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Shattered windows, German spies, and zigzag trenches: World War I through the eyes of Richard Harding Davis.

WHEN THE GREAT WAR erupted in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson urged Americans to maintain neutrality toward all combatant nations. However, a balancing act between neutrality and knowledge became increasingly tenuous with a flood of news reports about German tactics in Europe and German spies in America. Daily bombardments, daily atrocities, and daily destruction became the fare of the morning papers. If it is true that nothing sells a newspaper more than war, then during the early years of World War I, few journalists had more access to the American public than Richard Harding Davis. (1) Having achieved fame for his articles about the Spanish-American War, Davis became the most highly paid American journalist of the era and his articles on the First World War were syndicated for publication throughout the United States. (2) Commenting on the journalists of this era, Phillip Knightley argued that Davis was "the most experienced and most respected of the American War correspondents." (3) In addition to reading his description of the European war, the American public also read articles by a person whose worldview was in flux. There emerged from the trenches of France two Richard Harding Davises. The first one served as a propagandist for America's entrance into the war and as a champion for the Allied cause. But the second one, a person revealed in his descriptive prose, could no longer find the romance of war. The harmony between politics and images, which had filled his observations about the Spanish-American War, was missing in his descriptions of the European War. While he overtly called for American participation, his prose struggled in vain to find a military experience that was life-enhancing, adventurous, and noble. The main impression of his articles was of a war that turned back the hands of time, a war that silenced chivalry, and a war that overshadowed the pastoral.

Davis's place in the Progressive Era resided in both his journalistic and fictional writings. As Van Wyck Brooks argued, "these were the times of Richard Harding Davis, a young man who was so dramatic in such a special way that he became the symbol of a 'young man's epoch.'" (4) Davis's articles appeared in a variety of newspapers, including the New York Journal, the New York Herald, the New York Tribune, and the New York Times; but no matter what the name of the paper, a Davis story was almost always a front page sensation. He wrote articles and books on most of the major wars of his era: the Spanish-American War, the Boer War, the Russo-Japanese War of 1905, and the First World War. When he was not writing about wars, he told Americans about many of the key events of this era, including Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, the Coronation of the Czar of Russia, and the Chicago World's Fair. The datelines of his stories, and sometimes the people, often made another appearance in his short stories and novels. His romantic portrait of the life of a reporter in Gallegher and Other Stories (1891) was his first real jump into the fictional limelight. One reviewer from the Pall Mall Gazette even declared that "the Americans ... have discovered a Rudyard Kipling of their own." (5) Davis cashed in on this fame by writing a host of incredibly popular novels and short stories, ranging from Soldiers of Fortune (1897) and Captain Macklin (1902) to The White Mice (1909) and The Boy Scout (1914). His fiction simultaneously turned him into the "the prose laureate of the snobocracy" (6) and made him one of the key figures for the "guns and bananas school of fiction." (7) As these dual accolades suggest, the typical Davis hero was not only influenced by the "savage war" legacies of the American frontier, but was also learned in the ways of European refinement and aristocratic culture. With the creation of such heroes, and with his interest in foreign affairs, Davis fashioned a way in which America could understand its own obligations in the world and a means by which it could judge the conduct of other nations.

Davis's interpretation of the Spanish-American War provided him with a benchmark for assessing the First World War. He went to Cuba in 1895 to cover the Second Cuban Revolution against Spanish control of the island. His articles told of an island that was on the brink of ruin and of a population that was suffering from misrule. Davis gave special attention to the Spanish policy of reconcentrados, which forced civilians to move into "protected camps" so that they could no longer be of assistance to the rebels. (8) His descriptions of the camps were laced with graphic images of women and children starving to death in conditions that amounted to "an offence to our humanity." (9) By some reports, half of those placed in these camps (52,000) died of disease and malnutrition. (10) For Davis, the existence of these camps, along with the brutality used to suppress the Cuban revolution, were reasons enough to forcefully oust Spain from Cuba:
   Speaking dispassionately, and with a full knowledge of the details
   of many butcheries, it is impossible for me to think of the Spanish
   guerrillas otherwise than as worse than savage animals. A wild
   animal kills to obtain food, and not merely for the joy of killing.
   These guerrillas murder and then laugh over it. The cannibal, who
   has been supposed hitherto to be the lowest grade of man, is really
   of a higher caste than these Spanish murderers. (11)


Description, metaphor, and propaganda blended together easily for Davis. Spanish soldiers could no longer claim a shared humanity with Americans, and Spanish conduct was not befitting a nation that deserved status in the world. As Davis wrote, "the British lately sent an expedition ... to Africa to punish a savage king who butchers people because it does not rain. Why should we tolerate Spanish savages merely because they call themselves 'the most Catholic,' but who in reality are not better than this naked negro?" (12) This transformation of Spaniards into barbarians came to a head on the evening of 15 February 1898 when the American battleship Maine blew up in Havana harbor. Davis had been telling America for more than two years that Spaniards were "worse than savage animals," and he was therefore fully convinced that this was the work of Spanish saboteurs. (13) The destruction of the Maine symbolized the threat to U.S. interests in the region posed by continued Spanish control of Cuba and Puerto Rico. (14) Hence, President William McKinley declared war, and America found its slogan: "Remember the Maine/To Hell with Spain."

Davis went south with the American army and navy to cover the war in Cuba and Puerto Rico. In addition to vilifying Spain, he forged a romance with the martial spirit that was to persevere until the First World War. (15) He was on board the American flagship New York, just off the coast of Cuba, during its search for a key part of the Spanish fleet under Admiral Pascual Cervera y Topete. The Spanish fleet would soon be blockaded in a Cuban port and, outnumbered and outgunned by its American adversaries, destroyed when it attempted to escape. The war correspondent was jubilant as he wrote to his family of the glory of being on a battleship in the midst of war:
   It is a wonderful ship, like a village, and as big as the Paris.
   We drift around in the sun or the moonlight, and when we see a
   light, chase after it. There is a band on board that plays twice
   a day. It is like a luxurious yacht, with none of the ennui of
   a yacht. The other night, when we were heading off a steamer
   and firing six-pounders across her bows, the band was playing
   the "star" song from Meistersinger. Wagner and War struck me as
   the most fin de siecle idea of war that I had ever heard of. (16)


This same tone informed his writing of the American soldiers on the ground. His Cuban and Porto Rican Campaigns (1898) can be read as an ode to the Rough Riders. This volunteer outfit was formed under the command of General Leonard Wood, with Theodore Roosevelt acting as second in command. However, with Wood's promotion, Roosevelt assumed command of the regiment and, with the help of Davis's pen, became renowned for "making American history, and making it very well." (17) The Rough Riders received fame for their charge up San Juan Hill, and for their mixture of colorful figures. As Davis wrote to his father, "this is the best group to be with--they are so well educated and so interesting." (18) Davis waxed poetically over camp fire conversations about travel, operas, books and plays. (19) And when it came to warfare, these same men were draped in glory. In his front page article for the New York Herald entitled "Dashing Bravery of the Rough Riders," he wrote:
   The grit of the cowpuncher has never been doubted, but whenever
   we have wished to illustrate the fact that the swell will fight
   we have had to refer to the bravery of the English guardsmen
   and dandies at Alma and Balaklava. Now we can refer instead to
   the courage of the young men of the universities and of the
   Knickerbockers Club when they forced the pass at Quasimas and
   charged up the hill of San Juan. It is a more up to date example,
   and the men are Americans. (20)


