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This is a news photo service photograph from the very beginning of post-WWI. It was released the day after the war ended (or at least the day after the armistice was signed) and reiterated the situation that there were many women workers in industries throughout England1, and that they would be there for some time to come--or at least until the soldiers returned.
1. For example, something on the order of 80% of munitions workers 1917/18 were women.
This section of the blog is dedicated to photographs made during World War I--the official photographs, because the control of military images during the 1914-1919 period was very nearly complete.
Photographs were made by pools of photographers working for several different photographic news agencies. The content of the images were generally secured and approved by the Committee for Public Information (CPI), which came into existence by executive order under President Woodrow Wilson on April 13, 1917, and which was charged with the task of wining the hearts and minds of the people of the U.S., to gain public support for the war and for American participation.
It is somewhat both ironic and not terribly uncommon for Wilson to have run for the presidency for one thing and then doing exactly the opposite, as he did with his 1916 re-election campaign slogan "He Kept Us out of War".
The way that many newspapers obtained the war images that they published in their papers was via a semi-centralized pool of war images. The newspaper would request, say, a photo of German prisoners, and would contact one of these photographic agencies—for example, say, the Central News Photo Service of 26-28 Beaver Street, NYC—and purchase the rights for republication, and then print it in the newspaper along with the story. In almost every case the photo would be accompanied by a caption mimeographed onto an attached piece of cheap paper, or have the information stamped on the reverse.
Photography was just one aspect of the information distribution and control by CPI--there were also thousands of Newspaper articles, public speakers (the famous "Four Minute Men" who would give some 7 million pepper talks at the beginnings of movies and public events), radio broadcasts, films, posters, demonstrations and anti-demonstrations, and other public displays.
The image below shows the arrival of U.S. nurses in England, on their way to the Western Front arena in support of General Pershing's army. The photograph caption is dated 1/14/18, less than a month away fro mt he end of the war. That said there was considerable fighting being done right up to the bitter end.
I came across this field drawing in the September 21, 1919 issue of Stars and Stripes. It is called "Home Again", and depicts the conditions of the homeless in post-WWI Europe...unfortunately I cannot decipher the name of the town, though I suspect it is either Belgian or French (not too much of a leap of faith with that). For the dozens of millions of casualties in WWI, there were also many millions of people left destitute and homeless. This small illustration shows one case, the residents of this town forced to take shelter in the dugouts1 (see below for the OED definitions and history of the word) of an old U.S. Army trench.
Dugouts are more-or-less what the name implies, a shelter dug into the side of a trench to offer cover from shrapnel and the elements; these could be a hidey-hole the size of a soldier, or could be larger to house several soldiers at a time, though in general they were small, cramped affairs, meant to be sat rather than stood in. The design was also governed by the amount of trench depth that you had to work with. Sometimes the dugout would be attached to a tunnel leading deep under the trenches that would house headquarters and such and accompany man more men than the usual occupancy of, say, 1-4 soldiers. These seem to be more expansive than normal, being fully the height of a person, with more enclosure, and an awning.
This strikes me as a particularly difficult image of the post-war situation
The following images are found at the Imperial War Museum, here: http://www.iwm.org.uk/history/podcasts/voices-of-the-first-world-war/podcast-20-trench-life
A simple dugout, no doubt fashioned in necessity according to what was available:
Here's an example of a more deeply dug dugout ("fifteen feet underground"):
Also, via a find by Public Domain Review, this 1916 soldier's definition of "dugout":
Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/collections/made-in-the-trenches-a-ww1-magazine-created-by-soldiers-1916/ Original source: Made in the Trenches, composed entirely from articles & sketches contributed by soldiers, edited by Sir Frederick Treves and George Goodchild; 1916; George Allen and Unwin , London.
