The Great War at Home in Wisconsin: Part II

The Great War at Home in Wisconsin: Part II

Record date: Oct 28, 2017

Peter L. Belmonte, Independent Scholar and Author, presents "Calabrian-Americans During World War I;" Jana Weiss, Associate Professor of U.S. History at the University of Münster, discusses "World War I and the U.S. Brewing Industry;" and Brian Faltinson, Deputy Director of Public Affairs at the Wisconsin Army National Guard, talks about "The 32nd 'Red Arrow' Division."

University Place Campus: 

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Episode Transcript

- Welcome to the

second iteration

of our Wisconsin's Great War

trilogy of presentations today.

The first one was this morning,

and this is the second one,

and there's one more after that.

My name is Helmut Knies,

I'm actually a retired archivist

at the Wisconsin

Historical Society.

And I have the honor

of being the moderator

for this afternoon's


where we have three

wonderful presenters

who are gonna delve into

this topic in greater depth.

First off is Peter Belmonte,

who is a retired major

in the United States Air Force,

and who's gonna

give a presentation

on collaborating Americans

in the US military

during World War I,

a case study of Kenosha

and Racine, Wisconsin.

After his presentation,

he will be followed by

Captain Brian Faltinson from

the Wisconsin Army

National Guard

who is the National

Guard historian.

And he has been very active

in a two-year project

to document the

history and activities

of the 15,000

Wisconsin servicemen

who fought in the 32nd Red

Arrow Division in World War I

called Dawn of the Red Arrow.

And, finally, we are proud to

have Doctor Jana Weiß [Weiss]

from the Westfälische


in Münster in Germany who is

going to give

a presentation

about quote unquote,

"German Enemies, World War I,

and the US Brewing Industry."

So, our three presenters

will go in that order

and then, after that,

we will have an opportunity

for questions.

So, thank you very much.

- Thank you, Helmut.

And thank you all for coming.

So, this is a narrow topic.

Calabria is a region in Italy.

It's the toe and the

instep of the Italian boot.

And it's the part that's been

kicking Sicily for Millennia.

I've collected data on

about 1100 men so far.

That's probably about a

fifth of what's out there.

So, I need to do a

little more work.

And I've written about--

I've analyzed and written

about 400 of the men.

But I'm gonna narrow that

even further to immigrants.

And I'll explain

the quotation marks.

Immigrants from these

two neighboring villages,

Marano Marchesato and

Marano Principato,

who came to the United States,

settled in Kenosha

and Racine, Wisconsin,

and then served in the US

military during World War I.

And here we have one such man.

On the right is

Carmine Chiappetta

with his brother

Pasquale Chiappetta.

Carmine was born in 1887.

He came to the US just after

the turn of the century,

lived a few years in the

US, went back to Italy,

got married and

started a family,

then he came back to the United

States, settled in Kenosha.

He was drafted at

the end of May 1918.

He was sent to Camp Grant, which

is near Rockford, Illinois.

About two weeks later, he was

sent to Camp Custer in Michigan

where he became part

of the 85th Division.

About a month after that,

the 85th went overseas.

Ended up in France

in early August.

It became a depot division.

So, it sent replacements out

to replace combat losses.

Carmine, toward

the end of August,

was sent to the 18th Infantry

Regiment, First Division.

So, it was a veteran division.

He got there just in time to get a bare modicum of training

before the Saint-Mihiel

Offensive in September 12, 1918.

This is a copy of the

notice of his death

sent to his brother.

It says killed in action

in the line of duty

September 12, 1918.

It says it was sent to

his father, Charles.

Probably should

have read brother.

Pasquale and Charles are

kind of interchanged.

It's got his name misspelled

several different ways.

And, even in the

divisional history

and the unit history

of the 18th Regiment,

his name is misspelled in

the list of those killed

and even transposed.

Illustrates some of

the problems with that.

I'll talk later

about the short time

between when he was drafted

and when he went into combat.

But this is just one of

the stories I have found.

All right, so there's about

68 men that fall into this,

my little narrow category.

And, right away, you see they're

not all immigrants, per se.

Seven of them were born

in the United States.

And there was a few who

served in the military...

Were born in Italy, served

in the military here,

and then went back to Italy.

So, immigrants in

the loose sense.

Again, 68 men from the villages

and they're broken down in that.

Year of birth, there's

no surprise here.

War is a young man's game.

So, most of them were

in their early 20s

when they were drafted.

All but three were

drafted, by the way.

You see the oldest one was a

little over 31 years of age.

The youngest was a

young man born in Racine

who entered the Navy.

Entry into the service.

As I said, all but

three were drafted.

The two men joined

the Navy voluntarily

and another young man was in

the Students Army Training

Corps, which is voluntary.

And I can talk a little

bit more about that later.

But you'll see about 47%

of the men were drafted

in May, June, or July.

There were two big draft days.

At the end of May,

when Carmine Chiappetta

and a lot of other men

went, and the end of July.

And that's reflected there.

First, with September 5th,

which is the very first--

If I'm not mistaken--

the very first call up.

A small amount went

in September 5th.

And then a bunch later.

Mid-September more men went,

but that's the first call up.

The last man that was

called up was October 22,

just a couple weeks

before the armistice.

Service overseas,

33 went overseas.

I got an asterisk

there because one man,

James Greco, left the United

States on eight November.

Armistice was declared

three days later.

And then, on 13 November,

the ship turned

around and came back.

I gave him credit

for serving overseas.

And 35 served in the US only.

Here's a departure for France.

You see most in July.

And, again, there's

my little asterisk.

November, one man.

The last soldier to

actually serve in France

departed on October 30.

He got there right at the

time of the armistice.

Types of units, overseas.

The combat arms infantry--

And, here, I'm talking

about just the men that

served in rifle companies.

There were people that

served in supply companies,

headquarters companies,

things of that nature,

but, for the rifle companies,

you see it's broken out 15,

four in machine gun units.

One in field artillery.