Far from being dehumanized by war, these soldiers were role models for Davis's vision of an American gentleman. As the protagonist of his short story "The Derelict" mused, "he had been buffeted and beaten by a storm of all the great emotions; pride of race and country ... [as well as] the lust of the hunter, when the hunted thing is a fellow man." (21) The Spanish-American War, in sharp contradistinction to Davis's writings about World War I, was treated as something right out of one of his romance novels: exotic settings, intense experiences, hateful enemies, and commendable heroes. The line between fiction and reality was so blurred that a fellow journalist, referring to a Davis protagonist, described the Rough Riders as "a regiment of Van Bibbers." (22)

American victory in Cuba and Puerto Rico came quickly and with few casualties. But even those killed in action did nothing to slow Davis's celebration of American involvement in the war. Instead, their deaths read like an ingredient in his own action novels. "And so Sergeant Fish died as he had lived--defiantly, running into the very face of the enemy, standing squarely upright on his legs instead of crouching.... God could not have given him a nobler end; to die, in the forefront of the first fight of the war." (23) Fish's death in no way served as a critique of the war, nor did it lead to a reflection on alternatives to war. The death of Alyn Capron was told in a similar spirit: "and as I saw him then death had given him a great dignity and nobleness." (24) In Davis's hands, death seemed somehow painless and even beautiful. It was the voice of Kipling functioning here as Davis presented war as something alluring and glamorous. Unlike the European War, no uneasy doubts nor unseemly images tarnished the adventure story of war in Cuba.

Scholars of Davis, and students of the time, have tended to trap Davis's writings on the First World War within his worldview during the Spanish-American War. By and large, the tensions that marked his writings on World War I have been left unearthed in faded newspapers, letters, and magazines. For instance, Fairfax Downey argued that the war reporter believed America had a right to defend itself against invasion. (25) Lewis Miner agreed and argued that "the crusader ... had no desire to drag America into a war ... [but also] did not want America to suffer the ruin that had crippled Belgium." (26) Arthur Lubow, while giving strong consideration to the quality of some of Davis's work, contended that "he would report this war as he had the ones in Cuba and South Africa: as a struggle between the right and the wrong." (27) And Scott Osborn only hints at the transition: "he [Davis] was being forced away from his opinion of 1897 and 1898 that modern war was 'civilized.'" (28) While each scholar contributed to an understanding of Davis, none of them sufficiently plumbed the ambiguity of Davis's writings on this war. The Great War was not simply the Spanish war relocated to French soil.

As the clock ticked away on the remaining years of peace in Europe, Davis warily sketched the volatility of the Old World. "The Invasion of England" (1912) told of a panic-stricken night when England was convinced that a German invasion had taken place. (29) A year later, "The God of Coincidence" (1913) set in the wake of the Balkan Wars, explored a quirk of fate that allowed the passage of a treaty that prevented "the war dreaded by all the Christian world [that] might turn Europe into a slaughter-house." (30) Davis was far from alone in this focus on Germany and the Balkans as a threat to peace. In the same years before the war a host of "scaremongers" painted fictional images of Great Britain overrun by Germany. Such novels as A New Trafalgar (1902), The Invasion of 1910, and Spies of the Kaiser (1909) all portrayed Germans as the main enemy of England. (31) Davis did for America what these writers did for Great Britain; even before the war he stirred anti-German prejudices, made a negotiated peace difficult, and turned Germany into the enemy.

On the surface, there was no truer champion for American involvement than the war reporter from Philadelphia. In fact, Wheeler Syndicate even reprimanded him for writing vociferously "anti-German" articles. (32) This writing was augmented with activism. He participated in the "preparedness" movement, with its goal of creating training camps for civilians, enlarging the standing army, and increasing the military budget. He campaigned for donations to Allied countries under the auspices of the Lafayette Fund. (33) And he spent much of the last two years of his life in Europe. In fact, at the first news of war, in 1914, he boarded the ill-fated Lusitania and made for France. In addition to articles, essays, and pamphlets, Davis also wrote two books on the war: With The Allies (1914) and With the French: In France and Salonika (1916). The war became the overriding obsession of the last years of his life, symbolized by the fact that he died on 11 April 1916 while canvassing for donations to help the destitute in Allied countries. It was his knowledge of the war, he claimed, that made him bilious at President Wilson's call for American neutrality. America, he argued feverishly, was losing status and "caste" in the world by its refusal to fight. (34) In a letter to his wife, he raged, "fancy anyone being neutral in this war! Germany dropping bombs in Paris and Antwerp on women and churches and scattering mines in the channel where they blow up fishermen and burning [a] cathedral! A man who now would be neutral would be a coward." (35)

Like others who championed the Allied cause, Davis focused on Germany's conduct during its invasion of Belgium. Following the guidelines of the Schlieffen plan, Germany sought a rapid victory over France by sweeping through Belgium and "enveloping" the French army. For Davis, the reality of this invasion awoke the same principles that had sent America to Cuba more than fifteen years previously. (36) As the historian Daniel Smith argues, one key event in shaping America's sympathy with the Allies was the "obvious fact that Germany had violated Belgian neutrality, and that the war in the west was being fought against German invaders on Allied soil." (37) Following Clauswitz's "theory of terror," and haunted by memories of the franc-tireurs of 1870, the German army destroyed entire cities if even a single shot was fired from a sniper's gun. (38) In addition to razing villages, "about 5,500 Belgian civilians were deliberately killed by the German army, most of them in the eleven-day period from 18 to 28 August 1914." (39) Even though this was designed to shorten the war and silence resistance, it was presented by many as evidence of "German militarism." In fact, no fewer than eleven "quasi-historical" works of the time argued that this conduct amounted to a willful violation of international law. (40) This "terror" not only filled the pages of the Allied press, but also raced across the ocean via Davis's pen. (41)

The destruction of Louvaine and Rheims shocked the seasoned war reporter. As Barbara Tuchman observes, "Belgium clarified issues, became to many the 'supreme issue' of the war. In America, said a historian of his times looking back, Belgium was the 'precipitant' of opinion and Louvain was the climax of Belgium." (42) Other wars had been fought on the hills of Cuba, on the veldt of Africa, or in cities that were unimpressive and quite "replaceable." (43) However, the burning of Louvain and the bombardment of Rheims amounted to waging war against cities renowned for their houses, universities, and churches. (44) In Louvain, the German army went street by street, building by building, and set one of "the most celebrated European cities" aflame. (45) As the distressed war reporter emphasized:
   money can never restore Louvain. Great architects and artists, dead
   these six hundred years, made it beautiful, and their handiwork
   belonged to the world. With torch and dynamite the Germans turned
   those masterpieces into ashes, and all the Kaiser's horses and all
   his men cannot bring them back again. (46)


That the accomplishment of generations could be turned to "ashes" in a day shook Davis profoundly. "At Louvain it was war upon the defenceless, war upon churches, colleges, shops of milliners and lace-makers." (47) In Davis's eyes, it was not so much the destructiveness of war in civilian zones that was bothersome, but that the application of the "theory of terror" destroyed something that symbolized culture, refinement, and beauty.

