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Review: Volume 52 - Second World War

Review: Volume 52 - Second World War

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Slavomir Rawicz was a young Polish cavalry officer. On 19 November 1939 he was arrested by the Russians and after brutal interrogation he was sentenced to 25 years in the Gulags. After a 3-month journey to Siberia in the depths of winter he escaped with 6 companions, realising that to stay in the camp meant almost certain death. In June 1941 they crossed the trans-Siberian railway and headed south, climbing into Tibet and freedom 9 months later in March 1942 after travelling on foot through some of the harshest regions in the world, including the Gobi Desert. First published in 1956, this is one of the world's greatest true stories of adventure, survival and escape.

The 16th Durham Light Infantry were supposed to be just an 'ordinary' battalion. But their experiences as they fought their way up through Italy show that there is no such thing as 'ordinary'. They struggled to break out from Salerno, then across the countless rivers and mountain ranges that seemed to spring up to bar their way to victory. They learnt their military skills the hard way facing determined German opposition every step of the way. These were no "D-Day Dodgers" but heroes in their own right. But there was another battle being fought as they struggled to maintain their morale day by day, as their friends died and their seemed to be no end in sight. This is their story.

The Counterproductive Management of Science in the Second World War: Vannevar Bush and the Office of Scientific Research and Development

Established to mobilize science during the Second World War, the Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD) and its director, Vannevar Bush, created new weapons as well as a new relationship between science and government that helped shape Cold War America. Yet much about the partnership that emerged disappointed Bush, especially its uncontrolled expansion and the failure of civilian oversight. The failure, ironically, as this article explains, can be traced to the very approach that allowed Bush to mobilize rapidly during wartime, especially to an “associationalism” and contractual strategy that centralized the management of R&D in Washington while leaving its performance to private contractors. Forged in more conservative decades, the strategy facilitated the rapid exploitation of private-sector resources at the cost of promoting the uncontrolled proliferation of public-private arrangements that undercut Bush's postwar hopes.

Records of the American Expeditionary Forces (World War I)

Established: Under the War Department by General Order 1, Headquarters American Expeditionary Forces (AEF), May 26, 1917, pursuant to letter, Secretary of War Newton D. Baker to General John J. Pershing, same date, transmitting Presidential instruction.

Functions: Conducted military operations against Germany during World War I. Conducted military operations in North Russia. Provided medical and sanitary relief in Poland. Occupied Germany after the war.

Abolished: Effective August 31, 1920, by General Order 49, War Department, August 14, 1920, which discontinued General Headquarters AEF.

Successor Agencies: American Forces in Germany (AFIG, 1919-23) American Forces in France (AFIF, 1919-20).

Finding Aids: Aloha Broadwater, Kathryn M. English, Elaine C. Everly, and Garry D. Ryan, comps., "Preliminary Inventory of the Textual Records of the American Expeditionary Forces (World War I), 1917-23, Part I," NM 91 (Feb. 1968) Aloha Broadwater, Elaine C. Everly, and Garry D. Ryan, comps., "Preliminary Inventory of the Textual Records of the American Expeditionary Forces (World War I), 1917-23, Part II," NM 92 (Apr. 1968).

Related Records: Record copies of publications of the American Expeditionary Forces (World War I) in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government. Records of the American Expeditionary Forces in Siberia, in RG 395, Records of U.S. Army Overseas Operations and Commands, 1898-1942. Cablegrams relating to AEF in RG 407, Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1917- .

Subject Access Terms: World War I.

Textual Records Washington Area 25,653 cu. ft.
Maps and Charts Washington Area 62 items
College Park 25,251 items
Arch/engrg Plans Washington Area 896 items
College Park 443 items
Aerial Photographs College Park 16,957 items
Still Pictures College Park 5,760 images

960 lin. ft. and 132 rolls of microfilm

History: GHQ AEF organized by General Order 8, Headquarters AEF, July 5, 1917. Consisted of the personal staff of the commander in chief chief of staff general staff secretary of the general staff and administrative and technical staff, including logistical functions vested in commanding general of the Line of Communication (LOC). GHQ reorganized by General Order 31, Headquarters AEF, February 16, 1918, which separated LOC and certain technical staff elements from GHQ and designated them collectively as Service of the Rear (SOR). GHQ located in Paris, June 1-September 13, 1917, subsequently at Chaumont. GHQ transferred to Washington, DC, effective September 1, 1919, pursuant to General Order 88, Headquarters AEF, August 22, 1919, and was formally abolished, effective August 31, 1920, by General Order 49, War Department, August 14, 1920.

120.2.1 Records of the office of the commander in chief

Textual Records: General correspondence, 1917-19 (550 ft.), with indexes (including 132 rolls of microfilm). Correspondence relating to AEF schools ("Training File"), 1917-19. Correspondence of Headquarters, General of the Armies, Washington, DC, 1920-21. Reports of inspections of U.S. military installations by General Pershing, 1919-20.

Maps (18 items): Operations maps, Saint-Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne sectors, accompanying Commander in Chief's report of November 20, 1918 (2 items). Communications network diagram, 1918 (1 item). Operations in North Russia, n.d. (14 items). "Instructions Concerning Maps," 1918 (1 item). SEE ALSO 120.15.

Microfilm Publications: T900.

120.2.2 Records of the chief of staff

Textual Records: Correspondence, memorandums, cablegrams, and miscellaneous records, 1917-19.

120.2.3 Records of the secretary of the general staff

Textual Records: Historical reports and monographs, 1917-19. War diaries, 1917-19 (202 ft.).

1911-27 (bulk 1917-19)
1,478 lin. ft.

120.3.1 Records of the First Section, G-1 (Administration)

Textual Records: General correspondence of the Administrative Division, 1917-19. Correspondence of the American Red Cross representative at GHQ, 1917-18. General correspondence and tables of organization of the Organization and Equipment Division, 1917- 19. Records of the Personnel Division, including the AEF Order of Battle and reports and summaries of troop arrivals and movements, 1917-19. Personnel and equipment reports of the Statistical Division, 1917-20. Records of the Liaison Office, 1917-19. General correspondence, official history, and other records of the provost marshal general, 1917-19. Records of the Division of Criminal Investigation and Prisoner of War Division, 1917-19.

Maps (4 items): Administrative maps, 1918 (2 items). "Map Index of France," 1918 (2 items). SEE ALSO 120.15.

120.3.2 Records of the Second Section, G-2 (Intelligence)

Textual Records: General correspondence and other records of the assistant chief of staff (G-2), 1917-19. Records of the Information Division (G-2-A), including histories of German and Austrian divisions produced by the Battle Order Section (G-2-A- 1) captured German documents maintained by the Artillery Materiel, Economics, and Translations Section (G-2-A-2), 1917-18 records of the Enemy Works Section (G-2-A-3) relating to European towns and cities ("Town File"), 1917-19 records of the Radio Intelligence Section (G-2-A-6) relating to enemy codes and ciphers, 1917-19 records of the Air Intelligence Section (G-2-A- 7) relating to enemy air installations and Allied bombing targets, 1917-19 and retained copies of intelligence summaries prepared or distributed by the Dissemination and Filing Section (G-2-A-8), 1917-19, including copies of The Stars and Stripes, 1918-19. Records of the Secret Service Division (G-2-B), including general correspondence, 1917-19, and records of the Negative Intelligence Department of the American Commission to Negotiate Peace, 1918-19, maintained by the Administrative Section (G-2-B-1) intelligence and other reports of military attaches, maintained by the Positive Intelligence Section (G-2-B- 2), 1917-19 records of the Counterespionage Section (G-2-B-3), 1917-19 and records of the Suspects and Circulation Section (G- 2-B-4), 1917-19, including a name card file of Bolsheviks, n.d. Records of the Topographical, Map Supply, and Sound and Flash Ranging Division (G-2-C), 1917-19. Records of the Censorship and Press Division (G-2-D), 1917-19, including general correspondence of the Office of The Stars and Stripes. General correspondence and other records of the Visitors' Bureau (G-2-E), 1917-19. Records of the American Mission of the Interallied Bureau, 1918- 19.

Maps (2,076 items): G-2 maps, 1917-19 (50 items), including maps from the Military Mission at Archangel, operations maps (Saint- Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne sectors), and maps showing proposed boundaries for Trieste. G-2-A-1 maps showing enemy order of battle, Western Front, 1917-18 (89 items) and Eastern Front, 1917-19 (26 items). G-2-A-2 mineral resource maps of Austro- Hungarian area of Ratschach and of French Lorraine, 1918 (3 items). G-2-A-3 maps of German defenses, facilities, and transportation networks frontlines Allied and enemy operations and geology and water supply (American sector), 1918 (459 items). G-2-A-6 maps of German artillery wireless stations and field radio stations, 1918 (137 items). G-2-A-7 maps of German airfields (28 items) and Allied bombing targets (50 items), 1918 French maps of German towns, 1916-18 (188 items) French air charts showing bombing targets, 1916 (39 items) British Air Packets, consisting of maps and aerial photographs of European areas, 1916 (66 items) exhibits accompanying the air order of battle and bomb target reports, 1918 (120 items) and aerial photo maps and mosaics of strategic and industrial cities, 1918 (79 items). G-2-B map of Bolshevist activity in Germany, 1919 (1 item). G-2-C general maps and related material, 1917-19 (218 items) sample file of maps produced by G-2 and its French and British counterparts, 1917-19 (32 items) commercially published maps of areas in Europe, 1911-27 (90 items) topographic survey and other maps produced by the 29th Engineers, 1917-19 (48 items) miscellaneous maps produced at the Base Printing Plant, including reprints of French and German maps, 1918-19 (344 items) topographic maps of the Argonne-Montfaucon area, produced as a map exercise by the Mobile Topographic Unit, 1919 (2 items) and topographic survey and other maps produced by various engineer regiments, 1917-19 (7 items). SEE ALSO 120.15.

Aerial Photographs (16,333 items): American, French, and some German aerial photographs and index maps relating to the Western Front, 1917-19 (16,291 items). G-2-C volume of British aerial photographs of the Battle of Messines, 1917 (42 items). SEE ALSO 120.15.

120.3.3 Records of the Third Section, G-3 (Operations)

Textual Records: General correspondence, 1917-19. Reports of special operations, 1917-19. Journals of operations, 1917-19. AEF headquarters war diary, 1917-18. Charts showing composition of AEF infantry divisions, 1917-19. Divisional history charts, 1917- 18. G-3 library, 1917-19.

Maps (2,230 items): General maps, 1918-19 (108 items). Operations and other special maps, 1918-19 (28 items). Frontline maps, 1918- 19 (122 items). Maps annotated to show 1918 advances and other movements of American divisions, 1919 (155 items). Area and boundary maps, 1917-19 (149 items). Combined order of battle maps, 1919 (36 vols., 1,103 items). Situation and movement maps, 1918-19 (519 items). Comparison map overlays of German offensives, 1918 (15 items). Blueprint maps used for visibility studies, 1918 (31 items). SEE ALSO 120.15.

120.3.4 Records of the Fourth Section, G-4 (Coordination)

Textual Records: General correspondence, daily situation reports, and other records of the assistant chief of staff (G-4), 1917-19. Correspondence, reports, and other records of the Engineering and Construction Division (G-4-C), Quartermaster Activities Section (G-4-E), and Troop Assignment Section (G-4-H), 1917-19. Records of the Railheads and Regulating Stations Section (G-4-I), including stations at Connantre, Creil, Dunkerque, Is-sur-Tille, Le Bourget, Liffol-le-Grand, Nantes, Noisy-le-Sec, and Saint Dizier, 1918-19.

Maps (52 items): Maps, some prepared jointly with G-3, relating to organization and activities of the Services of Supply, 1917- 19. SEE ALSO 120.15.

120.3.5 Records of the Fifth Section, G-5 (Training)

Textual Records: Correspondence, reports, and other records of the assistant chief of staff (G-5), 1917-19. Correspondence and other records of the chief athletic officer, 1917-19. Correspondence of the Army Educational Commission, 1918-19. Records of Headquarters Army Schools, Army General Staff College, Army School of the Line, Army Candidates School, Army Center of Artillery Studies, Army Engineer School, Army Gas School, Army Infantry Specialists School, Army Intelligence School, Army Machine Gun School, Army Sanitary School, and Army Signal School, all at Langres, 1917-19. Records of AEF University (Beaune), 1918-19. Records of Bandmasters and Musicians School (Chaumont), 1917-19. Records of Infantry Candidates School (La Valbonne), 1917-19. Records of I Corps School (Gondrecourt), II Corps School (Chatillon-sur-Seine), and III Corps School (Clamecy), 1917-19.

Maps (260 items): Maps showing locations of training areas and facilities, 1918-19 (99 items). Instructional maps, 1917-18 (159 items). Target range maps, Saumur Artillery School, Fontevrault, 1918 (2 items). SEE ALSO 120.15.

Photographic Prints (864 images): Air Service facilities in France, 1917-19 (AS). SEE ALSO 120.16.

120.3.6 Records of the Historical Section

Textual Records: General correspondence, 1918-19. Correspondence relating to war diaries, American Indians serving in the AEF, and AEF administration, 1917-19. Reports relating to AEF unit histories, 1917-19. Reports of military observers with the French Army, 1915-17. Inspector General's report of an investigation of the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA), 1917-19. Report on the history of the Postal Express Service, 1917-19.

1917-26 (bulk 1917-19)
1,002 lin. ft.