Yes, they had cavalry regiments.

There were four

cavalry regiments

that were sent to France.

Only one, I think it

was the Second Cavalry,

actually served in combat.

The others were escort

duties, courier duties,

things of this nature.

And then two men were

in the engineer units.

One was what we'd equate to

a combat engineer unit today.

A divisional support engineer.

And motor supply train.

The word "motor"

means it had trucks.

Most of the supply--

Trains had nothing to

do, really, with trains.

Supply units had

horse-drawn wagons.

So, most of them--

In this case, one man was

in a motor supply unit.

You see division field hospitals

and various other medical units.

And then miscellany right there.

I have a thing for rear

area, behind the lines units.

And there you see a

butchery company. I get

a kick out of that.

But they had men that

were roasting coffee

and coffee plants, ice plants.

There was men that were

garden service regiments.

You know, they tilled the soil

to get a little more

food for the men

that we didn't have to import.

Nobody in this

study was in that.

But that's beside the point.

I get a kick out of those units.

Stateside units.

Depot brigades and

development battalions.

Prior to February 1918--

Of course, the draft roped in

these millions of men.

Kind of took them in and,

in that millions of men,

supposedly, you're

supposed to weed out men

that were physically infirm

or mentally had issues.

But that didn't always work.

So, you had men that maybe

had physical problems.

You had hundreds of

thousands of immigrants.

Many of whom could either

not speak English at all

or had difficulty

speaking English

to the extent that

would be required of

a soldier to serve

in an active unit.

Prior to February 1918,

those men kind of struggled

and did the best they can.

In February, the

War Department--

This is kind of the

Progressive Era reflected

in the War Department.

They instituted

development battalions.

Now, these battalions

were to take in men.

Mostly they couldn't

speak English,

had physical problems

that could be remedied

and they were

awaiting treatment.

But the idea was to try--

Not just get rid of these guys.

Just discharge them.

But to try to make them soldiers

that would be effective.

So, they taught them English.

They taught them

citizenship classes.

Things of this nature.

They segregated them.

There was even venereal cases

that were in their

separate battalions.

That was kind of a moral

failing kind of thing

is the way they looked at it.

But I think that's a

fascinating development there.

Infantry, you see

the men that were

in general service training.

NARD stood for November

Automated Replacement Draft.

That was a group of

men that were slated

to go overseas as

replacements in November.

War ended before

they went overseas.

Field artillery, New

Orleans coast artillery,

US Guards battalions--

That's another interesting unit.

They were men that either

were slightly over age

or were capable of

performing soldier's duties,

but maybe not in active

service in the field.

So, they performed guard duties

at various installations

and things of this nature.

Trench mortar.

Three men were in the 9th

Trench Mortar Battery.

And there's a miscellany. Ammunition train.

Again, that's not a train,

it's mule or horse-drawn carts

that carry the ammunition

for a unit division.

Students' Army Training

Corps is almost like ROTC,

except, in October 1918,

they took the men

that were in college.

They were allowed

to enlist in units

and they were in the Army

and were getting paid.

But they would study

maybe a technical subject

with the idea of graduating

and going into the service

as a technical expert

or even as an officer.

It was disbanded about a

month after the armistice.

Ranks, not surprising,

most men remained a

private, about 79%.

About 12% were

private, first class.

I've got names. Don't worry about the names. No test.

Two men to corporal.

The highest rank there was

a battalion sergeant major.

This gentleman here

started as a private

and he kind of just went to

battalion sergeant major.

I have a feeling he probably

had that kind of presence.

And he ended up starting

in an infantry unit,

but, before he went into combat,

he transferred into

a support-type unit.

So, he probably had

some kind of skills

or something like that

to warrant the promotion.

There were even

specialist ranks.

Cook, musician first class,

and musician second class.

Those were, in addition

to being descriptive,

they were actual ranks.

And they warranted higher pay

than a private, for example.

There were other, not in

this study, but other ranks.

Rank specialists, like bugler. Yes, they still had buglers.

Mechanic, wagoner,

horseshoer, saddler.

Are we in the 19th

or 20th century there

with that kind of thing?

And chauffeur, which was

basically just a driver.

Five pairs of

brothers in uniform.

And that's not too surprising.

They all came as

family units sometimes

and settled together, so you

had five pairs of brothers.

I've got an asterisk there,

'cause there is also many

sets and pairs of cousins

that I just didn't list.

In my larger study,

that is even multiplied.

The biggest grouping I saw was

three brothers from Chicago.

All three were tailors.

All three worked together

for another brother.

And they all went

to the service.

In May of 1918,

Congress passed a law.

It made it easier for

servicemen that were aliens,

that were not American citizens, to become an American citizen.

It sped up the process.

You wouldn't have to wait

to declare your intention,

wait five years or whatever.

It sped up the process.

And, here, again, names.

But about 23 of the Italian-born

became American citizens

while in the Army

or just after the Army using

their Army service as grounds.

And it's about 38% of

the Italian-born men.

My expanded study showed

about 56 out of 120.

So, it's about 47%.

And I think it's gonna--

Just from the feel I get from

all the other people

I've been looking at.

It's gonna be around

50% of the men

took the opportunity to do that.

That's just a copy of one

of the soldier's documents.

This happens to be

somebody from--

They're stationed at

Camp Taylor in Louisiana.

And they had huge ceremonies

at Camp Taylor and other places

where they had hundreds

of people all at once.

They'd swear in and

there'd be speeches

and things of this nature.

Remember, at the beginning

of my presentation,

I showed a picture

of Carmine Chiappetta

and showed a picture

of his notice of death.

Well, this is Carmine

and his wife, Francesca,

in the 1940s in Kenosha.

So, the report of his

death was exaggerated.

I knew that from the--

I knew that going into this,

because I was

fortunate enough to get

a copy of his statement

of service card

from the wonderful museum

here, Wisconsin Veteran Museum,

that said he was severely

wounded, but he had lived.

