World War I

The Christmas Truce of 1914

The Christmas Truce of 1914

During World War I, in the bitter winter of 1914, on the battlefields of Flanders, one of the most unusual events in all of human history took place. The Germans had been in a fierce battle with the British and French. Both sides were dug in, safe in muddy, man-made trenches six to eight feet deep that seemed to stretch forever. The Sudden Christmas Truce During World War I All of a sudden, German troops began to put small Christmas trees, lit with candles, outside of their trenches....

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When Johnny Comes Marching Home

When Johnny Comes Marching Home

When war raged through Europe in the summer of 1914, the American public wanted nothing to do with it. Not our war, they said. President Woodrow Wilson agreed. He pledged neutrality for the United States. But over the next few years, three incidents turned public option away from isolationism to one of wanting to take action against Germany and its allies. First was when a German submarine torpedoed the British-owned passenger liner Lusitania without warning, killing 1,2,00 passengers,...

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The First Battle of the Somme (1916)

The First Battle of the Somme (1916)

The First Battle of the Somme is famous chiefly on account of the loss of 58,000 British troops (one third of them killed) on the first day of the battle, July 1, 1916, which to this day remains a one-day record Bombardment of the German lines before the First Battle of the Somme The attack was preceded by an eight-day preliminary bombardment of the German lines, with expectations that the ferocity of the bombardment would entirely destroy all forward German defenses, enabling the attacking...

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Sgt Henry Johnson, U.S. Army (1918-1919) – America’s First World War Hero

Sgt Henry Johnson, U.S. Army (1918-1919) – America’s First World War Hero

Henry Johnson was a World War I soldier who singlehandedly beat back a German assault while critically wounded. He was a great American hero and received the highest military honor of two different countries. One of those countries, however, his very own, didn't bestow that medal until nearly 100 years after his service in WWI. The honor this man deserved was not awarded by the U.S. government upon his return home, because he was black. But that racism was eventually overcome, if only by the...

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The Hero Dog Of Verdun

The Hero Dog Of Verdun

A courageous World War I war dog was widely hailed a hero, after battling bravely through no man's land to deliver a life-saving message to French troops during the Battle of Verdun in WWI. The Hero Dog Of Verdun Service The wonder dog - named, oddly enough, Satan - was assigned the dangerous task of delivering the message from French commanders that contained the words that would bring vital relief to the besieged soldiers under heavy attack by the Germans. The life-saving message read: " For...

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Air Marshall William Bishop – WW1 Air Ace

Air Marshall William Bishop – WW1 Air Ace

Air Marshal William Avery "Billy" Bishop was a Canadian fighter pilot in WWI who crashed his plane during a practice run and was ordered to go back to flight school. He didn't. Instead, he went on to shoot down 72 enemy aircraft, making him a legend in his own time and earning him a Victoria Cross. Billy Bishop's Early Military Career Bishop's military career didn't start off well. He joined the Royal Military College of Canada in 1911, was caught cheating, and had to start his first year all...

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Sgt Alvin York, USA (1941–1947) – Medal of Honor Recipient

Sgt Alvin York, USA (1941–1947) – Medal of Honor Recipient

Sergeant Alvin York was seemingly born to a hardscrabble existence and anonymity in death, but World War One changed that forever. The story of York is one that twists and turns like the Mississippi river as he went through redemption and battled personal demons. At the end of it, all was the story that could have secured fame, finance, and his future - but York turned his back on it all to go back to the simple life and try and make a positive impact on the community in which he lived. York's...

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MajGen Smedley Butler, U.S. Marine Corps (1898–1931) – Medal of Honor Recipient

MajGen Smedley Butler, U.S. Marine Corps (1898–1931) – Medal of Honor Recipient

Smedley Butler may be the best-known double Medal of Honor recipient and one of the most popular military Generals in U.S. history. Butler served 33 years in the Marine Corps and had a role in the Spanish-American War in Cuba, the Philippine-American War in Manila, the Boxer Rebellion in China, the Banana Wars in the Caribbean, the Mexican Revolution, and World War I. Butler's first Medal of Honor was earned during the Mexican Revolution when the then-major fought block to block in the streets...

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Military Myths & Legends: Native American Contributions in the U.S. Military

Military Myths & Legends: Native American Contributions in the U.S. Military

Throughout American History, Native Americans have distinguished themselves with bravery and courage in military service to their country, often without enjoying the same rights and privileges afforded other soldiers.  During WWI, more than 10,000 Native Americans served in the American Expeditionary Force. The majority were volunteers, and most were not considered U.S. citizens. Only U.S. citizens were eligible for the draft. Despite this, the government required Native American men to...

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American Nurses in WWI

American Nurses in WWI

As a German plane buzzed overhead, nurse Helen Dore Boylston dropped face down in the mud. Boylston, an American nurse, serving at a British Army base hospital near the Western Front in 1918, had been running between wards of wounded patients that night, trying to calm their nerves during the air raid. Now, all she could do was brace herself for the hissing bomb that hurtled toward her. She covered her eyes and ears against the deafening roar and "blood-red flare." About a half-hour later,...

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