue was a “controversial history” of monuments being placed on courthouse grounds and “how many more will want to move to the grounds.”

Elections Administrator and GCHC member Lucy Ybarra suggested the GCHC misunderstood the order in which the request was to be made but that there are already monuments on county property.

She added, “This property (monument) is Grimes County property, therefore, what’s on the property is Grimes County property. We’re merely saying this monument is located at one location owned and operated by Grimes

She added, “This property (monument) is Grimes County property, therefore, what’s on the property is Grimes County property. We’re merely saying this monument is located at one location owned and operated by Grimes County and we’re moving it to another location. The monument is ours, as a county.”

 

hero king kong stop motion m1911 wwi 1600x900The Signal Corps units of the American Expeditionary Force in France filmed hundreds of hours of U.S. troops in action, with them in training, at recreation and working with Allied troops. 

King Kong, Stop-Motion Filming & the M1911 in World War I? 

By Tom Laemlein
via the Springfield Armory The Armory Life web site 

The Signal Corps units of the American Expeditionary Force in France filmed hundreds of hours of U.S. troops in action, with them in training, at recreation and working with Allied troops.

They also made several special films, and this little animation was created in a French film studio during 1918. It is unknown if the work was done by French filmmakers, U.S. Signal Corps cameramen, or a combination of the two.

In stop-motion animation, each movement is a coordinated series of still frames. By 1918 standards, this film is an advanced work of camera tricks. More than a century later, it still holds up surprisingly well.

The Foundation

The first known stop-motion animation film was The Humpty Dumpty Circus (1898), which used wooden toys to depict the acrobats and circus animals. In 1925, animator Willis O’Brien created the animated feature The Lost World, which combined the visuals of stop-action dinosaur models along with live actors. O’Brien followed up on The Lost World with the massive box-office hit King Kong in 1933.

 Stop-motion animation is difficult, time-consuming work that has delighted film fans for more than a century. It would be interesting to know if anyone associated with this M1911 animation went on to be successful in Hollywood.

The Subject

As American industry ramped up to meet the need, a little more than 643,000 M1911 pistols were produced by the end of World War I. The big .45 caliber pistol was issued to both officers and NCOs, and the Doughboys were clearly happy to carry it on their hip.

 

KCRG TV9 News 

Community quickly raises $18,000 to refurbish 91-year-old WWI doughboy monument 

By Kristin Rogers
via the KCRG-TV9 News television station (IA) web site

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -One of the only remaining WWI doughboy monuments in the state is getting refurbished. WWI soldiers were called doughboys because of the way wet clay looked when it got on their uniforms. The 91-year-old monument in Mechanicsville is in serious need of restoration. The community acted fast to make it happen.

”There’s about 140 of them left nationwide, there was originally 400,” explained Tom Strickler, Commander for American Legion Post 309.

The doughboy is just one of two in Iowa. It stands high in Rose Hill cemetery where 346 veterans, including 86 from WWI, are buried.

”We had our first committee meeting about March, mid-March,” said Calvin Paup, committee member for the project with Post 309.

In just a few months’ time, the small town has raised $18,000 for the restoration on a goal of around $20,000.

”Money we have so far has mainly has come just out of citizen support,” Paup said.

That support continued on Monday morning as more than 30 people gathered in the cemetery to watch the monument be taken down to be hauled away to Ohio for repairs.

”We’re just going to provide a new copper sheet finish, so that’s a bright sort of penny finish to him with protective coating,” said Emmett Lodge, Vice President of McKay Lodge Conservation Laboratory.

The goal is to have the monument back in time for Veterans Day. For some, just knowing the monument is being preserved is emotional.

”It’s very breathtaking,” Strickler said. 

 

 

The writing of "On Assignment -The Great War

By Joseph Caro
Special to the Doughboy Foundation web site 

Writing On Assignment: The Great War started with the Internet.

I had just finished writing a self-help consumer book The California Lemon Law - When Your New Vehicle Goes Sour and decided to look-up some grade-school chums back in New Jersey that I haden't seen since 1957. I did my research and found a few and was surprised when I opened an e-mail from Barry Fitzgerald, a school mate from my past. ‘Fitz’ heard from a friend that I was inquiring about St. Mary’s grads way back then, and wrote me to share the “good old days’.”

