The Stars and Stripes, 1918-1919  |  A Closer Look at The Stars and Stripes

Stars and Stripes banner, a closer look at the Stars and Stripes
Inside the Pages: Advertisements - Illustrations - Soldier-Authored Material - The Sports Page - Women and the War Effort
Behind the Scenes: A Talented Editorial Staff - Military Censorship - The Self-Reported History of The Stars and Stripes - Complete Roster of Employees
A World at War: The American Expeditionary Forces - Timeline (1914 - 1921) - Historical Map

(Source: The Stars and Stripes, June 13, 1919.)
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Bugler Walsh Toots "To the Colors" After Setting This Head
Served A.E.F. Sixteen Months
Yanks' Own Paper Was for the Enlisted Man First, Last and All the Time-Goodbye!


With this Issue, No. 19, of Volume II, THE STARS AND STRIPES finds itself being reverently hauled down, to be as reverently laid away -- but not, we trust, In the brig: the while Printer Dave Walsh, our only reformed bugler, sounds a not too mournful "To the Colors."

The reason that Dave's rendition is not more stirring is not entirely because he is out of practice: it is that his old outfit, the 26th Division, sailed for the States long ago, while he stuck over here to help finish the job up properly. But now it's done, and he's going home. And so, now that our work is completed, are we all - going home.

"THE STARS AND STRIPES is up at the top o' the mast for the duration of the war," ran our opening-bow editorial in the first issue, that of February 8, 1918. We think that now, with all combat divisions save those of the Third Army well out of France, we are violating no confidence in proclaiming the war over. And with the Third Army now being ably served by its very own daily published on the banks of the Rhine, we feel that it is time for this weekly published on the banks of the Seine to cease firing.

So, after blowing "To the Colors," Bugler Walsh will sound "To the Rear."


Yet before saying good-bye to what is left of that A.E.F. which THE STARS AND STRIPES was created to serve, and which it has served continuously throughout 16 and a half months according as God gave it to see the light, before saying good-bye to the remaining members of the most homesick and most likable Army on earth. THE STARS AND STRIPES feels that it owes a report on itself and its activities during those 16 and a half months, made to the men to whom it owes its being, its reason for existence, and its unparalleled support throughout - namely, the Yank enlisted men. For it was Old John V. Doughboy - using doughboy in the general, all-inclusive sense-that made this sheet what it was, by setting up before it thousands of examples of heroism, pluck and endurance which it has been its privilege and glory to chronicle for all the world to read.

So, Yanks, since the paper belongs to you, you have a perfect right to ask what THE STARS AND STRIPES did in the great war. Well, here is our story:

To begin with, THE STARS AND STRIPES is, as far as we know, the only subdivision of the A.E.F. that does not claim to have won the war single-handed. Why this is so, we cannot tell. Perhaps it is because we have never had more than two Marines on the sheet at one time. Just now one of these is away somewhere as usual, and the other is but recently acquired. Perhaps it is because - rumor to the contrary not-withstanding - we have no personnel recruited from the overseas Y.M.C.A.

True, a certain charming Y.M.C.A. damsel was, a while back, attached to THE STARS AND STRIPES for rations, and earned her slum with a vengeance by feverishly sewing on insignia and things just before Secretary Baker inspected us; but since the Main Attraction left she hasn't been around here much. They are that way, them women, Y's or otherwise. (By the way, Janet, our blouse is shy two buttons and we can't go aboard ship that way, you know. C'mon round as soon as you read this, won't you?)

Nor - still further to explain our reticence about claiming to have won the war - have we had more than one M.P. writing for the paper at any one time, although that is hardly fair, since the M.P.'s really had that title wished on them. There is at present one hard-boiled ex-Top Soak of M.P.'s around here, but he is so scared of Wally he darsen't peep. Then there a very flossy serge-uniformed person who, upon being accused of redtabbedness, hastily explained that he'd only been sergeant-majoring around the Provost Marshal General's office; so seeing that he writes poetry, we let him stay. The only paper he asks for is copy paper, so the rest of the A.E.F. needn't be afraid of us.

But They Do Say We Helped a Bit

We are content to rest on the appraisal of two of our chiefs, one the C.-in-C., the other the former Commanding General of the S.O.S., and now the A.E.F.'s C.-of-S., as to our part in the struggle. Said General Pershing in our anniversary issue:

"THE STARS AND STRIPES...has been an important factor in creating and supporting the excellent morale which has at all times characterized the American Expeditionary Forces."

And Major General Harbord, one of our oldest and best backers, told us in the same issue:

"THE STARS AND STRIPES has played an important part in the highly organized business we have carried on to defeat Germany."

Suppose we let it go at that, for the present, and get on with the yarn.

Bucks Outvoted Sam Brownes

To sum up and add a bit to what we told in that anniversary issue four months ago - and we told most everything then - THE STARS AND STRIPES was started on a shoestring and bloomed In the course of 12 months to a circulation of 526,000. Its staff at the beginning consisted of one frantically energetic and everlastingly pepful SECOND LOOEY of Infantry (he's a major now), as officer-in-charge, one equally energetic but much more restful SECOND LOOEY of Marines (he's a first now), one ditto First Looey of Infantry, as advertising manager, one never energetic BUCK PRIVATE of Leathernecks as Art Department, and one forced-to-be-energetic BUCK PRIVATE of Machine Guns as reportorial and rewrite force. It can be seen from this that the paper started out just as humbly as it possibly could, and still keep up appearances. More BUCK PRIVATES were added later, and Immediately proceeded to outvote hell out of the officers at all editorial conferences.

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The Stars and Stripes, 1918-1919  |  A Closer Look at The Stars and Stripes