So, I knew that.

And I thought to myself,

"If he's severely wounded,

maybe he filed a

VA claim later."

I don't know. So, I wrote away. I wrote to the VA.

And, after several

weeks, that's what I got.

Not the coffee mug.

That's mine.

But that's a stack

about Carmine.

I could go into it, but,

timing wise, I won't.

But he was, indeed,

very badly wounded.

Reported as killed.

He said, Saint-Mihiel, he

remembered going over the top.

He remembered digging

a hole to get into.

And the next thing he remembered he woke up in a hospital.

A bullet had struck him

right in the top of the head.

And I learned a lot of medical

terminology reading this.

But right in the top

of the head. Must have

been a spent bullet.

I imagine it went

through the helmet.

And it broke the bones,

shattered the bones

in about a one-inch

or so diameter area.

Did not break the skin.

But it drove pieces of the bone through the dura into the brain.

So, indeed, a bad wound.

I imagine his friends

saw that happen and said,

"Well, Carmine's bought it."

And reported it back.

Later, another soldier

from his unit was wounded

and saw him in the hospital

and reported back up through

the chain that he was alive.

The picture, there's

Pasquale and his brother.

That was June or July 1918.

Six months later, in

January, he came back.

I love that. What a

difference six months makes.

I mean, obviously he's very

happy his brother is alive.

I'm sure Carmine's happy, too.

That brings me to men

wounded in action.

Now, for this, I counted

just men who served

in combat infantry units.

I did not count one

man who transferred

to an infantry unit after

that unit was out of combat.

Another guy was in a unit

that didn't see combat.

I didn't count the

machine gun battalions,

even though they saw

extensive combat.

I didn't count the man

in the engineer unit

or the man in an artillery unit.

Just the guys with the guns

in their hands on the ground.

Nine out of 13, 69%.

So, that's a high rate.

And, when I expand it, even

looking at my expanded,

slightly expanded and

the larger expanded

to a bunch of different studies,

it's going to be

about this amount

for people in the same boat.

Men who were drafted in the

spring and went overseas.

About 69-70%.

I call your attention to

the man on the bottom,

Eugenio Scarlato.


Not sure what day

he was wounded,

but he died of

wounds November 19,

eight days after the armistice.

So, there again, you

can imagine the family

being happy and excited,

the war's over.

Eugenio made it.

He was wounded, but he's okay.

Then you get a sad telegram.

That brings me--

This is where I wanted--

an interesting point.

The plight of draftees--

I say spring, but I'm looking

at just May, the May draftees.

Seven men fall

under that category.

Now, look at this

timeline and just picture

in your mind, if you're a

soldier and you have to do this.

Drafted on May 26.

You're sent to Camp Grant

for initial processing.

All this takes time.

You're not trained yet.

You're filling out paperwork.

You're trying to understand

what they're telling you. They're yelling at you.

June 13, they were

sent to Camp Custer.

About 2500 people were

sent from Grant to Custer.

June 13, so it's just

a couple weeks later,

to fill vacancies in

the 85th Division.

Most of them were assigned to

that regiment. Doesn't matter.

July 23, they were

sent overseas.

Now, to get there,

they had to leave.

Obviously, time

to take the train,

get to the port of embarkation,

do their out processing,

and get on the boat.

So, again, not a lot of time

for training left there.

They go across the ocean.

They go to England first.

One regiment gets stripped off.

The rest go to France.

And, by mid to late August,

most of the men were sent to

combat units as replacements.

Saint-Mihiel starts

September 12.

So, I figure, just rough--

And I don't know exactly--

but about six weeks

of training--

That's probably being generous--

Of effective training before

these men were dressed

like this to--

When they were dressed

like the captain here

and had a uniform on and

a rifle in their hands

and were facing Germans.

So, that's not a lot.

And so, you wonder about that, you know, picture yourself,

not even as a

foreign-born person,

but as a person

that you are now.

And you're thrust into this

and you're separated

from your friends,

'cause they all got farmed out, and now you're in with the guys

who have already

established a unit cohesion.

And here comes a guy-- Now I gotta look after this guy

who can barely speak

English or whatever?

So, that's gotta be a

very uncomfortable thing.

I think that probably lends to

the high casualty

rate in those men.

I think this warrants

further examination.

How am I doing here? Ok.

I'll go through

just a Victory Medal.

It's a poor picture.

I apologize.

That's a Victory Medal.

And then, everybody who

served in the military

during the war was awarded that.

And then you got little clasps

for any type of battle

or whatever you were in.

They had designated

official campaigns.

The most was this

Frank Conforti,

101st Engineer Regiment

in the 26th Division.

And he earned four

there, as you can see.

Other medals.

I don't wanna get

into the history

of the Silver Star citation,

but, basically,

if you were cited

for bravery or what have you,

that entitled you to

put a little silver star

on your ribbon for that other

medal I just showed you.

Later, in 1932, they developed

the Silver Star Medal,

which people are probably

more familiar with.

It's the third highest

award for gallantry.

That enabled those people that

had the little silver star

to apply and receive

the big medal.

So, two people were cited

in my study for bravery.

And a bunch, because

they were wounded--

Not taking away

from their bravery,

but they were cited

because of their wounding.

And then, too,

because of bravery.

Then men in the 1st

and 3rd Division

got the Army of Occupation

of Germany Medal.

There's an example

of award cards.

And you can see it's cited for

bravery in action in the

Meuse-Argonne Offensive.

Both of those men actually

received it for that.

And this man, on the

lower right here,

Muto, was wounded

and he was cited.

So, he received two awards,

which means he got

an Oak Leaf Cluster.

That is probably not

of interest as trivia,

but there you have it.

And then, of course,

the Purple Heart

that most of us are

familiar with for wounds

and also for being gassed.

From reading, my experience is

probably anybody who

served any amount of time

on the front lines had to be

exposed to gas to some degree.

But, anyway, if you were

officially reported as that,

then you were able to

get a wound chevron,

which you wore on your

lower right sleeve.