Cover and Painting gangI mentioned that I was writing books these days and we got around to his grandfather, Eddie Jackson, a New York City news photographer and some of his accomplishments. “I have tons of his old news photo- graphs” Fritz stated, would you like to take a look at them and see if you thought he was book-worthy.” My curiosity was peaked and I couldn’t let a former classmate down and I asked for the photos to be sent to California. What I didn’t expect was boxes upon boxes of photographic prints to show-up at my door!

Some where dated as far back as 1910 and surprisingly, many were of WWI. The boxes also contained some scattered yellowed pages of Eddie Jackson's journal. The more I read about his exploits and matched them with the pictures, the more impressed I became with this man, Edward N. Jackson. I even Googled his name but came up empty. He deserves more than this I recall saying to myself, as my mind thought of ways to present him to the public. His remarkable efforts to photograph WWI was the beginnings of On Assignment: The Great War.

Born in Philadelphia in 1885 the son of an impoverished Irish immigrant family, the slightly built young ‘Eddie’ only completed a sixth-grade education before he had to earn some of his upkeep at home. Born the youngest of four siblings, ‘Eddie’ always referred to himself as the “runt of the litter.” He started working as a news paperboy standing on corners peddling local papers as well as delivering groceries from the local market. “I remember soup-house days back then” he commented in his journal, “when we didn’t have enough to eat we would go to the local soup house and get a ticket for a loaf of bread and a ticket for a can of bean soup.”

Jackson met Mr. Applegate, a local studio photographer one Saturday selling papers, who offered him a job at his photographic studio, the rest, as they say, is history.

 

Women’s Overseas Service League Seattle Unit members on the 50th Anniversary of Armistice, November 11, 1968. From left to right:  Mrs. Edna Lord (American RedCross), Mrs. I.M. (Anna) Palmaw (Army Nurse Corps), Miss Rose Glass (YMCA), and Miss Blanche Wenner (YMCA). Women’s Overseas Service League Seattle Unit members on the 50th Anniversary of Armistice, November 11, 1968. From left to right: Mrs. Edna Lord (American RedCross), Mrs. I.M. (Anna) Palmaw (Army Nurse Corps), Miss Rose Glass (YMCA), and Miss Blanche Wenner (YMCA).

"Our Best Memorial to the Dead Would be Our Service to the Living"

By Allison S. Finkelstein
via the George Washington University Department of History's History News Network at GW web site

The past several years of domestic debate over the roles and meanings of memorials on the American landscape can be enriched by looking to the example of female commemorators of the past. Today’s conversations tend to focus on statues and other artistic works. By learning about an overlooked cohort of American women who served in World War I, we can find inspiration for creative memorialization projects that will expand our understandings of memorials beyond physical statues and monuments.

In the decades after World War I, American women who served or sacrificed during that conflict championed memorial projects that prioritized community service over statues. Their efforts can provide a blueprint for how to change our approach to memorialization, should we care to look for it. Examining their philosophy can yield the untapped wisdom of a generation of activists, mothers, civic leaders, and unrecognized female veterans.

The women who pursued this unconventional approach to memorialization had contributed to the war effort in a variety of ways. Some had directly supported the military through service in wartime organizations, both at home and abroad. Others had suffered extreme sacrifices. In their number were Gold Star mothers and widows who lost a child or husband. The larger community of female veterans embraced these women as their own and honored them as having served the nation just as much as male veterans.

These women banded together and put service at the center of their commemorative work. They coordinated their efforts through new organizations such as the Women’s Overseas Service League (WOSL), which represented the interests of the thousands of American women who served overseas during the war.[i] Instead of monuments, the WOSL concentrated their memorialization projects on aiding people impacted by the war, whether male or female. They felt obligated to help the male veterans they served during wartime, but they also supported their own community, particularly civilian women excluded from veteran status. [ii] In the absence of government support for them, the WOSL served as their advocates and benefactors.

Although these projects included no constructed components, the WOSL defined them as memorials. In 1923, WOSL President Louise Wells wrote that in her organization, “there was an overwhelming sentiment to the effect that for the present at least our best memorial to the dead would be our service to the living.”[iii] WOSL members repeated this mantra as they pushed for a radical reinterpretation of memorials focused on service. Instead of spending their limited resources on statues or memorial buildings, they funded what Wells had identified in 1923 as a “more pressing need”: projects to help disabled ex-service women.[iv] For the WOSL, these were the most important memorials they could ever create.