The 1919 Treaty of Versailles was the peace treaty ending WWI. The 440-clause treaty spent the first two dozen or so clauses discussing the creation of President Wilson's League of Nations, while the rest was a distribution of punishment and reparations against/on Germany. The German military as directed by Versailles was limited to 100,000 soldiers, and had 1926 machine guns, and 2886 cannons. as stipulated Germany could have no tanks and no air force, and was limited to six ships and no subs, and had to keep the Rhineland free of all armed forces.
This infographic displayed some of what was given over by the Germans. Unfortunately I do not have the original source for this--it may have been from Punch in 1918, though I am not sure. In any event, it is interesting, and descriptive:
See another post (with other links) on this blog regarding German military strength in 1929:
I came upon this image unexpectedly with the sneaking realization that I have rarely (ever?) seen the words "London" and "Surrender" together. But there it was, in the high-end satirical and critical magazine, Punch, or the London Chiaravari, in the January 1917 "Almanack" section. WWI was a war of stunning adjectives, and in 1917 their brutal nature grew even greater. The aerial bombing raids which commenced in 1915 extended to London, thanks in large part to Ferdinand von Zeppelin. During the war there were 50-odd bombing raids to the U.K., causing 1900 casualties, the result of 5000 bombs dropped from airships. In 1917 the raids were more the result of airplane bombing, with 27 raids and 2700 casualties. So compared to WWII standards the damage and casualties inflicted on the population was not great--except of course these people weren't living in their future, and the practice of dropping bombs from the sky was only a few years old (and the Wright brothers' flight took place only 11 years before the start of the war) the idea of being blasted by Zeppelins and airplanes must have been a furious worry.
That's what gives this cartoon such a poignancy, with the great newness of this new fear, the Brits displayed a characteristic "stiff upper lip" in the face of aerial attack--in this case perpetrated by the Count himself. Here is Zeppelin being lowered from one of his airships over a compliant and surrendering London populace--no doubt the "surrender" part being far from anyone's mind. Zeppelin would be dead in two months, and his airship replaced by a newer adversary, but right here in January, 1917, the Count and the fear of his attacks were being deflated, somewhat, displayed in a ridiculous situation so far removed from reality that its impossible possibility is humorous.
The real thing caused a lot more damage via fear and trepidation than it did with actual casualties--unless you or your family were a casualty, and then it is a different story. But the fear was real, and it was used/displayed in a very provocative recruitment poster:
One of the odd, interesting things that might not occur to the casual reader about the scope of the massiveness of WWI is, well, its massive newness in being massive. A significant measure of this is simply the number of people who served, compared to the number of people who served King and country at other times. For example, in 1905, at a high point of empire, there were approximately 450,000 serving; for the length of WWI, something on the order of 7 million men were in uniform. In the first few months of the beginning of the war in 1914, there was nearly this number who enlisted, and then another 300,000 in just another two months later.
Quickly put, this is a new and enormous army, and that means that with an army of millions there are hugely increased demands on keeping the army going--outfitted, fed, housed, equipped, moved, trained, and then, of course, led into battle.
The army needed an army, and in some cases, that army consisted of women, particularly in the munitions industry, where the increased need for a vastly articulated labor force was deeply felt, and which became much more apparent by the the middle of 1915, after the development of the shell shortage. The involvement of women grew greatly after the introduction of military conscription in 1916, and by 1917 something on the order of 80% of all munitions workers in the U.K. were women (according to Christopher Addison, the Minister of Munitions)--there were some 212,000 women in munitions at the end of 1914, by the end of the war there were nearly a million.
That said, these were paying positions, and though the women were in the majority of the workers and therefore of great importance to the production of munitions, they were paid fractionally what the men were being paid.1
[Source: Horace Nicholls, British Official Photographer, Imperial War Museum IWMQ 30040, "Female munitions workers guide 6 inch howitzer shells being lowered to the floor at the Chilwell ammunition factory in Nottinghamshire, UK."]