120.4.1 Records of the adjutant general

Textual Records: General and special orders, general court- martial orders, and other issuances, 1917-20. Reference library, 1917-19. Cablegrams sent and received by the Cable Division, 1917-19 (171 ft.). Records of the Miscellaneous Division, including station lists and troop movements files of the Troop Movement Section, 1917-19 and correspondence of the Army Field Clerk Section, 1917-19. Correspondence of the Motor Dispatch Service, 1918-19. Correspondence and efficiency reports of the Officers' Division, 1917-19. Records of the Permit Division, 1917-19. Correspondence, case files, and other records of the Personnel Division, 1917-19. Records of the Postal Express Service, 1918-19. Records of the Statistical Division, including general correspondence, 1917-19 records of the Officers' Roster Section, Station List Section, and Strength Return Section, 1917- 19 name files maintained by the Casualty Information and Check Section of dead and wounded and of men reported missing in action or prisoners of war, 1918 (283 ft.) correspondence and lists of the Central Records Office relating to American prisoners of war in Germany, and of German and Austro-Hungarian prisoners held by the AEF, 1918-19.

Microfilm Publications: M930.

Maps (765 items): Activities, 1917-19, of American divisions and German troops on the Western Front, in atlases, n.d. (565 items). Related materials, including a general map index, lists, and a study of German military maps, 1917-26 (200 items). SEE ALSO 120.15.

Aerial Photographs (300 items): American aerial photographs and index maps relating to the Western Front, 1918-19, and an aerial photograph index list, 1925. SEE ALSO 120.15.

120.4.2 Records of the inspector general

Textual Records: General correspondence, 1917-19. Inspection reports, 1917-19. Correspondence relating to an investigation of YMCA property sales in France, 1917-19.

Maps (170 items): General maps and French commercially published maps of Europe, 1917-23, with related material. SEE ALSO 120.15.

120.4.3 Records of the judge advocate general

Textual Records: General correspondence, 1917-19. General court- martial orders, 6th-78th Infantry Divisions, 1917-19.

120.4.4 Records of the chief chaplain

Textual Records: Correspondence, 1917-19.

120.4.5 Records of the headquarters commandant

Textual Records: General correspondence, 1917-19. Issuances, 1917-19. Correspondence, issuances, and other records of Companies A-D, Headquarters Battalion, 1917-19 Casual Companies 1 and 2, 1918-19 Provisional Infantry Company, 1918-19 and other headquarters elements, 1917-19.

Architectural and Engineering Plans (153 items): Blueprints of AEF storage buildings in France, 1917-18 (147 items). Portable aerial ropeway system for use in trenches, 1917-18 (6 items). SEE ALSO 120.15.

543 lin. ft.

120.5.1 Records of the chief of the Air Service

Textual Records: General correspondence, 1917-19 (110 ft.). "History of the U.S. Army Air Service," compiled by Col. Edgar S. Gorrell, 1917-19 (286 vols.), with indexes. Card files of casualties, 1917-19. Special reports, histories, and other records relating to Air Service offices, installations, and units, 1918-19 (114 ft.). Records of the 1st Air Depot (Columbey- les-Belles), Air Service Production Center No. 2 (Romorantin), Spare Parts Subdivision (Nanterre), Treves Airdrome, and 1st-9th Casual Companies, 1918-19. Records of the 2d, 3d, and 7th Aviation Instruction Centers and 1st-4th Mechanics Regiments, 1917-19. Records of the 1st-3d Air Parks, 1917-18. Records relating to balloon operations, including correspondence of Balloon Wing Companies D-F, 1918-19.

Microfilm Publications: M990.

Maps (246 items): Location maps for Allied and enemy air installations and targets, 1918 (194 items). Weekly enemy works and activity maps of the Western Front, 1918 (52 items). SEE ALSO 120.15.

Aerial Photographs (324 items): American and a few German aerial photographs relating to the Western Front, some with interpretations, 1918 (170 items) and related American and British aerial photography interpretive materials, 1918 (154 items).

Photographic Prints (137 images): Work of the Camouflage, Bridging, and Mining Section of the Army Engineer School, in albums, ca. 1918 (ESC). SEE ALSO 120.16.

120.5.2 Records of the chief of artillery

Textual Records: General correspondence, telegrams, issuances, and miscellaneous records of the Office of the Chief of Artillery, 1917-19. Records of the Field Artillery Section, 1918- 19, including records of Field Artillery Training Camps (Coetquidan Souge Camp Hunt, Le Courneau), Field Artillery Replacement Regiment (Camp Hunt, Le Courneau), and Field Artillery Motor Training Center (Le Blanc), 1918. Records of the Heavy Artillery Section, 1917-19, including records of the Heavy Artillery School (Angers), 1917-19 Tractor Artillery School (Gien), 1918 Organization and Training Centers 1-5 (Libourne, Limoges, Clermont-Ferrand, Angers, Angouleme), 1918-19 and the Montmorillon firing range, 1918. Records of the Materiel Section, 1917-19.

120.5.3 Records of the Railway Artillery Reserve

Textual Records: General correspondence, 1918-19. Correspondence and other records of the 30th Artillery Brigade, 1917-18. Issuances, 1918-19. History (July 1917-Dec. 1918) of the Railway Artillery Reserve, December 1918.

Maps (2 items): Construction plans, Railway Artillery Reserve camp at Haussimond, 1917-18. SEE ALSO 120.15.

120.5.4 Records of the Anti-Aircraft Service

Textual Records: General correspondence, 1917-18. Records of the Anti-Aircraft School (Arnouville), 1918 the 1st-9th Anti- Aircraft Sectors, 1917-19 and the 1st-6th Anti-Aircraft Battalions, 1918.

1915-19 (bulk 1918-19)
56 lin. ft.

History: Located at Ligny-en-Barrois, October 25-December 3, 1918, and subsequently at Trier (Treves). Superseded by Third Army pursuant to telegraphic instruction, assistant chief of staff (G-3), to Advance GHQ, June 1, 1919.

Textual Records: General correspondence, 1918-19. Issuances, 1918-19. File containing general information on the Rhine Valley, 1918-19. Correspondence of the Secret Service Division (G-2-B), 1918-19. Correspondence and other records of the Operations Section (G-3), 1919. Records of the civil affairs officer, 1918- 19.

Maps (61 items): Situation maps, 1918-19 (30 items). French maps of France and Germany, 1915-16 (31 items). SEE ALSO 120.15.

1916-21 (bulk 1917-19)
3,153 lin. ft.

History: Logistical functions vested in Line of Communication (LOC), established as a component of the administrative and technical staff, GHQ, by General Order 8, Headquarters AEF, July 5, 1917. LOC and certain elements of the technical staff separated from GHQ by reorganization pursuant to General Order 31, Headquarters AEF, February 16, 1918, and designated collectively as Service of the Rear (SOR), with headquarters at Tours. SOR redesignated Services of Supply (SOS), March 13, 1918, by corrected General Order 31, Headquarters AEF, February 16, 1918. SOS abolished by General Order 88, Headquarters AEF, August 22, 1919, with functions and personnel absorbed, effective September 1, 1919, by newly created American Forces in France, successor to AEF. SEE 120.10.

120.7.1 Records of the Line of Communication

Textual Records: Cablegrams, 1917-18. Issuances, 1917-18.

120.7.2 Records of the Service of the Rear

Textual Records: Issuances, 1918.

120.7.3 Records of the commanding general

Textual Records: General correspondence, 1917-19 (120 ft.). Confidential correspondence, 1917-19, including some for Headquarters, LOC and SOR. Cablegrams, 1918-19. Issuances, 1918- 19. SOS historical file, 1917-19 (91 ft.). Station lists for SOS units, 1918-19.

120.7.4 Records of the general staff

Textual Records: Records of G-1, 1918-19, including general correspondence weekly reports of equipment shipped overseas records of SOS Casual Companies 1-6912 records of the Entertainment Bureau, Entertainment Officer, and Provisional Entertainment Detachment and histories of the Bureau of Prisoners of War, Prisoner of War Division, and Prisoner of War Labor Companies 2-272, 1918-19. Records of G-2, 1918-19, including general, administrative, and personnel correspondence correspondence of the administration officer, G-2 (Paris) and correspondence of the intelligence officer (Dijon), 1918-19. General correspondence, G-4, 1918-19.

120.7.5 Records of the administrative staff

Textual Records: Correspondence of the athletic officer and Recruiting Division, 1919. General correspondence of the inspector general and judge advocate general, 1918-19. Records of the headquarters commandant (Tours), 1918-19, including general correspondence issuances and correspondence and other records of various headquarters offices, detachments, and staff officers.

Maps (112 items): Communication lines and locations of storage and support facilities in Europe, 1918-19. SEE ALSO 120.15.

120.7.6 Records of the chief ordnance officer (technical staff)

Textual Records: General and administrative correspondence of the chief ordnance officer (Chaumont), 1917-18, including correspondence of the Personnel Division. General and administrative correspondence, telegrams, cablegrams, and issuances of the chief ordnance officer (Tours), 1918-19. Records of the Ammunition Supply Board, 1918-19. Records of Headquarters U.S. Ordnance Detachment, German Armistice Material Section, 1918-19. Correspondence, reports, and other records of the Administrative Division, 1918-19, including the Statistical Section of the Inter-Allied Munitions Council. Records of the chief purchasing officer, 1917-19, including correspondence of the Inspection Division, 1918-19, and the Purchasing Division, 1917-19. Records of the Construction and Maintenance Division, 1917-19. Records of the Engineering Division, consisting of correspondence of its Administrative, Aircraft Armament, Artillery Ammunition, Equipment, Field Artillery, Heavy Artillery, Machine Gun and Small Arms, Motor Equipment, Planning, Proving Ground and Laboratory, and Trench Warfare Sections, 1917- 19. Correspondence of the Personnel Division, 1918-19. Correspondence of the Supply Division and its Ammunition and Depot Sections, 1917-19. Records of the 1st-6th Provisional Ordnance Battalions, 1st-8th Heavy Mobile Ordnance Repair Shops, and 1st-601st Mobile Ordnance Repair Shops, 1917-19.

Maps (63 items): Construction plan, Advanced Ordnance Depot 4 (Jonchery-Villers-le-Sec), 1918 (1 item). Blueprints, drawings, and maps of the Administrative Division, 1917-19 (62 items, in Washington Area). SEE ALSO 120.15.

120.7.7 Records of the chief surgeon (technical staff)

Textual Records: Correspondence (150 ft.), cablegrams, issuances, and reports of the Office of the Chief Surgeon, 1917-19. Correspondence and other records of the Finance and Accounting Division and Personnel Division, 1917-19. Daily reports of casualties, compiled monthly reports of diseases, and other records of the Hospitalization Division, 1917-19. Sanitary reports, consolidated reports of sick and wounded, venereal disease reports, and other records of the Sanitation and Inspection Division, including records of the Division of Laboratories and Infectious Diseases (Dijon), 1917-19. Correspondence of the Veterinary Division, 1917-19. Records of hospitals and hospital units, including veterinary hospitals hospitals operated by the American Red Cross, including a hospital in Padua, Italy base, camp, and evacuation hospitals (259 ft.) and hospital trains, 1917-19. Records of AEF infantry division medical officers, offices, and units, 1917-19 (265 ft.). Records of brigade, regimental, and battalion infirmaries, 1917- 19. Historical records of evacuation ambulance, motor ambulance, and nondivisional field hospital companies, 1917-19.

Maps (71 items): Hospital, camp, and depot sites in England, 1917-18 (63 items). Printed outline maps of France, showing location of fixed medical units and hospitals, 1918 (8 items). SEE ALSO 120.15.

Architectural and Engineering Plans (1,186 items): Blueprints and drawings of hospitals, camp buildings, depots, and other AEF facilities in England, 1917-19 (290 items). Hospitalization Division blueprints and drawings of Medical Department facilities in France, 1917-19 (896 items, in Washington Area). SEE ALSO 120.15. 120.7.8 Records of other technical staff officers

Textual Records: Records of the Army Service Corps, 1918-19, including correspondence and issuances of the Director's Office records of the Labor Bureau and records of administrative labor companies, cement mill companies, censor and press companies, cook companies, guard and provisional guard companies, and prisoner of war escort companies. Records of the chief engineer, including an historical report on engineer activities in the AEF (78 ft.), 1917-19. Records of the Finance Bureau, including general correspondence, issuances, reports, periodic statements of disbursements and expenditures, and correspondence of the Board of Contracts and Adjustments, 1918-19. Correspondence, telegrams, cablegrams, reports, and miscellaneous records of the general purchasing agent and field purchasing agents for Great Britain, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland, 1918-19. Correspondence and other records of the Leave Bureau, 1918-19. Records of the Motor Transport Corps, including unit records of administrative and motorcycle companies, 1917-19 motor overhaul, motor reception, and motor transport service parks, 1918-19 and service park units, 1917-21. General correspondence, 1917-19 (126 ft.), and other records of the chief quartermaster, 1916-21 and records of the Graves Registration Service, Remount Division and depots, Salvage Service, and Supply Division, 1918-19. Records of the Renting, Requisition, and Claims Service, 1918-20. Records of the chief signal officer, including general correspondence, 1917- 19 (156 ft.) an historical file, 1917-19 records of the Pigeon Service, 1918-19 records of the Division of Research and Inspection, 1917-19, and Telephone and Telegraph Division, 1918- 19 and records of signal depot battalions, 1917-19, and telegraph battalions, 1916-21. Records of the Transportation Corps, including general correspondence of the Director General of Transportation and of the General Manager of the Transportation Corps records of the U.S. Army Ambulance Service with the French Army and records (205 ft.) of grand divisions, railway engineer regiments, transportation corps companies, and stevedore regiments, 1917-19. Records of the War Risk Insurance Section, 1918-19.

