America's Bloodiest Battle

American doughboys proved their mettle in the forests and fields of eastern France during World War I

On October 11, 1918, late in the afternoon, a platoon of American doughboys marched to the front in eastern France, passing shattered villages, forests reduced to matchsticks, and water-filled shell craters. At every step the Americans struggled to free their boots from the slopping mud. Icy wind and rain slashed at their clothing, and water poured in steady streams from the rims of their helmets, somewhat obscuring the devastation.Read more »

My Grandfather’s War

How the discovery of a long-forgotten trunk inspired an artist to spend years recording the quiet remnants of a wrenching military career.

My grandfather spoke to me about his experiences in the first World War only once, and that was abruptly and in anger. As young boys, my brothers and I would spend part of our summer vacations with my grandparents. One sweltering August night I climbed down from the attic guest room to ask my grandmother if I could sleep on the screened porch. She helped me gather up my pillows and sheets, and as we were rounding the second-story landing, my grandfather appeared unexpectedly.Read more »

Colonel McCormick’s War

The newspaper baron Robert McCormick was a passionate isolationist—yet his brief service in France in 1918 shone for him all his life and gave birth to an extraordinary museum

 

Cantigny.

 
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“Black Jack” Of The 10th

A Negro cavalry regiment was John J. Pershing’s “home” in the service. From it came his nickname, and he never lost his affection for—or failed to champion—the valorous colored troopers he led.

If there is a military stereotype in United States history, it must closely resemble the public impression of John J. Pershing, who was accorded the highest possible rank—General of the Armies—after commanding the American Expeditionary Force during World War I. “Brass hat” was written all over him: the jutting jaw, the cold, direct gaze, the bluntly authoritarian manner, the stiff back and square shoulders. Most people believed that his sobriquet “Black Jack” was bestowed because of the forcefulness of his character.

 
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