 During World War I, gender-based restrictions on military service meant that many American women served as civilians outside of the official armed forces, even when they worked directly for the military, in uniform and under oath. As a result, the government did not consider them to be veterans. They could not receive veterans’ benefits such as medical care, even for illnesses and injuries that stemmed from their wartime service. The WOSL took it upon themselves to aid these women, who included the telephone operators known as the “Hello Girls,” the Reconstruction Aides who worked as physical and occupational therapists, and others.[v] Among numerous initiatives, the WOSL established the Fund for Disabled Overseas Women to provide financial aid to women disqualified from government veterans’ medical benefits.[vi]

 

 HMS HoodHMS Hood

Look To World War I For Lessons About Today’s U.S. Navy 

By James Holmes
via the 1945 web site 

So during this sabbatical year, I’ve been reading Andrew Lambert’s The British Way of War: Julian Corbett and the Battle for a National Strategy while gearing up for my own next book, a primer on joint sea power. In essence, Lambert’s book is an intellectual biography of Sir Julian Corbett, who has a strong claim to be history’s finest maritime strategist. Heck, I would probably rate Corbett second among all strategic theorists, trailing only his own hero, the Prussian sage Carl von Clausewitz, on whose masterwork On War he based his theories of saltwater affairs. This year marks the centennial of Corbett’s passing—making it an opportune time to revisit his legacy.

The British Way of War repays the investment of time and energy for anyone who does business in great waters, and indeed for anyone involved with the profession of arms. For one thing, we tend to view great thinkers almost as oracles, abstract from any specific place and time. They dispense wisdom instantly and directly relevant to our own times. Professor Lambert is having none of this, and justly so. He portrays Corbett as a man of his own times and country, and in fact as a leading protagonist in a struggle over the nature of British strategy in world politics. That was why he wrote. While he started out interested in naval history for its own sake, for instance by penning sprightly histories of the Tudor navy, during his later career he wrote to mold thinking about how Great Britain should accomplish its aims in the world.

It should do so at sea, as befitting a maritime empire on which the sun never set.

This was applied history—history with a purpose. Corbett aimed treatises on the Seven Years’ War, Trafalgar, and the Russo-Japanese War not just at the Royal Navy, the obvious audience, but at Parliament and the larger body politic. Through a flurry of writings, he hoped to imprint a doctrine of sea power upon British society, beating back a British Army effort to recast British strategy as a continental strategy founded on a mass conscript army waging ground operations in Europe.

In other words, he wanted Britons to take certain precepts as self-evident and reason from there about the direction of foreign policy and strategy. These should be nautical precepts. He believed fervently that London should place its faith in a dominant navy wielding a compact expeditionary force geared for amphibious warfare. In effect he saw the British Army, rightly conceived, as a corps of marines meant to help the fleet win command of the sea and control sea traffic in the interest of British trade and commerce, and to the detriment of an enemy like imperial Germany. Economic warfare at sea constituted Britain’s comparative advantage.

What Britain’s leadership should not do, he insisted, is what it did during World War I, namely commit the British Expeditionary Force to large-scale, protracted ground combat in Europe. Doing so stripped the navy of its chief striking arm and restricted the fleet to purely seaborne operations. Depriving the navy of its capacity to make a difference on land was a move he regarded as a gross strategic blunder, alien to time-tested British traditions.

 

hello girls internal MOAAMore than 40 senators have co-sponsored a bill that would award the "Hello Girls" a Congressional Gold Medal. (Army photo) 

Efforts Renewed for Congressional Gold Medal to Honor World War I ‘Hello Girls’ 

By Judy Christie
via the Military Officers Association of America web site 

A proposed Congressional Gold Medal to honor the “Hello Girls,” the pioneering World War I Army Signal Corps Female Telephone Operators Unit, is receiving renewed bipartisan attention in the House and Senate.

The medal push is the latest in a long effort to recognize the Hello Girls, who provided critical communications as switchboard operators from WWI front lines, connecting 26 million calls.

The unit originated when Gen. John J. Pershing, USA, discovered early in the war that French women serving as switchboard operators spoke little or no English, making communications between American headquarters almost impossible. The War Department selected 223 American women who spoke French and had telecommunications experience to serve overseas, and this unit became known as the Hello Girls.