Maps (219 items): Blueprint and printed construction plans, and base, road, and training area maps of the chief engineer, 1917-18 (11 items). Combat railway line and other maps produced by the Division of Military Engineering and Engineering Supplies, Division of Construction and Forestry, Division of Light Railways and Roads, and 16th, 17th, and 21st Engineer Regiments, 1917-19 (52 items). Geologic and water-supply maps produced by the Geologic Section, Assistant Chief Engineer (Chaumont), 1918 (102 items). Billeting map, by the chief billeting officer, 1918 (1 item). Truck route map produced by the Motor Transport Corps, 1918 (1 item). Transportation Corps maps of lines of communication, rail and dock construction, and locomotive and water facilities, 1917-19 (46 items). Communications networks maps produced by the chief signal officer, 1918-19 (3 items) and blueprints and drawings of the Telephone and Telegraph Division, 1918-19 (3 items). SEE ALSO 120.15.

1,121 lin. ft.

120.8.1 Records of Base Sections 1-8

History: Base Sections, centered on coastal ports, were established to facilitate movement of troops and supplies. Base Sections 1-7 were responsible for deliveries to American forces in France Base Section 8, to American troops in Italy and Base Section 9, to American occupation forces in Germany. There are no separately maintained records of Base Section 9 in the National Archives.

Le Havre designated as headquarters for Base Section 3, including SOS elements in England, August 13, 1917. Separate headquarters established in London, October 2, 1917. Base Section 3 divided, November 27, 1917, with Le Havre designated headquarters of Base Section 4, and a new Base Section 3 (London) established.

Base Section Established Transferred (To) Abolished (Successor)
1 08/13/17 09/01/19 (AFIF) 10/20/19
2 08/13/17 09/01/19 (AFIF) 09/30/19 (HQ AFIF)
3 08/13/17 11/27/17 (Base Section 4, SOS)
3 11/27/17 06/15/19 (HQ SOS)
4 11/27/17 04/16/19 (Intermed. Section, SOS)
5 11/27/17 09/01/19 (AFIF) 01/04/20
6 06/28/18 6/15/19 (Intermed. Section, SOS)
7 06/28/18 4/25/19 (Base Section 2, SOS)
8 10/22/18 05/20/19 (HQ SOS)
9 04/08/19 08/15/19 (AFIG)
Base Section Headquarters (Established) Base Ports (Opened)
1 Saint-Nazaire (06/24/17)
Camp Montoir (07/19/19)
Les Sables d'Olonne (08/31/17)
Nantes (07/11/17)
2 Bordeaux (09/08/17)
Saint-Sulpice (07/04/19)
Bordeaux (08/30/17)
3 Le Havre (08/13/17) Rouen (Sub-Base) (05/25/17)
Le Havre (08/02/17)
3 London (10/02/17) None
4 Le Havre (11/27/17) Rouen (Sub-Base) (05/25/17)
Le Havre (08/02/17)
Calais (Sub-Base)(06/28/18)
5 Brest (11/10/17) Brest (11/10/17)
Cherbourg (Port) (05/25/18)
Granville (Coal Port)
6 Marseille (05/30/18) Marseille (05/30/18)
Toulon (Port) (08/25/18)
7 La Pallice (07/09/18)
La Rochelle (07/18/18)
La Pallice (07/09/18)
Rochefort (Port) (01/26/18)
Marans (Port) (08/13/18)
8 Padua (10/22/18) Genoa (Port) (06/14/18)
9 Antwerp (04/08/19) Rotterdam (Sub-Base)
Antwerp (03/22/19)

Textual Records: General correspondence, issuances, and historical files of Headquarters Base Section 1, 1917-19 records of section staff officers, 1917-19 and records of section installations at Angers, Camp Coetquidan, Camp de Meucon, Montoir, Nantes, Saint Nazaire, Saumur, Savenay, and Vannes, 1918-19. General correspondence, issuances, and historical files of Headquarters Base Section 2, 1917-19 records of section staff officers, 1917-18 and records of section installations at Camp Ancona, Bassens, Bayonne, Beau Desert, Biarritz, Bordeaux, Coutras, Camp de Souge, Limoges, Pau, Pauillac, Perigueux, and Saint Sulpice, 1918-19. General correspondence, issuances, and historical files of Headquarters Base Section 3, 1917-19 records of section staff officers, 1917-19 records of the U.S. Army Liquidation Mission in England, 1919-20 and records of section installations at Boscombe Down, Sheffield, Slough, and Witney, England, 1918-19. General correspondence, correspondence of the Section Commander, issuances, and historical files, including a section history, of Headquarters Base Section 4, 1917-19 records of section staff officers, 1918-19 and records of section installations at Calais, Le Havre, and Rouen, 1917-19. General correspondence, issuances, and historical files of Headquarters Base Section 5, 1917-19 records of staff officers, 1918-19 and records of section installations at Fort Bouguen, Brest, Cherbourg, Fort Federes, Camp Pontaezen, Camp President Lincoln, Rennes, and Saint Servan, 1918-19. General correspondence, issuances, and historical files of Headquarters Base Section 6, 1918-19 records of section staff officers, 1918-19 and records of section installations at Cannes, Camp d'Ail, Lamalon, Marseille, Miramas, Saint Raphael, and Camp Victor Hugo, 1918-19. General correspondence, telegrams, issuances, and historical files of Headquarters Base Section 7, 1918-19 and records of Headquarters U.S. Troops at La Rochelle-La Pallice and Headquarters U.S. Troops at Rochefort, 1918-19. General correspondence, telegrams, and historical files of Headquarters Base Section 8, 1917-19 and records of the U.S. Ambulance Service with the Italian Army, 1918-19.

Maps (13 items): Base Section 1 construction area map, 1918 (1 item). Base Section 2 dock plans, 1918 (6 items), and communication network, 1918 (1 item). Base Section 5 construction plans, 1918 (5 items). SEE ALSO 120.15.

120.8.2 Records of the Intermediate Section

History: Established August 13, 1917, with headquarters, effective September 17, 1917, at Nevers. Served as a transfer point for supplies and services between the various base sections and the Advance Section. Placed under AFIF, September 1, 1919, and discontinued September 25, 1919.

Textual Records: Headquarters general correspondence, 1917-19. Issuances, 1917-19. Historical files, 1917-19. Correspondence, reports, and other records of section staff officers, 1918-19. Records of Intermediate Section installations at Allerey, Blois, Bourges, Chateau du Loir, Chateauroux, Clermont-Ferrand, Cosne, Cour Cheverny, Gievres, Issoudon, La Courtine, La Guerche, La Valbonne, Lyon, Mars-sur-Allier, Mesvres, Montierchaume, Nevers, Noyers, Pacy-sur-Armancon, Tours, Verneuil, Vichy, and Vouvray, 1918-19. Records of the American Embarkation Center, Le Mans, 1918-19. Records of the First Replacement Depot, Saint Aignan, 1917-19.

120.8.3 Records of the Advance Section

History: Established at Nevers, July 4, 1917. Responsible for delivering supplies from Intermediate Section and the various base sections to combat forces immediately behind the front lines. Headquarters transferred successively to Is-sur-Tille, September 17, 1917 Neufchateau, November 1, 1917 Langres, January 20, 1918 Nogent-en-Bassigny, June 15, 1918 Neufchateau, October 23, 1918 and Is-sur-Tille, June 12, 1919. Transferred to AFIF upon discontinuation of SOS, September 1, 1919. Absorbed by AFIF, October 8, 1919.

Textual Records: Headquarters general correspondence, 1917-19. Issuances, 1917-19. Correspondence and other records of section staff officers, 1917-19. Historical file, 1917-19. Records of Advance Section installations at Bar-le-Duc, Bazoilles, Beaune, Besancon, Briey, Chaumont, Commercy, Dijon, Gondrecourt, Is-sur- Tille, Joinville, Jonchery, Langres, Le Valdahon, Lieusaint, Liffol-le-Grand, Luxembourg, Nancy, Neufchateau, Rimaucourt, Saint Dizier, Souilly, Toul, and Vittel, 1917-19.

Maps (1 item): Construction progress chart, Advance Section engineer, 1918. SEE ALSO 120.15.

120.8.4 Records of the District of Paris

History: American forces in the Paris area formally designated for purposes of discipline and general administration as U.S. Troops in Paris, November 3, 1917. Command vested initially in assistant provost marshal. Made separate command under LOC, December 3, 1917. Superseded by District of Paris, SOS, May 6, 1918. Geographically within, but independent of, Intermediate Section. Transferred to AFIF, September 1, 1919. Discontinued, October 7, 1919.

Textual Records: Correspondence of Headquarters U.S. Troops in Paris, 1917-18 and of the Assistant Provost Marshal, U.S. Troops in Paris, 1917-18. Correspondence of Headquarters District of Paris, 1918-19. District issuances, 1918-19. Correspondence and other records of district staff officers and headquarters units, 1918-19. Records of district installations at Clichy, Clignancourt Barracks, Corbeil-Essonnes, La Roquette, and Neuilly, 1918-19.

1917-22 (bulk 1917-19)
3,983 lin. ft.

History: AEF combat forces organized into 3 armies, 9 army corps, 43 divisions, and various tactical units.

120.9.1 Records of the First-Third Armies

History: First Army organized, August 10, 1918, implementing General Order 12, Headquarters AEF, July 24, 1918 discontinued, effective with formation of embarkation detachments at Marseille, April 30, 1919, pursuant to General Order 68, Headquarters AEF, April 19, 1919. Second Army headquarters established September 20, 1918 organization announced by GHQ AEF, October 10, 1918 dissolved, April 15, 1919, with headquarters embarkation at Marseille, April 22, 1919. Third Army established pursuant to General Order 198, Headquarters AEF, November 7, 1918, with formal organization effective November 15, 1918 discontinued, July 2, 1919, with headquarters, personnel, and component units redesignated American Forces in Germany (SEE 120.11), July 3, 1919.

Textual Records: Records of the First Army, including headquarters general correspondence, issuances, and historical files, 1918-19 records of general staff elements G-1 through G- 5, 1918-19 correspondence and other records of the inspector general and judge advocate, 1918-19 records of the chief of the Air Service, including records of the 1st-3d Pursuit Groups and the Observation Group, 1918-19 records of the chief of artillery, including records of First Army Artillery and First Army Artillery Park, 1918-19 and records of the chief engineer, chief ordnance officer, provost marshal, chief quartermaster, and chief surgeon, 1917-19. Records of the Second Army, including headquarters general correspondence, issuances, and historical files, 1918-19 records of miscellaneous headquarters units, 1918-19 correspondence of the adjutant general and inspector general, 1918-19 records of the 4th and 5th Pursuit Groups (Air Service) and Second Army Observation Group, 1918-19 correspondence of the chief of artillery, 1918-19, including the Anti-Aircraft Service and the Second Army Artillery Park, 1918 correspondence and other records of the chief surgeon, 1917-19 and correspondence of the chief of the chemical warfare service, chief of engineers, chief ordnance officer, provost marshal, and chief signal officer, 1918-19. Records of the Third Army, including headquarters general correspondence, issuances, and historical files, 1918-19 records of miscellaneous headquarters units, 1918-19 correspondence of the personnel adjutant, 1918- 19 investigation reports, intelligence summaries, and an office history of the inspector general, 1918-19 records of the civil affairs officer, 1918-19 correspondence of the chief engineer, provost marshal, chief signal officer, and chief surgeon, 1918- 19 and records of miscellaneous units and organizations at Fortress Asterstein, 1918-20, and at Coblenz, Neuwied, and Trier, Germany, 1919.

Maps (1,650 items): First Army maps, including general maps, 1917-18 (90 items) G-1 circulation, road, billeting, and position maps, 1918 (51 items) G-2 and G-2-C enemy order of battle, intelligence summary, information, frontline, and related maps, 1918 (398 items) G-3 operations, frontline, and situation maps, 1918 (259 items) artillery maps, 1918 (95 items) and miscellaneous maps, 1918, of the inspector general (1 item), chief engineer (49 items), chief gas officer (13 items), and chief signal officer (3 items). Second Army maps, including map relating to the march into Germany, 1918 (1 item) G-1 circulation, area, and billeting maps, 1918 (4 items) G-2 and G- 2-C enemy order of battle, information, and related maps, 1918-19 (88 items) G-3 situation, line, and area maps, 1918-19 (145 items) railway and highway maps produced by the chief engineer, 1918 (4 items) and miscellaneous informational maps, 1918-19 (25 items). Third Army maps, including G-2 and G-2-C enemy order of battle, location, and related maps and materials, 1918-19 (191 items) G-3 operations and situation maps, 1918-19 (180 maps) an Air Service situation map, 1919 (1 item) engineer road and railroad maps and town plans, 1918-19 (12 items) Signal Service communications maps, 1919 (15 items) and miscellaneous maps, 1918-19 (25 items). SEE ALSO 120.15.

