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  • World War One Letter
    ever saw it has been raining steadily for seven weeks I stepped in a mud hole the other night and went up to my waist in mud and didnt get to change clothes and in fact I haven t changed yet I haven t changed for over two month and havent even had my clothes off for that length of time I have not had a bath for six weeks and none in sight for I haven t the slightest idea of using what little drinking water I get in my canteen for batheing purposes I shave as often as possible for the beard on my face keeps my Gas mask from being effective and the germans use quite a bit of gas Gas and machine gun is their only effective weapons I have been on every front in France You cant imagine how torn up this country really is Every where there are wire entanglements and trenches and dug outs Even out of the war zone there are entanglements and dugouts to protect the civilians from air raids I have been from border to border of France and I mean I made the trip on foot throughout the country like a Gypsy horse trader we would hike a while and then stop and fight a while It was a great hike but a hard one as it was raining every day and night The hardest fight we were in was in the Argenne Forest Our batterries were the one that destroyed the machine gun nest at Montfaucon I was at the Forward observation post the night the barrage was laid during the big drive of the last few weeks The barrage that night was the heaviest one ever laid in France I saw ever bit of it and saw

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  • World War I
    Then at midnight during the silence of that cold moonlit night a church bell in a town not far away began to ring out heralding the arrival of Christmas day Suddenly lights began to appear all along the German trench lines The English assumed that the Germans were preparing a nighttime attack The bugles rang out sounding the alarm and the English grabbed their weapons and rushed to the edge of the trenches Please God not today as well an English soldier was overheard to say A still hush fell over the battle field when out of the cold night air the English heard a most beautiful voice coming from the German lines singing Silent Night Holy Night When the German soldier had finished the first verse one brave English soldier stood and began singing the second One by one men rose up from their frozen entrenchments and began to join in until almost every soldier German and English were singing When the chorus had stopped one German officer started to walk towards the English line while waving a white flag before him Please do not shoot me we do not want to fight this day he called out I am bringing you presents of beer and meat An English officer then left his trench and walked toward the German They met at the center of this horrid body laid field and saluted one another They shook hands then each turned toward their own men calling aloud that it was safe to come out Slowly at first the bravest men came out of the trenches and walked toward one another Then it became a rush of men The two sides crashed into their enemies but not to fight They cried and hugged one another For these men had a bond