Although they were hailed as heroes for their service, they were denied benefits when they returned home and waged a 60-year battle before winning recognition as veterans. An earlier Congressional Gold Medal effort stalled, but the bill was reintroduced in 2021 and is moving through Congress with support from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest honor of appreciation awarded by Congress, and the bill must be co-sponsored by two-thirds of the members of both chambers. As of June 10, the bill had 22 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives and 43 in the Senate. The bill’s passage is advocated by the World War I Centennial Commission.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (D-Mo.) -- whose district houses the National World War I Museum and Memorial, built in 1926 and the only national museum to commemorate WWI -- is working to pass the law.

“For far too long, the Hello Girls have failed to receive the recognition and honors they earned from their dedicated service to the nation at a time of grave need,” he said. “In an era when women couldn’t even participate in our democracy, these women swore oaths, put on the uniform and served alongside our servicemen during World War I, helping to send critical communications that were instrumental in the coordination of French and American forces that, ultimately, helped win the Great War.”

The story of the Hello Girls really hit home, Cleaver said.

 

Gold Coast’s rich history and role in World War I 

By Steven Keehner
via The Island 360 newspaper (NY) web site 

Following Memorial Day last week, the Nassau County Historical Society continued the theme of service with an event Sunday that focused on the Gold Coast elite and World War I.

Henry Lewis Stimson on the cover of Time in 1929Henry Lewis Stimson on the cover of Time magazine in 1929. Stimson's tenure in American politics is regarded as one of the most successful among the wealthy Gold Coast families.Richard Welch, a former American history professor at LIU Post and Farmingdale State College, gave the lecture. Much of the content was based on his new book, “Long Island’s Gold Coast Elite and The Great War.”

An influx of wealthy individuals along Long Island’s North Shore began in the 1890s. F. Scott Fitzgerald famously fictionalized the area in his novel “The Great Gatsby.”

The event focused on these influential North Shore families and why they backed the Allies’ cause when the war began in 1914. As Welch explained, these initiatives ruptured President Woodrow Wilson’s neutrality policy and eventually brought the country to war.

“Virtually all the Gold Coast families — the bankers, the lawyers, insurance agents, etc. — were pro-Allies,” he said. “And one of the reasons is that, I don’t know if I mentioned this before, in addition to the other things that unite them, they’re all basically ethnically the same.”

As the war in Europe erupted, the American viewpoint on taking up arms was divided.

Yet Welch said many of these elite families had an innate affinity for the Allies. He refers to them as “old stock or what we sometimes refer to as WASPs.”

“It depends on where you are in some ways. I once described it to a class as it’s almost like when the war breaks out and we’re neutral,” he said. “How you look at it depends on where your ancestors came from — it’s like watching a ballgame.”

During this time, the Morgans, Davisons, Phipps, Martins, Hitchcocks, Stimsons and Roosevelts were among the families who played pivotal roles or fought on the front lines.

Welch noted how these North Shore power brokers also made calculated moves to push the country into war. Many of them met and collaborated through boarding schools, elite universities and social clubs.

“You have people who have enormous political, social and cultural clout,” he said. “They use it during this time period to affect American foreign policy in ways which were not really seen in previous times.”

 

World War I Choctaw Telephone SquadThe World War I Choctaw Telephone Squad, 142nd Infantry, 36th Division, Company E (left to right): Solomon Lewis, Mitchell Bobb, James Edwards, Calvin Wilson, Joseph Davenport, and Captain E.H. Horner. RODGER MALLISON/FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM/TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE VIA GETTY IMAGES 

Secrets of the Original Choctaw Code-Talkers 

By Ales Bellos
via the Atlas Obscura web site 

 In autumn 1918, in the Allied trenches, a U.S. military captain walked past two Native American soldiers chatting in a language he didn’t understand. They were speaking Choctaw. With about 7,000 speakers, it is one of the 10 most-spoken Native American languages in the United States.

The unnamed captain had an idea: Why not use this language for sending secret military messages? The Germans had managed to tap the Allies’ phone lines and were deciphering their codes. The captain reasoned that the Germans may not be able to decipher a message if it was spoken in a language they had no knowledge of or access to.

Within hours, a group of eight Choctaw soldiers were dispatched to strategic positions. The Choctaw Telephone Squad began communicating in their mother tongue, and, say historians, their messages were instrumental in helping the Allies win key battles in the final weeks of World War I. The Choctaw were the first Native Americans to be used by the U.S. military as “code-talkers.” More famously, during World War II, the military repeated the idea, but with a group of Navajo.

