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World War I

After the War, Army Intelligence officers collected statements from German soldiers and citizens.

After the War, American intelligence officers combed through interrogation records and intercepted letters to compiled a report about what Germans thought of their former enemies. Read more >>

In October 1918, 600 men of the 77th Division attacked a heavily defended German position, charging forward until they were completely surrounded by enemy forces. Only 194 men walked out when they were finally rescued.

For much of the last ten years, military historian Edward G. Lengel has researched the First World War. Read more >>

America’s first female soldiers were Signal Corps telephone operators making sure critical messages got through, often while threatened by artillery fire.

The Hello Girls: America’s First Women Soldiers, by Elizabeth Cobbs Read more >>

American volunteers distributing food to starving Belgians witnessed the dramatic deportations, when an estimated 120,000 men were taken to factories in Germany.

One hundred years ago, the bloody fighting finally stopped in the forests of eastern France. We commemorate that event with this special issue of American Heritage. Read more >>

A century after the guns fell silent along the Western Front, the work they did there remains of incalculable importance to the age we inhabit and the people we are

During the World War I, American jazz bands played at hospitals, rest camps and other venues, delighting doughboys and Europeans alike.

We re-publish an essay President Hoover wrote for American Heritage in 1958 recounting his experiences as an aide to Woodrow Wilson at the peace talks after World War I. This important first-person narrative candidly details the difficulties that Wilson faced in what Hoover called “the greatest drama of intellectual leadership in all history.”

Reprinted from the June 1958 issue of American Heritage. Read more >>

Former Secretary of State Dean Acheson recalled his time as a "driver" in the horse-drawn artillery, after Pres. Wilson discovered the U.S. had practically no Army.

From "Practice Range," American Heritage, February, 1968 Read more >>

A noted historian recalls how he came to learn about the five-star general who led American forces to victory in World War I, and the sacrifices made by his family.

Editor's Note: This essay, the last that Gene Smith wrote for American Heritage, was in our files when the historian passed away in 2012. Gene was a long-time favorite of our editors, having published 31 essays in the magazi Read more >>

In history’s long parade of military heroes, few can rival Sergeant Alvin C. York

In 1917, fed up with the inaction of conservative suffragists, Alice Paul decided on the unorthodox strategy of pressuring the president directly

By New Year’s Day 1917, Alice Paul, leader and founder of the National Woman’s Party, had made up her mind. Read more >>

Gene Wilder discusses his new World War I adventure

Gene Wilder, the son of russian Jewish immigrants, was born in Milwaukee in 1933. Read more >>

You can go there too, even to the Bates Motel

Pork Barrel

A “Call it Pork or Necessity, but Alaska Comes Out Far Above the Rest in Spending.” This headline—from The New York Times—was for a story about the $388 billion federal Consolidated Appropriations Act for 2005. Read more >>

The book that taught GI’s how to behave in England

“The founding of the United States experience: 1763-1815”

The Founding of the United States Experience (Presidio Press, 64 pages, $50) earns the slightly unwieldy last word in its title, because digging into this handsome volume creates an experience much like rooting through a treasure-filled attic. Read more >>

The License Plate

Few periods in the history of this country can match the impact of the years between 1917 and 1941. In less than a generation America experienced the first large-scale dispatch of U.S. Read more >>

Powered flight was born exactly one hundred years ago. It changed everything, of course—but most of all, it changed how we wage war.

Walter Boyne’s résumé makes for unusual reading. He is the author of 42 books and one of the few people to have had bestsellers on both the fiction and the nonfiction lists of The New York Times. Read more >>

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. Read more >>

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

A historian of the ancient world believes that in every era humankind has reacted to the demands of waging war in surprisingly similar ways, and that to protect our national interests today Americans must understand the choices soldiers and statesmen made hundreds and even thousands of years ago

In a time when the usefulness of the past as a means to comprehend the present remains the object of skepticism, if not outright attack, inside the academy, Donald Kagan, the former dean of Yale College and a professor of ancient history, has published a book about the necessit Read more >>

THE GREAT STRUGGLES of our century have all been followed by tides of revulsion: Americans decided we were mad to have entered World War I; Russia should have been our enemy in World War II; the United States started the Cold War. Now another such tide has risen in Europe, and it may be on its way here.

HISTORY IS REVISIONISM. IT IS THE FREQUENT —nay, the ceaseless—reviewing and revising and rethinking of the past. Read more >>

A scholar searches across two centuries to discover the main engine of our government’s growth—and reaches a controversial conclusion

Alexis de Tocqueville observed in 1835 that America had no neighbors and hence no enemies. Read more >>

After every war in the nation’s history, the military has faced not only calls for demobilization but new challenges and new opportunities. It is happening again.

Not many people appreciate a military base closing. Like the shutting of a factory, it can devastate nearby towns, throwing thousands of people out of work. Merchants face losses and even bankruptcy as sales fall off. Read more >>

THREE-QUARTERS OF A CENTURY HAS NOT BEEN TIME ENOUGH TO EFFACE THE REMNANTS OF VIOLENCE ALONG A FOUR-HUNDRED-MILE FRONT

It is early fall in France, anf the forest is silent and peaceful. A man, dressed in camouflage fatigues and carrying a metal detector and a sawed-off pickax, disappears into the misty underbrush. Read more >>