And I include this just to show

the gentleman on the right.

I don't know

if you can see it.

On his left sleeve,

he's got a chevron

for six months service overseas.

And a wounds chevron

on the right sleeve.

I include this because

it came from a scrapbook

of one of the men in my study.

And it said something like,

"My buddies in the service."

I just got a feeling

that some of these

are these guys that

were drafted all in May.

I'm hoping that maybe I can

find out, one of these days,

the names of these gentlemen, but I like the picture anyway.

Return from overseas.

One November guy was the

guy that came back early.

Or didn't make it.

And the other one was

a man who was wounded.

Those last batch are men

that served in the Army

of Occupation.

In general, those are the

last guys that returned.

Discharge. Those first three there were for physical reasons.

It was before the

end of the war.

The first guy was also

the first guy drafted.

Just happened to be.

And he had rheumatism

and he was let out early.

The other two:

one was undersized,

which should have

been caught earlier.

And the other one had

another physical impairment.

But, there, you see right after,

in December and

January, war is over.

A lot of the stateside

guys were discharged.

Get those out right away

before you start bringing

everybody else home.


I only found three.

One guy reenlisted

in World War II.

He served for, as you can

see, just a short time.

I don't know anything about that other than those basic.

And this is one of the

statement of service cards,

an example of what you can get.

If you're researching

Wisconsin veterans,

please go see those guys.

That's what you can get.

This one happened to be dark.

I don't know why it came out

that way, but, on the bottom,

it says he was released

for reenlistment.

Just show that as an example

of some of the documents.

Okay, some people here. I'll

try to get through this here.

That's Private Morelli.

He was wounded and

taken prisoner.

He's the only one that I've

found that's taken prisoner.

He was released, as you can see, a month after the armistice.

So, he probably took a

while to make his way back.

And there's a good story

here, but I can't find it.

So, I'm still looking.

I'm still looking.

But I have a nice

picture of Eugenio.

Angelo Biscardi, now

this is interesting.

He also came to the

United States for a while,

then went back to Italy,

got drafted in the

Italian Army in 1915,

right when Italy

declared war on Germany.

He's wounded, very

badly wounded in Italy.

Is discharged early.

Comes back to the United States.

Goes to Kenosha, gets drafted

in the United States Army.

So, off he goes and he's very

badly wounded, as you can--

Let me see if I can read the--

Bayonet wound, right side.

Shell wound, right eye.

And then something else,

which I'm not sure.

BEF, usually stands for

British Expeditionary Force.

I don't know what that means,

'cause he wasn't in that.

But, anyway, you can see

that must be a horrific--

That's in the

Meuse-Argonne Offensive.

So, that's a very horrific

experience that he had.

So then he gets home.

He's discharged.

There's a newspaper

article where I got

that little photograph

from his grandniece,

newspaper article.

And it says he's

looking for work.

He's unemployed, out of work.

He's in Chicago

looking for work.

And it says his wife and child

have just died of influenza.

So, you can see this

is not a happy story.

And it doesn't get any better.

Because, in March 1920, just

a little bit after the war,

he died of accidental

asphyxiation of

illuminating gas.

I have to think

about this man's life

and I wonder if

it was accidental.

Now, we understand more

post-traumatic stress disorder.

And the things that this

man went through, being

terribly wounded twice.

One thing said he was divorced.

Another said his wife and

child died of influenza.

Either one is not a

pleasant situation.

Out of work, looking for work.

So, anyway, that's one of

the stories I uncovered.

There's another

man, Joe Covelli.

He was very badly wounded in

Meuse-Argonne Offensive, also.

All these guys went over,

by the way, as replacements.

These people I'm covering.

He was shot in the

back of the neck.

The shot entered

the back of the neck

and emerged near the right

angle of the mandible.

Bayonet wound in

the right forearm.

Two machine gun

bullets in the legs.

Here he is after the war.

He looks pretty good

with some friends.

Navy, here's one

of the Navy guys.

I put this up here

because this man enlisted.

He was a tailor

in civilian life.

He was recruited as a tailor,

special duty as a tailor.

And he went to Great Lakes Naval

Station and worked as a tailor.

I found two other men

from the same village,

but they lived in Chicago.

One man, if you look

at his service record,

it says he's five foot

four and weighed 180 pounds

and it said obesity waived

for special duty as tailor.

Another man was

undersized and it says

undersized waived for

special duty as tailor.

So, these men were recruited

specifically to be a tailor,

to be tailors.

And here's a little resume of

the man who has died of wounds.

Again, you can see-- The point, here, to this that I'm showing,

look at the disruptive

moving continually.

Drafted, sent to someplace else,

Camp Custer, Michigan to Camp

Gordon just a few days later.

Put all these different units.

Finally gets to Company I,

23rd Infantry Regiment,

2nd Division, a very tough combat unit.

I think they lost the most

out of anybody in the war.

That division.

And he was engaged in

those battles there.

Somewhere along the line,

he was badly wounded.

I suspect in was in

the Meuse-Argonne.

They were heavily engaged

November 1st through 11.

And then he died

after the armistice.

And there's his

final resting place

in the Saint-Mihiel

American Cemetery in France.

Thank for your attention.


- Hello.

Captain Brian Faltinson,

the historian of the

Wisconsin National Guard.

And have been the historian

of the Guard for nine years.

But, in the civilian life,

because we have civilian

lives in the Guard,

I'm a cultural resource

management historian.

I write National Register of

Historic Place nominations

and do environmental


Do the historic building portion

and environmental

impact assessment.

So, I research and

write history every day.

And kind of got interested

in Guard history

through the civilian job.

As I had to do a study of

National Guard armories

in Illinois and Wisconsin.

And I just learned about the

community aspect of the Guard

in the cities spread

all throughout those

respective states.

And then, in my Guard role,

I am now doing this here

for about eight months.

