tv Reel America L Effort Americain - 1918 French Silent Film CSPAN November 10, 2018 9:20pm-9:41pm EST
way. towns have statues and plaques. the wwi generation also liked to build monuments the community could actually use. so over time you forget. soldier's field doesn't exist anymore but that was a football stadium in chicago. all of these things that were going to be open to the public. you walk by it a million times and never realize it but you are going to start paying attention and see it is all around you. if you realize that i've done my job. that wwi mattered for america. >> you are watching american history tv, only on c-span3.
>> 2018 is the centennial year of u.s. participation in wwi. american history tv is marking the anniversary with a variety of programs. next on "reel america," wwi experts help explain a silent film that was donated after the war and recently digitized. filmed by the french army, the film begins with the arrival of u.s. troops at french seaports. it shows training activity and ends in the summer of 1918 just as the french and americans are planning a major offensive in northeastern france. this is about 20 minutes. guillaume: i am guillaume molzan. i am a tour guide in france. quite specialized in wwi. i've been doing it for the last couple of years. >> what started your interest in it? why did you do it?
guillaume: i grew up near the argonne forest. my brothers and friends walked in the forest and we would find trenches and remains everywhere. that is how i got interest when i was a child. growing up, i wanted to know more about history. why do we have the trenches here? where is the german, allied, everything? when you are born in this region, it is something normal to be interested in the war because remains are still everywhere in the forest. here is a bullet that was fired by a rifle. you can see it was shot and hit something. mitchell: i am mitchell yockelson. i am a wwi historian. i serve as the chief historical advisor to the united states wwi centennial commission.
i am also an author on two books on wwi. the most recent, "forty-seven days: how pershing's warriors came of age to defeat the german army." it started as a young kid reading books on eddie rickenbacker and alvin york and then learning about general pershing. for a number of years, i served as the national archives wwi records specialist. then it developed from there. here we see the first transportation of american troops. it is a small party led by general pershing. they left the u.s. at the end of may and headed first to england
and then they went to france. pershing had just been appointed as the commander of the american expeditionary forces. it was just a token group of his commanding officers that went with him. you see marshall to the left of him. they had gone to england. now they are arriving in bordeuax. that was a major port, right? guillaume: yes. some landed in other parts of france. all the main ports. here is pershing being introduced to the french generals. french troops to the right. mitchell: pershing is 57 years
old. he had a pretty illustrious career, including a couple of stints in the phillipines after the spanish-american war. then he was an advisor and observer during the russo-japanese war. where is this? guillaume: saint nazare. close to nantes. western france. that was one of the main ports where the american troops will arrive during the entire war. from there, heading inland, where there were a lot of american bases for supplies. they had goods, shells, all the logistics there.
it was a very important port. mitchell: did the french provide the port to the americans? was it used by them exclusively for their supplies and their troops? guillaume: i am not sure. but that was the main port where supplies would arrive. here is another boat coming. that is probably june of 1917. mitchell: the first combat contingent was the u.s. 1st division. this might be those troops who arrived in france with lots of fanfare. guillaume: bordeaux now. southwest france. very famous for wine. they are entering the river. you can see how many people are waiting for the american troops.
hoping for liberation. bordeaux was not part of the front line. it was 500 miles from the front line. but all of these people are aware of what has been going on for the last three years and very hopeful to see their husbands and sons back home soon. mitchell: they were excited to have the american troops. and hoping they would go immediately in line and fight. but that did not happen. it would require several months of training. the french were hoping that the american troops would amalgamate right under french command. purging bit of allow some american troops to fight with the french, including african american troops. here are troops in paris already. it is a parade.
pershing did not say it. this is a private cemetery in paris. few people go there. but it is very interesting. many who died in the french revolution are buried there. >> could you translate that for us. are they on their way to the front? >> yes. troops onamerican their way to the front." >> >> so this would have been probably maybe early autumn? 1917? >> yeah, probably. they arrived to barracks.
