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WORLD WAR I

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On February 23, 1918 these were the first Dubuquers to be drafted and sent to fight in Europe. This photo was taken on the steps of the City Hall. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding and the Center for Dubuque History, Loras College
WORLD WAR I. Also known as the First World War, the Great War, and the "War to End All Wars," World War I was a global conflict which took place primarily in Europe from 1914 to 1918. More than 40 million casualties resulted, including approximately 20 million military and civilian deaths. Over 60 million European soldiers were mobilized from 1914 to 1918.

The event considered to have triggered war was the June 28, 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, by Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb citizen of Austria-Hungary. The retaliation by Austria-Hungary against the Kingdom of Serbia activated alliances that set off a series of war declarations. Within a month, much of Europe was in a state of open warfare.

The causes of the war date back to the unification of Germany and the changing balances of power among the European Great Powers in the early 20th century. These causes included French resentment over the loss of territory to Germany in the 19th century; the economic and military competition between Britain and Germany; and the German desire for equality with the other countries of Europe.

Children of Dubuque subscribers to the New York Times could cut out "action figures" printed in the newspaper, glue them to cardboard, and conduct their own "battles" in the living room. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
The war was fought between two major alliances. The Entente Powers consisted of France, the United Kingdom, Russia, and their associated empires and dependencies. Other states joined these allies including Japan in August 1914, Italy in April 1915, and the United States in April 1917. The Central Powers, named because of their central location on the European continent, consisted of Germany and Austria-Hungary and their associated empires. The Ottoman Empire joined the Central Powers in October 1914, followed a year later by Bulgaria. By the conclusion of the war, only The Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, the Scandinavian nations, and Monaco remained officially neutral among the European countries.
The Army Y.M.C.A. provided American soldiers with a play to buy items they needed and write letters home. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
World War I military uniform worn by Frank Kaiser. Photo courtesy: Jim Lang

The fighting of the war mostly took place on the European continent. The Western Front was marked by a system of trenches, breastworks, and fortifications separated by an area known as no man's land. These fortifications stretched 475 miles and led to a style of fighting known as "trench warfare." On the Eastern Front, the vastness of the eastern plains and the limited railroad network prevented the stalemate of the Western Front, though the scale of the conflict was just as large. There was heavy fighting on the Balkan Front, the Middle Eastern Front and the Italian Front; there were also hostilities at sea and in the air.

Investing in War-Savings Certificates allowed those at home to feel they were contributing to the war effort. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding

In 1917 the draft went into effect in Iowa. Various churches, patriotic organizations and service clubs held farewell dinner parties for all those entering the service with treats and presents given each of the soldiers. (1) One the grandest parties held occurred on July 20, 1918 when 260 draftees made ready to leave Dubuque for their induction center in Camp Gordon, Georgia. (2)

In July, 1918 the "District of Dubuque" was formed with Dubuque, Clayton, Delaware, Allamakee and Winneshiek counties. The organization of the Dubuque District recruiting committee was to secure men for the overseas work of the YOUNG MEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION (Y.M.C.A.). The local men in charge of the work included J. H. Spencer, chairman; F. W. Mahlke, secretary; and Frederick E. BISSELL, A. C. Buettrell, Rev. J. F. Clokey and Dr. Henry Glover LANGWORTHY. Applicants had to be above draft age, but not, as a rule over 50. "A winning personality ... as well as rugged health and physical strength" also played a role in who would be chosen for the duty of "doing for the men of the army what their fathers or mothers would do if they could." (3)

Dubuque provided many heroic soldiers to the conflict. Gaining special attention were Gustav BILLIS, Gottfried BLOCKLINGER, Charles W. CHAPMAN, Jr., Carl C. KRAKOW, Matthew SPAUTZ and the GOVERNOR'S GREYS.

At home, civilians were asked to help support the war effort. In the first Liberty Loan, over 65,000 Iowans bought $30,740,000 worth of bonds. A second Liberty Loan saw 288k000 Iowan buy $83,047,400 worth of bonds. The largest campaign was the Third Liberty Loan when 687,000 Iowa residents bought $119,0221,200 worth of bonds. (4)

Unlike WORLD WAR II there was no food rationing. Through slogans such as "Food Will Win the War", "Meatless Mondays", and "Wheatless Wednesdays", the United States Food Administration under Herbert Hoover reduced national consumption by 15%. (5) "Minute speaker" volunteers spoke briefly to theater audiences to remind them of upcoming fund drives. (6) Many invested in war savings certificates. Business responded quickly to the war. The DUBUQUE BOAT AND BOILER WORKS manufactured a variety of ships. The production of sub-chasers, in addition to other work orders, caused the company to advertise its immediate need for more workers. It was rumored that those involved with the construction of ships would not be drafted. (7)

After serving their country in the military, soldiers received their honorable discharge. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
The war was ended by several treaties, most notably the Treaty of Versailles, signed on June 28, 1919, though the Allied powers had an armistice with Germany in place since November 11, 1918.