I saw the connections

of building

the 32nd Division

for World War I

and that community aspect

that I studied later

when the armories

emerged after the war

and during the Great

Depression and then that era.

So, that's where I

come from with this.

So, let's get started.

"Physically, this

is the finest body

of soldiers I have ever seen,"

pronounced Colonel Ian

Jones in September 1917

at the Wisconsin

Military Reservation

near Camp Douglas, Wisconsin.

Jones was a regular Army officer

assigned to muster 15,000

Wisconsin National Guardsmen

into federal service

for World War I.

These troops, by October, would

be in Camp MacArthur, Texas

with 8,000 Michigan

troops to begin training

as the 32nd Division.

One of 17 National

Guard divisions

that would become the

backbone of the American

Expeditionary Force.

In France, the 32nd would

establish a record of service

that would take a backseat to

no other element in the AEF.

A year earlier,

the Wisconsin Guard

had only about 5,000 people

and they were stationed

near San Antonio

for the Mexican Border Crisis.

And, by February 1917,

these guardsmen had

returned to Wisconsin

and, within a month,

they knew that they would again

be called to active service

if the US entered the war.

So, how did the

Wisconsin National Guard,

in the course of the

spring and summer of 1917,

essentially triple its

ranks with volunteers

who all met the military

requirements for service

and report to Camp MacArthur

with uniforms and

basic equipment

ready to train to become one of

the most respected

divisions in World War I?

Beyond the larger

societal elements

that moved our nation

to mobilize its will

to enter the European War

and build the American

Expeditionary Force,

the answer is the

ingrained tradition

that is unique from any

other military branch

of service in our country of the National Guard citizen soldier

who is fully supported by

his family and the community.

These are volunteers

who are willing

to serve both their

state and nation

in their respective

times of need.

As alluded to earlier,

I'm currently working on

a two-year project called

Dawn of the Red Arrow

where we are commemorating

the 100th anniversary

of the formation of

the 32nd Division

and these 15,0000

National Guardsmen

who were part of

that organization.

What we actually

consider World War I

to be the birth of the

modern Wisconsin Guard.

That's where it fully

embraced its dual role

of first military responder,

here in the United States,

for domestic emergencies.

And then to be the

primary combat reserve

of the US Military.

Okay, when I was

researching this project

at the National Archives,

I met Matthew Margus.

He's a historian who

had just completed

his dissertation called, "America's Progressive Army:

"How the National Guard Grew

Out of Progressive Era Reforms."

He talks broadly about

how those reforms

impacted the National Guard.

But, when he speaks of

individual guardsmen,

Margus states that such

service was a venue

for people to actively express

civic minded and

patriotic virtues

in a way that transcended many

class and ethnic differences.

Guardsmen were volunteers

from the community

who publicly committed

themselves to service

to their community,

state, and nation.

The Wisconsin State

Militia yielded,

at the turn of the 20th century,

into the Wisconsin

National Guard

and its dual mission of

service to state and nation.

Far more professional

and organized

than the earlier militia,

individual units located

in cities across the state

now received assistance

from the government

in the form of pay and

some limited equipment.

And these guardsmen now

attended weekly drills with pay

and two-week annual encampments.

However, these duties

required compromises

and arrangements with their

family and their employers.

State and federal funding

still didn't maintain a unit.

And community support was

vital to a National Guard unit.

Events at the local armory

were a funding source

and these events were ingrained

in the local social scene.

At this time, the

local community

was the only recruiting base

and was the home

of unit leadership.

Successful units were integrated

into the community fabric,

while those without such support

would simply disappear.

The Wisconsin

National Guard in 1917

was a truly hometown


In March 1917, the Guard

consisted primarily of

three infantry

regiments spread in

about 30 cities in the state.

The peacetime strength of

these units were about 85 men.

That's all there is money for.

And, when it became known that

the Guard would

mobilize before the war,

the adjutant general

ordered each company

to recruit to its wartime

strength of 150 men.

The task of recruiting these men

was not a federal


And, at the state level,

the state legislature

had authorized

some funding for some equipment

and put people on

orders to do recruiting.

But the task of

recruiting volunteers

who were guaranteed to go to war

would fall directly on

the individual units

located across the

state of Wisconsin.

These units immediately

stepped up recruiting efforts

to expand their ranks.

Guardsmen were put on orders

and prowled the streets.

Talking to every potential

soldier they could find.

Units trained publicly

and invited the community

to attend their training.

Civic leaders in the

Wisconsin Defense League,

within the framework of the

public conversation of the era,

encouraged people to join

the local Guard unit.

Newspapers publicized local

businesses who matched

the pay difference between

civilian and military pay.

Established units also used

the impending draft

to its advantage.

Simply, National Guard soldiers

were exempt from the draft.

Although it was a given that these Guard units would mobilize

and these soldiers

would go to war,

the ability to serve and

avoid the stigma of the draft

held a certain appeal

for many people.

The Guard offered an

opportunity for people

to be proactive about

their military service.

Established units,

like Sheboygan's

Company C,

2nd Wisconsin Infantry

made the draft issue

a central theme

of its recruiting efforts.

A highly-rated unit with service

in the Spanish-American War

and Mexican Border Crisis,

Company C was well

respected in Sheboygan

under the command of

Captain Paul Schmidt

who had joined the unit

in 1899 as a private

and became its

commander in 1915.

The unit drilled in Sheboygan's

downtown Turner Hall.

And its military

balls and other events

were a major element of

the Sheboygan social scene.

When Schmidt and

his men returned

from Texas in February 1917,

the Sheboygan Press

reported that 15,000 residents

lined the streets to

welcome the unit home.

Within a month of that return,

Schmidt had recruited his

unit to wartime strength.

Company C recruiting officer

and the Sheboygan Press

appealed to the

potential draftees

by emphasizing the

company's record

of excellence earned

on the Mexican Border.

Said Lieutenant William Jensen,

"Do not wait until Uncle Sam

takes you by the shoulder

"and says, 'Young man,

I am going to take you,

"for your country needs you.'

