Distinct Occupations During The Western Theatre

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Distinct Occupations in the Western Theatre
World War I was in its concluding stages when President Woodrow Wilson sent American troops in 1918 to assist the Allied powers against the Central powers in France. The Allied powers consisted of France, Britain and Russia (124). The Central powers included Austria, Germany and Turkey (124). There are many sources with information about the war, but primary sources like personal diaries can aid us in understanding historical events such as this one. Wartime diaries in particular reveal personal, first-hand accounts of everyday life at war (129). The following diaries analyzed were written by American soldiers that had distinct occupations during the war. Captain Eugene Kennedy was an engineer, …show more content…

Captain Eugene Kennedy was an engineer during the war and his crew was responsible for building and repairing roads and bridges which the artillery branch desperately needed. As opposed to already being enlisted, Kennedy was drafted into the war at the top age limit (133). It seems as if he lacked proper nutrition and hygiene based on some of his entries. For example, he wrote, "Nothing to eat" on October 8 (135). His entry on October 16 briefly describes the first bath he takes after seven weeks, therefore leading to the implication of poor hygiene (135). Another factor Kennedy describes is the condition in which he worked. Camp areas were always cold, muddy and wet (134). On many occasions they moved along in "heavily congested traffic" (134). Aside from horrible conditions, he was exposed to many hazards during his service due to his occupation. Based on his entries about the German attacks or "Jerry" as they called them, one can infer his job was one of the most dangerous. On several occasions he described Germans dropping a magnitude of shells, interfering with their duties (134). He also describes mine explosions that resulted in casualties among them and even having to switch to the night shift in order to avoid being attacked (135). He describes that "the "bosche" had blown two French men, two horses and a wagon into fragments"

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