The burning of Louvain was only surpassed in horror by the bombardment of Rheims, which in the eyes of the war correspondent was the model of a dignified city:
   In several ways the city of Rheims is celebrated. Some know her
   only through her cathedral, where were crowned all but six of the
   kings of France, and where the stained glass windows, with those
   in the cathedrals of Chartres and Burgos, Spain, are the most
   beautiful in the world. Children know Rheims through the wicked
   magpie which the archbishop excommunicated, and to their elders,
   if they are rich, Rheims is the place from which comes all their
   champagne. (48)


What better combination could exist for Davis's celebration of elitism: champagne, stained glass, royal processions, and fairytales. These were the emblems of his worldview. As someone who tried to fashion an American aristocrat from these very images of European culture, Germany's destruction of this cathedral turned an ambitious offensive into a war against "civilization."

The cathedral of Rheims became the focal point for his story and his images of the devastation of war. For four days a merciless barrage shattered the stained glass and turned the statues to rubble:
   Not one of the famous blue windows was intact.... We walked upon
   glass more precious than precious stones. It was beyond price.
   No one can replace it. Seven hundred years ago the secret of
   the glass died. Diamonds can be bought anywhere, pearls can be
   matched, but not the stained glass of Rheims. (49)


In order to destroy something so noble, Davis could only imagine that Germany's leaders had been driven to insanity by militarism. (50) To the war reporter, Germany's tactics looked like the "savage war" of Indians invading a white settlement:
   The effort has been to get away from the days of the Huns, who
   sacked, looted, and raped; from the days of our Indians, who
   burned villages; from the ethics of Raisuli, the Moorish bandit,
   and the Mexican cattle thieves who, with threats of death, hold
   up non-combatants for money. But to the days of these outrages
   Germany has returned. (51)


This juxtaposition was loaded with a history of prejudices. Mexicans, Muslims, Indians, and now, Germans: each, in Davis's mind, threats to civilization, unfit for status in the world. With images of cathedrals aflame, shattered stained glass, and statues in ruins, the war reporter turned an abstract war into a devastating reality: Germany had introduced something into the world that threatened everything he believed in. In light of this, the war reporter argued that "every word and act of [Americans] now that helps the Allies is a blow against frightfulness, against despotism, and in behalf of a broader civilization, a nobler freedom, and a much more pleasant world in which to live." (52)

The destruction of culture was at the heart of Davis's support for the Allied cause. In fact, I would argue, that it was the real or perceived threat to the cultural artifacts that he most admired in Europe that fueled his support for the Allied cause. If Germany believed this was a war about Kultur, (53) so too did the war reporter who had also written travel books about England and France. (54) Davis had been shaped by his time in England and on the continent, and the heroes of his fiction credited their refinement and their status to an immersion in English and French culture. Hence, an attack against French culture amounted to an attack against American culture:
   Every summer hundreds of thousands of Americans, on business or
   on pleasure bent, traveled to the places that now daily are being
   taken or retaken or are in ruins. At school they had read of these
   places in their history books and later had visited them. In
   consequence, in this war they have a personal and an intelligent
   interest. It is as though of what is being destroyed they were
   part owners. Toward Europe they are as absentee land-lords. (55)


This was one of the ways in which Davis shrunk the size of the world and turned the European war into a world war. "Although you may never have visited France," argued the war reporter, "her art, literature, her discoveries in Science, her sense of what is beautiful, whether in a bonnet, a boulevard, or a triumphal arch, have visited you. For them you are the happier; and for them also, to France you are in debt." (56) A cultural-generated noblesse oblige demanded that America go to war. French culture had traveled across the sea and become intertwined with American culture. From the architecture of the Colombian World Exposition to the paintings and sculptures that filled museums and mansions, and even to a level of aesthetic appreciation, France had been America's tutor. It was this legacy that he wanted to defend. In his eyes, neutrality amounted to "hiding under a bed" while one's house was robbed of its paintings, sculptures, and jewelry. (57)

This war against "frightfulness" knew no bounds and quickly translated into an obsessive fear of German spies and a suspicion of "hyphenated Americans." Davis's time in Salonika seemed to awaken him to a culture of spies, paranoia, and distrust. As the propagandist observed, "the quay supplied every spy, German, Bulgarian, Turk, or Austrian, with an uninterrupted view. To suppose spies did not avail themselves of this opportunity is to insult their intelligence." (58) From the logic of "they must be there," or "how could they avoid such an opportunity," the thought became the reality that they were there. The war reporter had turned guesswork into reality by a sweep of fictional imagination. "They swarmed," Davis wrote. "In solid formation spies lined the quay." (59) But the spies did not just reside in Salonika; throughout his travels in Europe and back in the states, Davis found that "war followed us" or "war had invaded even [these places]." (60) "Warnings to be careful, to talk to no strangers; that the enemy was listening" surrounded the travel writer. (61) This fear of spies, complemented by ethnic prejudices, also led to suspicion of those Davis ridiculed as "hyphenated Americans." (62) While the 9 million German speakers in America and the 15 million Americans of German stock received the brunt of this assault, suspicion was also spread about the loyalty of anyone not from Allied countries. (63) As Meirion and Susie Harries argue, "the emotions [the war] whipped up to unite [the American] people against the foreign enemy--hatred, fear, suspicion, intolerance-turned inward and ravaged the people themselves. Blacks, radicals, religious minorities, the foreign-born, all became scapegoats for the country's ills, victims of nativism." (64) In short, Davis's writings about the war served to translate the fear of Europe into the xenophobia of America. (65)

Fear of German espionage and sabotage was not just the product of romantic fiction. As with most of Davis's work, there was some grounding in reality. In addition to purchasing newspapers and hiring propagandists, there was, in fact, a concerted effort on the part of Germany to prevent munitions and war materials from reaching Allied countries. Working under the authority of the German government, a variety of colorful figures, ranging from the spymaster Franz Von Rintelen to the ingenious bomb maker Robert Fay, did everything in their power to prevent munitions from leaving the ports of New York and New Jersey. German agents dropped incendiary bombs in the cargo holds of ships while Fay himself swam out into the bay at night to plant an explosive device that destroyed a ship's rudder. In all, acts of sabotage resulted in the destruction of millions of dollars worth of property in thirty-six ships. (66) These acts reached their pinnacle with the destruction of more than 2 million pounds of explosives on Black Tom island, an act that, beyond tearing holes in the Statute of Liberty, shattered almost every window in Jersey City and damaged houses, apartments, and buildings for a 25-mile radius. The destruction of Black Tom caused over 40 million dollars worth of property damage and seemed to tell Americans that the European war was not something in the distance, but something happening right here in America as well.

