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Infinity time spiral 15267876In March 1918, America joined Europe in using Daylight Savings Time.

A funny thing happened on March 30, 1918. Many Americans went to sleep and woke up the next morning to find that it was an hour later than their clocks said.

Putting Daylight Savings Time Into Effect

President Woodrow Wilson signed the bill on March 19, 1918. When Daylight Savings Time went into effect on March 30, the rationale was that it was needed to help the United States in the war effort of WWI.

“Now that it is actually going to be made effective don’t plan to spend that extra hour of afternoon sunlight for pleasure. Make plans at once to devote that extra hour working in war gardens, or at some other out of door labor that will aid in helping to win the war,” wrote the New Castle News on March 20, 1918.

It was also expected that the extra hour of daylight would conserve coal for use in the war.

Though it would take some getting used to for Americans, 12 European countries were already using it.

How Daylight Savings Time Came To Be

Benjamin Franklin is credited with first proposing Daylight Savings Time in his 1784 essay, “An Economical Project.”

However, it wasn’t seriously considered until William Willet, a London builder, took up the cause in his 1907 pamphlet “Waste of Daylight.” He got his idea during an early morning ride when he noticed people still sleeping with their blinds closed although the sun had risen. Willet’s idea was to move clocks ahead by 20 minutes for four Sundays in April and do the reverse in September.

Though a bill was introduced to Parliament several times, it failed to pass. Willet died thinking most people scoffed at his idea.

However, England adopted it in May 1916. As predicted, the switch caused a lot of confusion.

Allowing Local Control images

Though Daylight Savings Time was initially mandatory, part of the original U.S. legislation was repealed in 1919, leaving the option as to whether to participate up to the localities.

Congress passed the Uniform Time Act in 1966. This set the start and end dates for Daylight Savings Time but still left the decision to the localities.

The start and end times were adjusted in 1986 and 2005.

U.S. Participants in Daylight Savings Time

Most places in the U.S. observe Daylight Savings Time except for Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Benefits of Daylight Savings Time

Having more daylight in the evening has been shown to save energy, decrease crime and reduce traffic accidents. The most-basic reason, however, is that most people just enjoy having more daylight time to enjoy the summer days.

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This is a short excerpt from The Last to Fall: The 1922 Marine March, Battles, & Deaths of U.S. Marines at Gettysburg.

marines-recruitingThe Marines had fought valiantly in World War I like in the Battle of Belleau Wood in France. After the deadly fighting there to drive the entrenched German troops from Belleau Wood, Army General John J. Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Force, said, “The deadliest weapon in the world is a Marine and his rifle.”

However, that didn’t stop Pershing and others from wanting to disband the Marine Corps after the war had been won.

“Right after World War I, when John A. Lejeune was appointed commandant of the Marine Corps, there was a push by General Pershing and President Wilson to have the Marine Corps abolished,” said Gunnery Sergeant Thomas Williams, executive director of the United States Marine Corps Historical Company.

It wasn’t the first time such an action had been considered, nor would it be the last. However, Major General Lejeune was a Marine through and through, and he wasn’t going to go down without a fight.

Lejeune understood that this was a political battle that would be fought on the battlefield of public opinion. He devised a campaign to raise public awareness about the Marine Corps just as the government had rallied public opinion behind the troops during the war.

A number of things evolved from this effort. Celebrating the birthday of the Marine Corps as November 10, 1775 was part of the public relations push by the Marine Corps. Also, elements of the Marine uniform were tied to iconic battles or moments of Marine Corps history.

Gen. Lejeune also wanted to improve the skills and abilities of the Corps by applying lessons learned from WWI to introduce new tactical doctrines. He realized that he could do this and use it as a means of increasing public awareness about the Marine Corps.

“Instead of going to obscure places to conduct war games and learning lessons learned and learning how to integrate armor, artillery, and aviation into war fighting, he would do it at iconic places and put the Marines out in front of the public,” Williams said.

At the time, the national military parks, such as Gettysburg, were still under control of the U.S. War Department, which meant the Marines could use the parks as a training ground. Lejeune chose to do just that with a series of annual training exercises, which commenced in 1921.

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Last To Fall CoverThe Last to Fall: The 1922 March, Battles, & Deaths of U.S. Marines at Gettysburg is now available for sale online and at stores.

Thomas Williams, executive director of the U.S. Marine Corps Historical Company, said, “Every American is familiar with the iconic battle fought in Gettysburg during the American Civil War, some are even aware that two Marine officers and the ‘Presidents Own’ Marine Band accompanied President Abraham Lincoln to Gettysburg in November 1863 to dedicate the National Cemetery there. However, few people are aware that 59 years later the US Marines would “reenact” the battle.

“In 1922, General Smedley Butler would march over 5,000 Marines from MCB Quantico, Virginia to the hallowed fields of Gettysburg. Conducted as a training exercise, but more importantly to raise public opinion and awareness, the Marines would travel to the National Battlefield and carry out many aspects of the original battle. Ultimately over 100,000 spectators would come to witness this monumental event.

“Authors Jim Rada and Richard Fulton have done an outstanding job of researching and chronicling this little-known story of those Marines in 1922, marking it as a significant moment in Marine Corps history.”

The 178-page book is 8.5 inches by 11 inches and contains more than 160 photographs depicting the march from Quantico to Gettysburg and the simulated battles on the actual Gettysburg battlefield.

“The march involved a quarter of the corps at the time,” co-author Richard D. L. Fulton said. “It was part PR stunt, but it was also an actual training maneuver for the marines.”

James Rada, Fulton, and Cathe Fulton (who served as a research assistant) searched through hundreds documents and photographs looking for the details of the march and battles, but the book was meant to tell a story. For that, they went hunting through lots of newspapers in order to piece together the stories of the marines on the march and the people they met along the way.

“What’s really fun is that the marines re-enacted Pickett’s Charge both historically and with then-modern military equipment,” Rada said.

The event was also marred by tragedy when something happened to one of the bi-planes and it crashed into the battlefield killing the two marines flying it. The pilot, Capt. George Hamilton was a hero of World War I.

President Warren G. Harding and his wife, along with a number of military personnel, politicians, and representatives of foreign governments, stayed in camp on July 1 and 2 with the marines and witnessed some of the maneuvers.

The Last to Fall: The 1922 March, Battles, & Deaths of U.S. Marines at Gettysburg retails for $24.95 and is available at local bookstores, online retailers and ebookstores. You can purchase it from Amazon.com here.

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GB Cover 2     I have a new e-book available on Kindle called Beyond the Battlefield: Stories from Gettysburg’s Rich History and it happens to be coming out around the same time I’m beginning a new history column for the Gettysburg Times with the same theme.
     Gettysburg is best-known for the epic Civil War battle that was fought there in 1863. It tends to overshadow many of the other interesting and important stories that have taken place in Gettysburg and the vicinity.
Gettysburg was home to one of the first tank training camps in the country during World War I that was located on a portion of the Civil War battlefield. This also brought a young army officer to Gettysburg who would play a very important role in town but also the world. His name was Dwight David Eisenhower.
Gettysburg was also home to a Hall of Fame pitcher in the early 20th Century named Eddie Plank.
Other stories you’ll find in Beyond in Gettysburg include the hunt for dinosaur fossils, fighting the Spanish Flu in Adams County, the arrival of radio in the county and more.
This collection of stories will give you a more well-rounded picture of what life is like in Gettysburg…Beyond the Battlefield. Take a look at it on Amazon.

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