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tv   Reel America Meuse- Argonne Offensive - 1918 U.S. Army Silent Films  CSPAN  November 10, 2018 10:00pm-10:26pm EST

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false, and for which he was later held in perjury,by a judge for bill clinton made his impeachment almost inevitable. >> sunday night at 8 eastern on c-span's q&a. >> next on reel america, two world war i scholars help explain what's happening in silent u.s. army films documenting the meuse-argonne offensive of 1918. it lasted from september 26 to culminated ind the arm tis, which -- armistice, which ended the great war. guests are historian mitchell yockelson, author of pershing'sow warriors came of age to defeat war i,"an army in world and french battlefield guide up inume moizan, who grew the region where the fighting took place.
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he frequently joins on guided tours of the battlefields. the offensive is called meuse-argonne, because the left of the american attack was the argonne forest and the right was the meuse river, about 25 miles to the east. this is about 207 minutes. this is about 20 minutes. >> and it kicks off on the 26, 1918, september with a huge artillery barrage. 3,000 guns fire early in the morning. towards the german lines. we see the infantry jumping off, around 5 a.m. argonne is kind of rolling hills so you never know whenyou're going to expect you go through a hill, down into the next valley. and it's always, always rolling hills. difficult. ground.t's all open >> yeah. part of the battle was in the field.and part is open we see a long farm there.
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>> poor horses. >> horses, men. left behind. roadsre were only three leading to the front and the germans would key their on those roads. is that -- >> it looks like it, yes. i suppose it is. so that's before the big preparation. >> and there's the naval railway, which were brought over. they were manufactured by the company out ofd philadelphia, transported on ship and they started using them great effect towards the end of the war. >> american troops making their through. it is now destroyed, because they are from the riverside here. >> wow. look at the repercussion from the shells. waving the camouflage netting.
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i can only imagine the noise of those guns going off. >> wow. underground mine. the argonne forest or anywhere. >> so that might be the argonne forest? >> yeah. >> so dense. you would think, with all the the trees would have been knocked down. do you know this area? >> yeah. the argonne,t of yes. and french 75 again, you see how quick it is. explode one made to impact and others were planned to explode in the air. >> they had a fuse that they altitude for a certain and distance. >> yeah.
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>> so airplanes were a vital tool of war, but it was often difficult during the meuse-argonne to get the planes airborne because the weather was so horrible. and rainy.dy pilot wasamous ace,nbacker, america's with 27 known kills of german planes. those?pe of bombs are >> mmm, i don't know. i don't know. we still find some in the forest, these kind of bombs. >> and bombing was unique during the war. there weren't that many planes that were fitted to bomb. wasn't -- it was certainly not like worl world war ii whery had the radar. so we're going to look at film of the 92nd. an african-american division. >> that's my -- the town where i was born. interrupt.
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that's 10 miles away from the line. >> and was it destroyed during the war? >> it was damaged but it was basically used as a logistic center. now they are entering into the argonne forest itself. 92nd.this is the that is major general, i think it was dickman, but i'm not sure. 92nd were african-american troops who were a division but they were led by white officers. famous members of the 92nd, who was killed wasng the war in september, freddie stowers. freddie killed? >> on the 188, which is the the argonne of forest. by this time, he was fighting with thench common
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general. >> that was the french force army? >> yes. >> and stowers would be awarded posthumouslyhonor bush.sident george h.w. >> yeah. back in 1991, i think. now we have another soldier thatcan was awarded the medal of honor. twoate johnson, awarded years ago -- well, 2015, by obama. part of the 93rd. you see an ambulance. usually they were forts. >> how many african-american soldiers saw action in the first war? little bit more than -- the number is about 200,000 that were -- many of them didn't see actual combat. did labor, battalion work, unloadinge year,
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ships. only the 92nd and then the composite 93rd, which was four reggments of infantry, all under command, saw combat. famousg the 93rd was the harlem hell fighters. >> yes. harlem hell fighters, the 369th, they were a national unit, mostly out of harlem new york. good shot of cooking up. looks like potatoes. >> they were in line for more days than any other american unit. >> they saw significant action, again, all with the french. >> food supplies. this is coffee. of the happy moments in a soldier's life. 92nd didn't see a significant amount of combat in the meuse-argonne. they were placed under the army, which was formed in the middle of october of 1918, stepped down.