120.9.2 Records of I-IX Corps

History: I-IX Corps were distributed among the three AEF field armies, and were reassigned as operational requirements dictated. They were organized and discontinued as noted below:

Corps Organized Discontinued
I 1/15/18 3/25/19
II 3/19/18 2/1/19
III 3/30/18 7/1/19 (III Corps elements to AFIG)
IV 6/10/18 5/11/19
V 7/7/18 3/5/19
VI 7/23/18 4/11/19
VII 8/6/18 5/11/19 (VII Corps elements to Third Army)
VIII 11/18/18 4/20/19
IX 11/16/18 5/5/19

Textual Records: Records of I Corps, 1918-19, including headquarters general correspondence, issuances, and historical files records of the adjutant general and judge advocate and records of the engineer, motor transport officer, ordnance officer, signal officer, and surgeon. Records of II Corps, 1918- 19, including headquarters general correspondence, issuances, and historical files records of the adjutant general and records of the surgeon and corps artillery park. Records of III Corps, 1918- 19, including headquarters general correspondence, issuances, and historical files G-1 and G-2 Topographical Section correspondence records of the adjutant general, personnel adjutant, and judge advocate and records of the engineer, chief gas officer, signal officer, surgeon, and corps artillery park. Records of IV Corps, 1918-19, including headquarters general correspondence, issuances, and historical files correspondence and telegrams of G-1 through G-4 records of the adjutant general, personnel adjutant, statistical section, and judge advocate and records of the Military Police Company, miscellaneous technical staff elements, and the corps artillery park. Records of V Corps, 1918-19, including headquarters general correspondence, issuances, and historical files correspondence and other records of G-1 through G-3, correspondence of the personnel adjutant, correspondence of the inspector, and reports of division inspectors and records of the engineer, other miscellaneous technical staff elements, and the corps artillery park. Records of VI Corps, 1918-19, including headquarters general correspondence, issuances, and historical files correspondence of the Statistical Section and records of miscellaneous technical staff elements. Records of VII Corps, 1918-19, including headquarters general correspondence, issuances, and historical files G-1 correspondence correspondence and other records of the personnel adjutant, inspector, judge advocate, and message center and records of the Motor Transport Office, Military Police Company, provost marshal, and ordnance officer. Records of VIII Corps, 1918-19, including headquarters general correspondence, issuances, and historical files and records of the engineer, motor transport officer, quartermaster, and corps artillery park. Records of IX Corps, 1918-19, including headquarters general correspondence, issuances, and historical files records of G-1 and records of the quartermaster and signal officer.

Maps (728 items): I Corps maps, 1918, including G-1 circulation maps (9 items) G-2 frontline, enemy order of battle, and information maps (60 items) G-2-C base and trench maps and town plans (20 items) G-3 operations and situation maps (20 items) and artillery (27 items), air service (2 items), engineer (4 items), and signal (6 items) maps. II Corps maps, 1918, produced by G-2 (7 items) G-3 (17 items) and the chief engineer (2 items). III Corps maps, including G-1 circulation and billeting maps, 1918-19 (11 items) G-2 enemy order of battle and information maps, 1918 (35 items) miscellaneous G-2-C printed maps, 1918-19 (17 items) G-3 operations and situation maps, 1918-19 (68 items) and maps illustrating communications networks, 1918-19 (13 items), and enemy artillery activity, 1918 (15 items). IV Corps maps, including G-2 enemy order of battle and information maps, 1918 (63 items), and a survey of German defenses, 1919 (36 items) G-2-C printed base, town, and miscellaneous maps, 1918-19 (19 items) G-3 operations and situation maps, 1918 (23 items) artillery maps, 1918 (5 items) and maps of communications networks, 1918-19 (2 items). V Corps maps, 1918, including G-1 circulation and administration maps (4 items) G-2 enemy order of battle, information, and miscellaneous maps (51 items) G-2-C printed maps (16 items) G-3 operations maps (16 items) artillery operations maps (19 items) and an engineer billeting map (1 item). VI corps maps, including maps produced by G-2, 1918 (3 items), and G-3, 1918-19 (7 items) and enemy artillery situation maps, 1918 (3 items). VII Corps maps, 1918-19, including maps produced by G-2 and G-2-C (9 items), G-3 situation maps (94 items) and position and area maps (7 items) an engineer railroad map (1 item) and communications network maps (6 items). VIII Corps maps, 1918-19, produced by G-1 (2 items), G-2 (6 items), and G-3 (1 item). IX Corps G-2 operations map, 1918 (1 item). SEE ALSO 120.15.

120.9.3 Records of combat divisions

History: Forty-three numbered divisions saw service with the AEF in Europe, with 1st-8th Divisions composed of Regular Army units, 26th-42d composed of state National Guard units, and 76th-93d composed of National Army units. The latter constituted units organized by the Federal Government for the war. Additional divisions (9th-20th and 94th-102d) were raised for the AEF but did not see overseas service.

Textual Records: For each AEF division, headquarters general correspondence, issuances, and historical files records of general, administrative, and technical staff elements and records of miscellaneous units, 1917-19.

Microfilm Publications: M819.

Maps (1,389 items): Report, situation, and miscellaneous maps, 1918-19, of the following divisions: 1st (138 items), 2d (280 items), 3d (73 items), 4th (28 items), 5th (19 items), 6th (7 items), 7th (24 items), 26th (88 items), 27th (24 items), 28th (39 items), 29th (11 items), 30th (9 items), 31st (1 item), 32d (32 items), 33d (141 items), 35th (14 items), 36th (32 items), 37th (22 items), 41st (5 items), 42d (113 items), 77th (112 items), 78th (35 items), 79th (11 items), 80th (25 items), 81st (15 items), 82d (20 items), 83d (3 items), 88th (5 items), 89th (16 items), 90th (19 items), 91st (16 items), and 92d (12 items). SEE ALSO 120.15.

120.9.4 Records of other tactical units

Textual Records: Records of the 1st-321st Ammunition Trains, 1917-21 1st-317th Trench Mortar Artillery Batteries, 1917-19 1st-9th Trench Mortar Artillery Battalions, 1917-19 30th-64th Artillery Brigades, 1917-19 and 1st-172d Field Artillery Brigades, 1917-19. Records of the 1st Cavalry Brigade, 1917-19. Records of the lst Gas Regiment, 1918-22. Records of Headquarters and Military Police, 1st-322d Division Trains, 1917-19. Records of the 1st-319th Engineer Trains, 1917-19 and 464th-488th Engineer Pontoon Trains, 1918-19. Records of the 1st-192d Infantry Brigades, 1917-19 and 1st-816th Pioneer Infantry Regiments, 1917-19. Records of the 1st-366th Machine Gun Battalions, 1917-20. Records of the 1st and 2d GHQ Military Police Battalions, 1918-19 122d-134th Battalions, Military Police Corps, 1918-19 and 2d-308th Military Police Companies, 1918-19. Records of miscellaneous quartermaster units, 1918-19, including butchery companies, clothing and bath units, garden service companies and detachments, pack trains, refrigeration units, salvage units, and supply trains. Records of the 1st-622d Field Signal Battalions, 1917-22. Records of the Tank Corps, 1918-19.

Maps (10 items): Tank Corps operations, 1918. SEE ALSO 120.15.

79 lin. ft.

History: Established, effective September 1, 1919, by General Order 88, Headquarters AEF, August 22, 1918, as successor to AEF for all personnel, except those previously designated American Forces in Germany. Consisted of former SOS units. Abolished January 8, 1920.

Textual Records: AFIF headquarters general correspondence, telegrams, and embarkation orders, 1919-20. Headquarters cablegrams, memorandums, and other issuances, 1919. G-1 correspondence, 1919-20. Correspondence of the inspector general and the judge advocate, 1919-20 and of technical staff elements, including the chief signal officer, chief ordnance officer, and ordnance liaison officer, 1919-20, and chief surgeon, 1919. Correspondence of the Visitors' Bureau, Headquarters Commandant, Base Section 1, District of Paris Military Police Detachment, and Advance Section, 1919 and of Army Service Corps, and Base Section 5, 1919-20.

745 lin. ft.

History: Established July 3, 1919, replacing Third Army (SEE 120.9.1). Functioned as American Army of Occupation (AMAROC) until abolished January 1, 1923.

120.11.1 General records

Textual Records: General correspondence, 1919-23, with record cards and indexes. Cablegrams, 1919-23, and courier cablegrams, 1919-20, to the adjutant general. Telegrams, 1919-23. Historical files, 1919-23. Issuances, 1919-23.

Maps (5 items): Situation maps, 1919 (3 items). Sector and boundary maps, 1919 (2 items). SEE ALSO 120.15.

120.11.2 Records of the general staff

Textual Records: General correspondence, telegrams, and issuances of G-1, 1919-23. Records of G-2, including general correspondence, 1919-23 correspondence of the Secret Service Division, 1919-22 military intelligence studies, 1919-23 and records relating to The AMAROC News, 1919-23. G-3 historical files, 1919-23 and interallied defense plans, 1920-22.

120.11.3 Records of the administrative staff

Textual Records: Correspondence and other records of the adjutant general, inspector general, and judge advocate, 1919-23. General correspondence, reports, and other records of the officer in charge of civil affairs, 1919-23. Records of the American liaison officers with the British and French Armies of the Rhine, 1919- 23. Records of the Inter-Allied Rhineland High Commission, including reports of the American representative to the Secretary of State, 1920-23. Records of the Port of Antwerp Commander, 1919-22 and of the Office of the Commandant at Coblenz, 1918-23. Records of the Headquarters Detachment, 1st and 2d Brigades, and the Casual Depot, 1919-23.

120.11.4 Records of the technical staff

Textual Records: Correspondence and other records of the chief engineer, 1918-23. Correspondence and occupation cost reports of the finance officer, 1919-23, including minutes and other records of Allied committees and conferences on occupation costs, 1920- 22. Records of the chief ordnance officer, 1919-23. Records of the provost marshal, including general correspondence of the Division of Criminal Investigation, 1919-23 and registers of military personnel, 1920-22, and civilians, 1919-20, arrested at Coblenz and Andernach. Records of the quartermaster and chief signal officer, 1919-23. Records of the chief surgeon, including records of the military hospital at Coblenz, 1919-23. Records of miscellaneous units, including the Military Prison (Coblenz) and Disciplinary Barracks (Feste Alexander), 1919-22.

4 lin. ft.

History: Organized from AEF units in France in 1919 at the suggestion of U.S. Food Administrator Herbert Hoover. Operated mobile units that conducted delousing and sanitation activities to combat a typhus epidemic in Poland.

Textual Records: General correspondence, telegrams, and historical files, 1919-20. Issuances, 1919-20. Rosters and returns, 1919-21. Records of the chief surgeon, 1919-20. Records of the Wilno Detachment, 1920. Headquarters issuances, Post of Zegrze, 1920.


14 lin. ft.

History: Established as Murmansk Expedition, August 8, 1918, from American forces authorized by President Wilson, July 17, 1918, and selected by General Pershing, July 30, 1918. Participated in Allied operations to defend supply lines in the Archangel- Murmansk area from Communist forces. Redesignated American North Russia Expeditionary Forces, September 12, 1918, and AEF, North Russia, April 9, 1919. Discontinued upon withdrawal of last American military units, August 5, 1919.

Textual Records: Headquarters general correspondence, issuances, and historical file, 1918-19. Correspondence of the inspector general and judge advocate, 1918-19. Records of the chief surgeon, including records of medical units, 1918-19. Passenger lists, North Russia troopships, 1918-19. Company rosters of the 339th Infantry and 310th Engineers, and weekly rosters of officers, April-May 1919. Records of Headquarters, U.S. Troops at Archangel, 1918-19. Records of the chief of the American Military Mission to Russia, 1917-19.

Microfilm Publications: M924.

1917-28 (bulk 1917-25)
74 lin. ft.

120.14.1 Records of the Supreme War Council

History: Established at the Rapallo Conference, November 7, 1917, by representatives of Great Britain, France, and Italy U.S. participation began 10 days later. Prepared policy recommendations concerning conduct of the war.

Textual Records: Minutes, records of the American Section, and historical files, 1917-19.

Microfilm Publications: M923.

120.14.2 Records of the American Section of the Military Board of
Allied Supply (MBAS)

History: MBAS established at the suggestion of General Pershing and General Purchasing Agent Brig. Gen. Charles G. Dawes to ensure Allied logistic cooperation. Initial meeting, June 28, 1918. Prepared comparative studies concerning Allied and German logistic practices, 1919-22.

Textual Records: Minutes of MBAS and its editorial subcommittee, 1918-22. Correspondence, 1918-28, with registers. Miscellaneous administrative records, 1918-25. Studies and reports on transportation and supply problems, 1918-19. Records collected in studying German logistic practices, 1919-21. Preliminary and final drafts, 1924-25, of the MBA's final report, a comparative study of Allied logistic practices.

120.14.3 Records of the American Military Mission at British
General Headquarters

Textual Records: Correspondence of American officers attached to British Expeditionary Forces (BEF) headquarters, 1917-19. Reports of American casualties with the BEF, 1918-19.

120.14.4 Records of the American Military Mission at French
General Headquarters

Textual Records: Correspondence with AEF General Headquarters, 1917-19, and with French General Headquarters, 1918-19.

120.14.5 Records of the American Military Mission to Italy

Textual Records: Correspondence and reports, 1917-19.

120.14.6 Records of the American Section of the Permanent
International Armistice Commission (PIAC)

History: PIAC composed of American, British, French, Belgian, and German officers. Proposed measures for the execution of Armistice terms that concerned repatriating Allied civilians and war prisoners, protecting civilians and civil and military property in areas evacuated by the Germans, maintaining communications and transportation facilities, and delivering German war materials, locomotives, rolling stock, and trucks.

Textual Records: Daily PIAC minutes, minutes and other records of PIAC subcommittees, and Prisoner of War Subcommittee minutes and bulletins, 1918-19. Records of the American commissioner to the Inter-Allied Commission on the Repatriation of Prisoners of War, 1918-19. Final PIAC report, 1919. Correspondence, 1918-19, and telegrams, 1919, of the American section and representative. Correspondence of the Belgian, 1918-20, and British and French, 1918-19, sections. Correspondence of American troop detachments at prisoner-of-war camps, concerning Russian war prisoners and war prisoner repatriation, 1919. Records of the U.S. Military Mission to Berlin, including headquarters correspondence, Medical Department records, the final report of the Chief of Mission, and medical detachment inspection reports, 1919.

120.14.7 Records of the American Commission to Negotiate Peace

History: Organized by President Wilson, 1918, to represent the United States at the Paris Peace Conference.

Textual Records: Reports concerning European countries submitted to the commission by consuls and military attaches, 1919. Special commission orders, 1919. Daily reports from GHQ G-2-B to Gen. Tasker H. Bliss, correspondence and orders of the commission's headquarters battalion, and other reports, 1918-19.