At 1:46 a.m. news were reached in the offices of the Telegraph Herald from the Associated Press. "Within two minutes" the first Telegraph Herald 'extra' with the headlines "WAR ENDS" and only the briefest remarks was on the streets. News traveled quickly and crowds gathered on Main Street. People beat tin pans, rang bells and waved flags. (8)

Troops returning from war have always worried about getting jobs. When the American Legion complained that many were not able to get their old jobs back in Dubuque, the Telegraph Herald offered to print in a box on the first page the names of companies that have rehired soldiers. (9) The DUBUQUE FIRE AND MARINE INSURANCE COMPANY quickly reported that it had rehired fifteen of the sixteen men who served. The sixteenth had died in service. The Telegraph Herald had rehired every person who applied and was ready to rehire those still in the service. Special arrangements had been made with the Typographical Union that people hired to fill positions during the war would be required to give up those jobs to returning soldiers. METZ MANUFACTURING COMPANY had rehired five and was holding jobs for two others. (10)

First Congregational Church remembered its heroes.
After the war, the League of Nations was created as an international organization designed to avoid future wars by giving nations a means of solving their differences diplomatically. World War I ended the world order which had existed since the end of the Napoleonic Wars, but was an important factor in the outbreak of WORLD WAR II.

Headquartered in Indianapolis, the American Legion was founded in 1919 by veterans returning from Europe after World War I. It has nearly 3 million members and was instrumental in the creation of the U.S. Veterans' Bureau, now known as the Department of Veterans Affairs. (11) Commanders of the Dubuque American Legion include Edward C. FRUDDEN.

The sale of paper poppies annually in Dubuque and across the United States began as a result of the war. The Veterans of Foreign Wars conducted its first poppy distribution before Memorial Day in 1922, becoming the first veterans' organization to organize a nationwide distribution. The poppy soon was adopted as the official memorial flower of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States.

It was during the 1923 encampment that the VFW decided that VFW Buddy Poppies be assembled by disabled and needy veterans who would be paid for their work to provide them with some form of financial assistance. The plan was formally adopted during the VFW's 1923 encampment. The next year, disabled veterans at the Buddy Poppy factory in Pittsburgh assembled VFW Buddy Poppies. The designation "Buddy Poppy" was adopted at that time.

In February 1924, the VFW registered the name "Buddy Poppy" with the U.S. Patent Office. A certificate was issued on May 20, 1924, granting the VFW all trademark rights in the name of Buddy under the classification of artificial flowers. The VFW has made that trademark a guarantee that all poppies bearing that name and the VFW label are genuine products of the work of disabled and needy veterans. No other organization, firm or individual can legally use the name "Buddy" Poppy.

Today, VFW Buddy Poppies are still assembled by disabled and needy veterans in VA Hospitals.

The minimal assessment (cost of Buddy Poppies) to VFW units provides compensation to the veterans who assemble the poppies, provides financial assistance in maintaining state and national veterans' rehabilitation and service programs and partially supports the VFW National Home for orphans and widows of our nation's veterans. (12)

On November 11, 1938 hundreds of Dubuque residents joined with members of the American Legion at 8th and Main to observe the recently declared national holiday, Armistice Day. At 11:00 a.m. people paused briefly, turned to the east, and joined thousands nationwide in commemorating the dead of the First World War. (13)

American "doughboys" wore uniforms like this. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding.
A wall-hanging lovingly made to commemorate the participation of a family member in the "War to End All Wars." Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
World War I veterans are shown marching along Main Street after returning from war. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding and the Center for Dubuque History, Loras College
Sewing kit. Photo courtesy: Joseph Jacobsmeier
VFW parade during World War I.

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Source:

1. "First Party for Selectees Big Success," Telegraph Herald, July 14, 1942, p. 1. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=mz9FAAAAIBAJ&sjid=kbsMAAAAIBAJ&pg=5212,1195993&dq=dubuque+during+world+war+i&hl=en

2. Ibid.

3. "Seek Men for Overseas Work," Telegraph Herald, July 19, 1918, p. 3

4. "Iowa's Part in the World War," The Des Moines Register, Jan. 28, 1932

5. "Rationing" Wikipedia. Online: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rationing

6. $20,000 Red Cross Fund Drive Tuesday," Telegraph Herald, Jan. 18, 1942, p. 1. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=zDpFAAAAIBAJ&sjid=lLsMAAAAIBAJ&pg=4309,1906790&dq=minute+speakers+dubuque&hl=en

7. "Work Started on Two 'Sub Chasers," Telegraph Herald, May 10, 1917, p. 3. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=AQleAAAAIBAJ&sjid=6V8NAAAAIBAJ&pg=6710,1896930&dq=dubuque+boat+and+boiler+works&hl=en

8. "City Wild as News War's End Comes," Telegraph Herald, Nov. 11, 1921, p. 8. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=L5ZSAAAAIBAJ&sjid=vdAMAAAAIBAJ&pg=3647,4588010&dq=armistice+day+dubuque&hl=en

9. "These Dubuque Firms Have Employed Returned Soldiers," Telegraph Herald, June 5, 1919, p. 1. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=J19BAAAAIBAJ&sjid=I6kMAAAAIBAJ&pg=3685,8581&dq=dubuque+in+world+war+i&hl=en

10. Ibid.

11. Reber, Craig D. "Legion Commander in Dubuque," Telegraph Herald, July 8, 2008, p. 3. Online: http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=DQ&p_theme=dq&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=121D0A1C9E914588&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&s_trackval=GooglePM

12. "Buddy Poppy," http://www.vfw.org/Community/Buddy-Poppy/

13. "War Dead Are Honored Here," Telegraph Herald, Nov. 11, 1938, p. 1. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=6ddBAAAAIBAJ&sjid=8akMAAAAIBAJ&pg=5557,2650496&dq=dubuque+during+world+war+i&hl=en