the kitchen. looking like east of france already. the beginning, american soldiers, they will be close by line.ont sometimes entering in line but in quite sector. bigon't speak about true offensive in 1917 for the americans. it's more training, training in the u.s. training in france to get more and more experience, will faceen they germans that have three years of experience. says, quick -- this is aor the nickname for the american soldier. sammys. that's the nicknames the french gave to the americans. how toey are practicing shoot with 37-millimeter cannon. is what it's all about, 1917. training to be good warriors. we call an eggt
hand grenade. french soldier showing the american how to fight. fake bomb holes, trenches, barbed wire, getting used to what will be on the front line. is the's interesting americans weren't issued their helmets yet they all had what the montana peek hat which dates from around the american war period. >> these were machine guns, the ones we saw. >> americans were really concerned, especially general pershing, about making sure physical fitness -- they went through all kinds of like youics routines, see here in the film, back in tyus. of course, over here in france, had to be fit and strong to be able to fight in this type of war, because pershing was pushing for open
warfare. you had to have the stamina. >> now, we've got all the supply front. to the and the sentence said that american entering in line for the first time, after training for months. a few miles away from the front, troops will see action for the first time. so the first division to arrive first, second, 26th,
42nd, among the first ones, so they will be the ones that will see action first. lorenz sectors, quiet sectors at the beginning, facing the germans. are marching. >> some of them have the helmet, the britished on design. can you tell where this might be? >> that's what i'm trying to out.e looks like the loren, not far away -- this is the kind of typical landscape there, running hills, farming land. be also... >> and muddy roads. >> and muddy roads, yes.
probably,rlier, 1918 because when american troops will start to see action, 1918.ally march, april of >> it's hard to tell, because they're wearing their heavy so it might be early spring. >> yeah. modern though this is a war, you can see that there are horse-drawn carriages carrying for the simple reason that the motor transport handle that.ble to >> probably even closer now. soldiers marching. that's interesting. the river. >> yeah. the river to the left. before there,
meuse-argonne attack, were there americans in that region? >> yeah. especially second divisions. line, 10 miles south. is there. so it was quiet there. germans realized they were facing americans, they tried several offensives. one is further down. >> right. there was the raid there 26th division. >> yeah. another one was mayday raid. >> there we go. it's telling you. >> okay. >> you're right probably. now we changed. americans in -- >> this would be meuse-argonne then? >> that's already meuse-argonne. >> so we're in the automati autf
1918 now? >> and this is the bridge, where the 16 was arrested. church on the background there. famous to the french, marienn n 1791, antoinette was arrested there. in frenchig deal history. the town hall. the americans took this morning ofe september 26, 1918, then headed north. they were in american occupation, as you can see, it was used as a staging area for supplies, artillery, hospitals. basically became a rare area. >> and we can realize how heavy preparation,lery looking at the buildings. it includes also street battle
the french and german. it was an important town to keep for the germans. the offensive was very successful on september 26. we have french soldiers here being decorated? >> decorating americans too. clemens?as so snow on the ground. so this must be -- must be later. i don't remember it snowing in september. veterans. >> we have a soldier to the right with a wreath. in the argonne, i suppose. like.ooking >> yes. you can see the heights in the back. >> yes.
soldiers, they were buried where they died, the soldiers. the temporary graveyard. famous roosevelt tomb, theodore roosevelt's who was shot down 1918.y of >> july 14. >> you can view many more silent war i signal films online. the national archives has oftored several hundred these films and posted them to their youtube channel. join c-span sunday, veterans day, live at 4:30 a.m. eastern, for the 100th anniversary of the end of world war i, with french
president emmanuel macron speaking. a.m., washington journal is live on c-span. and american history t.v. on c-span 3. for a special call-in program about what was hoped to be the wars. end all loyola university professor. c-span,. eastern on live coverage of president trump at first lady melania trump world war i ceremonies in paris. then at 11, the wreath-laying tomb of thethe unknowns. live from arlington national cemetery. and our live veterans day coverage continues at 5 p.m. awards,with the liberty honoring former president george w. bush and laura bush. t.v. oncan history c-span 3 at 9 a.m. eastern, narrate the 1921 silent film documenting the war iy of a world
soldiers' remains from france to arlington national cemetery. then we visit the meuse-argonne cemetery in northeastern france, the final resting place for over 14,000 american soldiers. at 8 p.m., president trump at the world war i ceremonies in paris. sunday, veterans day, on c-span and american history t.v. on c-span 3. every spring, the u.s. army initage and education center carlisle, pennsylvania, hosts a living history event featuring several hundred reenactors from all eras of american history. on american artifacts, we visit a mock world war i trench u.s. armyom two veterans who specialize in portraying french soldiers of the great war. is about 20 minutes. >> good