Related Records: Records of the American Commission to Negotiate Peace, RG 256.

1848-1924 (bulk 1917-19)
15,168 items

Maps: Miscellaneous operations frontline area and boundary order of battle artillery and antiaircraft road, railroad, and bridge enemy information occupation and related maps, 1918-19 (2,858 items). Belgian maps, 1911-20 (478 items). British maps, 1909-19 (1,720 items). French maps, 1884-1924 (5,870 items). Italian maps, 1895-1919 (541 items). Austro-Hungarian Empire maps, 1894-1917 (134 items). German maps, 1848-1920 (3,324 items). Maps of Siberia, 1918-19 (27 items). Commercially published maps of Europe, 1917-23 (56 items). Organization and statistical charts relating to the AEF, 1917-22 (60 items). Related records, including maps, indexes, card files, lists, and studies, 1918-20 (100 items).

SEE Maps UNDER 120.2.1, 120.3.1-120.3.5, 120.4.1, 120.4.2, 120.5.1, 120.5.3, 120.6, 120.7.5-120.7.8, 120.8.1, 120.8.3, 120.9.1-120.9.4, and 120.11.1. SEE Architectural and Engineering Plans UNDER 120.4.5 and 120.7.7. SEE Aerial Photographs UNDER 120.3.2, 120.4.1, and 120.5.1.

Finding Aids: Franklin W. Burch, comp., Preliminary Inventory of the Cartographic Records of the American Expeditionary Forces, 1917-21, PI 165 (1966).

4,759 images

Photographic Prints (4,640 images): Recipients of Allied valor awards, 1917-19 (AC, 1,688 images). Training program of the 116th Engineers, in album, by Capt. H.B. Boise, 1918 (HB, 383 images). Quartermaster oil and gasoline storage facilities in France and Belgium, in album, 1918-19 (GO, 49 images). Areas of France and Belgium occupied by American troops, taken under supervision of Capt. T.J. Griffin, 1918-19 (G, 2,262 images). Effects of Allied bombing, 1915-18 (AB, 190 images). AEF Memorial Day ceremonies in France, 1920 (AEFC, 68 images).

Glass Negatives (42 images): Inter-Allied marksmanship competition, Belgium, 1919 (RPM).

Posters (77 images): Miscellaneous World War I recruiting, conservation, and propaganda posters, ca. 1915-19 (WP).

SEE Photographic Prints UNDER 120.3.5 and 120.5.1.

Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States. Compiled by Robert B. Matchette et al. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1995.
3 volumes, 2428 pages.

This Web version is updated from time to time to include records processed since 1995.

Battle of the River Plate, 13 December 1939

The battle of the River Plate is one of the most famous naval battles of the Second World War, despite only involving four ships. Part of its fame came because it took place in the &ldquophoney war&rdquo period and part because of the unjustifiably high reputation of the Admiral Graf Spee, the German pocket-battleship involved in the battle.

The Graf Spee had been designed while Germany was still publicly obeying the restrictions of the Treaty of Versailles. This limited her capital ships to a standard displacement of 10,000 tons, and required her to seek permission to use anything above an 11in gun. Work on the design of the Graf Spee and her two sister ships began in 1923. A large number of designers were considered, before in 1926 it was decided to build lightly armoured ships, armed with 28cm (11in) guns and with a speed of 26kts. Funding was approved in 1928, and the first member of the class was laid down soon afterwards.

The resulting ships were officially known as Panzerschiffe (armoured ships), despite being very poorly armoured - the side armour on the Graf Spee was only 3.1-2.4in thick. Their design speed was 26kts, but in trials all three ships would reach 28kts. Their six 11in guns were carried in two three-gun turrets, with another eight 5.9in guns in single turrets. She was powered by diesel engines. These gave her a much longer range than turbine powered ships, but at the cost of a decrease in reliability.

The new ships caused something of a panic in Britain and France, where their combat ability was over-rated. In Britain they were given the rather over dramatic name of &ldquopocket battleships&rdquo, although in fact they rather more resembled the British battlecruisers of World War One, a type of ship that had proved to be very vulnerable to German gunfire.

Their top speed of 28kts did make them fast enough to escape from most battleships that were in existence when they were being built. The two British interwar battleships, Nelson and Rodney were also too slow to catch them, while France and the United States were still relying on First World War vintage ships. The only British capital ships with the speed to catch them were the battlecruisers Renown, Repulse and Hood, each of which was better armoured and armed than the Graf Spee. However, by the time the war broke out France had built two Dunkerque class ships, each faster than the Graf Spee, while the British King George V class ships were approaching completion.

A bigger threat to the Graf Spee came from the numerous 8in cruisers of the Royal Navy. The British had an existing tactic for dealing with a pocket battleship using two 8in cruisers, which involved them attacking from different directions to confuse the enemy&rsquos fire control system. HMS Exeter had played the part of a battlecruiser in a pre-war exercise that had tested out this theory.

At the River Plate the Graf Spee would be faced by one 8in and two 6in cruisers. HMS Exeter had been launched in 1929, carried six 8in guns and was protected by a 4in armoured box. HMS Achilles and HMS Ajax had been launched in 1932 and 1934 respectively, carried eight 6in guns and were protected by a 3.5in armoured box. All three ships were capable of over 30kts. They would be outgunned, but not out-armoured.

The Admiral Graf Spee put to sea on 23 August 1939 under the command of Captain Langsdorff, and was safely in the Atlantic by the start of the war. On 26 September Hitler allowed the navy to begin commerce raiding, and the Graf Spee began a moderately successful cruise that would see her sink nine ships totalling just over 50,000 tons. The British and French responded with a massive deployment of ships &ndash during October seven hunting groups were active in the Atlantic, although the most dangerous allied ships were operating to the north of the Graf Spee.

After sinking five ships in the South Atlantic between 30 September and 22 October, Captain Langsdorff took the Graf Spee into the Indian Ocean, sinking the Africa Shell on 15 November before returning to the Atlantic. This move successfully convinced the British that the Graf Spee had left the Atlantic, and two of the Hunting Groups spend 28 November-2 December patrolling south of the Cape of Good Hope.

By the time the British were in place, the Graf Spee was already back in the South Atlantic. Her diesel engines were now beginning to cause concern, and on 24 November Captain Langsdorff informed his officers that the Graf Spee would need to return to Germany for an overhaul. Before returning home Langsdorff wanted to achieve some final successes. He sank two ships off the west coast of Africa on 2-3 December, and then turned west, heading towards South America and the estuary of the River Plate, where he expected to find a large number of merchant ships. On 7 December the Graf Spee sank her final victim, the British ship Streonshalh.

With the end of her cruise in sight, Langsdorff decided to ignore his orders not to engage with enemy warships. The logic behind these orders was that even a successful clash with an Allied cruiser might have inflicted damage on the Graf Spee that would have forced her home for repairs, but as she was about to return to Germany anyway, that consideration was no longer relevant. On the night of 12-13 December the Graf Spee took up a position off the River Plate, searching for a four-ship convoy, escorted by an auxiliary cruiser.

At the same time as the Graf Spee was heading to the River Plate, so was the British Hunting Group G under Commodore Harwood. From his latest information Harwood had calculated that the Graf Spee could reach Rio de Janeiro on 12 December, the River Plate on 13 December or the Falkland Islands on 14 December. He decided to take his three battle-worthy cruisers (Exeter, Ajax and Achilles) to the River Plate while his fourth cruisers, HMS Cumberland underwent a refit at the Falklands.

The Battle

On the morning of 13 December the British and German ships were sailing on converging courses. The Graf Spee was to the north, sailing south east, with the British cruisers to the south, sailing north east. At 5.52 am the Graf Spee&rsquos lookout spotted two masts on the horizon. The Graf Spee&rsquos lookout position was much higher than that on the British ships, so for some time the British were unaware that they were about to encounter the German ship.

At first Captain Langsdorff believed that he had found his convoy, and continued to sail in the same direction. At 6.00am the Exeterwas identified, but Achilles and Ajaxwere misidentified as destroyers. At this point the British had not yet sighted the Von Spee.

Captain Langsdorff decided to attack the British force, and increased his speed. His diesels produced a cloud of dark smoke, which was spotted from the British ships. At 6.14am Commodore Harwood detached the Exeter to investigate the smoke, which he still expected to be a merchant ship. This illusion was very quickly shattered &ndash at 6.16am the British finally realised that they had found their target.

All three British captains knew exactly what to do in this situation. By chance Harwood&rsquos three ships were in exactly the right positions to carry out his plans &ndash HMS Exeter was heading north west, and would be to the right of the Graf Spee, while Achilles and Ajax were cutting across her bows, and would soon be to her left. Harwood&rsquos plan was for his ships to close with the Graf Spee at full speed to bring the shorter range guns of the two 6in cruisers into action. His divided ships would also be able to correct each others shooting.

Langsdorff now had to decide whether he should concentrate his two main turrets on a single target, or split his fire. At 6.17am he opened fire on the Exeterwith all of his 11in guns, straddling her with his third salvo at 6.23am. Meanwhile, to the north east the Ajaxand Achilles opened fire at 6.20am.

The Exetersoon suffered heavy damage. The Graf Spee&rsquos eighth salvo knocked out B turret, while splinters hit the bridge, killing most of the officers and wounding Captain Bell. The ship was briefly out of control before the captain was able to take command from the rear of the ship.

The Ajaxand Achilles were now in a good position to launch a torpedo attack, and so Captain Langsdorff ordered a turn to the north to make the Graf Spee a harder target for torpedoes. At the same time another 11in salve hit the Exeter, causing fires all along the ship. Seeing this, the Graf Spee&rsquos 11in guns turned on the Ajax and fired a salvo that straddled her.

Meanwhile the Exeterhad come into a good position to launch her starboard torpedoes. A first salvo of three missed because of the Graf Spee&rsquos turn to the north, and so the Exeterbegan to turn to use her bow torpedo tubes. Seeing this, Langsdorff turned his 11in guns back onto the Exeter. At 6.39am an 11in shell hit her in the navigator&rsquos office, followed by another hit which knocked out A turret and a third hit which knocked out most of her electrical circuits. Only the rear Y turret was still firing, aimed manually by the Gunnery Officer, Lieutenant-Commander Richard Jennings, who was standing on the roof. Eventually floodwater would reach the power supply to Y turret, knocking it out of action. At that point Commodore Harwood ordered the Exeterto leave the actions (7.30am).

The Graf Spee now turned to the Ajaxand the Achilles. At 6.40am the Achilles was damaged by a near miss, which briefly knocked her off course. The two British cruisers then suffered from a series of misunderstandings which reduced the accuracy of their fire until they were sorted out at around 7.08am (most involved the Seafox aircraft from Ajax).

At 7.16am the Graf Spee turned to the south, apparently to finish off the Exeter. Commodore Harwood ordered Ajaxand Achilles to close with the Graf Spee to protect the badly wounded Exeter. The ploy worked, and the Graf Spee turned to the north west and opened fire on the Ajaxwith her 11in guns. She soon scored telling hits. At 7.25am the Ajaxsuffered a heavy hit, losing both of her aft turrets, and at 7.38 she lost her topmast. Commodore Harwood was very badly outclassed and at 7.40am he turned away to the east, intended to renew the fight after dark. He now only had twelve 6in guns, while the Graf Spee was apparently undamaged, and was firing with all of her main armament.

Captain Langsdorff now made the most crucial decision of the battle. He had been wounded twice, and even knocked out for a short period. His judgement would appear to have been somewhat impaired by this. The Graf Spee had been hit several times, but had only lost two of her secondary guns and suffered minor damage to her galley. The only potentially serious damage was a six foot wide hole in the bow, well above the waterline. Captain Langsdorff would later make much of this hole, claiming that it made his ship unfit for the North Atlantic.

None of this damage was relevant to the decision Langsdorff now made. Instead of turning back to finish off the badly mauled British squadron, he decided to continue on to the west, and seek safety in Montevideo. It is generally agreed that he could have turned on the Exeterand sunk her with little difficulty, and that the two British light cruisers would probably have come to her rescue, at great cost to themselves. However, having decided that the Graf Spee needed repairs before she would be fit to return to Germany, it is possible to understand Langsdorff&rsquos decision. He had already forced the Exeterout of the battle, and had badly damaged one of the remaining ships. To a certain extent they were no longer relevant. They would not have been able to prevent him leaving Montevideo if he had chose to fight his way out, but a luck shot or a torpedo hit in the last minutes of the fight could have caused critical damage. Langsdorff would almost certainly still have gone into port even if he had sunk all three British ships.

The battle now developed into a long stern chase. Ajaxand Achilles attempted to follow the Graf Spee at a safe different, to make sure she was indeed heading into port. This section of the battle was not without incident. At 10.10 the Achilles came dangerously close to the Graf Spee, and was nearly hit by an 11in salvo, while at 3.30pm the British sighted a strange ship that was briefly taken to be a German Hipper class cruiser. She was eventually recognised as a modern streamlined British merchant ship. The three ships exchanged salvoes on a number of further occasions, although the only effect was to hide the Graf Spee behind smoke for some time. Finally, at 11.17pm the Achilles was recalled when it was clear that the Graf Spee was about to enter Montevideo. The two British cruisers took up a position off the River Plate, and began a nervous watch over the estuary.


The scene of the action now moved from the open sea to the port of Montevideo. The most important figures over the next few days would be Sir Henry McCall, the British Naval Attaché to Uruguay, Argentine and Brazil, and the head of British Intelligence in the area, Captain Rex Miller, whose office overlooked the harbour at Montevideo. On 14 December they rowed around the German ship looking for damage. All they found was the hole in the bows and some superficial damage to the superstructure. They assumed that she must have suffered some serious hidden damage, perhaps to her fire-control system, or was very short on ammunition. Believing this, they spent the rest of the first day attempting to make sure that the Graf Spee was only allowed the 24 hours in port she was allowed under international law.