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  • World War One, Page Two
    issue was the formation of the League of Nations Wilson insisted that the first work of the conference must be to provide for a league of nations as part of the peace treaty After much negotiation the covenant was approved by the full conference in April 1919 In order to gain support for the League however Wilson had to compromise on other matters His Fourteen Points were partially repudiated but he believed that an imperfect treaty incorporating the League was better than a perfect one without it See Vive Wilson When Wilson arrived in Europe in December 1918 cheering crowds hailed him as the peacemaker from America This photograph is from the parade in Paris From National Archives The Covenant of the League of Nations specified its aims to guarantee international cooperation and to achieve international peace and security To achieve this goal Article X the key section of the document provided that The Members of the League undertake to respect and preserve against external aggression the territorial integrity and existing political independence of all Members of the League In case of any such aggression or in case of any threat or danger of such aggression the Council shall advise upon the means by which this obligation shall be fulfilled 10 Footnote 10 Quoted in F P Walters A History of the League of Nations I London Oxford Univ Press 1952 p 48 The League of Nations was the first systematic and thorough attempt to create an organization designed to prevent war and promote peace It was a valiant effort to curb the abuses of the state system while maintaining the individual sovereignty of each member of the community of nations The League s main organs were the Council the Assembly and the Secretariat Dominated by the great powers the Council was the most important body It dealt with most of the emergencies arising in international affairs The Assembly served as a platform from which all League members could express their views It could make recommendations to the Council on specific issues but all important decisions required the unanimous consent of its members and every nation in the Assembly had one vote The Secretariat which had fifteen departments represented the bureaucracy of the League Numbering about 700 the personnel of the Secretariat constituted the first example in history of an international civil service whose loyalty was pledged to no single nation but to the interests of the world community All treaties made by members of the League had to be registered with the Secretariat It handled routine administrative matters relating to such League concerns as disarmament health problems the administration of former German colonies and the protection of oppressed minorities Two other important bodies created by the Covenant of the League were the Permanent Court of International Justice and the International Labor Organization ILO The first was commonly referred to as the World Court Its main purpose was to interpret any disputed point in international law and determine when treaty obligations had been violated It could also give advisory opinions to the Council or Assembly when asked for them By 1937 forty one nations had agreed to place before the World Court most basic international disputes to which they were a party The ILO was established to secure and maintain fair and humane conditions of labor for men women and children The organization consisted of three divisions a general conference a governing body and the International Labor Office Redrawing German Boundaries After establishing the League the diplomats got down to the business of dealing with Germany France reclaimed Alsace Lorraine and plebiscites gave part of the former German empire to Denmark and Belgium The French wanted to build a buffer state made up of former German territory west of the Rhine to be dominated by France The Americans and the British proposed a compromise to Clemenceau which he accepted The territory in question would be occupied by Allied troops for a period of from five to fifteen years and a zone extending 50 kilometers east of the Rhine was to be demilitarized In addition the French claimed the Saar basin a rich coal area Although they did not take outright control of the area it reverted to the League administration they did gain ownership of the mines in compensation for the destruction of their own installations in northern France It was agreed that after fifteen years a plebiscite would be held in the area Finally Wilson and Lloyd George agreed that the United States and Great Britain by treaty would guarantee France against aggression To the east the conference created the Polish Corridor which separated East Prussia from the rest of Germany in order to give the newly created state of Poland access to the sea This creation raised grave problems as it included territory in which there were not only Polish majorities but also large numbers of Germans The land in question had been taken from Poland by Prussia in the eighteenth century A section of Silesia was also ceded to Poland but Danzig a German city was placed under Leage jurisdiction All in all Germany lost 25 000 square miles inhabited by 6 million people a fact seized upon by German nationalist leaders in the 1920s The Mandate System And Reparations A curious mixture of idealism and revenge determined the allocation of the German colonies and certain territories belonging to Turkey Because outright annexation would look too much like unvarnished imperialism it was suggested that the colonies be turned over to the League which in turn would give them to certain of its members to administer The colonies were to be known as mandates and precautions were taken to ensure that they would be administered for the well being and development of the inhabitants Once a year the mandatory powers were to present a detailed account of their administration of the territories of the League The mandate system was a step forward in colonial administration but Germany nevertheless

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  • World War One, Page two
    taking her to the asylum The Nations Involved in WWI Between the Wars Bismarck Declaration of War American Flanders Field Gavrilo Princip Kaiser Wilhelm II Marne Otto Dix Passchendaele Pershing Sasson Schlieffen Plan Somme Submarine Verdun Wilfred Owen Gas Woodrow Wilson World War One Battles Letters from the Front Edward Luckart Albert Smith A Special Christmas Story Christmas 1914 Music from World War One Over There Long Way To Tipperary Pack Up Your Troubles Tragic War And Futile Peace World War I Part 3 Date 1992 Conclusion For more than four years the science wealth and power of Europe had been concentrated on the business of destruction Germany s rapid economic growth military buildup ambitious foreign policy and inability to control its Austro Hungarian ally helped bring the normally competitive European economic arena to a crisis in the summer of 1914 By violating Belgian neutrality and declaring war on Russia and France Germany stood clearly as the aggressor in the First World War a fact for which it was severely punished in the Treaty of Versailles When the victorious Allies gathered at Paris in 1919 to settle the peace they did not have the luxury of time distance and power