The work was dangerous not only for the obvious reasons, but also for the toxic side effects of working with the chemicals to produce the explosives. That's where the "Canary2 girls" comes in. The name comes from the side effects of workers handling the component chemicals in T.N.T., that would affect the color of the worker's hair, and skin, and eyes--turning them yellow--and then eventually leading to liver failure. It could also be transmitted to the worker's babies (known as "canary babies"). It was an issue that was known, and addressed in medical journals during the war; some of the issues in the danger of the toxic elements in creating the munitions were addressed, but certainly not fully, and the work went necessarily on.
1. According to the website Spartacus Educational http://spartacus-educational.com/Wmunitions.html "...1918, whereas the average male wage in the munitions industry was £4 6s. 6d. for women it was only £2 2s. 4d" which is nowhere near equal pay.
Here's a couple of references, the very tip of the tip, of work that has been done on the women munition workers, the first dealing with toxic exposure of the workers to T.N.T. and the second on the munitionettes in general:
'Toxic Jaundice in Munition Workers', Matthew J. Stewart, M.B.; The Lancet, Volume 189, Issue 4874, 27 January 1917, Pages 153–155
Munitionettes, 1914-1918 (many links and references), https://munitionettesww1svhlf.wordpress.com/shaping-voices-volunteer-researchers/cherine-maskill/
Another very good site for images of Munitionettes: Science and Society Picture,Library http://www.scienceandsociety.co.uk/results.asp?txtkeys1=Munitionettes
BBC News "World War One: The risks for women on the home front" http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-26225744
"July 22nd 1916 Today I was shown over the factory as a great favour. First I saw cordite made into charges. Each charge consists of five or six little bagsful and a core. Each little bag is shaped like a lifebelt. The quantity of cordite it contains has to be weighed to a pin’s head. Even the silk it is sewn up with is weighed. Each bag contains a different weight and the five or six are then threaded on the core. The core is made of a bundle of cordite like a faggot. The whole charge is then packed in a box with a detonator. Then I was shown the lyddite works. This is a bright canary yellow powder (picric acid) and comes to the factory in wooden tubs. It is then sifted. The house (windows, doors, floor and walls) is bright yellow, and so are the faces & hands of all the workers. As soon as you go in the powder in the air makes you sneeze and splutter and gives you a horrid bitter taste at the back of the throat. After sifting, the acid is put in cans and stood in tanks where it is boiled until it melts into a clear fluid like vinegar. Then it is poured into the shell case. But a mould is put in before it has time to solidify. This mould when drawn out leaves a space down the middle of the shell. Before it is drawn out beeswax is poured in, & then several cardboard washers put in. Then the mould is replaced by a candle shaped exploder of TNT or some other very high explosive is put in. After this the freeze cap is screwed in and then two screws have to be put in to hold it firm. The holes for these screws must not be drilled straight into the detonator. If they do the thing explodes." - See more at: http://alphahistory....h.7vwIX7ui.dpuf
2. The canary was as we all know a symbol of life and death in the mines, used to detect carbon monoxide--if the canary in the cage in the mine died, then the miners knew it was time to hustle away. The idea was originated by the fabulously-mustached John Scott Haldane at the end of the 19th c--as it turns out Haldane was a very busy guy who in addition to much else pioneered the gas mask at the beginning of WWI
This great photograph was made in 1918 and stamped on the reverse "Photo by Central News Photo Service" of NYC. It shows the launching of the U.S.S. Agawam, the first standardized ship launched by the U.S. Navy (according to a New York Times article for May 3, 1918, ("FIRST FABRICATED SHIP; The Agawam, Forerunner of Standardized Fleet, to be Launched Today").
The image reminds me in a way of the launching of the Dreadnought, which in some ways was another beginning of WWI, or at least of the naval race right before the war and of the competition for naval superiority between the Germany and England. And I remember how King Edward VII, rickety with illness, climbed the stairs to deliver his speech, and to break open the bottle of Australian wine against the Dreadnought's bow. Except that the bottle didn't break on the first attempt--a somewhat forbidding element, except that it was her bow that Dreadnought used to sink a German sub. The ship revolutionized naval technology and Germany played catch-up to it (and in effect an entire new class of battleship) right to the beginning of the war. Less than 15 years later, the Dreadnought was sold for scrap.