On the next day they were in contact with Commodore Harwood, and discovered that the Graf Spee was in fact still intact. They now had to change tack completely, and find ways to keep her in port. One method they used was to take advantage of the 24 hour rule. This stated that if a merchant ship from one belligerent nation left a neutral port, any hostile warship in that port would have to wait for 24 hours before leaving. A number of British merchant ships that were in Montevideo at the time were sent to sea at regular intervals. They also considered sabotaging the Graf Spee but dismissed the idea because of the impact it would have on neutral opinion.

Somewhat ironically Langsdorff was attempting the exact same thing. He convinced the Uruguayan authorities to allow him to stay for another 72 hours and would have liked longer to carry out the repairs he believed to be needed. The deadline for his departure would eventually be 8.00pm on 17 December.

While Miller and McCall were doing their best to keep the Graf Spee in port, British reinforcements were rushing towards the River Plate. Harwood&rsquos last ship, the Cumberland, arrived from the Falklands on 14 December. She carried eight 8in guns, making her 25% more powerful than the Exeter. This more than made up for the damaged guns on Ajax, and gave Commodore Harwood a slightly more squadron than he had had during the battle.

Cumberland, Ajaxand Achilles were the only ships that Harwood could expect to have by 17 December. The battlecruiser Renown and the aircraft carrier Ark Royal were on their way via Rio, but couldn&rsquot arrive before 19 December. Three more cruisers - Dorsetshire, Shropshire and Neptune were also on their way, as was the 3rd Destroyer Division, but none of these ships could arrive in time in the Graf Spee chose to fight her way out.

It is normally stated that the Graf Spee would have been able to overwhelm the British squadron outside the River Plate. This is not an entirely convincing argument. The Graf Spee had used 57.5% of her 11in ammunition, most of it presumably during the battle on 13 December. She had crippled Exeterbut both of the light cruisers had survived the battle. It would seem likely that a fight with an equally strong cruiser squadron on 17 December would have exhausted the Graf Spee&rsquos ammunition.

This was certainly one of Langsdorff&rsquos chief concerns. On 15 one of his artillery officers believed that he had sighted the Renown&rsquos fighting top through the ship&rsquos range finders, although by 1939 that fighting top had been removed. If Renown was present, then the Ark Royal was probably with her. Langsdorff even received instructions from Berlin to photograph the Ark Royal, as the Germans believed they had already sunk her! Miller and McCall helped to reinforce this belief by leaking a request for refuelling facilities at a nearby Argentine naval base.

Langsdorff now believed that he was faced with a battlecruiser, an aircraft carrier, three or four cruisers and a destroyer flotilla. If this had been true then the Graf Spee would have been very badly outclassed. He asked Berlin for advice &ndash if he could not fight his way out, should the Graf Spee be scuttled or interned? He was told that the best option was for him to fight his way out, but if he had no other choice to scuttle the ship rather than risk internment.

On 6.61pm on 17 December the Graf Spee set sail, heading out into the estuary. At least 800 of her crew had been transferred to the German steamship Tacoma, which then followed the Graf Spee out to sea. At 7.56pm smoke was seen coming from the Graf Spee, followed by an enormous explosion. Rather than risk the Graf Spee falling into British hands after she ran out of ammunition after a battle with the ghost fleet outside the River Plate, Captain Langsdorff had decided to destroy his ship in the shallow water of the River Plate. The explosions were designed to prevent the British from examining the design of his ship. The crew of the Graf Spee were soon interned in Argentina and on 20 December, after writing a letter to Hitler, Captain Langsdorff committed suicide.

The destruction of the Graf Spee was treated as a great triumph in Britain. It was the first real Allied success of the war, which had begun with the defeat of Poland and then the start of the &ldquophoney war&rdquo. Hitler was predictably furious with Langsdorff&rsquos decision to destroy his own ship, while the fate of the Graf Spee put the entire concept of commerce raiding by warships in doubt. Admiral Raeder issued new orders to the navy, which stated that &ldquoThe German warship and her crew are to fight with all their strength to the last shell until they win or go down with their flag flying&rdquo. This order would certainly be obeyed by the captain and crew of the Bismarck, at the end of their sortie into the Atlantic in 1941.

In the Wake of the Graf Spee, Enrique Dick . Looks at the life of Hein Dick, a crewman on the Graf Spee who was interned in Argentina after the Battle of the River Plate, married an Argentinean, then had to struggle to get back to the country after he was deported back to Germany at the end of the Second World War. The first half, looking at his military career is interesting, but the second half, from the internment onwards is totally fascinating, and covers a neglected area. [read full review]

The War at Sea, 1939-1945, Volume I: The Defensive, S. W. Roskill. This first volume in the British official history of the war at sea covers the period from the outbreak of the war through to the first British disasters in the Pacific in December 1941. Amongst other topics it covers the Norwegian campaign, the evacuation from Dunkirk and the first two years of the Battle of the Atlantic. The text is meticulously researched, and is rooted in a detailed study of wartime records, both British and German. [see more]

Review: Volume 52 - Second World War - History


“WWII: Behind the Front Lines of the War that Shook the World” is a six-DVD set comprising three documentaries released by Mill Creek Entertainment. While the first documentary in the set is about WWII, the second, “Combat Aircrafts,” is a five-part series tracing the history of aviation from the pioneers to modern military aircraft and partially touches on the topic of WWII. The third, “Waves of Freedom,” is a documentary film about American volunteers who helped break the British blockade of Palestine in 1947.

“The Finest Hours of the Second World War” is a 21-part series originally released in 2009 and is a Spanish American co-production from Pacific Media. Written and directed by Jose Delgado, the film footage shot during the war is mostly familiar to those of us who have enjoyed watching similar documentaries over the years. Each episode is about 52-minutes long and was probably designed to fit an hour long time slot. The series begins with events leading up to WWII starting with the rise of Hitler and Nazi Germany. Each episode focuses on one aspect of the war and explains in detail the motivations and mistakes behind the memorable moments of World War II in Europe, North Africa and the Pacific.

The series is narrated by Drew Crosby with the original Spanish narrator, Jose Ma del Rio, also credited. Unfortunately, there is not a Spanish language track or subtitles on this set. The narration is presumably translated from Spanish and the English speaking narrator has a distinctive diction. Crosby places the wrong emphasis on the syllables of certain words, such as strategist, which can be distracting and results in what my high school French teacher called spastic speech. Other than that, the research is sound and when combined with the film and maps, makes for a very interesting take on the war.

Unfortunately, the presentation is in full frame and is also letterboxed on top of that, resulting in a small image area and cropped film footage on the top and bottom. Movies in this era used the full frame ratio of 1.33:1. I found it best to leave the picture as is because messing with it to fit a contemporary wide screen monitor contributed to more fuzziness in a product which is not high definition. The image quality is okay and what you’d expect from film of this era going on 80 years. Overall, the picture and sound were fine, but the image area was distracting. Music and sound effects credited to Rosa Perez & Bakery Publishing were also good. In what is often silent film footage, they added the sounds of men, machinery, gun fire and other sounds of war one would expect which brings the film to life. All 21 episodes are presented on four discs with “The Dawn of War” made up of 11 episodes spread over two discs and “The Fight for Freedom” making up the remaining 10 episodes on the next two discs.

The second documentary, “Combat Aircrafts,” is a five-part series on the history of military aviation with two parts devoted to WWII. This documentary series was also produced by Pacific Media and co-written and directed by Jose Delgado in 2010. Each episode is 52 minutes in length and relies on mostly black and white archival footage. The series is narrated by Drew Crosby with the original Spanish narrator, J. Angel Juares, also credited. The narration has the same issues as the previous title starting with the title which is spelled out on screen as “Combat Aircrafts” and pronounced in the narration as “Combat Aircraft.” It would have been helpful if a native English speaker with knowledge of WWII and military aircraft had proof reviewed the product prior to releasing it to the English speakers. I’m not certain where this was originally presented, but my guess is it was sold independently to various cable television and broadcast outlets. Overall, the presentation is good, presented in full frame, this time without letterboxing the image area. Each episode held my interest in spite of the distraction in the pronunciation style of the narration. All five episodes are presented on one disc.

“Waves of Freedom” is a documentary film about Americans recruited to smuggle Jewish refugees into Palestine which was still controlled by the British in 1947. The men were a combination of Merchant Marine and U.S. Navy veterans of WWII of mostly Jewish background who were recruited on a secret mission to bring European Jewish refugees into Palestine which would soon become the nation of Israel. Made for television in 2008, the documentary was written, directed and co-produced by Alan Rosenthal and is narrated by Antony Thomas. The film clocks in at 52 minutes and features excellent picture and sound quality in the full frame presentation which uses a combination of archival black and white footage from the post-war period and contemporary interviews with the men who took part in the mission which are filmed in color. The movie is presented on its own disc.

The discs on this set offer no supplements of any kind. The set is hard to recommend with so many other better offerings on the same topics. The third stand alone documentary, “Waves of Freedom,” is the documentary of greatest interest, but it doesn’t have much to do with the other programs in this set. (This release also includes digital copies.)

1. Yamashita’s Gold

WATCH:਍ictator Steals Treasure

Yamashita Tomoyuki was a general in the Japanese Empire who defended Japan’s occupation of the Philippines in 1944 and 1945. According to legend, he also carried out orders from Emperor Hirohito to hide gold and treasure in tunnels in the Philippines, booby-trapped with trip mines, gas canisters and the like. The plan, apparently, was to use the treasure to rebuild Japan after the war.

Since then, there have been many claims about where the gold ended up. In a United States court case, a Filipino locksmith named Rogelio Roxas claimed he discovered some of the hidden gold in the 1970s and that Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos later sent strongmen to steal it from him. The legend has also prompted treasure hunts for “Yamashita’s gold” in the Philippines that continue to this day. 

The new season of Lost Gold of World War II, which documents one such hunt, premieres Tuesday, April 28 at 10/9c on HISTORY.

The Map That Created The Modern Middle East

The Sykes-Picot remade the Middle East for British and French control. A century later, their legacy is a disaster.

Take a look at a map of the Middle East. One hundred years ago, on May 16, 1916, Sir Tatton Benvenuto Mark Sykes and François Marie Denis Georges-Picot finished drawing it up. They were staking British and French claims to the ruins of the Ottoman Empire in advance of the end of the First World I, assuming they would be the victors with the right to divide the spoils. The resulting Sykes-Picot Agreement, which included Tsarist Russia, was a secret—until it was exposed by the Bolsheviks after the 1917 Revolution.

Sykes and Picot divided the Near East, as it was then known to Europeans, into British and French spheres of influence, with enough for the Russians to keep them happy. This made their deal one of the last European colonial projects of the century whose second half saw the sometimes violent end of such missions. Out of Sykes-Picot came the outlines—indeed even some of the still-existing borders—of Palestine (later Israel), Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Iraq, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.

Rashid I. Khalidi argues that the agreement was prefigured by the already existing economic partition of the Ottoman Arab provinces. The doddering Ottoman Empire had been described as “the sick man of Europe” since the 1850s. By the First World War, the Empire was propped up by European investments. An alliance with the Central Powers proved to be the old Empire’s final undoing, leading to its splintering at the end of the war. According to Khalidi, Sykes and Picot assumed they were formalizing the pre-existing European financial control of the region by inaugurating a new era of more direct political control.

Edward Peter Fitzgerald elucidates the competing British and French interests involved in the Levant (yet another European name for the region). The countries were allies against Germany, Austria, and the Ottomans, but they also had their own interests and colonial agendas. Fitzgerald explains why France first claimed Mosul, with its oil (then all potential), only to cede it to Britain soon after the war ended in 1918: the French were initially thinking less about oil in Mosul than their long-time interests in what became Lebanon and Syria.

So what about the people living where Sykes and Picot drew their lines in the sand? What did they want? That they were largely ignored has been the source of much misery since. Sykes-Picot isn’t celebrated in Britain or France today, and many Americas may not know about it. But it has long been a rallying cry for Arab nationalists. And ISIS/ISIL, the so-called Islamic State, has vowed that one of its aims is reversing the effects of Sykes-Picot in their entirety.

Woodrow Wilson called World War I the war to end all war. But as it turned out, decisions made during the conflict and in the peace talks afterwards set the stage for both World War II and a century of chaos and war in the Middle East.



Through the detailed examination of a case study, namely Plymouth, this paper explores the reasons for the demise of the regional planning framework, originally advocated by writers such as Ebenezer Howard, Patrick Geddes, Charles Fawcett and Patrick Abercrombie, in the early post-war years. Plymouth's reconstruction plan, prepared by Abercrombie and Paton Watson in 1943, was devised as a framework for planning an entire city region of 140 square miles (36,269 hectares). In order to unpack the complex history of the development and ultimate rejection of the city-region model for planning in Britain, engagement is required with the human narrative that drives decision making and determines the paths pursued at key moments of change. This historical case study, drawing on the exceptionally full surviving archives, highlights not only the role of Patrick Abercrombie in shaping Plymouth's post-war future, but also the clash of all the individuals at the local and national level engaged in a power struggle regarding 'joint regional planning' for a city region, and the parallel quest to secure an extension to the city's boundaries.

ABERGROMBIE, P. (1959), Town and Country Planning (third edition), London, Oxford University Press.