"When you have the

opportunity of enlisting in

"an organization that has

made a name for itself."

Company C also recruited

smaller nearby towns

and other established units

followed the same practice.

Groups of five, 10,

and 20 would enlist

in the nearby unit and form

their own squad and platoon.

Meanwhile, these local

towns would support

their volunteer guardsmen

with money for uniforms,

a place to train,

and other expenses.

Even with every existing

Wisconsin National Guard unit

fully recruited to

its wartime strength,

that was not enough

to meet the quota

that the War Department

had put on Wisconsin

for 15,000 guardsmen.

More units were needed and they had to be built from scratch.

Efforts to create

a fourth regiment

started even before

war was declared.

These efforts percolated

from the bottom up

within the communities


In March, a group of 57 men,

mostly enrolled in the state

normal school in Stevens Point,

petitioned the adjutant general

for admission into the

Guard as a cavalry troop.

Adjutant General Orlando Holway

sent a doctor to conduct

physical examinations

and an officer to administer

the oath of office

to these new soldiers.

Scott Carey, a former

Iowa National Guardsman,

contacted the governor directly

on how to organize Platteville's

first National Guard unit.

He soon found 200 men who

could pass the physical

and Platteville became

home of Company I,

4th Wisconsin Regiment.

The story played

out across the state

and the Wisconsin

National Guard,

once it filled the 4th

Regiment, started two more.

By the time the Guard departed

for Camp Douglas in August,

it totaled 15,000 troops

from units located

in 72 Wisconsin cities.

Recruiting these men

was only half the story

of how Wisconsin put

all of these guardsmen

into the 32nd Division.

Camp MacArthur, Texas

was a training base.

It was not a recruiting depot.

Before they arrived, these

guardsmen had to meet

the requirements

of federal service.

They had to have

central things complete,

like physicals, immunizations,

and the issue of

uniforms and equipment.

Adjutant General

Holway ensured that

the new troops recruited met

the basic physical standard

and other criteria

so as few as possible

would be rejected by

Army mustering officers.

Local newspaper

articles detailed

the number of applicants

for the local unit

accepted or rejected.

Scott Carey's unit of

200 Platteville guardsmen

was culled from a cohort of 300.

This is not to say that

the enterprising recruit

or the willing commander

found ways around the rules.

John Haddock of Milwaukee,

he enlisted in Company

F, 5th Wisconsin Infantry

as a 16 year old.

He essentially

reported to the armory,

told them he was 17,

talked to the lieutenant.

The lieutenant said he needed

to be 18, come back next week.

And then, when he came back

next week, he essentially

told him he was 18.

And the lieutenant winked

his eye and signed him up.

These troops also

needed equipment

and that's its own ordeal.

And the equipping of tens

of thousands of troops,

always a tremendous

undertaking for the US.

And not without problems.

There are ample anecdotes

across the country

of men in civilian clothes

training with wooden rifles,

because there's no

equipment for them.

Wisconsin did not wait

for such items to arrive

from the federal government

and contracted directly

with local suppliers.

Also, local communities,

as mentioned earlier,

raised funds to provide

uniforms and defray expenses.

When units left Camp

Douglas for Texas,

virtually all of

its troops carried

a basic load of equipment

to the train station.

A Private Hank N. Anderson in

Company D in Black River Falls

described in detail his kit

and all the equipment in it.

And he said, when loaded

up and with his rifle,

it weighed 78 pounds.

Recruiting and preparing

these 15,000 guardsmen for

active service in six months

was a tremendous task.

And one that would

have been impossible

without a triad of support from

guardsmens' families,

communities, and employers.

Those committed to the

citizen soldier concept

volunteered with full knowledge

that they would be going to war.

Communities rallied to support their local National Guard unit

with all manner of assistance.

And numerous businesses

supported, financially,

their employees who joined.

Then, the adjutant

general finished the job

by ensuring that

these troops were

as prepared as his

organization could make them

by obtaining the

resources needed

to train and equip these

men for federal service.

In closing, the heart

of the National Guard

from its earliest days

has been the support

and commitment by the community

of its local

National Guard unit.

Perhaps most visible public

display of this support,

which is still carried

on to this day,

is the city gathering to

see its National Guard unit

go off to war or deploy.

The Wisconsin

National Guard left

its home armories in August.

These units marched to a train

destined for the Wisconsin

Military Reservation

where Colonel Jones

waited to muster

this finest body of men

into federal service.

Hundreds, if not thousands,

in each community

lined the streets

to wave goodbye

to their fathers,

sons, brothers,

grandsons, and friends.

For these communities,

World War I moved

one step closer to reality.

In Fond du Lac, the

local newspaper reported,

"'Please will you let

me see them go by?'

"begged an old lady as she

sought to elbow her way

"through the ranks

of the spectators.

"'I've got a grandson

who is going.'

"Instantly, the men and

women stepped aside

"and gave the boy's

grandmother a front position.

"Many people in the crowd

were affected by the display.

"One man wiped a

tear from his eyes

"as the old lady feebly

waved her handkerchief

"to a soldierly-looking lad

who smiled back at her."

Thank you.


- So, it's a slight

change of topic now.

Let's talk about beer.

About a month after the war

had broken out in Europe in

1914, the American Brewer,

and this is the first

brewing trade journal,

which was founded

by Germans in 1868,

reported on the

effects of the war

upon the American

brewing industry.

The editorial predicted,

and rightfully so,

smaller sales and a war tax.

And yet, the author

optimistically prophesized

that domestic beer would

now actually profit,

because foreign beers

were no longer imported.

Moreover, the author

contended that

the Prohibitionists

would now, quote,

"For a time, at least,

withhold an attack

"which would so

materially weaken

the country's

financial prospects."

How could the leading

brewing trade journal

be so wrong in its assessment?

This question is the focal

point of my presentation today.

As World War I triggered a

historical and

concerted movement

to eradicate everything

German from America.

