100 Years of Saving the French
By: Ralph Reiland
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, February 27, 2003
Germany declared war on France on August 3, 1914. In April 1917, the United States declared war on Germany, the same month as The French Mutiny. A high school history book describes the insurrection by French troops: "French replacements marched past their generals bleating like sheep. They believed they were being led like animals to the slaughter. Some 30,000 men decided to leave their trenches and walk home. Some 54 divisions, about one-half of the French army, refused to obey orders from commanding generals."
By May 1918, more than 500,000 American soldiers were in France. Allied with forces from Britain and Italy, American troops threw the Germans back from Paris in August 1918. On November 11, 1918, the Germans surrendered, effectively ending World War I.
SOME GAVE ALL
Altogether, 136,516 Americans lost their lives in World War I.
* Located near the village of Belleau in France is the 42-acre American Battle Monument Cemetery St. Mihiel. Nearly all of the 2,289 American dead buried there were killed in the battles of Chateau-Thierry and Belleau Wood in 1918. A Wall of the Missing in the cemetery contains the names of 1,060 Americans missing in action.
* The largest American Battle Monument Cemetery of World War I is located near Romaqne-sous-Montfaucon in France. The 130-acre cemetery contains the remains of 14,246 American war dead. Engraved on the Wall of the Missing in the cemetery are the names of 954 unidentified or missing American soldiers.
* The American Battle Monument Cemetery Oise-Aisne is fourteen miles from Chateau-Thierry where the majority of the 6,012 Americans buried at this 36-acre site were killed in action. A Wall of the Missing in the Oise-Aisne cemetery contains the names of 241 Americans.
* Near the village of Bony in France, the 14-acre American Battle Monument Cemetery Somme is the final resting place for 1,844 American soldiers. The Wall of the Missing in the Somme cemetery lists the names of 333 American soldiers whose bodies were not recovered.
* Most of the 4,152 American soldiers buried at the 40-acre American Battle Monument Cemetery near Thiaucort, France, died in the September 1918 offensive that defeated the German forces that were threatening Paris. The Wall of the Missing in the cemetery lists the names of 284 Americans.
* At Mont Valerin on the outskirts of Paris, the 7.5-acre American Battle Monument Cemetery Suresnes contains the World War I and World War II graves of 1,541 Americans. The Wall of the Missing in the Suresnes cemetery memorializes 974 American soldiers from both World Wars.
On May 12, 1940, the Germans crossed the French frontier. A month later, on June 14, 1940, the Germans entered Paris; the city was undefended. Eight days later, France surrendered to Germany; the conquered French government acquiesced in the plunder of the nation's resources, sent French forced labor to Germany, and fought along side the Germans during the invasion of Russia.
Commanded by American General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Allies launched the Normandy invasion on June 6, 1944; Paris was liberated less than three months later, on August 25, 1944. Germany surrendered on May 7, 1945; Japan surrendered on August 14, 1945.
All told, 405,399 Americans lost their lives during World War II.
* On the northwest coast of France, overlooking Omaha Beach where American forces came ashore on D-Day, a wall in American Battle Monument Cemetery Normandy is inscribed with the names of 3,724 Americans, missing in action. The 172-acre Normandy cemetery contains the remains of 9,386 American war dead.
* Near the village of St. James, 220 miles from Paris, 4,410 American soldiers are buried in the Brittany American Cemetery. The names of 498 missing Americans are inscribed on the Wall of the Missing.
* A wall in the cemetery near Epinal, France, lists the names of 424 American soldiers, missing in action. The cemetery is the repository for the fatalities from the fighting at the Heasbourg Gap during the winter of 1944-45. It contains the grave sites of 5,255 Americans.
* The American Battle Monument Cemetery Rhone contains the remains of 861 Americans. The Wall of the Missing in the Rhone cemetery lists the names of 294 Americans.
* Near St. Avold, 10,489 U.S. soldiers are buried at American Battle Monument Cemetery Lorraine. The names of another 444 Americans are listed on the cemetery's Wall of the Missing. Most died while driving the Germans from the city of Metz in northeast France. In one of the graves, three American soldiers are buried together, as they died. There are also 28 sets of brothers, buried side by side.
And so, what's the lesson? That the world would be goose-stepping without America? That war is hell? That ignoring Hitler in the early years only produced a larger hell? That another clash of civilizations is under way? That, again, we're facing fascism? That war has been declared on the United States by militant Islam? That, again, we weren't paying sufficient attention in the early days, not listening when the Ayatollah Khomeini, 22 years before September 11, 2001, came to power with "Death to America" as his battle cry?
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