Choctaw was a good choice, linguistically speaking, for a military code because the language is notoriously complicated and unlike other languages. Indeed, it ranked as one of the world’s most “unusual” languages in a 2013 survey of the World Atlas of Language Structures (WALS), a database of the linguistic properties of almost 3,000 languages kept by the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Germany. The survey ranked languages on how dissimilar they are to each other. Chalcatongo Mixtec, with about 6,000 speakers in Oaxaca, Mexico took the top spot, followed by Nenets, which has about 20,000 speakers in Siberia. Third was Choctaw.

Perhaps the most distinctive feature of Choctaw is the fact that it is a polysynthetic language, which means that its words are often extremely long, made up of many smaller parts, or affixes. “The language has some of the most complicated verbs you will see. It is very common to see verbs with two or three prefixes, and five or six suffixes,” says George Aaron Broadwell, chair of the Department of Linguistics at the University of Florida. “One of the challenges to understanding the grammar is to figure out these prefixes and suffixes.”

For example, Choctaw has no individual words for pronouns. If you want to say “I ran,” you include the affix for “I” in the word for “ran.” “You ran” would put a different affix in the same word, but that is just the beginning. The affix for “I” changes depending on whether or not the verb is one in which the subject has agency over the action, a feature that linguists call “volition.” For example, the verb “to run” uses a different affix for “I” than the verb “to be fat,” since you are in control of whether or not you are running at any given moment, but you can’t instantly stop being overweight. Making sense of the language means knowing what you do and don’t have control over, and having the wisdom to tell the difference.

 

Turbotville PA town hallThe Turbotville Community Hall is being celebrated for its 100th year of service to the Turbotville community. (Right) Local historian Leon Hagenbuch and Betsy Watts, secretary of the Turbotville Community Hall Corp., display a few of the WWI articles that on display during the celebration.  

Turbotville, PA celebrating hall's 100th during carnival 

By Julie Mensch
via The Daily Item newspapers (PA) web site 

On Church Street in Turbotville, next to the playground and the field where the town carnival is held, is a building that could be an old school.

The sign over the main entrance identifies it as the “Turbotville Community Hall.”

Built in the first quarter of the 20th century, the hall continues to serve as a gathering place for the residents of the area. Owned and maintained by the borough, the elegant building is being celebrated for its 100th year of service to the Turbotville community.

The United States officially entered the Great War in April of 1917. For the first time in its history, the U.S. sent troops abroad to help defend other countries. Eventually, 4.7 million men would become a part of the American Expeditionary Force. Thirty-three of them were from Turbotville.

At 11 o’clock on the 11th of November 1918, the war was officially over. By 1919, the Doughboys had started to return home to the families, farms, and jobs they had left a few years earlier. To show their appreciation, the Turbotville residents wanted something lasting to honor their service to the country. They decided to build a Community Hall.

A committee of eight men was formed in early 1922 to raise funds for the construction. Resident Dr. G.W. Muffley, himself a WWI veteran, served as president. The committee approved a design submitted by Luther H. Martin of Milton. A carpenter employed at Watsontown Door & Sash, Martin had no formal training. His elegant original blueprints were found in the attic of the hall a few years ago and now hang outside of the auditorium.

Ground was broken for the hall in April of 1922. Ralph Doebler, who had served in the war, made the blocks for the building. The Grittner family lumber yard supplied the lumber. Construction was completed by October 1922.

Over the years the hall provided a venue for high school plays, 5-cent movie nights and musical performances. The auditorium seats 429 and Betsy Watts, secretary of the Turbotville Community Hall Corp., said “a Bloomsburg University choral director told us the room has perfect acoustics.” For a time after the start of the National School Lunch Program the downstairs kitchen and attached 200-seat community room served as the cafeteria for the nearby schools. It has hosted Thanksgiving dinners, blood drives, PA Health Clinics and yearly craft shows. At times, two of the smaller main floor meeting rooms served as high school classrooms.

Many of the original features of the building remain. Pressed metal ceilings, original light fixtures, hardwood floors and trim recall the simple elegance of design. In the auditorium, the wooden folding seats still line the sloped hardwood floors. Some of the quirkier features include a window cut into a main floor meeting room wall — it served as the box office for movie nights. Also, in front of the stage there is a trap door that enables the nearby piano to be moved via a pulley system to the community room below. 

 

Bathing suits 1910 1920In the decade betwen the 1910 postcard of women swimmers (left) and the 1920 photo of seven female swimmers at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., World War One had changed fashion (including women's bathing attire) dramatically in large part because women’s roles had changed.  