This would be the German

language, German music,

essentially everything

that could be

traced to a German origin.

As such, the breweries,

which were disproportionately

owned and operated by

Germans, around World War I,

now in the second

and third generation,

they became a prime target.

As scholars have

rightly pointed out,

national Prohibition

enhanced the destruction

of the fourth largest

industry in the United States

cannot be reduced to an

anti-ethnic, anti-urban, or

anti-capitalist sentiment.

Rather, it's the

combination of all of them.

And yet, with the founding of the Anti-Saloon League in 1893,

the Temperance Movement

had already gained

a decidedly nationalistic

and racial subtext.

And, when World War I broke out,

the ASL, the Anti-Saloon

League, seized the opportunity.

So, I, briefly, would

like to give you

an overview of the brewing

industry up until World War I.

And then I will focus on the

propaganda on both sides,

the ASL and the brewers.

As German immigrants flocked

into the United States,

especially during the second

half of the 19th century,

they transformed the

American brewing industry

and triggered what I call

the lager beer revolution.

By 1880, 80.5% of the brewers

were of German descent

who mostly settled in the

Eastern, Western, and

Midwestern states.

And the latter

subsequently became known

as America's German belt.

So, it's not a coincidence that

the Midwest gradually

developed into

a brewing powerhouse

comparable to

the brewing centers

on the East Coast,

such as New York

and Philadelphia.

So, what you see

here is the top seven

urban brewing centers in 1890.

Not in terms of the

number of breweries,

but in terms of the production.

So, at the top, we see New York, but then it's followed by

Chicago, Saint Louis,

and Milwaukee.

Wisconsin quickly rose to one

of the leading brewing centers

and, as we all know,

Milwaukee became

the state's beer

capital with the rise

of the city's beer barons,

such as Pabst,

Blatz, and Miller.

All were of German descent.

And all were closely connected through kinship and marriages.

And, up until Prohibition,

all these Wisconsin brewers

actually ranked in

the nation's top 10.

Over decades, German Americans,

and especially the brewers,

had been considered an

esteemed part of US society.

We heard this this morning in

the first panel on

Wisconsin history.

But, during World War I,

their public image

changed remarkably

from proud and

respected entrepreneurs

to mercenary enemies

of the states.

And Wisconsin, with its

high population of Germans

and, again, we heard

it this morning,

an outspoken senator

against the war,

Wisconsin turned into one of the

prime sides of the conflict.

The Temperance Movement

had come a long way

from promoting

moderation and sobriety

to total absence of all

alcoholic beverages.

In Wisconsin, the first

Temperance Society

was founded in 1835.

But it was not until

the end of the century

when the Anti-Saloon League

finally unified the movement

and turned it into

the most powerful

reform lobby in US history.

Before the war, the

League's tactics

had already shifted from winning

local options in rural districts to supporting the enactment of

a federal constitutional


Finally, World War I

gave the ASL

an overriding theme to the

economic, medical, social,

and moral arguments.

And that was the

most powerful of all.

It was patriotism.

The alcohol industry

was not only producing

immorality, crime,

poverty, and ill health.

By wasting food,

coal, and petrol,

brewers were sabotaging

the war effort.

In fact, every bushel of grain

used for beer served the Kaiser.

The brewers were, quote,

"The Kaiser's American forces

"plotting secretly to

undermine the nation."

As one of the

pamphlets distributed

here in Wisconsin

explained, quote,

"The submarines are sinking

"eight million bushels

of grain a year.

"The breweries are

destroying 70 million."

John Strange, papermaker

and former lieutenant

governor of Wisconsin,

put it very bluntly in

a very famous quote.

"We have German enemies

in this country, too.

"And the worst of all

our German enemies,

"the most treacherous,

the most menacing,

"are Pabst, Schlitz,

Blatz, and Miller."

Gustav Pabst actually sued

Strange for defamation,

but he lost because

Strange argued that

he had not attacked

Pabst personally.

To German Americans,

Prohibition was more than

a mere political issue.

It was a symbol of

cultural conflict

threatening their

lifestyle and value system.

In contrast, the ASL argued that

it was not about personal,

but about civil liberty.

It was about loyalty towards

the flag and not the keg.

Drinking beer was an

expression of German identity

and, thus, unpatriotic.

It turned people into,

quote, "the Hun of the day,

"producing barbarism and

killing democratic ideals."

Ultimately, a

propaganda war between

the ASL and brewers broke out.

However, already

prior to World War I,

the latter was at a

grave disadvantage.

The brewers could not appeal on

moral or religious

grounds, as the ASL could.

Moreover, the brewers

had a hard time

counteracting the

impression that

they were solely concerned about

protecting their investments.

Overall, it seemed that the

brewers could only react,

rather than act on

their own terms.

And, when they campaigned

as openly as the ASL,

they were in trouble,

as investigations in

Texas and Pennsylvania

and by the federal

government attest.

In 1918, the brewers in

the national organization,

the United States

Brewers Association,

found themselves

faced with charges

of secretly loaning

Arthur Brisbane,

a prominent national


money to buy the

Washington Times in DC

in order to control the

outcome of elections

and to spread

pro-German propaganda.

15 brewers were charged.

Among them, Joseph

Uihlein, Edward Landsberg,

Gustav Pabst, and

Frederick Miller.

Unfortunately, right now,

I do not have time to

get into the details

of the congressional hearings.

But, in the end,

evidence actually linked

nobody to anything.

The brewers that

used the newspaper

simply to fight Prohibition,

just like the ASL,

was using newspaper outlets.

Yet, it seemed

headlines sufficed.

"Enemy Propaganda

Backed by Brewers,"

ran a headline in the New

York Times in November 1918.

To many, here was

the direct link

between German treachery

and American brewers.

So, if the brewers could not

campaign as openly as the ASL,

what could they actually do?

In general, the

standard narrative

of studies on the

brewing industry

conclude that the

brewers were too slow

in organizing pressure

to counter Prohibition.

