First US Troops Arrive in France, 26 June 1917

The arrival in France of General John Joseph “Black Jack” Pershing in 1917 to lead American Expeditionary Forces. From L’Illustration, 1917.  Design Pics Historical Collection / Universal Images Group During World War I, the first 14,000 U.S. infantry troops land in France at the port of Saint Nazaire. The landing site had been kept secret…

Psychological War Wounds

  The concept of psychological war wounds was new at the time, and doctors scrambled to find effective treatments for their charges. Major Arthur Hurst pioneered a regimen for sufferers of shellshock at Netley Hospital that boasted a 90 percent success rate. A major aspect of his treatment was occupational therapy, and his charges worked…

Crafting and Shellshock

    Not long after the fighting started, soldiers began showing symptoms of a strange new affliction. They became disoriented and confused. They developed tremors, limping, and paralysis that had no physical cause. At first, commands assumed that the men were trying to escape the fighting, and many were charged with cowardice or malingering and punished. Some…

June 5, 1917 : Great National Lottery Day

In spite of all the stratagems to convince men to voluntarily join the War effort, there were not enough new recruits to meet the demand. To solve this, Congress passed the Selective Service Act of 1917 on May 18, 1917. The act required that all men between the ages of 21-30 must register though later with…

Book Club: Guns of August by Barbara W. Tuchman

One of the selections for April-June 2018 is “The Guns of August” by Barbara Tuchman. Tuchman, b. January 30, 1912 – d. February 6, 1989, won the 1963 Pulitzer Prize for this book which is considered a classic. Tuchman was born in New York City before WWI broke out, though the conflict would surely have…

Food and Morale

Food also, however, affected the morale of the soldiers on a day to day basis and helped them to remember home.  British army rations included tea and jam and the French soldiers maintained a daily allowance of red wine for much of the war (up to 3/4 of a liter per day in 1916). In…