In June of 1918, a fierce battle was waged at Belleau Wood, an ancient hunting-reserve of old-growth oaks, surrounded by wheat fields, located about 60 miles outside of Paris. The Germans were launching their spring offensive in an attempt to overwhelm the Allies before they were fortified by fresh American troops who were arriving at a rate of about 250,000 per month. The Battle of Belleau Wood has since achieved near mythic status in U.S. military history, particularly for the U.S. Marines. But who were the men who fought at Belleau Wood?
American Experience rolled out the red white and blue carpet last night for a special screening of our upcoming documentaryThe Boys of '36, about the U.S. men's rowing team who took gold at the 1936 Olympic games in Berlin. Not only were we joined by our exclusive corporate funder Liberty Mutual, but we also had several former and current U.S. Olympians attend with our engagement partner, USRowing. Some of them even brought their gold medals!
They bloomed out of bloodbath, but what they came to represent was a retelling of the soldiers' lives who gave them life.
On the fields of Flanders in WWI, colonel John McCrae wrote a poem which would eventually make its way into the Ladies Home Journal in 1918. He observed that among the chaos of the dead and dying, red poppies had sprung to life in erratic lines among the rows of crosses.
American Experience intern, Tayla Wilson, did a lot of research on presidential history this semester. Here, she weighs in on her favorite female presidential candidate in U.S. history.
Nestled beside an ad for mayonnaise in the July 1956 edition of the Woman's Home Companion, ecologist Rachel Carson pens an appeal to mothers to foster an interest of the natural world in their children. She reassures even the most skeptical matriarch that "exploring nature with your child is largely a matter of becoming receptive to what lies all around you."