CHALKLEY, B. and GOODRIDGE, J. (1991), 'The 1943 Plan for Plymouth: war-time vision and postwar realities' in B. Chalkley D. Dunkerley and P. Gripaios (eds), Plymouth: Maritime City in Transition , Newton Abbot, David and Charles, 82–94. 'The 1943 Plan for Plymouth: war-time vision and postwar realities' Plymouth: Maritime City in Transition 82 94

CHALKLEY, B., GOODRIDGE, J. and BRAYSHAY, M. (1984) 'Celebrating the city that was born again: the fortieth anniversary of Plymouth's Abercrombie Plan', Town and Country Planning , 53, 6–7. Celebrating the city that was born again: the fortieth anniversary of Plymouth's Abercrombie Plan Town and Country Planning 53 6 7

CHERRY, G. and ROGERS, A. (1996), Rural Change and Planning: England and Wales in the Twentieth Century , London, E. & F. N. Spon. Rural Change and Planning: England and Wales in the Twentieth Century

CULLINGWORTH, J. B. (1975), Environmental Planning 1939–69: Volume I: Reconstruction and Land Use Planning , London, HMSO. Environmental Planning 1939–69: Volume I: Reconstruction and Land Use Planning

CULLINGWORTH, J. B. (1998), Town and Country Planning (tenth edition), London, Unwin Hyman.

CULLINGWORTH, J.B. and NADIN, V. (1994), Town and Country Planning (eleventh edition), London, Routledge.

GARSIDE, P. (1989), 'The failure of regionalism in 1940s Britain: a re-examination of regional plans, the regional idea and the structure of government' in P. L. Garside and M. Hebbert (eds) British Regionalism 1900–2000 , London, Mansell, 98–114. 'The failure of regionalism in 1940s Britain: a re-examination of regional plans, the regional idea and the structure of government' British Regionalism 1900–2000 98 114

HALL, P. (2002), Cities of Tomorrow (third edition), Oxford, Blackwell.

HASEGAWA, J. (1992), Replanning the Blitzed City Centre: A Comparative Study of Bristol, Coventry and Southampton, 1941–50 , Buckingham, Open University Press. Replanning the Blitzed City Centre: A Comparative Study of Bristol, Coventry and Southampton, 1941–50

LARKHAM, P. J. and NASR, J. (eds) (2004), The Rebuilding of British Cities: Exploring the Post-Second World War Reconstruction (Working Paper Series No. 90), Birmingham, School of Planning and Housing, University of Central England.

MASSEY, D. (1989), 'Regional planning 1909–39: "The Experimental Era"' in P. L. Garside and M. Hebbert (eds), British Regionalism 1900–2000 , London, Mansell, 57–76. 'Regional planning 1909–39: "The Experimental Era"' British Regionalism 1900–2000 57 76

OWEN, J. (1989), 'Regionalism and local government reform, 1900–60' in P. L. Garside and M. Hebbert (eds), British Regionalism 1900–2000 , London, Mansell, 40–56. 'Regionalism and local government reform, 1900–60' British Regionalism 1900–2000 40 56

PATON WATSON, J. and ABERCROMBIE, P. (1943), A Plan for Plymouth , Plymouth, Underhill. A Plan for Plymouth

PENDLEBURY, P. (2004), 'The reconstruction planners' in P. J. Larkham and J. Nasr (eds), 15–22. The reconstruction planners 15 22

SHEAIL, J. (1981), Rural Conservation in Inter-War Britain , Oxford, Clarendon Press. Rural Conservation in Inter-War Britain

WANNOP, U. and CHERRY, G. (1994), 'The development of regional planning in the United Kingdom', Planning Perspectives , 9, 29–60. The development of regional planning in the United Kingdom Planning Perspectives 9 29 60

WARD, S. V. (1994), Planning and Urban Change , London, Paul Chapman Publishing. Planning and Urban Change

Review: Volume 52 - Second World War - History

Editor's Note:

To mark the 100 th anniversary of American military involvement in World War I, Origins asked three distinguished historians to address the question: What do you think is the most important legacy of the First World War? Bruno Cabanes describes how the sheer scale of death and destruction changed our way of mourning and remembering. Jennifer Siegel follows the money to examine how the war re-arranged the balance of financial power in the world. And Aaron Retish explores how the war not only made possible the Bolshevik Revolution but defined the characteristics of the Soviet State.

Since August 2014, events of all kinds across the globe have marked the centennial of the Great War (1914-1918) . That cataclysm brought to a crashing demise the world of the late 19 th century.

By war’s end, the Russian, Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman, and German empires that had dominated Europe for centuries no longer existed, broken up into a new constellation of nation-states, fledgling democracies, and political experiments such as Bolshevik communism. Much of Europe lay in tatters and virtually an entire generation of men on both sides of the conflict had been killed, maimed, or otherwise harmed—and the damage extended to Europe’s many colonies and former colonies.

The 20 th century began with the First World War and the war’s consequences continue to shape our world today. When ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi announced to the world that the group’s drive to establish a new nation would not stop “until we hit the last nail in the coffin of the Sykes-Picot conspiracy,” many had surely forgotten that the boundaries of the modern Middle East were drawn during and after World War I.

Americans came late to the war. Troops with the American Expeditionary Force landed in Europe early in the summer of 1917 but it wasn’t until late October that they saw sustained fighting on the front lines.

We hope you enjoy this multi-perspective look at how the First World War changed—and continues to change—our world.

The Lost Generation: Keeping Watch over Absent Bodies

The First World War was a crucial moment in western cultures of death and mourning. Of the male population between ages 15 and 49 at the war’s outbreak, about 80% in France and Germany, between 50% and 60% in Britain and the Ottoman Empire and 40% in Russia were mobilized. Of these men, 10 million were killed, with Serbia losing 37% of its conscripts, Romania 26%, and Bulgaria 23%.

Italian soldiers killed in a trench in Slovenia during World War I (left). Members of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps tending the graves of British soldiers in a cemetery in Abbeville, France in 1918 (right).

In Europe, and in Australia due to the number of men who enlisted as volunteers in the ANZAC forces, every part of the social structure was plunged into a period of bereavement. This phenomenon is difficult to understand in the United States, where World War I is not written into family history in the same ways as World War II or Vietnam. Almost a third of the 10 million combatants who died in World War I have no known grave—the same percentage of people whose deaths on 9/11 left no trace whatsoever.

As early as 1915, losses of life from the war were traumatic. For the first time in modern history, death in combat reversed the normal succession of generations, and not on a limited scale. It did so for an entire generation: the “Lost generation,” “la génération perdue.”

Between 1925 and 1939, workers carved the names of Canada’s Great War dead into the Vimy Memorial in France (left). A worker for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission would spend a week carving a regimental badge onto a headstone (right).

In Great Britain, 30% of men who were between the ages of 20 and 24 in 1914 were killed during the war. Feminist writer Vera Brittain, who wrote Testament of Youth about losing her fiancé Roland, her brother, and several friends to the war, later described her postwar life as “threatened perpetually by death,” and happiness as “a house without duration … built upon the shifting sands of chance.”

Nagelfiguren, war memorials made from iron nails embedded in wood, became popular in Germany and Austria. The largest nagelfiguren was a statue of General Paul von Hindenburg in Berlin in 1915.

A significant number of these young men from the lost generation went missing in action, and when they did exist, bodies were almost never returned to families, at least not until the early 1920s. For families without a body to bury, there was no ceremony. There were no traditional rites to perform, leaving survivors in a permanent state of limbo.

Grief is an individual journey, but World War I changed the rituals of collective mourning forever. The first major commemorative invention was the moment of silence—a two-minute silence in the case of Great Britain and the Commonwealth.

The idea is said to have originated with a Melbourne journalist, in a letter to the London Evening News. This was brought to the attention of King George V, who issued a proclamation calling for the “complete suspension of all our normal activities” for two minutes “at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” so that “in perfect stillness the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the Glorious Dead.”

Moments of silence are now observed on all sorts of solemn occasions. In Israel, on Yom Hashoah (the Day of Remembrance of the Holocaust, instituted in 1951), the sound of a siren stops traffic and pedestrians throughout the country for two minutes. A three-minute silence was observed worldwide 10 days after the Asian tsunami of 2004, as it had been after 9/11.

The unveiling of the Whitehall Cenotaph, a war memorial in London, England, in 1920 (left). American Secretary of War John Weeks, President Calvin Coolidge, and Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington, VA in 1923 (right).

Since World War I, silence has been widely used as a language of commemoration and mourning: the Great War, the first of many cataclysmic events of the 20 th century, was a war beyond words.

With so many soldiers having no known grave, both nations and communities also had to create new spaces where veterans and families could gather and commemorate their dead. In the decades after the war, tens of thousands of war memorials were erected throughout the world, serving as both symbolic graveyards for those who had lost their lives in the conflict and transitional spaces for grieving survivors.

The Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing in Ypres, Belgium was for British and Commonwealth soldiers killed in World War I with unknown resting places (left). Brigadier General Francis Dodd of the Canadian Expeditionary Force unveiling the Menin Gate Memorial in 1924 (center). One of the many panels inside the Menin Gate Memorial that lists the names of missing British and Commonwealth soldiers (right).

Parents, widows, orphans, and friends often made the pilgrimage to World War I battlefields to reconnect with their loved ones. Others visited the tombs of the unknown warriors, under the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, in Westminster Abbey in London, at the Arlington cemetery in Washington D.C., and in other symbolic places around the world. It was only in 1993 that an Australian soldier was repatriated and entombed in the Hall of Memory at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, and even more recently that a tomb of the unknown warrior was created in Canada (2000) and New Zealand (2004).

In 1944, General Charles de Gaulle laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France (left). A guard of honor at New Zealand’s Tomb of the Unknown Warrior during Armistice Day in 2012 (right).

Like the moment of silence, such memorials had the capacity to reflect whatever meanings one might ascribe to World War I, and the successive meanings of the Great War throughout the century.

Finally, in the wake of the Great War, names of dead became a distinctly modern form of commemoration. Names sometimes stood over bodies, but they more often stood for bodies, for the many missing in action – like on the enormous memorial built at Thiepval, which bears more than 73,000 names of combatants from Great Britain and the Commonwealth who died in the Battle of the Somme with no known grave.

The Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme in France is dedicated to the over 70,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers killed at the Battles of the Somme (1915-1918) whose bodies were never found or identified. Their names cover the tall white bands at the bottom of the memorial (left). The Vietnam Veterans Memorial with the Washington Monument in D.C. in the background (right).

American architect Maya Lin, who designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. in 1982, has often acknowledged a conceptual debt to Edwin Lutyens’ Memorial to the Missing of the Somme.

“The strength of a name is something that has always made me wonder at the ‘abstraction’ of the design,” she wrote. “The ability of the name to bring back every single memory you have of that person is far more realistic and specific and much more comprehensive than a still photograph which captures a specific moment in time or a single event or a generalized image that may or may not be moving for all who have connections to that time.”

Turning numbers into names: this act of resistance to the dehumanizing effects of catastrophe is one of the most moving legacies of World War I. It is a legacy that would later influence the commemoration of the Holocaust, the Vietnam War, and the AIDS epidemics, with the NAMES Project Memorial quilt conceived in 1985 by Cleve Jones.

Charles, Prince of Wales, laying a wreath at a Rememberance Day Service at the Cenotaph in 2017.

The profusion of war memorials, the moment of silence, the creation of the unknown warrior, and the centrality of names and naming in the commemoration of mass death: these commemorative practices still shape our world.

As early as the summer of 1914, the massacres of the Battle of the Frontiers and the Battle of the Marne augured a major demographic and ritual crisis. None of the bodies of the dead were returned to families. But in many villages, neighbors continued to assemble in the houses of the dead to support grieving families.

The French writer Jean Giono described such a scene in a passage from his novel Le Grand Troupeau (To the Slaughterhouse): “Everybody from the plain was there. They had all come, the old men, the women and the little girls, and they were sitting stiffly on the stiff chairs. They said nothing. They sat on the edges of the shadows … They were coming, they were all there in the farm’s big room with its cold fireplace. They were there stiff and silent, keeping watch over the absent body.”

The very experience of death and of mourning had changed.

The Emergence of a (Financial) Superpower

The war that erupted in August 1914 was not one for which any of the belligerent powers were fully prepared, on any level. But from a financial perspective, they were prepared least of all.

Combat predictions prior to the outbreak of war had suggested that it would be an offensive, mobile war that would be over in a matter of months, if not weeks. Instead, the combatants in World War I quickly found themselves embroiled in a conflict that proved to be a long, drawn out, costly war of attrition. Its costs were unprecedented and certainly unpredicted.

Calculations of the total cost of the war vary considerably based, in part, on whether or not the calculations account accurately for wartime inflation. But by any measure, this war was astronomically expensive.

One set of calculations, for example, gives the total war expenditure (the increase in public spending over and above the norm for before the war) for Britain, France, Russia, the United States and their allies as $147 billion dollars (approximately $2.4 trillion today) and the costs for the principal Central Powers of Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, Germany, and the Ottoman Empire as $61.5 billion ($997 billion today).

A 1918 poster calling upon Canadians to buy Victory Bonds to support the war effort (left). A 1918 poster imploring Americans to buy Liberty Bonds (right).

This was a war in which the traditional sources of strength—population, territory, GNP, colonial power—were not as important as the ability to raise revenue, either through the strength of the existing economy or through the alliances and relationships.

The war also was financed almost entirely on credit, through the issuance of short-term treasury bills (which ultimately stoked inflation), through publicly issued and domestically purchased war bonds, and through foreign borrowing. All combatants were confident that the bulk of the war’s expenses could be deferred through short-term borrowing and paid after the war was over, mostly through indemnities and reparations extracted from the defeated powers.

A 1917 poster printed by the U.S. government in the Philippines with English and Spanish text urging the purchase of Liberty Bonds (left). A 1917 Canadian poster with the caricatured heads of German leaders and military commanders (right).

