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Americans All!: Foreign-born Soldiers in World War I by Nancy Gentile Ford

By Nancy Gentile Ford

During the 1st international warfare, approximately part 1000000 immigrant draftees from forty-six varied countries served within the U.S. military. This surge of outdated international squaddies challenged the yank military's cultural, linguistic, and non secular traditions and required army leaders to think again their education tools for the foreign-born troops. How did the U.S. warfare division combine this different team right into a united combating strength? The warfare division drew at the reports of innovative social welfare reformers, who labored with immigrants in city cost homes, and so they listened to business potency specialists, who hooked up strive against functionality to morale and group of workers administration. possibly most importantly, the army enlisted assistance from ethnic group leaders, who assisted in education, socializing, and Americanizing immigrant troops and who harassed the army to acknowledge and meet the $64000 cultural and spiritual wishes of the ethnic infantrymen. those neighborhood leaders negotiated the Americanization approach by way of selling patriotism and loyalty to the USA whereas protecting key ethnic cultural traditions. providing a thrilling examine an unexplored quarter of army historical past, american citizens All! Foreign-born squaddies in international warfare I constitutes a piece of specified curiosity to students within the fields of army background, sociology, and ethnic reviews. Ford's learn illuminates what it intended for the U.S. army to reexamine early twentieth-century nativism; rather than forcing squaddies right into a melting pot, warfare division rules created an environment that made either American and ethnic satisfaction appropriate. in the course of the battle, a German officer commented at the ethnic variety of the yankee military and famous, with a few amazement, that those ''semi-Americans'' thought of themselves to be ''true-born sons in their followed country.'' The officer was once mistaken on one count number. The immigrant infantrymen weren't ''semi-Americans''; they have been ''Americans all!''

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Other major cities including New York; Cleveland; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Boston; and Omaha, Nebraska, and it grew rapidly to include over , members in nearly  branches throughout the United States. 31 The Slav Press Bureau, established by the Bohemian National Alliance and the Slovak League of America, kept the Allied war cause in front of the immigrant public years before the Committee on Public Information began its propaganda campaign. In January, , the Czech Catholic community joined in the call for independence when they unified into the National League of Czech Catholics.

As they welcomed the leader to Pilsen Park in Chicago. ”47 Most of the recruiting drives clearly combined American patriotism with ethnic pride. In a moving speech, Lieutenant Horvat, a Slovakian clergyman serving in the Legion, told the audience, “There are no differences in the Czechoslovak Army. Czech and Slovaks stand as equals, and shoulder to shoulder, with one aim—to humble the age-old common enemy. . You in America know what liberty means. ”48 The Chicago Military Committee for the Czechoslovak Army recruited in the Midwest.

Czech and Slovak artists designed buttons, stamps, badges, postcards, posters, and maps, which were sold to raise funds for the fight for independence. ”32 Once the United States declared war, ethnic leaders saw their peoples’ participation in the fighting as a way of demonstrating loyalty to their adopted country and bringing “liberation and independence” to their homeland. An April, , article in Chicago’s Denni Hlasatel summed it up best: “We live in America as free citizens[, and] we enjoy here freedom of speech and of the press.

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