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their insignia. they were known as the buffalo division, reason being the famous buffalo soldiers, african-americans, on the after theontier, civil war. and 91st division. >> right. was out ofon new jersey. 91st, they were from the western states. fought at the beginning of the battle. jumpinge part of the division on the first day, i think. >> yes. >> 78 was... one of the in argonne. >> i believe that the gentleman in the overcoat with the tie is baker.ry of war
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but i can't be sure. >> we see the village. typical from the loren, this kind of village. was a camp, i think. we see tents, a lot of tents. and soldiers are practicing here. a signal for the airplanes maybe or for artillery. the same, one and because the airplanes were used for spotting. are they doing here? is it building barracks perhaps? >> looks like. building a bridge. >> a bridge. >> crossing... the meuse or maybe... yeah, because it's not that wide. the river flowing through.
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a lot of american soldiers, they fought along that river, flowing south to north. >> and here, americans playing the french children. >> yeah. shoeslike he made wooden for the kids. and enjoying. you can see how french people grateful. and still remembered nowadays about the americans that fought. probably excited to see a camera there, probably the first time. >> yeah. >> being filmed. the argonne forest, foggy theings, typical weather in early fall when the battle started. >> the 78th spent a fair amount the argonne forest. there was the one famous battle that they were in. >> this is probably made by the used by the
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americans. a camp. from as safe as possible the shelling. just waiting before entering in action. the meuse-argonne had to be a surprise for americans entering moment,the very last before launching the operation. >> is that pershing or... >> no. same.ll look the [laughter] >> they all wanted to look like pershing or he wanted this elm to look like him. >> that's the typical landscape the argonne. steep slope. and then you are uphill, down into another valley, then another one, so the french, they there and thes germans had the same on the other side of the slopes. we have barracks also here. this must be na far in the
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rear then, right? >> probably. >> so now they're heading to the front. >> the french again. and supply. one other -- it's a big one. a very big camp. >> do you think that's an abandoned french camp? >> yes, probably. big one at the chateau, on the southwest side of the argonne, looking quite landscape there, but can be also close by. be a dog fight or something going on, because they're all pointing towards the sky. >> hmm. observation. >> the few trees that remained after. disturbed the
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landscape that we still have nowadays, except we have the trees back. still have the disturbed landscape everywhere. make their way through, hiding in what looks like a crater, maybe from a mine explosion. and we see that the trees, they have no branches anymore. like trunk only. pigtail, barbed wire. all disturbed. that is probably remains from a shelter. yeah. destroyed shelter. that's probably german. yeah. probably german. yes, it is. >> there you go. the german basement. german markers showing where to go. bathroom, kitchen, everything. for...hat
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>> water. >> or maybe for the horses? for the horses, yeah, indeed. coming out of the village. >> in some ways, it doesn't look that much different than an american civil war camp with the horses, and the covered wagons. potato, i think? >> maybe. there is general pershing. this image here has been made into a still photograph and heavily used. an armistice was set for 11 a.m. 1918.ember 11 of
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but the allies continue to fight last moment, even though they knew the war was end.g to an the field marshall, commander of wanted allied forces, everyone to keep attacking in fear that since it was an an actualand not surrender, that the germans continueege on it and past 11 a.m. in that case, there were a number of casualties right up until the last moment. here, they are waiting. >> synchronizing their watches, moment for the actual that the war will ultimately be over. >> yeah. 11:00.s >> yes. thereat moment we see, hereians including -- everybody enjoying now. end of the war, officially signed. and that will be time for
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reconstruction, also time to dead soldiers, digging graves. >> also time to start casting blame of who started the war and who should pay the cost, the germanstely most of the war to payyou know, they had retribution for many years. the dutch? >> yes. they are burying a shell. burial of the last shell. okay. i never saw that. that movie. that's interesting. maybe that shell is still there. >> yeah. where this is. >> celebrating the end.