A legitimate fear of German efforts to sabotage weapons production and transportation quickly translated into undocumented or exaggerated charges and accusations. The Providence Journal "published secret documents from the German Embassy proving that [its activities were] a plot against the nation's peace." (67) Additionally, the Journal found evidence of a "German plot to immobilize the United States North Atlantic fleet in New York harbor." (68) Only later did editor John Rathom "confess that most of his revelations were the figments of a romantic imagination." (69) Davis's friend Cecil Spring Rice, without any supporting documentation, argued that "scattered throughout the country are solid blocks of Germans who have been organized for the last thirty years." (70) By 1915 President Wilson "half believed that German agents in America, had, at this and that secret spot, laid concrete foundations for future use by German artillery men." (71) Wilson's own "discreet" investigations uncovered no foundations and no artillery men. As rumor became fact and innuendo truth, America found itself with "a first class spy scare." (72) As Walter Millis argued:
   There were everywhere visions of great armies of trained German
   reservists arising suddenly, as from the dragon's teeth, out of
   the heart of the nation. Bombs were discerned under every bridge,
   and every tennis court was already a German gun-emplacement. (73)


Into this environment of intense anxiety came the popular film Battle Cry for Peace, which showed a militarily unprepared America taken over by its enemies. The film complimented the "preparedness" movement, and even included footage from a civilian training camp with Davis himself cleaning a rifle. (74)

In helping to create a culture of paranoia, the war correspondent went beyond cleaning rifles and reporting on the war effort. His real contribution to the development of a more hysterical America was the spy story. Davis had been arrested as a spy by both Germany and France, and had told his story with a bravado that read like one of his farces. (75) But his spy story, "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" (1916), served as a remarkable cultural document for exploring the summer of this "full blown spy scare." The story was brilliant in its ability to link an American frontier legacy with a paranoid quest for absolute security. (76) The protagonist of the story was a young boy named Jimmie Sniffen. This young boy scout had no conscious memory of the frontier, but he had its legacy in his blood. (77) As Davis argued, if the reader did not believe in heredity, then much about Jimmie would be left unexplained:
   [For instance,] why, when he was out alone playing Indians and had
   sunk his scout's axe into a fallen log and then scalped the log, he
   felt that once before in those same woods he had trailed that same
   Indian, and with his own tomahawk split open his skull. (78)


The frontier may have passed, but its legacy lived on in the blood of generations. Frederick Jackson Turner would have been proud; Theodore Roosevelt would have approved; and James Fenimore Cooper would have recognized the spirit of Leatherstocking. It was these legacies, as traits and knowledge gleaned from the frontier, which had shaped America's approach to the world. And it was the same traits, Davis believed, that would help overwhelm the "German menace." (79)

Jimmie's idea of hunting spies was borne of a guest lecture by the war correspondent Clavering Gould. (80) The war reporter told the boys about the work of their fellow Boy Scouts in Belgium. Like the scouts in Europe, these American scouts could help the Allied cause right now. "When the Germans land," Gould announced, "it will be near New Haven or New Bedford." (81) The threat of sabotage against the arms industry had now turned into the assumption that a German invasion was only a matter of time:
   They will first capture the munitions works at Springfield,
   Hartford, and Watervliet so as to make sure of their ammunition,
   and then they will start for New York City. They will follow the
   New Haven and New York City Central railroads, and march straight
   through this village. I haven't the least doubt that at this moment
   German spies are as thick in Westchester as blackberries. (82)


Davis gave an American audience that was poised for adventure the threat of German spies in the sleepiest towns and valleys of America. (83) The correspondent advised his scouts to "Keep your eyes open" and "Watch every stranger." "Remember the scouts' motto, 'Be prepared!'" (84) The war footing had been announced, and Jimmie, with his badges for "stalking" and "pathfinding," jumped at the chance to use his frontier heritage to confront this new threat to civilization. (85)

Jimmie had wrongfully arrested a few people before he struck pay dirt. A richly symbolic "line of arrow heads" pointed straight to this modern "savage" in the guise of a German spy. The man was in the act of mapping bombing coordinates with the help of a pair of binoculars that were made in Germany. (86) Jimmie promptly arrested the man and took him to Judge Van Vorst. The justice of the peace, naive man that he was, thought the spy scare was sheer nonsense, so he was readily convinced when the spy told him that he was with the U.S. army. The German explained that the military coordinates on the map were part of his efforts to prepare America to defend itself against a German assault: "Van Vorst laughed derisively. 'My word!' he exclaimed. 'You're as bad as Jimmie!'" (87) The German spy, pretending to be an American agent, responded to this caustically: "'And you sir,' he retorted, 'are as bad as ninety million other Americans. You won't believe! When the Germans are shelling this hill, when they're taking your hunters to pull their cook-wagons, maybe, you'll believe then.'" (88) Davis knew all the punches to pull and all the insults to imagine. Like The Battle Cry for Peace, which showed New York destroyed by Germans, he knew that the vision of American hunters turned into lackeys for the German army would boil the blood of any American. The story rolled to its conclusion with the German's car fading in the distance and a group of Secret Servicemen informing the misguided judge that the man he had freed was a spy whom they had been tracking for months. (89)

There were no real surprises in the story. In fact, the reader was told from the beginning that the man was actually a German spy. What the story did was to ridicule successfully those who posed as "reasonable" people and refused to join in the culture of suspicion. "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" gave license to threats against national security over issues of civil liberties, individual privacy, or common decency. "This environment," argues Stephen Diner, "encouraged ultrapatriots to attack German-Americans, their churches, and other buildings." (90) As mythology, the story offered Davis's most explicit vision of the role of the frontier in America's approach to danger of a German invasion. The "pathfinder" named Jimmie would become a soldier by the same name. Additionally, Jimmie's frontier "stalking" skills were designed to ensure domestic security. In fact, his activities served as an eerie foreshadowing of a volunteer organization called the American Protective League, whose 250,000 civilian members eavesdropped on private conversations, snooped on unsuspecting neighbors, peeked into people's homes, trailed strangers through city streets, and then reported any dubious or suspicious activities to the FBI. (91) In short, Davis's story portrayed a country that in 1916 was, for all intents and purposes, already at war with Germany.

Davis's experience in Europe also made him profoundly uneasy with the world that seemed to be emerging. The first Davis, explored above, believed that tenets of noblesse oblige and an obligation to defend civilization demanded that America fight for the Allies. However, the second Davis, whose legacy has only been hinted at by scholars, was the one who no longer had control of his metaphors. He could no longer comfortably interpret what he saw, what he heard, or what he felt. Ironically, this schism between his political objectives and his observational imagination mirrored America's uncertainty about entering this war. (92) In fact, as Niall Ferguson has observed, some imaginative or graphic accounts of the war hurt recruitment efforts because people did not want American soldiers to experience what European soldiers where experiencing. (93) Davis can be read in this light: his observational skills did not fade with age, even while his interpretations remained firmly grounded in the romantic traditions of the nineteenth century. And while Davis championed America's involvement in a war against "German militarism," his metaphors made war uninviting and moved toward a blanket indictment of a century that was to be dedicated to the machinery of war. While Wilfred Owen became known for his poetry of the horror of war, Davis told of a war that was a surreal nightmare. While Siegfried Sassoon gave poignant testimony about the disillusionment of a generation, Davis told of a war that was hostile to individual growth. And while Ernest Hemingway showed that idealism was blown up in the trenches, Davis told of a war that debunked the cliches of the nineteenth century.

