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World War I Letter Describing Armistice Day

From: Drew Family, Papers 1856-1999, Collection M82-8

Transcript

Live Oak, Florida, Nov. 12th., 1918

Dear Frank:-

I wanted to write to you and Herbert yesterday-on the very day of Victory (the day which, as Ralp has remarked would be the great day for the whole world of the future); but somehow the heart was too full. The fear of death that I have carried there for you boys for all these months was somewhat relieved; though I shall not draw a long breath of entire relief until I can get a message from you. The War Department has been so far behind with its advices that it has taken away much of the comfort in the addage the "no news if good news." It seems almost too good to be true that this horror is over for the world. The celebrations in this country have been like a tornado; but I know that over there in Paris and London it has been something beyond de- scription. The terms of armistice are highly satisfactory to everyone here; because no one can think of anything any more drastic to suggest. My, but how good they are! And how they have repudicated the maudling sentimentality that the President was hatching up. The country has settled with him good and hard; and the Democratic party is as dead to- day as the militarists in Germany. The papers forecast red revolution in Germany; though long before this reaches you the extent of it will be known. I have a memorandum made some weeks ago anent [sic] the different race types in Germany; and I am going to send it to you in bearing upon the "boche". It shows a distinction that the President has not apparent- ly grasped as the peoples over there have. The revolution in Germany should run its course far enough to demonstrate that his theories of certain things are erroneous enough to prove a lesson for this country.

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It is all too long to go into now; but the extent of repudiation of his note writing can be understood from the fact that the people of the South are the most outspoken against his effort to demand that every skunk in Germany should have a voice in affairs while in this country there should be unquestioned subservience to one-man power. Starting out with the position that the internal affairs of Germany should be assured for democracy he has switched to the extent of now declaring that this country and out Allies will not undertake to lead Germany into establishment of her government: in short he has taken the recent election evidently to mean that this country is a little oversized for his activities without extending them to the world at large. I recall your former opinion and mine; and I only will say that I have so far ourdistanced your view that you could not now be even in my dust. As the play "Excuse Me" had it,- I could be jailed for my thoughts. But seriously, the idea that people would be throttled by the espionage law was one of the saddest delusions that this administration has had. Thank God, the American people are not built to bow before autocracy or oligarchy. I have not written you as fully as I would along these lines because you were in service; and I know that you are frank in expression as well as in name; and I didn't want to suggest anything that might be a detriment to you. However, I know that the officers must have taken considerable interest in what has been transpiring in this country.

Well, the war is over, the influenza has subsided to the vanishing point and now we are looking and longing for the return of the two dearest boys on earth. Now my plans for the future can shape themselves without the ever-present if.

I am going back down to Okahumpka to see your Aunt Vannie and have a preliminary examination of her affairs; and then I am going on to

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Richmond to arrange with Herbert Jackson to take up all the rail. We are actively preparing for it now; and should be on the way with it in two or three weeks. We have had two deals practically closed, but a quibble has delayed them. We are now going to take it up and stack it so that it can be immediately delivered whenever a deal is consumated.

Then I have plans that I will take up with you boys, and which I am sure will meet with you approval; for they will put us all where we can be independent of dictation always; and in that position we can do many things that will make life more pleasurable than it has sometimes been for us.

Some of the expressions over the armistice have been amusing, but none more so than the break that Pete Burnett made this morning. In discuss- ing with Jim Dowling and Lyle the fate of the Kaiser he said that as far as he was concerned he very particularly wanted them to get that "damned old dutch scoundrel, old Bolshevik and hang him". He was so very enthusiastic over the proposition that he would not hear to cor- rection by Jim and repeated what he had himself to say.

I will write again as soon as I get back from Okahumpka; and by that time we certainly should hear from you. I could not get an E.F.M. cable through and the wires are so crowded that nothing could be done with a straight message.

All of us are well and join in the love of our hearts to you. God bless you, the dearest of our dear boys. Good bye

Your affectionate father,
Frank Drew