Category: france

                                              …

                                                       We survived Verdun

WW1 French soldiers, Verdun survivors, celebrating life with their small menagerie and drinks of pinard.

“With this first snow, gently covering the bar…

“With this first snow, gently covering the barns and sheds, woods and fields,
graves and crosses, along came winter… and silence and peace.”

1918, France
– D’une guerre mondiale à l’autre: (1918 – 1945) – Photo : WW1 – La Contemporaine

‘November 12-14 1918. Wash cars and clean barr…

‘November 12-14
1918. Wash cars and clean barracks. Work on cars late at night. Word comes that we advance as Army of
Occupation.
Begin to see returning civilians. A few prisoners of war, all beg for bread.’ 

American ambulance driver in Aisne, France  – Weber State University – WW1, Meuse sector, American drivers washing their vehicles. US National Archives.

‘November 13 1918 – I have been so busy …

‘November 13 1918 – I have been so busy celebrating that I
haven’t had time to write for a while. I suppose everyone is happy in the
States but I’m sure they can’t celebrate like they do here. They say it will
last for 8 days! But I don’t see how they can keep it up that long. I have been
downtown the last two nights and never had so much fun or laughed so much in my
life!

But oh, how anxious we are to start home! Of course we don’t
know a thing about it yet. I am sure counting on being back by early spring.

I can dream of home tonight.’

American ambulance driver in France – Loren Elliot’s letters
– Ambulance Cie 347, 87th Division – Photo: November 1918, celebrating
the armistice in France. US National Archives

“November 11 1918 – It’s all over,…

“November 11 1918 – It’s all over, we are no longer at war.
What joy – the champagne
flows. There’s a smile on everyone’s lips, no more fighting, we’ll be able to
move without fearing a bullet, a shell, a rocket, or gas – the war is over!”

A French Soldier’s War Diary 1914-1918 –– Photo: November 11 1918, somewhere in France near the front, joyfull French soldiers celebrating the armistice.

“November 10 1918 – We talked with many …

“November 10 1918 – We talked with many civilians and heard
of the boche treatment etc. We shook hands with one old lady who said we were
the first Americans she had seen and she beamed over with joy of their liberation
from the boche. On call this
evening. Beaucoup traffic. Getting more « guerre »
before it ends. We sure do, as the boche are shelling Mezières. The hospital
full of sick civilians has been struck and was burning.”

American ambulance driver in Mezières, Meuse Argonne, France – Arthur B Eddy’s diary – Orleans County Department of History –
Photo: WW1,  France, American ambulance
drivers talking with a French lady.

University
of Kentucky Archives

“November 10 1918 – Good God, what a day…

“November 10 1918 – Good God, what a day! Could this be really
the end? Or will we have to fight tomorrow? Anything would be better than
this uncertainty. Unable to say a word, we stare at each other in silence with
only one thing in mind: the end! Before these talks of peace started, we
thought that this war would never end.”

French soldier’s diary – Carnets de Guerre et Notes de Marceau Denoncelle – Chtimiste – Photo :
WW1 French soldiers in their trench. La contemporaine

‘November 10 1918 – Had pictures taken by Fren…

‘November
10 1918 – Had pictures taken by French photographer & packed up for St
Benoit to establish First Aid Station in château of President Poincaré. Busy.
Artillery fire.’

American
ambulance driver in Saint-Benoit en Woëvre, Meuse, France – Diary
of J. Reah Hollinger – Franklin & Marshall College – Photo: 1918, French
photographer taking pictures of French and American soldiers holding French and
American flags. US Signal Corps

                                              …

                                                  November 10 1918, foggy and cold

“Fog in
the morning, clearing at 10 a.m. Cold. The morning paper says – “Abdication of
the Kaiser  – German Envoys listened to
terms in Marshal Foch’s train at the Rethondes early this morning.“ Everyone certain this
morning that the war is over. No one wants to work, everyone wants to talk.
Excitement almost hysterical.”

Diary of American doctor in France – A Dartmouth Doctor in WWI – Dartmouth Library

Photo: Late morning of November 10th 1918, Rethondes, Compiegne forest, France
– This famous photo shows a French sentinel and Foch’s train in the background
in one of the most beautiful forests in
France. It was there that the armistice was signed; today it is a hiker’s
paradise, with deer roaming freely.

“November 9 1918 – Apart from the remote…

“November 9 1918 – Apart from the remote possibility
of air-raids, Paris is a joyous city to be in; its
atmosphere is exceedingly optimistic. The theatres are crowded, the cafes busy,
the shops doing a thriving business. Well-dressed ladies are everywhere, and the
proverbial gayety of the great capital seems undiminished. There is, of course,
the undercurrent of suffering, borne with a smiling face but the indomitable
spirit of France will not submit to gloom!”

William
C Edgar
, American journalist in Paris – Photo: 1918, happy American and French
ladies in Paris by U.S.
Signal Corps photographer Wesley Strait – Niles Laughner’s Militaria Blog & First World War on Film