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  • World War One, Page One
    the Berlin government German workers defied the French army and went on strike many ending up in jail The French toyed for a while with the idea of establishing a separate state in the Rhineland to act as a buffer between Germany and France Chaotic conditions in the Ruhr encouraged the catastrophic inflation of the German currency to make up for the loss of exports and to support the striking workers The French in return gained very little benefit from the occupation Inflation And Stabilization All European nations encountered a rocky path as they attempted to gain equilibrium after the war Britain had minimal price increases and returned to prewar levels within two years after the signing of the Versailles treaty On the continent price and monetary stability came less easily Only Czechoslovakia seemed to have its economic affairs well in hand France did not stabilize its currency until 1926 when the franc was worth fifty to the dollar as contrasted to five to the dollar in 1914 In Austria prices rose to 14 000 times their prewar level until stability of sorts came in 1922 Hungary s prices went to 23 000 times prewar level but this increase is dwarfed by Poland s 2 5 million times prewar level and Russia s 4 billion times prewar level But Germany served as the laboratory of the horrible impact of inflation on society Germany s prices went up a trillion times a thousand billion what they were in 1914 The German mark had been worth four to the dollar in prewar times At its weakest point in November 1923 after the French occupation of the Ruhr the German mark reached the exchange rate of 4 2 trillion to the dollar During the worst part of the inflation the Reichsbank had 150 firms using 2000 presses running day and night to print Reichnotes To get out of their dilemma the Germans made an effective transition to a more stable currency by simply forgetting the old one 4 Footnote 4 David S Landes The Unbound Prometheus Cambridge Cambridge Univ Press 1969 pp 361 362 Gustav Stolper Karl Hauser and Knut Borchardt The German Economy 1870 to the Present trans Toni Stolper New York Harcourt Brace Jovanovich 1967 p 83 The millions of middle class Germans small property owners who would be the hoped for base of the new Weimar Republic found themselves caught in the wage price squeeze Prices for the necessities of life rose far faster than did income or savings As mothers wheeled baby carriages full of money to bakeries to buy bread fathers watched a lifetime of savings dwindle to insignificance Pensioners on fixed incomes suffered doubly under this crisis The bourgeoisie the historical basis for liberal politics throughout Europe suffered blows more devastating than those of war for inflation stole not only the value of their labor but the worth of their savings and insurance Where the middle classes and liberal traditions were strong democracy could weather the storm But in central Europe especially in Germany where the inflation was the worst the cause of future totalitarianism received an immense boost Alan Bullock a biographer of Adolf Hitler has written that the result of inflation was to undermine the foundations of German society in a way which neither the war nor the revolution of 1918 nor the Treaty of Versailles had ever done 5 Footnote 5 Alan Bullock Hitler A Study in Tyranny New York Torchbooks 1964 p 91 Temporary Improvements After 1923 the liberal application of U S funds brought some calm to the economic storm Business was more difficult to conduct because protectionism became more and more the dominant trait of international trade Autarky the goal of gaining total economic self sufficiency and freedom from reliance on any other nation increasingly became the unstated policy of many governments Nonetheless production soon reached 1913 levels currencies began to stabilize by mid decade and the French finally recalled their troops from the Ruhr Most significantly in September 1924 a commission under the leadership of U S banker Charles Dawes formulated a more liberal reparations policy in order to get the entire repayment cycle back into motion Dawes plan replaced in 1929 by the Young plan named for its principal formulator U S businessman Owen Young reduced installments and extended them over a longer period A loan of 200 million mostly from the United States was floated to aid German recovery The Berlin government resumed payments to the Allies and the Allies paid their debt installments to the United States which in effect received its own money back again Prosperity of a sort returned to Europe As long as the circular flow of cash from the United States to Germany to the Allies to the United States continued the international monetary system functioned The moment the cycle broke down the world economy headed for the rocks of depression One economic historian has written In 1924 31 Germany drew some one thousand million pounds from abroad and the irony was that Germany in fact received far more in loans including loans to enable her to pay interest on earlier loans than she paid out in reparations thus gaining in the circular flow and re equipping her industries and her public utilities with American funds in the processes in the 1920s before repudiating her debts in the 1930s 6 Footnote 6 Sidney Pollard European Economic Integration 1815 1970 New York Harcourt Brace Jovanovich 1974 p 138 The system broke down in 1928 and 1929 when U S and British creditors needed their capital for investments in their own countries Extensions on loans readily granted a year earlier were refused Even before the U S stock market crash on October 29 1929 disaster was on the horizon Few people in America could admit such a possibility during the decade however The United States had become the commercial center of the world and its policies were central to the world s financial health The

