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"I apologize for a rather unpleasant war story, but let me assure you, there is nothing pleasant about war in any shape or manner and I hope that nobody will ever see another one and here we are in the midst of having them killed over there in Vietnam right now..." (Audio Recording, 53:34)

   Arnold Stephen Hoke
Collection image
Arnold S. Hoke, prior to his transfer to France; Creston, Iowa [1918]
War: World War, 1914-1918
Branch: Army
Unit: 42nd Infantry Division
Service Location: Creston, Iowa; Mexican border; France; Germany; Texas
Rank: Second Lieutenant
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After serving in the Iowa National Guard, Arnold Hoke joined the US Army in 1917. In 1971, he and his wife, Clara Hoke, who is also in our World War I feature, sat down to record their memories of the Great War. Like so many others, Arnold Hoke was thrust into trench warfare in France with little knowledge of what to expect, and initially without a weapon. He saw every major battle that the Army participated in during WWI, and his straightforward descriptions of the trenches, and the men lost, and the randomness of who lived and who died, are a timely reminder of the true cost of war.

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (8 clips)
»Part 1 | Part 2 
Download: audio(1) | 
Download: audio(2) (120 min.)
»Photo Album  (6 photos)
 Other Materials
»Ancestry of Arnold S. Hoke by his grandaughter, Patricia A. Munson-Siter
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 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (8 items)
Children urge him and his wife Clara to record their memories in 1971; hopes future generations might get a kick out of it. (00:54) Part of the 42nd Rainbow Division; General MacArthur brigade commander; every bit the soldier. (00:26) Hardships along the way; three days on a train, little food, and no bathrooms. (00:60)
Billeting in French village; cold weather; war had completely defeated French resources; difficult to get supplies. (02:18) First time in the trenches; objective to capture Germans for information; losing several boys he had recruited; long tour in the trenches. (01:15) Efforts to find his younger brother Howard, who had many narrow escapes; difficulty of having one's brother in the same company. (06:30)
Is wounded; Chateau Thierry; heavy losses; St. Mihiel front; Argonne; staying in a farmhouse that was mined; many of the men in his company killed while he slept; one of his recruits dying after losing a leg; talk of what they'd do when they got home. (16:30) News of armistice reaches the men; munitions used as fireworks display. (01:10) 

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  October 26, 2011
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