That they were too

unprepared and too unalarmed.

And overconfidence was

certainly one of the reasons

why the brewers failed

to save their business.

For instance, at the

National Convention

of the United States

Brewers Association in 1917,

its president, Gustav Pabst,

warned his fellow brewers of

the dangers of Prohibition.

Quote, "Gentlemen, these are

war times in our industry,

"as well as in the

world at large."

And yet, he remained

very optimistic.

If he read the signs right, people were getting tired of

the arrogance of

the Prohibitionists.

If the United States

Brewers Association

put the right facts

before the people,

the brewing industry

would get a fair trial.

Well, the brewers

never got a fair trial.

But overconfidence is

only half the story.

As it turns out,

the brewers were not

as unprepared as

some studies suggest.

Beginning in the 1870s, the brewers actually developed

a public relations network.

Subsidizing newspapers to

print favorable articles

and lobbying to more legal

changes in their favor.

A local example, in 1872,

they successfully killed

the Graham Law in Wisconsin,

which held tavern

owners responsible

for selling liquor

to known drunks.

Moreover, between 1909 and 1920,

the yearbooks of the United

States Brewers Association

devoted more pages

to local, state,

and national

Prohibition forces than

on any other topic

in that period.

During World War I, the most

obvious strategy of the brewers

was to prove their

unwavering patriotism.

For example, a half page ad by

the Educational

Publicity Department

of the Manufacturers

and Dealers Association

ran as follows.

"In many publications

referring to this matter,

the word German is applied

to the word brewer.

And there is continued

and persistent effort

to create in the

minds of readers

the impression that the brewers are, as a class, unpatriotic.

The attempt to create and

foster this impression

is to give birth to and nourish

what is a malicious

and cowardly lie.

More than 95% of all the

brewers in the United States

are American-born.

And, in a very large

proportion of cases,

their parents were


What money they have has been

made in American business

and invested in America.

We are not making this appeal

on behalf of our

property or our product,

but as American citizens

appealing to you

to help protect the good name

of ourselves and our families."

Over and over again,

brewers publicly pledged

their unqualified support in any measure that helped the war.

Even if that meant

producing beer

with a reduced alcoholic

content of 2.75%.

They became one of the largest

purchasers of Liberty Bonds.

For example, the brewers of

Milwaukee and the employees

bought two million

worth of Liberty Bonds.

And they were not getting

tired of pointing out,

just as their ancestors had

fought in the Civil War,

now their sons were

fighting in Europe.

Moreover, the brewers turned

the patriotic argument

made by the Prohibitionists

upside down.

Prohibition, they

argued, was not a war,

but an anti-war measure.

Because it divided the nation

at a time when it

should be unified.

And it actually diverted

vast sums of money

to propaganda which were

needed in support of the war.

In fact, Prohibition

was un-American,

because it established

a central control,


of a Teutonic autocracy

"in an imperial nation."

Not the brewers, but the

Prohibitionists were,

"the public enemy

pushing for

"tyrannical legislation to

enslave the American people."

However, their pleas

mostly fell on deaf ears.

And, arguably, it

was the brewers'

very own marketing strategies

of the previous decades

that, at least in part,

caused the eventual downfall.

Since the 19th century,

the brewers had capitalized

on their ethnicity.

In their advertising, they

had constantly referred

back to Germany and

to their German roots.

After all, Germany

was, arguably is,

the beer drinking nation.

To sell their beer,

the brewers used

German symbols and brand names.

Such as Heidelberg or Edelbrau

and beer gardens

as expressions of

the German way of Gemutlichkeit,

of sociability and of

family friendliness.

The beer gardens stood

in sharp contrast

to the saloons associated with

manhood, crime, and corruption.


"neither bench nor chair.

"Just drink your

schnapps and then go,"

as one German from

Milwaukee complained.

But these beer gardens, they

served several functions.

They were a piece of home.

They served the function

as community centers

for German Americans

and the public at large.

And as ways to promote

beer as a temperance drink.

As a natural and healthy product

to be consumed outdoors

with the whole family.

For instance, as

the ASL was winning

several local option

cases around the country

by the early 1910s,

Dr. Max Henius--

He was a Danish

American biochemist

and a co-founder of the

American Academy of

Brewing in Chicago--

made an urgent appeal

in the Western Brewer--

another trade journal--

to abandon the saloon

and replace it with,

"a refreshment

room and beer hall

"as a place of public resort

"without the obnoxious features

of the average saloon."

Yet, using a beer hall

and its association with

German Gemutlichkeit

was no longer

an option during World War I.

Moreover, due to

intra-industry tensions,

the majority of

brewers was not willing

to give up the saloon.

In Milwaukee, the brewers

worked out a compromise

and developed the

so-called Wisconsin Idea

of vigilance committees

to clean up or close

disreputable establishments.

But all these efforts

were made too late

or at the wrong time.

On January 16, 1919, Congress

ratified the 18th Amendment.

So, in closing, the

following can be stated.

World War I triggered

the downfall of the

brewing industry.

Some states were

already dry by 1914.

But the push to

garner enough states

to pass national

Prohibition might not have

been so quickly

realized had it not been

for the war at home.

While the Temperance

Movement aimed at

several immigrant groups

other than the Germans--

We have the whiskey

drinking Irish

or the wine drinking Italians.

It was successful because of the growing anti-German sentiment.

And the brewers either

failed to pursue

any method vigorously or

simply could not pursue

the method at all because of its association with Germanness.

World War I and

Prohibition brought an end

to Wisconsin's German

high-cultural period.

However, I really want to

finish on an upbeat note.

The current craft beer movement

has not only sparked a new

interest in old style beers,

but also in German-style

beer gardens.

So, for example, a

couple of years back,

the Estabrook Beer Garden

opened in Milwaukee.

And, on its home page, refers

to the German Gemutlichkeit.

So, it seems that, after all,

German Gemutlichkeit prevails.

Thank you.


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