The conversion of the war correspondent to the mood of modernism is apparent when one contrasts Davis's writings about World War I with his observations about the Spanish-American War. (94) In the Spanish-American War, as explored earlier, he could still cloak American soldiers in the language of heroism. Theodore Roosevelt's charge up San Juan Hill or the heroic death of American soldiers flowed convincingly from his pen. Additionally, Davis had metaphorically described Spaniards as barbarians: animals or cannibals. Significantly, Spaniards were not stripped off life by the metaphors, but were dehumanized and made more killable. They were made hateful because they were the enemy. Their cause, conduct, or nationality sentenced them to dehumanization. These metaphors, Davis's key descriptive device, held power because of their ability to offer themselves up to an obvious interpretation: the wild animal was a threat to be met with force (the hunter and the hunted). (95) The other side of the metaphor was equally clear. The 1898 American soldiers were knights, and their life during the war was a celebration of camaraderie, bravery, and nobility. (96) They were vividly alive with humanity and dignity, and death in battle served as a moment for an ode to a fallen friend and a psalm to the beauty of sacrifice ("Dulce et decorum est / pro patria mori"). (97) Davis's articles from Cuba had served to connect thought and emotions to actions and interpretations.

This rhetoric of partisanship, either in the form of turning an enemy into a beast or an ally into a knight, only appeared as an afterthought in his works about the Great War. (98) When he paused to become a propagandist for the cause, he would extol the bravery of the French soldiers or the spirit of the English people, but it no longer flowed from his descriptions. In general, the war correspondent's metaphors and images blurred the lines of partisanship. The enemy was no longer an animal nor was the French soldier a knight: each one shared the fate of complete and utter lifelessness.

When the German army marched into Brussels in 1914, they were not the unwashed barbarians of the Spanish army. They were not snakes that slithered through the grass to strike at an innocent victim. They were not lower than cannibals. While other poets and writers still used metaphors that located the enemy on a lower rung of life, (99) Davis, to his credit, saw that this war was different. As the German army moved through Brussels, the human soldiers began to change:
   No longer was it regiments of men marching, but something uncanny,
   inhuman, a force of nature like a landslide, a tidal wave, or lava
   sweeping down a mountain. (100)


Unlike the wild beast of the Spanish war, Davis's images here created an intellectual ambiguity. The hunter from the frontier knew that a wild animal was to be shot. But what do you do in the face of a landslide, a tidal wave, or lava? The pastoral, the natural world of disasters was still intact, but the metaphorical shift was potent. A cannibal or wild animal was viciousness, but these forces of nature had moved to a different status all together. They were certainly not conscious, and were not even breathing or living. To be dehumanized meant that one could be killed, but these soldiers were already without life. Davis was grappling to describe something that was at once larger than life and something that was not life.

Davis's image of the German army's march through Brussels did not end with natural disasters. Instead, he turned alchemist to blend the industrial with the natural:
   All through the night, like the tumult of a river when it races
   between the cliffs of a canyon, in my sleep I could hear the steady
   roar of the passing army. And when early in the morning I went to
   the window the chain of steel was still unbroken. This [the German
   army] was a machine, endless, tireless, with the delicate
   organization of a watch and the brute power of steam roller. And
   for three days and three nights through Brussels it roared and
   rumbled, a cataract of molten lead ... like a river of steel ...
   [and a] monstrous engine. (101)


Incredibly, the soldiers had not turned into animals to be killed. Instead, the fact of becoming soldiers had already stripped them of all life. The raw fact of war had drained everything from them that was associated with a living, breathing creature. They were now a nightmarish product of the industrial age: steel chains, machines, steamrollers, and engines. This was the pastoral turned nightmare. What would have filled a tropical landscape with beauty and romance, waterfall and rivers, turned into something disturbing and bewildering. With a sigh of relief, Davis found a solution: machines could be dismantled. And to emphasize this, Davis turned to literature: "And, like Frankenstein's monster, this monster ... may turn and rend them." (102) With this thought, he began to turn toward an indictment that was not just limited to "German militarism," but encompassed everything that promulgated warfare.

A dismantled machine became mere "parts," which, on their own, did nothing. And indeed, what Davis gave us was an image of the martial spirit that desubstantiated life itself. German soldiers turned from lifeless machines into lifelessness itself:
   It [the German army] was not of this earth, but mysterious,
   ghostlike. It carried all the mystery and menace of a fog
   rolling toward you across the sea. The uniform aided this
   impression. In it each man moved under a cloak of
   invisibility.... [The uniform] is the gray of the hour just
   before daybreak, the gray of unpolished steel, of mist among
   green trees (103).


All touched by warfare moved through a cycle that began with natural disasters, moved through the world of the machines and found a resting place among that which was not material: ghosts, fog, and grayness. All substance was gone: "in the darkness the gray uniforms filled the station with an army of ghosts." (104) All who took up the weapon turned into an army of phantoms moving in unreality; drifting, wandering, and senseless.

This lifelessness occupied both sides of the trenches. Davis's descriptions of France were filled with an ironic absence of anything that spoke of war as a heroic adventure. (105) Paris had always been a city filled with soldiers, but now each soldier either hobbled on a crutch or had been blinded at the front. The strength and beauty of a French Van Bibber could not be found. In sharp contrast to the Spanish war, cultivated aristocrats were not ennobled by battle, but were helpless in face of war: "each matched his good health, good breeding, and knowledge against a broken piece of shell or steel bullet, and shell or bullet won." (106) Davis captured a strange reversal of the cliche that "war makes a man out of the boy." Instead of this informal bildungsroman, he depicted blinded soldiers who had to begin again the process of human development: they had to learn a new alphabet, learn skills for employment, and learn how to live without sight. As Davis observed, "the officer was again a child. In life for the second time he was beginning with the A, B, and C." (107) War did not catapult them into a more mature adulthood, instead the war stripped them of innocence and forced them into a second childhood. The war reporter added poignant testimony to this in his article "A Deserted Command." This could have been a hero tale that would have lured Jimmie Sniffen to the Western front. Instead, it was a story of loneliness and of innocence in a place it did not belong: two young boys, "babes in the woods," firing artillery at an enemy they could not see. By the end of the article, all causes were obscured and all motives silenced: "I felt like taking one of the boy officers under each arm, and smuggling him safely home to his mother." (108) The Great War was not a place for life. It was not a place for people. And Davis would find no scenes of heroic adventure.