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  • A History of World War Two, Declaration of War against Japan
    our many visitors Just visit our Message Board and leave your message Message Board Weekly Poll World War Two Edited By Robert A Guisepi Date 2001 For a Declaration of War against Japan Speech by President Franklin D Roosevelt Mr Vice President Mr Speaker members of the Senate and the House of Representatives Yesterday December 7 1941 a date which will live in infamy the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan The United States was at peace with that nation and at the solicitation of Japan was still in conversation with its government and its Emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific Indeed one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American island Oahu the Japanese Ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message And while this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations it contained no threat or hint of war or of armed attack It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago During the intervening time the Japanese Government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost In addition American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu Yesterday the Japanese Government also launched an attack against Malaya Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong Last

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  • Battle of Britain
    to assist Keith Park of 11 Group chief of 12 Group Air Vice Marshal Trafford Leigh Mallory often refused and the two were not regarded as comrades in arms The Group headquarters was at Watnall near Sheffield 13 GROUP This was the largest in all of the Groups as far as area was concerned From a line due east from just above Manchester up as far as the north of Scotland and including Northern Ireland it was a group well away from the main action that was taking place in southern England But many attacking aircraft mainly in the form of bombers came in from Norway and the North Sea Because of the amount of coastline this Group had to cover it was called on many times to do observation flights of the sea lanes The Group headquarters was at Newcastle and Air Vice Marshal Richard Saul was in charge of 13 Group Two other Groups were also incorporated into Fighter Command although they were operational they did not receive the glory or the accolades of the other Groups 9 GROUP This was formed to take some of the weight off of the shoulders so to speak of 10 Group and 12 Group and covered an area from the central area of Wales to the northernmost coastline of North Wales and also incorporated the Isle of Angelsey Air Marshal Hugh Dowding proposed a new group be inaugurated in Wales during the early stages of the Battle of Britain as waves of enemy bombers managed to get through 10 Group in the south west On most occasions 10 Group was able to handle the situation but there were numerous occasions when 10 Group was busy defending the many south coast ports it allowed the German formations to come in from the south west and west and attack the industrial centers of South Wales Then Leigh Mallory intervened and requested that the formation of the new Group be but into operation as soon as possible because as he stated that if his squadrons were kept busy intercepting the waves of German bombers heading for Wales from the North Sea and the Midlands across his group area then it was impossible to comply with the request for assistance that was often asked by Keith Park and also Fighter Command Headquarters for 9 Group was to be at Barton Hall about three miles to the north of Preston which actually was just across the border in Lancashire in England This was established in July 1940 and was the most suitable location regards to accessibility and communications Four sector stations airfields were allocated to 9 Group These were Ternhill Speke Jurby on the Isle of Man and Baginton All these sector stations would be under the command of Australian Air Vice Marshal W A McClaughry The date given as the official date that 9 Group was an operational group was 2nd October 1940 The next day the group made its first official combat operation when

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  • A History of World War Two, Battle of the Bulge
    The 1st 2nd 4th and 99th Infantry divisions held the shoulders of the bulge at Monschau and Echternach Other brave stands were made at St Vith by the 7th Armored Division and at Bastogne by the 101st Airborne Division and Combat Command B of the 10th Armored On December 26 the 4th Armored Division relieved encircled Bastogne ending the crisis The First and Third armies eliminated the bulge during January The Nazis lost 220 000 men and 1 400 tanks and assault guns Allied casualties totaled 40 000 The Battle of the Bulge was also called the BATTLE OF THE ARDENNES Dec 16 1944 Jan 16 1945 the last German offensive on the Western Front during World War II an unsuccessful attempt to push the Allies back from German home territory The name Battle of the Bulge was appropriated from Winston Churchill s optimistic description in May 1940 of the resistance that he mistakenly supposed was being offered to the Germans breakthrough in that area just before the Anglo French collapse the Germans were in fact overwhelmingly successful The bulge refers to the wedge that the Germans drove into the Allied lines After their invasion of Normandy in June 1944 the Allies moved rapidly across northern France into Belgium during the summer but lost momentum in the autumn In mid December Allied commander Gen Dwight D Eisenhower s 48 divisions distributed along a 600 mile front between the North Sea and Switzerland were caught unprepared by a German counterthrust in the hilly and wooded Ardennes region of southern Belgium While Allied aircraft were hampered by bad weather Gen Gerd von Rundstedt s 5th and 6th Panzer Armies launched two parallel attacks with the eventual aim of retaking the great port of Antwerp The 5th Army under Gen Hasso von Manteuffel

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