I found this in The War of the Nations, a Pictorial Portfolio of World War I, published by the New York Times (originally in 1919). I'm not too much of a fan of big picture books of big events, but this one is really very provocative and useful in spite of the heritage of such publications. This image of what the U.S. foot soldier carried off to war is vexing, mainly because it shows both a lot and a little--first it looks as though there are too many straps and bits that would get in the way, too much motion of too many things; and then it looks like what they carried was hardly anything at all, compared to the modern soldier. Either way, it looks like a tough go.
See also the following posts for what soldiers carried into battle:
"What They Wore, 1941" http://longstreet.typepad.com/thesciencebookstore/2015/05/what-they-wore-the-us-soldier-may-1941.html
"Things They Took to War, 1915" http://longstreet.typepad.com/thesciencebookstore/2010/01/things-they-took-to-war-1915-officialissue-pocket-contents.html
The caption to this photograph read that these soldiers "have other advantages of a clubhouse and social centre", which on the face of its seems like an outrageous statement, but when you compare this to whatever else was available to these soldiers, then this seems to be not far from the truth. After all, these soldiers were warm, dry, and nobody was shooting at them.
Source: War of the nations: portfolio in rotogravure etchings compiled from the Mid-week pictorial; New York Times, 1919. (The original of this is available and not terribly uncommon; it is a big book--500+pp--and about 16 inches tall, and makes for a great breeze-through.)
An online version is found here: https://archive.org/details/warofnationsport00unse
"The increasing number of Negroes in the United States about 15,000,000 [sic] would create for the white race in the Republic a menace of degeneracy were it not that an impassable gulf has been made between them..."--"Secret Information Concerning Black American Troops", Crisis, 1919
During WWI U.S. troops included dozens of thousands of African Americans. Unfortunately a sizable percentage of the U.S. Army's leadership perception of these fighters was that they were not dependable, and the difficulties of having Blacks fight alongside (or near) Whites was an issue too great in many cases to bear. So in order to send these troops into battle some were reassigned to the French army. And so it came to pass that regiments would be formed of U.S. soldiers wearing French helmets, carrying French weapons, using French kit, eating French rations, fighting with French soldiers under French leadership, but wearing U.S. Army uniforms. Many of these men went on to high honors, and some--like those comprising the 369th Infantry Regiment of the 93d Division (the Harlem Hellfighters) who were attached to the French 161st Division would achieve renown for never losing a man to capture, and never giving an inch of ground.
What were we thinking?
That question is now easily answered, but not so much in 1918. In 1919, however, W.E.B. DuBois published (and made "infamous"1) a 1918 memo that was intended for French military leadership on how to deal with the American Negro, a document known as "Secret Information Concerning Black American Troops". It was signed by a Colonel (Jean L.A.) Linard, who was a French liason officer at the AEF headquarters, and was a document detailing American expectations of the French in dealing with the Black soldier, and "which carried the imprimateur of Pershing's staff"2. The document was signed by Linard and had a very whispy feel of it being of French origin, but the implications were that it was the U.S. Army communicating their interests to the French rather than Linard's own initiative in translating U.S. attitudes towards Black people. DuBois himself wrote in introducing the piece that "no one for a moment supposes he [Linard] was the author of it"3,4.
The French were being instructed on American interpretations of White-Black race relations, and to remember that extensions of social freedoms to the Black soldiers was unacceptable as "intolerable pretensions of equality", and to abide by the guidelines in the corrupting document, as the French treatment of our Black soldiers was seen as being liberal and equal and so therefore divisive and dangerous.
It is a miserable exhortation--so much so that after the war, when the French National Assembly was told of the Secret Information, the matter became a scandal.5 The contents of the document and the general awareness of the U.S. military to instill a Jim Crow existence in France was not entirely as "secret" as its name implies, as it was evidently known at least to the 369th in the spring of 1918. (Richard Slotkin wrote that "Harlem got hold of it within the month"6.) No doubt that this had a very negative impact on the soldiers who were being described in it and at the same time fighting and dying for their country.
