In honor of Veteran’s Day we present a bound volume of a rare newspaper published in 1918 and 1919 during the First World War. The Stars and Stripes was published in France by the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) of the United States Army from February 8, 1918, to June 13, 1919.
General John J. Pershing wanted a newspaper written by servicemen for the soldiers on the battlefront. On the front page of the first issue, Pershing endorsed the newspaper and characterized its purpose and content: “In this initial number of The Stars and Stripes, published by the men of the Overseas Command, the Commander-in-Chief of the American Expeditionary Forces extends his greetings through the editing staff to the readers from the first line trenches to the base ports. These readers are mainly the men who have been honored by being the first contingent of Americans to fight on European soil for the honor of their country. . . . The paper, written by the men in the service, should speak the thoughts of the new American Army and the American people from whom the Army has been drawn. It is your paper. Good luck to it.”
The newspaper’s mission was to strengthen the morale of the troops and to promote unity within the American forces, then widely scattered and fulfilling many apparently unrelated functions. The venture was immediately popular with the soldiers, quickly selling out its first issue of one thousand copies. Although designated as the “official newspaper of the AEF,” its independent editorial voice earned the confidence and affection of common soldiers.
In this post is the complete first issue of February 8th, 1918 .
We at the Delaware Historical Society are grateful to all men and women who have fought and continue to fight to keep the United States of America safe and prosperous.
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