My Fellow Soldiers

Letters from World War I

Refer to caption

General Pershing at an American cemetery in France, Memorial Day, 1919
Image credit: National Archives

Establishing Peace

Establishing peace began with a ceasefire on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. The resulting celebrations gave way to the long process of recovery. Service members looked forward to returning home and planning for the future, while diplomats began to negotiate treaties that redefined European borders.

Madame J. Armand, to Mrs. Saunders (mother of Corporal Carl Saunders), March 4, 1919

"It is a mother who is writing to you, a mother who has been with your dear child in his last days."

Lieutenant Adolf Berle, to his father, February 17, 1919

"With skill the situation might yet be saved."

Mr. W.C. Campbell, to Mrs. Justice Frick (mother of Sergeant Edwin G. Frick), April 30, 1919

"He passed to his reward with a consciousness of duty done, and with all that was mortal of him enshrouded in the stars and stripes"

Miss Irene Donnelly, to Private Charles Eggeling, November 7-10, 1918

"God Be Praised. The War is Over."

Sergeant Clyde Eoff, to his sister Josephine Eoff, April 28, 1919

"Even the joy of going home failed to make the parting a pleasant one."

Sergeant Clyde Eoff, to his sister Josephine Eoff, May 30, 1919

"Now you boys come on home live from hand to mouth and give us your vote."

Private Dwight Fee, to his son Private William Fee, October 1, 1944

"There will be many disagreeable experiences; soul‐shaking experiences; tragic experiences; uplifting experiences."

Private Morris E. Kramer, to his father, November 24, 1918

"On the 11th of November at 11 A. M. the guns were to cease firing and all hostilities to stop. I did not believe it until 11 o'clock came."

Miss Anna V.S. Mitchell (Red Cross), to her sister Caroline Phelps Stokes, After Peace 1918

"Prisoners out of Germany had started coming through, . . . You have never seen or imagined such pathetic figures, everyone emaciated, in strange ragged garments."

General John J. Pershing, to "My Fellow Soldiers", February 28, 1919

"My Fellow Soldiers . . ."

Alfred Robinson (16th Infantry Regiment), to his mother, November 14, 1918

"The Allies are the victors, and the world is a garden of joy, but what has been the cost."

Nurse Louise Sophia Schroeder, to Ann, November 30, 1918

"When I read of what you are doing at home, I feel like we are the slackers."

Captain Harry S. Truman, to his fiancée Bess Wallace, February 18, 1919

"General [Pershing] told me . . . that he wanted me to take [my troops] home as clean morally and physically as when they came over."