As my research of WWI and the Connecticut home front develops, I have begun to research the anti-German sentiments in throughout Connecticut culture and newspapers. During the first world war, as the American soldiers were fighting overseas, there was still an America back home that was supporting these troops. For people to publish anti-German propaganda in support of the troops was not an obsolete practice, in fact, for communities who felt the forceof the war this was a way for them to be a part of all the action. To expand on the topic of anti-German propaganda the people of the US also looked to get rid of all German books or anything pro-German. In addition to the propaganda used against the Germans, the American politics began to make comments that signaled shift in the public opinion against Germany. All-in-all, even though the American soldiers charged deep into Europe to fight against the Germans, the effects of the war, such as propaganda, were even felt on our home soil.
See the provided links below for more information about this topic.
- This article discusses the topic of anti-German mentality through literature. Pro-German books during WWI, through scrutiny by the council of defense, are viewed as unpatriotic and are pulled from American shelves immediately.
- This article discusses the anti-German propaganda in the US, which was ultimately promoted by the government, and how it affected German-Americans. The article talks about how German-Americans were demonized in the US with the rise of American support for the war.
During WWI there were a tremendous amount of people from all around the country overseas. They were battling in trenches, in the air, and in the water. However, some would question how was all of this fighting possible. People who were not directly fighting in the war began devolving manufacturing plants for all the required supplies for The Great War. One of the largest manufacturing plants of weapons was actually in Bridgeport, Connecticut, specifically Bridgeport Remington Arms.
Prior to the war, Bridgeport was a prime location for industrialization and the U.S war movement capitalized on it. When the war started in 1914 Bridgeport was used to produce weapons, even before the U.S entered in 1917. They still provided materials to the allies and many of these resources came from Bridgeport. Bridgeport provided around thirty million magazines per week for the Remington-Enfield model 1917, which was the most popular weapon used in the war. This massive plant was located on Boston Avenue and employed twelve thousand people. They also manufactured other common guns such as the colt 1911, Trench shotguns, and machine guns. These massive plants were also surrounded by guards to prevent sabotage by possible German spies, after 1917.
All of this protection in Bridgeport produced the number of war supplies is about fifty percent of all production in the U.S. Bridgeport offered this much supply into the war was that workers could possibly go on strike and cause a major lack of production. This happened when workers wanted an eight-hour workday. Bridgeport also had a strong push for women’s suffrage. The reason for this was that since the town was in the eye of the government they would have a better chance of gaining traction in their movement. The women would work in the factories to try and further prove their point, and eventually, the president granted them suffrage in 1920. Bridgeport in WWI is a town rich with history and is sometimes forgotten.
Bridgeport was such a heavy provider and without it, the war could have been completely different. I next want to explore more of the work conditions of Bridgeport and compare them to today’s standards. I also want to discover who worked there and if anyone from Suffield or even my family moved to that location to help serve the cause. These people did not directly fight in the war but did make a positive impact in the war effort.
The Liberty Cannon with the Liberty Bond House in the background.
The United States sold Liberty Bonds to raise money for the war time efforts. They still sell them to this day. “A Liberty bond (or liberty loan) was a war bond that was sold in the United States to support the allied cause in World War I. The general consensus was that subscribing to the bonds became a symbol of patriotic duty in the United States and introduced the idea of financial securities to many citizens for the first time. At one point in time, Waterbury had sold the most liberty bonds in the United States. This fact is made more impressive with the fact that Waterbury had only about 73,000 residents. According to an article published in the Hartford Courant in 1918, slogans for liberty bonds were advertised on automobiles. If seen on an automobile, that person was most likely a member of the Waterbury Rotary Club. The Rotary Club was a big deal in Waterbury as well. They were formed a year before the war started and really kind of found their footing during the war running Liberty Loan campaigns and running Red Cross campaigns.
The Rotary Club had a Liberty Bond house, which still stands today where they would hold rallies where thousands of people would show up and buy the bonds. Waterbury actually received a cannon as a prize for being one of the top Liberty Bonds sellers in the country.
One thing that I am particularly interested more about during World War I is how the economic landscape of the country was altered. I am interested in learning more about the dramatic change a country goes through when they are at war. I want to explore how a nation can complety alter the production of goods and services to be focused on products of war. In this light, I want to investigate the rationing movement and victory gardens that came with it. That kind of sacrifice not only lifts spirits on the home front, but it ultimately leads to success on the battlefield.