Germany, the financial powerhouse of the Central Powers, launched an attempt to float a major loan in New York in 1914. When that failed, the German leadership recognized that the resources to fight would have to come from within their own alliance bloc. On a practical level, this meant all the members of this alliance relied on issuing domestic war bonds and on foreign credit procured from their German ally.

For example, Austria-Hungary, borrowed an average of 100 million Marks per month (roughly $325 million today) from Germany throughout most of the war. By October 1917, Austria-Hungary owed Germany more than 5 billion Marks (roughly $16.25 billion today). Germany also loaned the Ottoman Empire more than 4.7 billion Marks over the course of the war.

In order to pay for the loans, the German government issued short-term war bonds, the Kriegsanleihe, every six months, raising close to 100 billion marks. However, those bonds did not meet Germany’s total direct war-related expenses, which came to nearly 150 billion marks, not to mention the interest which continued to accumulate on the Kriegsanleihe and other German government debt.

For the Allied and Associated Powers, things were both more complicated and far simpler. This alliance bloc enjoyed the advantages that came with the inclusion of the economic resources of the British Empire and the London money market. Over the course of the war, Britain loaned approximately £1,852 million (nearly $130 billion today) to its allies and Dominions.

However, those millions did not come from British reserves. In addition to Britain’s own war bonds and the contribution of direct and indirect taxation to Britain’s war effort, the British government borrowed from overseas a total of £1,365 million by the end of the fiscal year 1918-19. Seventy-five percent of that sum came from the United States. Through this process, Britain’s allies were able to take advantage of the continued strength of British credit on the international market, borrowing at rates far better than those they could have received on their own.

The extensive borrowing by Britain and its allies from the United States, however, underwrote and underscored the great transition of financial power from Europe to the United States that took place during the course of the First World War.

A 1918 poster urging Austrians to contribute funds to the war effort (left). A 1918 poster from the Baruch Strauss Bank urging Germans to buy the 8th German war bonds (middle). A 1918 poster from the Baruch Strauss Bank urging Germans to buy the 9th German war bonds (right).

All this purchasing and borrowing from the United States served the ancillary purpose of linking the U.S. economy directly to the allied cause—to excellent effect, it turned out, as the United States ultimately joined the fray on the Allied side in the spring of 1917, thanks in part to these financial links.

By the end of the war, the United States had extended over $10 billion (approximately $162 billion today) in war loans to their allies, a significant portion of which was required to be spent on purchases made in the United States. This requirement was a tremendous boon to U.S. industry and production, helping to solidify U.S. economic primacy in the future.

A 1917 poster asking for “Peace through victory” with the purchase of war loans from Bankhouse Schelhammer & Schattern (left). A 1917 Austrian poster urging contributions to the war loan (middle). An appeal for the purchase of war bonds from the Oesterr Bank in 1918 (right).

The result was a distinct decline of the European economic position in comparison to that of the United States. Over the course of the war, the European nations were transformed from creditor nations into debtor nations. When the debt of the Allied nations to the United States was funded in 1922, the total indebtedness amounted to $11,656,932,900 ($169,848,451,000 today).

The plight of the Central Powers is best exemplified by Germany, which, in addition to the vast debt accumulated in the process of fighting the war, was saddled with the equivalent of some $33 billion dollars of postwar reparations payments to the victors.

A 16th century soldier waving the Austro-Hungarian flag on a poster appealing for war loans in 1916 (left). A German pilot on a 1918 poster for war loans with the upper text asking “and you?” (middle). A 1917 poster urging Germans that the best savings bank is the war loan (right).

The fulcrum of the world financial system had clearly shifted from Europe to New York, from the pound sterling to the U.S. dollar.

As a further consequence of the war, European investments in non-European countries diminished, curtailing the ability of European countries to influence economic and political development elsewhere. Since one of the preferred methods of achieving world power was cultivating an informal imperial relationship—wherein a country was influenced instead of colonized—this was a big loss for the Europeans.

By 1923, German paper currency had become so devalued that large stacks were required even for small purchases (left). A chart showing the hyperinflation occurring in Germany after the war (right).

In addition, the reorientation of the European belligerents’ economies towards war production had completely shut off their export trade to the non-European parts of the world. The result was that these non-European nations became much less Europe-oriented, particularly as U.S. trade, manufacturing, and investment often picked up the slack. These nations were forced to start their own processes of industrialization, since they could no longer rely on industrial imports from Europe.

Thus, the First World War gave a big push to the limited industrialization of the non-industrialized world. And the crippling burden of post-war debt ensured that the economies of the traditional European imperial powers were unable to rebound easily to reassume their dominance over global trade.

The war signaled the end of the European-dominated world financial system. The extraordinary amount of postwar debt overwhelmed the global economy and the international monetary system, helping to contribute to the climate in which the world economic crisis developed.

When World War II erupted barely more than 20 years later, the tensions behind this second global conflict had been nurtured in no small part by the economic instability engendered by the financial costs and methods of World War I.

Remembering and Forgetting in Russia

Until recently, a visitor to Russia would have had a hard time finding any memorial to the Great War. Unlike in the United States, Great Britain, or even Germany, in Russia there was no official memorialization of its soldiers or the immense sacrifice of the population. It could seem as if there was no lasting legacy in Russia of the First World War.

The Soviet state remembered the war as an “imperialist” conflict that exposed the political despotism of the tsar and exacerbated economic cleavages among the classes. Instead of memorials to soldiers, the Soviets put up homages to Lenin and other revolutionary leaders that can still be found in even the smallest towns.

The Soviet drive to enshrine their revolution involved erasing or hiding the memory of World War I. Even historians in the West studied the war on the Eastern Front as a political and social prelude or historical speed bump to revolution.

The two Russian Revolutions of February and October 1917 were certainly the most significant legacy of the First World War in Russia. And they irrevocably changed world history, bringing to life the planet’s first officially socialist state. In this way, I agree with the Soviet narrative, but not just because the wartime conditions set the stage for the October Revolution.

Rather, the legacy of the war in Russia was how it mobilized and politically radicalized the subjects of the Russian empire and created many of the characteristics of the Soviet system. World War I established state practices that would endure for years and the experience of the war transformed how people related to their nation and institutions of power.

Russia was not destined to lose the war nor descend into revolution. The tsarist state mobilized much faster than Germany expected, scuttling its foes’ dreams of avoiding a two-front war, and was in fact on the verge of quickly defeating Germany in August 1914 after successfully invading Eastern Prussia. Despite colossal setbacks the following years, Russia actually out-produced Germany in arms by 1916.

The people mobilized for war and became part of the war effort beyond what the tsarist administration dreamed. Peasants, local administrators, and townspeople alike answered the call to colors. Those on the homefront gave up grain and horses to the war effort, helped to guard POWs, and cared for Russia’s massive numbers of refugees when the war turned bad.

The signing of the Russian-German armistice in late 1917 (left). A 1918 cartoon depicting Germany dismembering Russia and passing on several territories to Turkey after the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (right).

Russia was like the other belligerent countries that confronted food and fuel shortages and growing resistance to the war effort from soldiers and civilians alike. Yet, even with growing war weariness, the people remained mobilized. They did so because they were patriotic and felt tied to the nation, fighting for mother Russia and not necessarily the scandal-ridden tsar.

Mobilization and the national spirit of the war unleashed a democratizing force. The unrest in Petrograd in February 1917 that led to the downfall of the tsarist regime was initiated by people who were part of the war effort, led by female workers and soldiers’ wives. The people, politicized and empowered by the war, demanded economic and political rights that carried through 1917.

The war also empowered the General Staff in February 1917. With revolution taking hold in the capital of Petrograd, Tsar Nicholas II asked for the counsel of his generals and they encouraged him to abdicate. They knew that the war effort could only be revived without the tsar impeding their plans. The February Revolution then was in part a military coup.

The war also helped to radicalize the revolution over the course of 1917, paving the way for the Bolsheviks to seize power in October in the name of the Soviets. The Provisional Government that took power after the tsar abdicated never gave up on the war. It drew on popular nationalist sentiment and called on its citizens to give to the war effort as newly-free citizens of the Russian nation. They did, but especially after the disastrous June Offensive, more soldiers and workers at the homefront wanted an end to war, something the Bolsheviks called for.

A 1919 Russian White Forces poster depicting the Bolsheviks as a red dragon being defeated by a crusading knight representing the Whites (left). A 1916 tsarist poster entitled "Freedom Loan" entreating Russians to take out loans to fund World War I (right).

After seizing power in October 1917, the Bolsheviks flirted with the idea of changing the imperialist war into a struggle for global revolution. But at the end of 1917, Lenin understood from reports from the front that the war effort was hopeless. Soldiers had abandoned their posts en masse. Lenin pushed through the humbling Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, saving the infant Soviet state from full defeat just as a more immediate threat was starting.

The Russian Civil War that followed the Bolshevik takeover of power—with its own waves of conscription and mobilization, disease, and famine—led to millions more deaths and social upheaval. Frontline soldiers went from fighting Germans to fighting fellow Russians. For most citizens of the former empire, wartime continued unabated from 1914 to 1922 and in Transcaucasia until 1926.

Soldiers from allied countries in Vladivostok, Russia during the Civil War in 1918 (left). Anti-Bolshevik Volunteer Army in South Russia in January 1918 (right).

State policies from the First World War also bled into the Civil War and created the foundation for the Soviet system. Soviet state practices during the Civil War often extended wartime policies adopted in 1914, such as conscription into the army, forced grain requisitions, surveillance of the population, official calls to arms, and the use of violence on civilians for military aims.

Almost by necessity, the new Soviet government during the Civil War created a centralized, bureaucratic state with a powerful army. In the 1930s, the Soviet state would use military images of storming barricades and staying on guard against invasion to mobilize citizens in its breakneck industrialization and forced collectivization of agriculture.

Czech legionaries killed by Bolsheviks at Nikolsk-Ussurlysky in 1918 (left). Russians who perished during the famine of 1921 (right).

The Soviet state, then, was defined by shared memories and state practices from the First World War.

Beyond transforming Russian society and creating the Soviet state, the war in Russia also reshaped global politics, which was no small feat.

The first Communist country in the world led to a red wave of revolutions across Europe as the war ended, two red scares in the United States, the Cold War, the spread of Communism in Asia and across the Global South, and inspiration for social movements as diverse as decolonization and neo-conservatism.

A pie chart of the military deaths of Entente Powers forces in World War I (left). A pie chart of military and civilian deaths in World War I (center). A pie chart of the military deaths of Central Powers forces in World War I (right).

The war’s most significant legacy was not just the toppling of the Russian imperial state, the first of the great empires to fall during the war. It was also not that Russia suffered the most casualties—roughly 3 million—of any combatant country. It was, rather, the revolution and its effect on state politics in what would become the Soviet Union and its reverberations across the world.

On August 1, 2014, to mark the centennial of the start of the First World War, Vladimir Putin opened a new memorial to “the heroes of the First World War”—Russia’s soldiers and officers. The statue sits at Poklonnaia Gora, alongside memorials to the Second World War and other Russian military conflicts.

Putin repeatedly emphasized in his speech that day that the statue was part of a national movement meant to bring back the long-forgotten history of soldiers of the war, to end the tragedy of forgetting, and to remind Russians of their sacrifices before victory was stolen from them.

Russia is rethinking the legacy of the war after the fall of the Soviet Union to put it in line with today’s strong Russian nationalism. The valor of the soldiers fighting in a tragic war for mother Russia has become the official legacy of the war. The war is finally being remembered in Russia. But this is a problematic history of the war, for it is one where the Revolution and the Soviet state that arose from it are hardly mentioned.

Check out a lesson plan based on this article: Legacies of WWI

Suggested Reading

Bruno Cabanes, August 1914: France, the Great War and a Month that Changed the World Forever (Yale University Press, 2016)

Thomas Laqueur, The Work of the Dead (Princeton University Press, 2015)

Jay Winter, Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History (Cambridge University Press, 1995)

Jay Winter, War Beyond Words: Languages and Remembrance from the Great War to the Present (Cambridge University Press, 2017)

Stéphane Audoin-Rouzeau, Cinq Deuils de Guerre (Noésis, 2001)

Peter Gatrell, Russia’s First World War: A Social and Economic History. London: Pearson, 2005.

Peter Holquist, Making War, Forging Revolution: Russia’s Continuum of Crisis. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002.

Karen Petrone, The Great War in Russian Memory. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2011.

Joshua A. Sanborn, Imperial Apocalypse: The Great War and the Destruction of the Russian Empire. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.

Melissa K. Stockdale, Mobilizing the Russian Nation: Patriotism and Citizenship in the First World War. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016.

Norman Stone, The Eastern Front, 1914-1917. New York: Penguin, 1998. First published in 1975.


At 4:45 on the morning of September 1, 1939 (the morning following the staged attack), German troops entered Poland. The sudden, immense attack by the Germans was called a Blitzkrieg ("lightning war").

The German air attack hit so quickly that most of Poland's air force was destroyed while still on the ground. To hinder Polish mobilization, the Germans bombed bridges and roads. Groups of marching soldiers were machine-gunned from the air.

But the Germans did not just aim for soldiers they also shot at civilians. Groups of fleeing civilians often found themselves under attack. The more confusion and chaos the Germans could create, the slower Poland could mobilize its forces.

Using 62 divisions, six of which were armored and ten mechanized, the Germans invaded Poland by land. Poland was not defenseless, but they could not compete with Germany's motorized army. With only 40 divisions, none of which were armored, and with nearly their entire air force demolished, the Poles were at a severe disadvantage. The Polish cavalry was no match for German tanks.

Watch the video: Το βιβλίο Σκυλάνθρωποι: Ιταλίδα πολιτικός εξηγεί γιατί μισούν εμάς τους Έλληνες!! (August 2022).