The introduction ends informing the French that their equal treatment of Black people was an "indulgence" that caused "grievous concern" and was an "affront" to U.S. national policy. It really is nothing but all shades of bad:
[Source, W.E.B. DuBois, The Crisis, volume 18, #1, overall number 103, May 1919. Full text here via Google Books: http://tinyurl.com/new4ppe]
I posted this thinking that I had never heard the sound of a gas warning siren--or any other noise-making instrument--signifying the onset of a poison gas attack during WWI. So I went poking around the web, looking for an audio recording of one. I did find contemporary audio of an antique instrument--this was a dreadful sound, sounding somewhat like a high-pitched pulse-jet engine. It is an awful sound (linked below) though I am sure that it did its job very effectively.
I haven't yet found a contemporary recording, though I've got a notion that if no audio recording was made for training films and such that they may exist in movies.
Sirens of course was one method of alerting troops to a gas attack--there were also bells of all shapes and sizes, and kettles, wooden clappers, rattles, empty shell cases, and other such things.
Here's a compelling image of conflicting emotional input, this showing a kettle with a clanger attached by a wire:
I've written earlier in this blog on fabulosity in land battleships though not so much about the real thing.
For example, in "Movable Maginot: a Feast of Morbidly Techno-Gigantism", http://longstreet.typepad.com/thesciencebookstore/2012/12/moveable-maginot-a-feast-of-morbidly-techno-gigantism.html, as well as others:
[Also "moveable maginot" is a phrase that does not show up online, except for here.]
Moving away from the mega-behemoth of imagination, let's have a look at this loco-tank as it was contrived and constructed in 1916, with the photograph appearing in Popular Mechanics Magazine for November, 1916 (midway through WWI).
There is an image that I have in my head of a grey train car of WWI. There were trains that would pull into stations of large cities, trains with cars of wounded soldiers back from the front, with Red Cross designations on the car sides. Crowds would come to the station to see and cheer the wounded soldiers.
There were some trains that would pull a car at the very end of the line, a car with no cross. It was in these cars that the shell shocked soldiers would sometimes be brought back home.
"War neurosis" and "combat stress" was generally what was known as "shell shock" (not named until 1917 by Charles Myers), and what we'd more commonly referred to today as post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD). Shell shock was little understood during the war, and soldiers who manifested the behaviors associated with it were often accused of cowardice, and desertion, and in some cases faced disciplinary action that could end in jail or (in some cases) death. They certainly weren't necessarily treated as "wounded", and so it seems for the most part they were treated as separate cases.
Given what was known of shell shock the treatment to the modern eye can look severe, odd, and austere, and wrong--soldiers were subjected to electro-shock therapy, physical routines leading to exhaustion, solitary confinement, and simple incarceration. In other cases the condition would be recognized as a defense detriment and in order to alleviate it the soldiers would be sent back from the front for a few days' rest. The problem with shell shock though would continue to grow, and could be seen as a threat to a fighting force in general, and therefore some of the official responses to it left no doubt that succumbing to shell shock was a serious business, and that soldiers so afflicted would be treated differently from other wounded soldiers.2
By 1917 though Major Arthur Hurst devised a new method for treating the shell shocked soldier, with a major emphasis establishing the condition as caused by battle, and not a flight-not-fight syndrome. At the Seale-Hayne Hospital, in Devon, Hurst treated some 300 soldiers over the course of 15 months, from April 1918 to July 1919, and seemed to have caused some real improvement. That said, there were many detractors of his methods, and many more who questioned its effectiveness--to that end there seems to be no longitudinal data to support much of a claim for long-term success in Hurst's treatment.
He did however make a major contribution to the treatment of PTSD by attempting to deal with it medically, and also employing a large dose of occupational therapy in additiion to many other proactive responses to shell shock. In another interesting and pioneering move Austin made use of motion picture cameras to record the before/after effects of his treatments. This however has also come into question because some amount of the "before" images were dramatized1.