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and now -- >> there they are, dismantling the gun, right? >> yeah. >> cleaning it. no need to fire it anymore. celebrating. >> and now the big party starting. but for most of the soldiers, that was not exactly the end, linese they were still in for months, some of them, until the next spring. >> yeah. occupationither in duty in germany, where the sector, orad the some of them still stayed in either -- in either france or bell jam, wait -- or belgium, waiting to get word that they would be transported home and that didn't happen until late in most cases. >> that's nice, everybody celebrating. now?is germany >> i believe so. >> i think this is paris.
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>> okay. at allresting to look these men and you think, why weren't they in uniform and fighting? grateful french citizens, by an ambulance. forking the americans liberating their village and helping come to end the war. there's general pershing, decorating the american troops. there were three medals that the awarded. the highest honor was the medal of honor. distinguished was service cross. and then lastly, the distinguished service medal. later on, american troops were silver star and the purple heart. were out ofn, they pennsylvania, a national guard unit. they saw significant action the war, including the and then the
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meuse-argonne. >> the meuse-argonne, yeah. there's a big memorial for the, >> and there's the german prisoners exchanging hats with the americans. everybody is happy. >> yeah. a fresh cigarette. saw8th, a lot of -- they action in most of the battles for the american warriors. >> yes. they're honored in a number of places, including the large pennsylvania all troops. >> american flag. and now a parade in paris. was never directly impacted by the war; is that right? right., that's
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except some few bombs from and there was a german cannon that could shoot to paris several times. but the damage was very, very few. they were able to bombing fromd the bombing from planes, they had the idea, the paris, to create a false close by. so they put lights in the countryside to have the germans they weret was paris bombing. but paris was quite safe. it was far away from the front. here we have people celebrating. >> soldiers, french soldiers, american soldiers. everybody is celebrating together. >> yeah. and that means back to normal life then. >> yes. chocolate shop in the back. >> yeah, looks like. hmm.
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american flag. >> so for paris, it would have backrelatively easy to get to normal life. just reopen some of the shops because ofen closed curfews and other reasons. villages would have been tough. we have african-american musicians -- or maybe those are french? >> yeah, it can be both. african-americans are just as popular in france. they are the first one who will show the french what was this music. >> the french soldiers. >> victory parade. >> there's general pershing at the head of the parade. ♪[music] >> the argonne. champs-élysees. big parade. we are already eight months after the armistice day. and it was already signed at the time.
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>> so the war now is truly over? >> yeah. last parade probably before landing back to the u.s. for most of these troops. marching for french day, day, july 14. ♪[singing] ♪ my home ♪ my bride ♪ ♪[singing] ♪[music] >> sunday on american history t.v., we tour the meuse-argonne morecan cemetery where than 14,000 americans are buried outside a quiet village in northeastern france. most of the soldiers fought in the final offensive of world with theich ended
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armistice, signed on november 11, 1918. here's a preview. soldiers buried in the meuse-argonne, three are kind of special. three first from that row are the three american soldiers elected to be the buried inonsoldier arlington. in fact, in 1921, it was decided american, a nonsoldier, to symbolize all the war.s from the so four bodies were exhumed from four of the american cemeteries in france. coffins were sent to a town about 70 miles we from here. coffins from americans, nonsoldiers. one american soldier to choose one coffin theg the four to become
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new -- the american unknown soldier. one was elected. sent back to the u.s.a. that's the one that is buried in arlington. the three others that were there on that ceremony and not elected are these three soldiers, buried meuse-argonne. the closest cemetery was then the meuse-argonne and it is the main american cemetery for the first world war, now buried here. >> watch the entire tour of the american cemetery sunday at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. eastern, here on american history t.v. all weekend, every weekend, on c-span 3. >> this sunday, american history centennial of the end of world war i. washingtonve with
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journal taking viewer calls on the final offensive of the war, its legacy. guests are john mozier, author, and michael cassen, author. att's sunday, veterans day, 7:30 a.m. eastern. year marks the centennial of u.s. participation in world war i. next, on american artifacts, in the first of a two-part program, visit the library of congress to learn about an exhibit on the great war. this is about 45 minutes. is ryan i am a historian at the library of congress. i'd like to welcome you to our exhibition on world war i, echoes of the great war, american experiences of world war i. what you have here is a map, a couple of maps, as we cycle through. senf o give you a


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