Just as a war machine was too powerful for German soldiers, so the trench was too strong for the French. Even those without physical wounds seemed transformed by this underground world. The trenches of Artois were a "land of mud, clay, liquid earth." (109) And what had been French soldiers were now "cavemen" and "cave-dwellers." (110) Arras was a city inhabited by "ghosts" and walking through it was like a visit to a "cemetery." (111) Verdun was an "endless grave," (112) with "shadowy figures." (113) And even in the fairytale forest of the Vosges, he found "no enchantment strong enough to ward off the death that approaches crawling on the velvet moss, or hurtling through the treetops." (114) The artillery of war and the trenches of war had taken over the pastoral: "in Flanders death hides in a trench of mud like an open grave. In the forest of the Vosges it lurks in a nest of moss, fern, and clean, sweet-smelling pine." (115)

Where was the nobility, camaraderie, and dignity involved in a fight for the Allied cause? Lost in the past were the images of knighthood. "In other wars the 'front' was something almost human," (116) but here on the Western front friend and foe alike had been overwhelmed by the Great War. In the zigzag trenches of Champagne, Davis's voice was closer to Dante than to Cooper:
   I followed down a well that dropped straight into the very
   bowels of the earth. It was very dark, and only crosspieces
   of wood offered a slippery footing. Into the darkness with
   hands pressed against the wall, and with feet groping for
   log steps, we tobogganed down, down, down. We turned into
   a tunnel, and, by the slant of the ground, knew we were now
   mounting. There was a square of sunshine, and we walked out,
   and into a graveyard. (117)


The subterranean trenches lacked all the allure of Davis's famed pastorals that would summon a generation to "untamed" regions. Rather than discovering "virgin land," he found the anti-pastoral. An ascension was supposed to offer redemption. One treaded toward the light with a sense of hope and relief. Even here the graveyard deprived us of an emotional reprieve and foreshadowed the constant oppression of trench life. Davis, by his own admission, was lost in a nightmare: a shaft of light only revealed a moonlit graveyard, a scampering on the floor proved to be a foot-long rat, and a night's rest ended with the screeching of artillery.

"On every front men rise and lie down with death." (118) And in Champagne one moved from the portents of a cemetery to the surrealism of blind-man's bluff. "And at each twist and turn we were covered by an eye in a steel door." (119) No normal bodies. No smart looking officers nor dignified knights. Instead, a cellar door "swung in the air with men crawling like rats below it, its half-doors banging and groaning; the wind, with ghostly fingers, opening them to no one, closing them on nothing." (120) Unlike his writings on the Spanish War, there was no regiment of Van Bibbers talking about operas, plays, or dinner at Delmonico's. All the devices that lure people to war were missing:
   It was entirely fantastic, entirely unreal. It was like visiting a
   new race of being, who turn day into night; who, like bats, molochs,
   and wolves, hide in caves and shun the sunlight. By the ray of an
   electric torch we saw where these underground people store their
   food. Where, against siege, are great casks of water, dungeons
   packed with ammunition, more dungeons, more ammunition. (121)


Bats, wolves, rats, a new race of beings. Metaphorically, these images were designed to repulse or inspire an instinct to fight. But they are not the enemy, they are "us." The cause one was fighting for, or one's nationality, no longer prevented a person from being stripped of humanity, then robbed of life.

As the dizzied war reporter "proceed[ed] in the light of a full moon," which "needed only this to give our journey the unreality of a nightmare," enemy and friend merged into one. (122) For the descriptive journalist there would be no difference. No chivalry or poetry gave the Allies a humanity higher than the Germans. No poetry offered glory for a life of sacrifice. "The air grew foul.... Rats, jet black in the moonlight ... scrambled over our feet. The moonlight turned the men at arms into ghosts." (123) Like the "ghostlike" Germans cloaked in gray, the French soldiers joined them in this strange fate. Indeed, through the evolution of metaphors, they had descended through an animal existence or an unreal status of "underground people" to their final resting place of the intangible. There was no fine line between the "living" soldier and the dead one. The dead, whether Germans or French, had no halo to ennoble them. Unlike in Davis's description of the death of Alyn Capron or Hamilton Fish in his history of the Spanish-American War, there were no dignified last words or melodramatic gestures of courage:
   They were buried in long pits and piled on top of each other like
   cigars in a box. Lines of fresh earth so long that you mistook them
   for trenches intended to conceal regiments were in reality graves.
   Some bodies lay for days uncovered until they had lost all human
   semblance. They were so many you ceased to regard them even as
   corpses. They had become just a part of the waste, a part of the
   shattered walls, uprooted trees, and fields ploughed by shells.
   What once had been your fellow men were only bundles of clothes,
   swollen and shapeless, like scarecrows stuffed with rags,
   polluting the air. (124)


Davis did not even identify the corpses. It no longer mattered which uniform they had worn. As Simone Weil argued:
   herein lies the last secret of war, a secret revealed by the
   Iliad in its similes, which liken the warriors either to fire,
   flood, wind, wild beasts, or God knows what blind cause of
   disaster.... [T]he art of war is simply the art of producing
   such transformations, and its equipment, its processes, even
   the casualties it inflicts on the enemy, are only means directed
   towards this end--its true object is the warrior's soul. (125)


The business of the soldier, good guy or bad guy, was death and, like Frankenstein's monster, the creation of the soldier returns to "rend" him and prove his own "undoing." The ironic effect of Davis's talent for descriptive prose was that it portrayed a war so harmful to anyone involved that it lent itself readily to an argument against sending Americans to this war.

The final legacy of war was not "a red badge of courage," a heroic adventure, nor hatred for an enemy; it was the lifelessness of the martial spirit and the garden given over to the military machine. It was the pastoral and the romantic overshadowed by armaments. Thus Davis's final ode was a vision in the late afternoon:
   the sun was still shining and, entirely out of her turn, the moon
   also was shining. In the blue sky she hung like a silver shield,
   and toward her, it seemed almost to her level, rose the biplane.
   She also was all silver. She shone and glistened. Like a great
   bird, she flung out tilted wings. The sun kissed them and turned
   them into flashing mirrors.... She seemed beyond the power of man
   to harm, something supreme, superhuman--a sister to the sun and
   moon. (126)


This was the mechanized pastoral that created lifelessness among all it touched. It was stronger than humanity and larger than life. It was the new reality of the twentieth century.

All who took up arms were dissolved into nothingness. Unlike the Spanish-American War, when Davis was a champion of a site commemorating Roosevelt's charge up San Juan Hill, in the Great War he found no such battles to celebrate. In fact, the reporter who had done so much to make it easier to kill Spaniards in 1898 found that the most heroic act of this war involved not killing an enemy but saving the life of a wounded German soldier. For what might be read as his final statement on war, he took the reader back to the memories of Rheims, where he found his unlikely hero and announced his abandonment of the martial spirit. In the Cathedral of Rheims, the bloodstains of wounded Germans were still visible as faded marks on the altar. Rudyard Kipling had said that he hoped the marks would endure for generations, but Davis tersely disagreed: "Mr. Kipling's hope," wrote an offended Davis, "shows an imperfect conception of the purposes of a cathedral. It is a house dedicated to God, and on earth to peace and goodwill among men. It is not erected to teach generations of little children to gloat over the fact that an enemy, even a German officer, was by accident burned alive." (127) Instead, he recalled an act of non-violent heroism of the year before. In the aftermath of the bombardment, Abbe Chinot and Archbishop Landreaux had stepped out of the cathedral with dying German soldiers in their arms. An angry mob demanded blood: "'They are barbarians,' they cried. 'Kill them!'" (128) Calmly, sternly, the abbe said, "Before you kill them ... You must first kill us." Davis was stunned. "This is not highly colored fiction, [indeed] it is more than fact. It is history," wrote the war correspondent. (129) In memory of this, and signally a final departure from the ranks of Kipling, he called for the construction of a plaque in memory of the abbe. (130) Only he who was able to see through the dehumanization of the enemy was to be honored. And only he who stood for non-violence in the face of war was considered a role model for posterity. No soldier's cause was to be celebrated. Instead, Abbe Chinot, with his legacy of Christian non-violence, was offered as a mentor for generations to come.

