The Command is Forward: Tales of the A. E. F. battlefields as they appeared in The Stars and Stripes

“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.” – General Pershing

The Stars and Stripes was the official newspaper of the A. E. F. (American Expeditionary Forces) during the First World War — a satirical, homespun, and highly unmilitary weekly.

When Stars and Stripes first began in February 1918, the A. E. F. was a small and not particularly confident collection of troops scattered across war-torn Europe.

The Stars and Stripes strove to improve morale and provide far-flung American troops with the sense of unity.

The publication became the voice of the common American soldier.

It was the enlisted men who wrote its editorials, told its stories, sang its songs, and gradually took over its full editorial control.

The Command Is Forward brings is a collection from June 1918 through to the Armistice. It brings together many humorous and harrowing American experiences of the First World War.

Touching on the inhabitants of occupied France, the doughboys of the American regiments, and the grit and determination to not only survive but find victory, these tales bring to life the men, women, children, and even animals of war-torn France.

Alexander Woollcott (1887-1943) was an American critic and commentator for The New Yorkermagazine. During the First World War Woollcott was posted overseas and selected as part of the team for the Stars and Stripes, a publication that reported the war from the viewpoint of the common soldier. After the war, he returned to newspapers and radio. In addition to his literary and radio careers, he appeared in several Broadway shows and films. His literary publications were extensive and included several books published posthumously.

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