America's War for Humanity

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America's War for Humanity

Berichtdoor Tandorini » 05 aug 2011, 10:13

CHAPTER I
WHY WE WENT TO WAR
MEMORIES OF BEAUTIFUL FRANCE—WHY I WAS NOT ACCEPTED AS CONSUL TO GERMANY
BY HON. JAMES MARTIN MILLER
FORMER UNITED STATES CONSUL IN FRANCE

To have lived on the principal battle ground of the world war was a privilege the author did not appreciate at the time. As representative of the United States Government in the Consular district of France that includes the departments of the Aisne, Ardennes, Marne, Aube, Meuse, Vosges, Haute-Marne and Meurthe-et-Moselle, he lived and had his headquarters at Reims, some years before the war. Reims is (or rather was) a beautiful city of 112,000 people. The story of the city goes back to the days of the Roman empire, and bears the mark of many Gallic insurrections. In comparatively later times Joan of Arc caused Charles VII to be crowned in the great Cathedral there—one of the most glorious and stately in all Europe, now a ruin. A history of the eight departments (or small states) mentioned above would include a history of the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71, and of the greatest and most desperate of all wars, the one just brought to a close.

My Consular district bordered on Belgium, Luxemburg and Alsace-Lorraine. The Marne, the Aisne, the Vesle, and other streams whose names adorn with sad pride so many of America's battle-flags, flow through it. After 1914 Belgium saw very little fighting; but this district saw almost four years of continuous and enormous battle. It was overrun time and again. Neither Belgium nor any other country suffered such devastation, nor such material destruction. Today it is a vast graveyard. Hundreds of thousands of men dyed its soil with their lifeblood. All America and all the world knows about Chateau Thierry and St. Mihiel, and the gallantry of American troops in those two brilliant and significant actions. It is difficult to realize the stupendous tragedy that through all those years hung over that beautiful country, whose fields were once as familiar to me as any fields of home. I look back to that time with affection, in the glow of happy memories.

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