Death closed in on Davis before America entered the war. His final works revealed a person struggling to find a cultivation that would ennoble humanity. Those who preserved life and who refused to kill or allow others to be killed were the only ones he could drape in the poetry of chivalry. The frontier pastoral seemed overtaken by modern weapons, and hatred of the enemy was alive only in his propaganda. The worldview he had fashioned throughout his life was tottering in the balance. With the Spanish-American War, he could see no other way to defend cultivation and preserve America from decline than by an embrace of the "martial spirit." However, in the early twentieth century, "the bullets-and-bananas" Davis was making a hesitant departure from his youthful writings. No one was killed in his 1909 novel The White Mice and the knightly order was dedicated not to acts of violence, but to saving lives. His short story "The Red Cross Girl" (1912) portrayed an aristocracy dedicated to caring for the wounded throughout war torn countries. Noblesse oblige held an unsteady balance between violence and non-violence until the Great War. In the years before World War I, a cultivated aristocracy could prove its status and justify its existence not only by wielding a rifle, but also by saving lives. However, in the midst of the European War, the descriptive Davis began to cast doubt on the ability of any person, even those he most admired, to maintain his or her humanity in the midst of military force. He was making a journey away from violence and away from warfare. America, his metaphors and prose told us, could avoid the fate of past empires not by building battleships, but by constructing hospitals, and the cultivated aristocrat could earn status in the world not by killing people, but by preventing bloodshed.

(1.) New York Times circulation increased 48 percent during the first two years of World War I.

(2.) Emmet Crozier, American Reporters on the Western Front (Westport, Conn., 1980), 16-17.

(3.) Phillip Knightley, The First Casualty: From Crimea to Vietnam: The War Correspondent as Hero, Propagandist, and Myth Maker (New York, 1975), 115.

(4.) Van Wyck Brooks, The Confident Years: 1885-1915 (New York, 1955), 100.

(5.) Gerald Langford, The Richard Harding Davis Years: A Biography of Mother and Son (New York, 1961), 114.

(6.) Arthur Lubow, The Reporter Who Would Be King (New York, 1992), 5.

(7.) Fairfax Downey, Richard Harding Davis: His Day (New York, 1933), 13.

(8.) G. J. A. O'Toole, The Spanish War: An American Epic, 1898 (New York, 1984), 56-57.

(9.) Richard Harding Davis, Cuba in Wartime (New York, 1898), 4748; Davis, The Lion and the Unicorn, "The Man with One Talent" (New York, 1899), 172.

(10.) David Trask, The War with Spain in 1898 (Lincoln, Neb., 1981), 21.

(11.) Davis, Cuba in Wartime, 112.

(12.) Ibid., 130.

(13.) See Michael Blow, A Ship to Remember: The Maine and the Spanish-American War (New York, 1992). An American court of inquiry found that the ship was sunk by an external force. A Spanish court of inquiry found that the ship's destruction was caused by an internal source. In America, it was widely held that the ship was blown up by Spanish mines in Havana harbor.

(14.) The Spanish-American War also included war against Spain in the Philippines. As Davis only covered the war in the Caribbean theater, I have limited my focus to issues related to Cuba and Puerto Rico.

(15.) See Walter Millis, The Martial Spirit (Chicago, Ill., 1931).

(16.) Richard Harding Davis, Adventures and Letters of Richard Harding Davis, ed. Charles Belmont Davis (New York, 1916), 229-30.

(17.) Richard Harding Davis, "Dashing Bravery of Rough Riders," New York Herald, 14 July 1898, 1.

(18.) Davis, Adventures and Letters of Richard Harding Davis, 254.

(19.) Richard Harding Davis, The Cuban and Porto Rican Campaigns (New York, 1898), 251, 254.

(20.) Davis, "Dashing Bravery of Rough Riders," 1.

(21.) Richard Harding Davis, "A Derelict," in Ranson's Folly (New York, 1902), 201.

(22.) Langford, The Richard Harding Davis Years, x.

(23.) Davis, The Cuban and Porto Rican Campaigns, 160.

(24.) Ibid., 155.

(25.) Downey, Richard Harding Davis, 276.

(26.) Lewis Miner, Mightier Than the Sword: The Story of Richard Harding Davis (Chicago, Ill., 1940), 214.

(27.) Lubow, The Reporter Who Would Be King, 303.

(28.) Scott Compton Osborn, Richard Harding Davis (Boston, Mass., 1978), 84.

(29.) Richard Harding Davis, "The Invasion of England," in The Red Cross Girl (New York, 1912).

(30.) Richard Harding Davis, "The God of Coincidence," in The Lost Road (New York, 1913), 167.

(31.) Niall Ferguson, The Pity of War: Explaining World War I (New York, 1999), 1-2.

(32.) Davis, Adventures and Letters of Richard Harding Davis, 374.

(33.) Richard Harding Davis, "The Lafayette Fund" (1917), in Richard Harding Davis: A Bibliography, ed. Henry Cole Quinby (New York, 1924), 86. Davis wrote a plea for Americans to aid France that included the observation that "when in the snows of Valley Forge your ancestors struggled to create this republic, the strangers who came to their aid were La Fayette and the people of France."

(34.) Richard Harding Davis, "Poincare Thanks America for Help," New York Times, 6 November 1915, 1-2.
      See also Richard Harding Davis, With the French: In France and
   Salonika (New York, 1916), xii. This theme of lost status was
   one that Davis repeated often. He wrote that "men of different
   countries of Europe repeatedly told me that all of a century must
   elapse before America can recover the prestige she has lost since
   this war began."


(35.) Davis, The Adventures and Letters of Richard Harding Davis, 374.

(36.) John Fraser, America and Patterns of Chivalry (Cambridge, 1982), 30. Fraser argued that the rhetoric of chivalry was a key part of America's entry into this war. The allies were portrayed as "heroic England and chivalrous France." Additionally, "the cult of honor" was placed in the foreground of recruiting and propaganda efforts.

(37.) Daniel Smith, The Great Departure: The United States and World War One (New York, 1965), 5.

(38.) Barbara Tuchman, The Guns of August (New York, 1962), 350.

(39.) Ferguson, The Pity of War, 246.

(40.) Ibid., 232.

(41.) Richard Harding Davis, "They Can't Do That," New York Times, 22 February 1915, 8; Richard Harding Davis, "Half-Saw Bayonet in German Trench," New York Tribune, 19 September 1914, 1; see also Richard Harding Davis, "Tiny Forks in Feed of Allies' War Horses," New York Times, 2 April 1916, 5. In this piece, Davis cited a French army report that "German or German sympathizers" in America had placed tiny forks in the animal feed in order to kill the animals used by the Allied armies.

(42.) Tuchman, The Guns of August, 359.

