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A Swiss postcard of 'The European War' in 1914. The Central Powers of Germany and Austria-Hungary face enemies to the east, west, and south. Germany is fighting the war it tried to avoid, battling Russia to the east and France to the west. Germany had also hoped to avoid fighting England which came to the aid of neutral (and prostrate) Belgium, and straddles the Channel. Austria-Hungary also fights on two fronts, against Russia to the east and Serbia and Montenegro to the south. Italy, the third member of the Triple Alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary, declared neutrality, and looks on. Other neutral nations include Spain, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Romania, Bulgaria, and Albania. Japan enters from the east to battle Germany. The German Fleet stays close to port in the North and Baltic Seas while a German Zeppelin targets England. The Austro-Hungarian Fleet keeps watch in the Adriatic. Turkey is not represented, and entered the war at the end of October, 1914; Italy in late May, 1915.
Text:
Der Europäische Krieg
The European War
Reverse:
Kriegskarte No. 61. Verlag K. Essig, Basel
Kunstanstalt (Art Institute) Frobenius A.G. Basel

A Swiss postcard of 'The European War' in 1914. The Central Powers of Germany and Austria-Hungary face enemies to the east, west, and south. Germany is fighting the war it tried to avoid, battling Russia to the east and France to the west. Germany had also hoped to avoid fighting England which came to the aid of neutral (and prostrate) Belgium, and straddles the Channel. Austria-Hungary also fights on two fronts, against Russia to the east and Serbia and Montenegro to the south. Italy, the third member of the Triple Alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary, declared neutrality, and looks on. Other neutral nations include Spain, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Romania, Bulgaria, and Albania. Japan enters from the east to battle Germany. The German Fleet stays close to port in the North and Baltic Seas while a German Zeppelin targets England. The Austro-Hungarian Fleet keeps watch in the Adriatic. Turkey is not represented, and entered the war at the end of October, 1914; Italy in late May, 1915.

Image text: Der Europäische Krieg

The European War

Reverse:

Kriegskarte No. 61. Verlag K. Essig, Basel

Kunstanstalt (Art Institute) Frobenius A.G. Basel

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'December snow.' Hand-painted watercolor calendar for December 1917 by Schima Martos. Particulates from a smoking kerosene lamp overspread the days of December, and are labeled 'December höra,' 'December snow.' The first five days or nights of the month show a couple at, sitting down to, or rising from a lamp-lit table. The rest of the month the nights are dark, other than four in which the quarter of the moon shows through a window, or Christmas, when the couple stands in the light of a Christmas tree.

'December snow.' Hand-painted watercolor calendar for December 1917 by Schima Martos. Particulates from a smoking kerosene lamp overspread the days of December, and are labeled 'December höra,' 'December snow.' The first five days or nights of the month show a couple at, sitting down to, or rising from a lamp-lit table. The rest of the month the nights are dark, other than four in which the quarter of the moon shows through a window, or Christmas, when the couple stands in the light of a Christmas tree.

Image text: December höra

December snow

2½ liter petroleum.

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Re-elect President Woodrow Wilson! An October 18, 1916 cartoon from the British magazine Punch. The German sinking of ships that killed American citizens and sabotage such as the July 30, 1916 attack that destroyed the Black Tom munitions plant in Jersey City, New Jersey, were not enough to make Wilson call for a declaration of war on Germany, much to the distress of Great Britain and the other Entente allies. The date on Wilson's desk calendar is October 8, 1916, a day on which German submarine %i1%U-53%i0% sank five vessels — three British, one Dutch, and one Norwegian — off Nantucket, Massachusetts. One of the British ships was a passenger liner traveling between New York and Newfoundland.
Text:
Bringing it home.
President Wilson. 'What's that? U-boat blockading New York? Tut! Tut! Very inopportune!'
Vote for Wilson who kept you out of the War!
[Calendar date:] October 8, 1916

Re-elect President Woodrow Wilson! An October 18, 1916 cartoon from the British magazine Punch. The German sinking of ships that killed American citizens and sabotage such as the July 30, 1916 attack that destroyed the Black Tom munitions plant in Jersey City, New Jersey, were not enough to make Wilson call for a declaration of war on Germany, much to the distress of Great Britain and the other Entente allies. The date on Wilson's desk calendar is October 8, 1916, a day on which German submarine U-53 sank five vessels — three British, one Dutch, and one Norwegian — off Nantucket, Massachusetts. One of the British ships was a passenger liner traveling between New York and Newfoundland.

Image text: Re-elect President Woodrow Wilson! An October 18, 1916 cartoon from the British magazine Punch. The German sinking of ships that killed American citizens and sabotage such as the July 30, 1916 attack that destroyed the Black Tom munitions plant in Jersey City, New Jersey, were not enough to make Wilson call for a declaration of war on Germany, much to the distress of Great Britain and the other Entente allies.

Text:

Bringing it home.

President Wilson. 'What's that? U-boat blockading New York? Tut! Tut! Very inopportune!'

Vote for Wilson who kept you out of the War!

[Calendar date:] October 8, 1916

Other views: Larger


Regimental Command Post. A 1917 German pencil sketch of a farm house and barn in Flanders serving as a regimental command post. I cannot make out the name of the artist.
Text:
Regt. Gefechtsstand  7.2 22.? Flandern 1917
Reverse: blank

Regimental Command Post. A 1917 German pencil sketch of a farm house and barn in Flanders serving as a regimental command post. I cannot make out the name of the artist.