WWI and the Bathing Suit: “Fashion Decrees Satin and Wool Jersey for Bathing Suits This Summer!” 

By Jill Weiss Simins
via The Indiana History Blog web site 

Bathing suits and policing decency have often been a topic of discussion and contention, as noted in a previous Chronicles post. However, while looking through reels of newspapers from 1916-17, we became intrigued by the affect of World War One on the loosening of gendered fashion restrictions, especially as exemplified by the bathing suit. Here we look through articles, illustrations, photographs, and advertisements at the ways Hoosier women reacted to trends in the context of WWI when bathing suits had become shorter and sleeveless, but fabrics were still thick and heavy, a holdover from an older era. 

The Victorian bathing gowns of the previous century were floor-length and made of dark heavy fabric that wouldn’t float up or become transparent.  According to the Smithsonian Magazine, some women even sewed lead weights into the hems to prevent exposure of the calf. By the early 1900s bathing costumes became knee-length dresses or tunics and were paired with bloomers or tights, “all of which were made from heavy, flannel or wool fabric that would weigh down the wearer, not quite convenient for negotiation the surf,” according to the same article.

World War One changed fashion dramatically in large part because women’s roles changed in wartime as they took on physical jobs such as factory and farm work, in addition to nursing. Manufacturing jobs also made shorter hair more practical and the corset impossible. Gendered fashion rules relaxed in general to the point where it was even acceptable for women to wear pants for manual labor activities — though it would be decades before they were acceptable beyond certain activities, according to Nina Edwards’ Dressed for War: Uniform, Civilian Clothing & Trappings, 1914 to 1918.

The rules of decorum were also relaxing in the world of sports as women took up tennis, skiing, and swimming in greater numbers. Pants were allowed on the tennis court and slopes. While bathing suits generally maintained their dress-like appearance for the average beach goer, athletic and competitive swimmers opted for suits that didn’t impede their sport. These swimsuits that allowed for actual swimming eventually infiltrated the mass market as well.

 

 Doughboys We Are The MightyFighting on November 11, 2018 continued right up to the 11:00 a.m. time for the Armistice to take effect that ended the fighting on the Western Front in World War I.

Thousands more died so World War I would end at 1100 

By Logan Nye
via the We Are The Mighty web site 

 “I may be one of the few people in this room who remembers when Veterans Day was called Armistice Day, commemorating the armistice that ended the First World War on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the year in 1918,” Reagan said in 1982, repeating the memorable line about the end of World War I, a war so horrible that it was known for decades as “The War to End All Wars.”

But that tidy line, “the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the year in 1918,” came at a cost. Thousands more soldiers, 1,100 of them in one unit, would die during the morning before the Armistice took effect.

See, the end of World War I, like the end of most large wars, was clear for months before it actually came. With the introduction of the tank in 1916 and of American troops in 1917, the stalemate in Europe turned slowly but inexorably in favor of the Allies. The Central Powers, including Germany, were doomed to eventually drown under the industrial might it faced.

But they would fight on for over a year after America entered the war, attempting counter attacks and bloody defenses in order to improve their position at the bargaining table. It was a messy and futile business. The creeping crush of American and Allied steel slowly slaughtered its way east.

By October, 1918, the writing was on the wall. Germany hadn’t achieved a major victory since February, and the Spring Offensive that was supposed to shift the tide back in their favor had been utterly defeated. Berlin was starving under a British blockade and the front lines were quickly approaching the German border. Turkey surrendered at the end of the month and Austria-Hungary did so on November 3.

On November 7, 1918, the Germans sent a three-car delegation to the front lines and played a loud bugle call through the forest. The Germans informed some very surprised French troops that they were there to discuss terms of surrender with the French commander.

This is the first point where the top French and American officers, Field Marshall Ferdinand Fochs and Gen. John Pershing, could have slowed their advance. They could have ordered subordinate commanders to avoid costly advances against terrain or defenses that favored the Germans. In a war that generated over 2,000 deaths per day, a relatively calm November 7-11 could have saved thousands.

But Pershing and Fochs didn’t know, for sure, that Germany would actually go through with the surrender. The Germans had already committed a number of acts during the war that would’ve been beyond the pale before the conflict. They had introduced chemical gasses to the conflict, killed thousands of innocent, civilian ship passengers with their U-boats, and ignored multiple treaties and other legal agreements in their prosecution of the war.