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Redeemed Italy
Italy, since 1860 at least, has cherished the dream that some...

I Knew You Would Come
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The Miner And The Tiger
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The First To Fall In Battle
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The Kaiser's Crown
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Why The United States Entered The War
The United States was slow to enter the war, because her peop...

Just Before The Tide Turned
On the 27th of last May the Germans broke through the French ...

The United States Marines
Our flag's unfurled to every breeze From dawn to setti...

When The Tide Turned
THE AMERICAN ATTACK AT CHATEAU-THIERRY AND BELLEAU WOOD IN TH...

Harry Lauder Sings
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To Villingen--and Back
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Alsace-lorraine
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United States Day
United States Day was celebrated in Paris on April 20, 1918. ...

The Searchlights
Political morality differs from individual morality, because ...

Four Soldiers
THE BOCHE The boche was chiefly what his masters made him....

In Memoriam
[THE FIGHTING YEARS, 1914-1918] Ring out, wild bells, ...

Sergeant York Of Tennessee
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The Call To Arms In Our Street
There's a woman sobs her heart out, With her head agains...

Trees
I think that I shall never see A poem lovely as a tree. ...

A Boy Of Perugia
In the year 1500, Raphael was a boy of eighteen in Perugia wo...



The Poilu






The soldier of France, the poilu, is a crusader. He is fighting to
defend France, his great mother, in whose defense, centuries ago, the
invisible powers called and sustained Jeanne d'Arc. In his love of
country there is something almost religious, like that of the
Mohammedan for Mecca and Medina. To serve France, to fight for her, to
die for her--and every French soldier expects to die in battle--is a
privilege as well as a duty. He fights for his country as an
Englishman fights for his home. With the Englishman, his home comes
first and is nearest and dearest; with the Frenchman, his country.

Philip Gibbs, who has written from day to day, from the trenches and
the battlefields, letters that will never be forgotten because of their
beauty and truth, says of the French poilu:--

Yet if the English reader imagines that because this thread of
sentiment runs through the character of France there is a softness in
the qualities of French soldiers, he does not know the truth. Those
men whom I saw at the front and behind the fighting lines were as hard
in moral and spiritual strength as in physical endurance. It was this
very hardness which impressed me even in the beginning of the war, when
I did not know the soldiers of France as well as I do now. After a few
weeks in the field these men, who had been laborers and mechanics,
clerks and journalists, artists and poets, shop assistants and railway
porters, hotel waiters, and young aristocrats of Paris, were toned down
to the quality of tempered steel. With not a spare ounce of flesh on
them--the rations of the French army are not as rich as ours--and
tested by long marches down dusty roads, by incessant fighting in
retreat against overwhelming odds, by the moral torture of those
rearguard actions, and by their first experience of indescribable
horrors, among dead and dying comrades, they had a beauty of manhood
which I found sublime. They were bronzed and dirty and hairy, but they
had the look of knighthood, with a calm light shining in their eyes and
with resolute lips. They had no gayety in those days, when France was
in gravest peril, and they did not find any kind of fun in this war.
Out of their baptism of fire they had come with scorched souls, knowing
the murderous quality of the business to which they were apprenticed,
but though they did not hide their loathing of it, nor the fears which
had assailed them, nor their passionate anger against the people who
had thrust this thing upon them, they showed no sign of weakness. They
were willing to die for France, though they hated death, and in spite
of the first great rush of the German legions, they had a fine
intellectual contempt of that army, which seemed to me then
unjustified, though they were right, as history now shows. Man against
man, in courage and cunning they were better than the Germans, gun
against gun they were better, in cavalry charge and in bayonet charge
they were better, and in equal number irresistible.





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