Image text: Regt. Gefechtsstand 7.2 22.? Flandern 1917

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Sunday, February 28, 1915

"The cannon were booming without a pause, and seemingly so near that it was bewildering to look out across empty fields at a hillside that seemed like any other. But luckily somebody had a field-glass, and with its help, a little corner of the battle of Vauquois was suddenly brought up close to us — the rush of French infantry up the slopes, the feathery drift of French gun-smoke lower down, and, high up, on the wooded crest along the sky, the red lightnings and white puffs of the German artillery. Rap, rap, rap, went the answering guns, as the troops swept up and disappeared into the fire-tongued wood; and we stood there dumbfounded at the accident of having stumbled on this visible episode of the great subterranean struggle.

. . . the attack we looked on at from the garden at Clermont, on Sunday, February 28th [1915], carried the victorious French troops to the top of the ridge, and made them masters of a part of the village. Driven from it again that night, they were to retake it after a five days' struggle of exceptional violence and prodigal heroism, and are now securely established there in a position described as 'of vital importance to the operations.'"
((1), more)

Monday, February 28, 1916

"At Verdun, the high daily death toll led on February 28 [1916] to an emergency conference of the German Crown Prince, commanding the German Fifth Army, and General Falkenhayn. Although surprise had been lost, the Crown Prince commented, the prospects of a 'considerable moral and material victory' remained. What was needed to secure this was the necessary quantity of men and materials to continue the offensive 'not by driblets, but on a large scale'. This was agreed." ((2), more)

Wednesday, February 28, 1917

"The president released the message to the press on February [28, 1917], and, once convinced it was authentic (and not a British forgery), American newspapers were nearly unanimous in condemnation of the base plot. Interventionists were almost blind with rage. If Wilson did not go to war, Roosevelt remarked privately, 'I shall skin him alive.' Sending the Zimmermann telegram appeared to most Americans a cruel and hostile deed, but the episode probably has been exaggerated as a cause of American intervention. The telegram helped condition Americans to the likelihood, perhaps the wisdom, of war with Germany. It did not provoke Wilson to ask for a declaration of hostilities; that act did not come until a month afterward." ((3), more)

Thursday, February 28, 1918

"February 28th [1918]—It was a blackbird, not yet in good voice: so Winter has gone though Gerry is coming.—I was immersed in arranging to-morrow's dinner when all preparations were thrown out of gear: there's a whisper of impending attack, so relief is uncertain; and the Mess Corporal has been arrested by the police in Estaires: Mills says he has no head, he had only one glass of 'red wine.'" ((4), more)

Quotation contexts and source information

Sunday, February 28, 1915

(1) Excerpts from Edith Wharton's 1915 account of her travels behind the French lines. The village of Vauquois was west of Verdun in the Argonne Forest, and of the same sandstone as the forest. The French captured the south side of the Butte de Vauquois in the series of attacks Wharton describes. They soon began tunneling into the sandstone and setting mines beneath the Germans, who responded with their own tunnels. By September, 1918, the two sides had dug tunnels totaling nearly 25 miles, and had exploded 531 mines. [Thanks to woostergeologists.scotblogs.wooster.edu/2010/08/16/battle-of-the-mines-vauquois-1915-1918/.]

Fighting France by Edith Wharton, pp. 64, 66, copyright © 1915, by Charles Scribner's Sons, publisher: Charles Scribner's Sons, publication date: 1915

Monday, February 28, 1916

(2) German Commander-in-Chief General Erich von Falkenhayn launched the Battle of Verdun on February 21, 1916 with a crushing bombardment from over 1,000 guns. Infantry joined the assault on the 22nd and suffered heavy losses despite ill preparations by the French defenders. On February 28 the week-old siege had only begun.

The First World War, a Complete History by Martin Gilbert, page 233, copyright © 1994 by Martin Gilbert, publisher: Henry Holt and Company, publication date: 1994

Wednesday, February 28, 1917

(3) 'The message' President Woodrow Wilson released was the 'Zimmerman Telegram', from Alfred Zimmerman, Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the German Empire, to Heinrich von Eckhardt, German Ambassador to Mexico, on January 19, 1917. It directed Eckhardt to invite Mexico to ally with Germany and Japan against the United States. On success, Mexico would be rewarded with its lost territories of Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico. The British had originally intercepted the cable, but Zimmerman publicly admitted it was authentic. Roosevelt was former Republican President Teddy Roosevelt. (Wilson was a Democrat.) The date in the source of the citation, 'February 29' 1917, did not exist, 1916 having been a leap year.

The Origins of American Intervention in the First World War by Ross Gregory, pp. 124–125, copyright © 1971 by W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., publisher: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., publication date: 1971

Thursday, February 28, 1918

(4) Entry for February 28, 1918 from the writings — diaries, letters, and memoirs — of Captain J. C. Dunn, Medical Officer of the Second Battalion His Majesty's Twenty-Third Foot, the Royal Welch Fusiliers, and fellow soldiers who served with him. Even with the breakdown of peace negotiations at Brest-Litovsk between Russia and the Central Powers, the Allies expect a massive German offensive on the Western Front bolstered by soldiers redeployed from the east. Estaires, France, is about 80 km southeast of Calais, 30 km south-southwest of Ypres. 'Gerry' is, of course, the Germans.

The War the Infantry Knew 1914-1919 by Captain J.C. Dunn, page 449, copyright © The Royal Welch Fusiliers 1987, publisher: Abacus (Little, Brown and Company, UK), publication date: 1994