Category: 1917

A German propaganda leaflet dropped on American lines. Germany had long portrayed itself as the opponent of the Anglo-Japanese alliance and its “Yellow Peril.”

The Royal Flying Corps official became its own branch, the Royal Air Force, in 1918. It is the oldest independent air service in the world.

French Chasseurs alpins on patrol.

“Did you enjoy the Kaiser’s birthday?” German officers in Italy, January 27, 1918.

Buy a Liberty Bond lest I perish.” American propaganda, 1917.

The wreck of the German mine-laying submarine UC-61. Stranded ashore near Boulougne, a troop of Belgian cavalry captured the crew!

January 7, 1917 – American Supreme Court Upholds Conscription

Picked – President Wilson picks the draft number.

Like Great Britain, the United States had a small volunteer army when it entered World War One, and an ingrained dislike of conscript armies. The last time a draft had been employed in America, during the Civil War, it caused riots and discontent. Many citizens claimed that had moved to America specifically to avoid such European tyranny.

But when the US joined the First World War in 1917, the President Wilson felt the only way to raise an army was through conscription. The government dissuaded volunteer-minded Americans (like Teddy Roosevelt) from signing up, recommending rather that men wait to be drafted and put where they were needed. Nevertheless, many Americans resisted the draft, particularly in the countryside. The most significant challenge came in court, where opponents argued that conscription infringed American civil liberties. On January 7, 1918, the Supreme Court presented its ruling in support of the Selective Service, stating unanimously that Congress had the power to conscript and equip an army during wartime.

Royal Artillery gunners retire to their billets in an overturned water-tower. Bapaume, January 5, 1917.

The men of the Imperial Camel Corps. From left: Australian, British, New Zealander, Indian.

British troops put on a pantomime of Cinderella at Bapaume. Sport and theater were very popular diversions behind the lines, but the women’s parts usually had to played by men.