From an economic standpoint, it is extraordinary that war can boost production at the snap of a finger. It has been noticed that the beginning of World War II production is what pulled the United States out of the Great Depression. Some of the country’s toughest years were changed dramatically. My goal in this investigation is to better understand how a country’s economy can be altered so dramatically and so quickly due to wartime.
Cavalry members standing with their horses.
The American cavalry was there to support the British and French, but the cavalry unit was less useful during World War I due to the advances in technology. The Cavalry unit mainly were involved in helping with transporting messages and materials, helping locating the enemy and strategizing, and finally any police duties involved with the military. Some cavalry units were dissolved and created into field artillery units. Having a cavalry unit was a major advantage in some ways compared to being on foot. This would reduce the amount of casualties due to the speed of being on a horse compared to being on foot. America only had one cavalry unit which was the 2nd U.S. Cavalry Regiment. The cavalry unit had a huge impact on the defensive of the strategies used. The U.S. Cavalry Unit was the only unit that received two firearms. After the attack, they decided on the regulations for the 2nd U.S. Cavalry Unit which included: Each troop would have six automatic rifles, they would have enough horses to carry the firearms, and fifty men in the troops would be given grenades. The 2nd Cavalry Unit had 14 officers and 302 troopers. The Cavalry, being the only one in the U.S. had unique roles and were given opportunities that were unique only to the cavalry.
First Hot Log December 2017: If there is one thing that can be said bout every war, it is that espionage will always be used in a strategic manner in order to gain an advantage on the opponent. Espionage is the practice of spying or of using spies, mostly by governments in an effort to obtain political and military information. I am very interested in learning more about what role espionage took in WWI, and what impact Suffield may have had on espionage during this time. Espionage tactics in WWI took place in the form of eavesdropping, cryptography, and sabotage of enemy infantry. The Secret Service was the main intelligence agency for the United States during WWI, so it would be very fascinating to find out if any citizens from Suffield who were in the Secret Service during this time.
Espionage has always been a fascinating topic to me and that originates from the very first time that I researched my family history. My father and I found out that my seventh great grandfather, John Honeyman, was a spy for George Washington during the American Revolution. Honeyman first met Washington at a Continental Congress meeting, then again in the Continental Army. At these moments in time Honeyman and Washington’s friendship sparked into a bond of loyalty and trust, and this led Washington to be certain that Honeyman was the absolute best choice to help him cross the Delaware River. The way Honeyman spied was quite unique as he spied while being held as a prisoner to the British and studied camps in the town of Trenton. On December 22nd, 1776 Honeyman was captured by Americans to “talk” to Washington. When Honeyman returned, he told the British of his prisoner adventures and assured them no attack was imminent. This, obviously not being true, led Washington to attack the Hessians by complete surprise. From this, the Battle of Trenton was won by the American colonies and introduced a spark of hope in our darkest hour.
Towards the start of World War I, there were many different reactions to the news of the United States entering the war. Some supported the war efforts, whereas there were others who were dead against the war. Some made their views public, and others simply kept their views to themselves. While researching the war around Suffield, CT, I was able to find some FBI files from the beginning of the war that track these public displays of antiwar sentiment. There are even some files of residents of Suffield and West Suffield who strongly disagreed with the war. One man from West Suffield strongly opposed the war and encouraged the people around him to boycott the second Liberty Loan since there was no use. In this FBI file form October 30, 1917, it stated that he felt that the Germans would soon control the U.S., so there was no point for him and his neighbors to buy into the loans. He was also seen on occasion in meetings in Springfield, MA, where he would not stand for the Star-Spangled Banner. In another FBI file from March 5, 1918, there was a German man who the FBI had been watching over. They concluded that the man was breaking the law for leaving West Suffield, CT, and moving throughout New York without permits. Through this I learned of the close eye that federal agencies kept on Germans leaving in the United States, since the U.S. was now at war with Germany. As I continue to look through more FBI files, I will most likely find more stories like the ones here and that will help to shape a vision of how the public felt about the war.
Source: This information comes from actual FBI files on these subjects provided by Fold3.com.