(43.) Richard Harding Davis, With the Allies (New York, 1914), 201.

(44.) Marc Ferro, The Great War, 1914-1918 (New York, 1973), 123-24. Ferro presents a fourteen-point list of military actions by the Germans that the French government considered proof that Germany was waging a "barbaric" total war.

(45.) Richard Harding Davis, "The Horrors of Louvain," New York Tribune, 31 August 1914, 1.

(46.) Ibid.

(47.) Ibid., 4.

(48.) Richard Harding Davis, "Description of the Shelling of Rheims Cathedral," New York Tribune, 22 September 1914, 1.

(49.) Ibid., 3.

(50.) Davis, With the Allies, x.

(51.) Davis, "They Can't Do That," 8.

(52.) Davis, With the French in France and Salonika, xiii.

(53.) Tuchman, The Guns of August, 348.

(54.) Richard Harding Davis, Our English Cousins (New York, 1894); Richard Harding Davis, About Paris (New York, 1895).

(55.) Davis, With the Allies, 202.

(56.) Richard Harding Davis, "An Appeal," in Richard Harding Davis: A Bibliography, 81.

(57.) Davis, "They Can't Do That," 8.

(58.) Davis, With the French, 137.

(59.) Ibid.

(60.) Ibid., 81.

(61.) Ibid.

(62.) Ibid., xii.

(63.) Walter Millis, The Road to War: America 1914-1917 (Cambridge, 1935), 412-13.

(64.) Meirion and Susie Harries, The Last Days of Innocence: America at War, 1917-1918 (New York, 1997), 8.

(65.) John Higham, Strangers in the Land: Patterns of American Nativism, 1860-1925 (New York, 1963), ch. 8. Higham does not mention Davis by name, but his chapter on World War I demonstrates a link between the preparedness movement and nativism.

(66.) Edward Robb Ellis, Echoes of Distant Thunder: Life in the United States, 1914-1918 (New York, 1996), 178.

(67.) Millis, Road to War, 346.

(68.) Ibid., 240.

(69.) Ibid., 204.

(70.) Ibid., 286.

(71.) Ellis, Echoes of Distant Thunder, 179.

(72.) Millis, Road to War, 239.

(73.) Ibid., 413.

(74.) Ibid., 210-17.

(75.) Richard Harding Davis, "To Be Treated as a Spy," in With the Allies, 31-80.

(76.) See James Chace and Caleb Carr, America Invulnerable: The Quest for Absolute Security from 1812 to Star Wars (New York, 1988). Chapter 5 offers the especially insightful argument that America's entrance into war was linked to a felt need for "absolute security."

(77.) Richard Harding Davis, "The Boy Who Cried Wolf," in The Red Cross Girl (New York, 1916), 252.

(78.) Ibid.

(79.) Ibid., 251.

(80.) Davis supported and donated to the Boy Scouts. He found the ethic and lifestyle of this organization to be in keeping with his own worldview. He even wrote a short story about the adventures and good deeds of a scout: "The Boy Scout," in The Boy Scout and Other Stories for Boys (New York, 1914).

(81.) Davis, "The Boy Who Cried Wolf," 254.

(82.) Ibid.

(83.) Richard Slotkin, Gunfighter Nation: The Myth of the Frontier

in Twentieth Century America (New York 1992), 87. Slotkin argues that this frontier legacy was dramatized by Buffalo Bill's Wild West, which built its 1916 program around the theme of "preparedness" for America's entrance into World War I.

(84.) Davis, "The Boy Who Cried Wolf," 254.

(85.) Ibid., 251.

(86.)Ibid., 263.

(87.)Ibid., 273.

(88.)Ibid.

(89.)Ibid., 276.

(90.) Steven J. Diner, A Very Different Age: Americans of the Progressive Era (New York, 1998), 254.

(91.) Ellis, Echoes of Distant Thunder, 426-27.

(92.) Millis, Road to War, ch. 3.

(93.) Ferguson, The Pity of War, 237.

(94.) Malcolm Bradbury and James McFarlane, Modernism (New York, 1979).

(95.) See Barbara Ehrenreich, Blood Rites: Origins and History of the Passions of War (New York, 1997).

(96.) See George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, Metaphors We Live By (Chicago, Ill., 1980). The authors demonstrate that metaphors shape the way people perceive the world and act toward others.

(97.) Wilfred Owen, "Dulce et Decorum est," in The Norton Introduction to Poetry, 3d ed. (New York, 1986), 256.

(98.) For instance, in Davis's preface to With the Allies, he referred to German political and military leaders as "mad dogs."

(99.) Paul Fussell, The Great War and Modern Memory (London, 1975), 75-79.

(100.) Richard Harding Davis, "The Germans in Brussels," Scribner's Magazine, November 1914, 566.

(101.) Ibid., 567-68.

(102.) Ibid., 570.

(103.) Ibid., 566.

(104.) Davis, "The Horrors of Louvain," 4.

(105.) Fussell, The Great War and Modern Memory, 7. Fussell argues that irony was one of the key components of the poetry and literature of World War 1.

(106.) Richard Harding Davis, "The Appalling Waste of the European War," New York Tribune, 1 November 1914, 1.

(107.) Richard Harding Davis "Blinded in Battle, But Not Made Useless," New York Times, 27 February 1916, Sunday Magazine Section, 10-11. Davis meant for this to be an inspiring story of how officers were learning to be independent. This was just another example of how Davis's intentions and his images existed in an unresolved tension.

(108.) Richard Harding Davis, "A Deserted Command," New York Times, 23 January 1916, 1.

(109.) Davis, With the French, 42.

(110.) Ibid.

(111.) Ibid., 46.

(112.) Richard Harding Davis, "Verdun's Traps and Mazes," New York Times, 5 March 1916, Sunday Magazine Section, 1.

(113.) Ibid.

(114.) Richard Harding Davis, "War that Lurks in the Forest of the Vosges," New York Times, 13 February 1916, Sunday Magazine Section, 6.

(115.) Ibid.

(116.) Davis, With the French, 43.

(117.) Richard Harding Davis, "In the Zigzagged Trenches," New York Times, 26 December 1915, 2.

(118.) Davis, "Verdun's Traps and Mazes," 1.

(119.) Davis, "In the Zigzagged Trenches," 2.

(120.) Ibid.

(121.) Ibid., 23.

(122.) Ibid.

(123.) Ibid.

(124.) Davis, "The Appalling Waste of the European War," 1.

(125.) Simone Weil, "The Iliad or the Poem of Force," in Simone Weil: An Anthology, ed. Sian Miles, reprint ed. (New York, 1986), 185.

(126.) Davis, "War that Lurks in the Forest of the Vosges," 7.

(127.) Davis, With the French, 59.

(128.) Richard Harding Davis, "Rheims Cathedral Not Used by Army," New York Tribune, 26 September 1914, 3.

(129.) Ibid.

(130.) Davis, With the Allies, 138.

Dr. Rodney Stephens is an instructor at St. Louis University, Madrid Campus.
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Author:Stephens, Rodney
Publication:The Historian
Geographic Code:4EUGE
Date:Sep 22, 2002
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