I found these videos of the Hurst treatments on youtube, and whether some of the "before treatment" footage was acted or not, the images are very jarring:
There are also a few samples of the magazine/newspaper produced at Seale-Hayner Hospital during this time, with contributions by the patients, some of which is reproduced below:
More photographs are available here: http://seale-hayne.com/?flagallery=seale-hayne-military-hospital
And more: http://www.seale-hayne.com/books/mag1st/#p=1 http://www.seale-hayne.com/books/magWW1/#p=2
The poet Siegfried Sassoon (1886–1967) described victims of shell shock in his 1917 poem "Survivors", written while Sassoon was himself being treated for the condition at the more-enlightened Craiglockhart medical facility in Edinburgh, and published in Counter-Attack and Other Poems (1918):
NO doubt they’ll soon get well; the shock and strain Have caused their stammering, disconnected talk. Of course they’re ‘longing to go out again,’— These boys with old, scared faces, learning to walk. They’ll soon forget their haunted nights; their cowed Subjection to the ghosts of friends who died,— Their dreams that drip with murder; and they’ll be proud Of glorious war that shatter’d all their pride... Men who went out to battle, grim and glad; Children, with eyes that hate you, broken and mad.
1. "From 1917 to 1918, Major Arthur Hurst filmed shell-shocked patients home from the war in France. Funded by the Medical Research Committee, and using Pathé cameramen, he recorded soldiers who suffered from intractable movement disorders as they underwent treatment at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Netley and undertook programs of occupational therapy at Seale Hayne in Devon. " From: "War Neuroses and Arthur Hurst: A Pioneering Medical Film about the Treatment of Psychiatric Battle Casualties", by Edgar Jones, Journal of the History of Medicine, May 2011, http://jhmas.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2011/05/19/jhmas.jrr015,
2. "When evacuation to the base hospital is necessary, cases should be treated in a separate hospital or separate sections of a hospital, and not with the ordinary sick and wounded patients. Only in exceptional circumstances should cases be sent to the United Kingdom, as, for instance, men likely to be unfit for further service of any kind with the forces in the field. This policy should be widely known throughout the Force."--Report of the War Office Committee of Enquiry into "Shell-Shock", 1922.
See also a good entry "War Psychiatry", in WWI Online, http://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/article/war_psychiatry
[Detail from the cover of a juvenile adventure story taking place in the trenches, 1918; source below.]
I'm accumulating some titles for trench warfare in WWI that are all available online. I was a little surprised to find as many as I did. Here it goes:
There are a number of useful diagrams, including the following (which reminds me in a vague way of Feynman diagrams):
Source for the two above images: Use of mines in trench warfare (from the French school of St. Cyr) Translated and edited at the Army war college. July, 1917. by United States. Army War College, Washington, D.C. Published 1917
Selections of WWI Trench-related Manuals--Full text:
Trench warfare, by Major Jas. A. Moss, U.S. Army; being a practical manual for the training and instruction of officers and men in trench warfare, based on the latest... by Moss, James A. 1872-1941. Published 1917 http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=njp.32101042554194;view=thumb;seq=1
The caption for this photograph describes it as action at St. Quentin, though I can find no evidence as to what particular battle at St. Quentin it refers to, which means it can be from 1914 to 1918. The photograph was taken by the German photographic journalist Hermann Rex, and was published in Der Weltkrieg in seiner Rauhen Wirklichkeit...in 1926. I've written a little about Rex elsewhere on this blog, and how his work seems to have been subjected less to censorship of "difficult" images than many. Certainly his book is grittier than many I have seen, though I cannot identify his work as it was published during the war. (It is my impression, in general, that after having looked at all of the issues of Illustrated London News and Illusrirte Zeitung for 1914-1918, that the German illustrations/photos seem to have been less restrictive in displaying death and destruction.)
The image below made a very strong impression, stronger still as I looked more closely.