World War I

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100-Year-Old Antiseptic Could Battle Viruses and Superbugs

It does double duty, binding to DNA of both patients and bacteria

(Newser) - An antiseptic that German scientists invented in 1912 using coal tar has the potential to help treat and prevent both viral and bacterial infections, according to new research out of the Hudson Institute of Medical Research in Australia. Acriflavine was used throughout both world wars as a shotgun approach to... More »

How Tolkien's War Experience Gave Us His Masterpiece

Young author began writing 'Lord of the Rings' at Somme

(Newser) - Thousands in France today are commemorating the 100th anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Somme, a five-month siege during World War I that left more than 1 million men killed or wounded, reports the BBC . One of those who served was a 24-year-old Brit named JRR Tolkien,... More »

Putin Bashes 'Delirious' Soviet Founder Lenin

Says Lenin placed 'time bomb' under Russian state

(Newser) - Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday criticized Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin, accusing him of placing a "time bomb" under the state and sharply denouncing brutal repressions by the Bolshevik government. The harsh criticism of Lenin, who's still revered by communists and many others in Russia, is unusual (though... More »

2 Soldiers to Be Honored for Their Valor—in 1918

Henry Johnson, William Shemin will receive Medal of Honor posthumously

(Newser) - Pvt. Henry Johnson is "one of the five bravest American soldiers in the war," Theodore Roosevelt once wrote . Today, Johnson will finally be recognized for his valor—almost a century after he joined an all-black National Guard unit and helped fight off German attackers while on loan to... More »

100 Years Ago, a Yellow-Green Cloud Changed History

April 22, 1915, marked the dawn of the era of chemical weaponry

(Newser) - As a spring breeze wafted into his trench, commander Georges Lamour of the French 73rd infantry saw something almost surreal drift his way. A yellow-green cloud. He barely had time to react. "All my trenches are choked," Lamour cried into the field telephone to headquarters. "I am... More »

WWI Soldiers Left Moving Legacy in French Tunnels

Huge collection of well-preserved notes found in Naours, France

(Newser) - An archaeologist in France planned to study the medieval history of a quarry—but in the process, he made a much newer, and deeply moving, find. During World War I, soldiers made almost 2,000 inscriptions in the series of underground chambers, which were a tourist attraction at the time,... More »

Town Hopes to Preserve WWI Soldier's Bedroom

Mayor of Belabre, France, hopes buyer will come along

(Newser) - A French town wants to preserve a bedroom that has remained nearly untouched for almost 100 years. Why not update the decor a little? Because WWI dragoons officer Hubert Rochereau left the room that way when he went to war, making it a time capsule of a man who died... More »

Better Late Than Never: Britain to Repay WWI Debt

It still owes WWI investors some $3.2B

(Newser) - Britain is beginning to pay back some of the $3.2 billion it borrowed to help pay for World War I. The government plans to redeem some national war bonds (issued in 1917) in February, when it refinances $348 million of debt issued as far back as the 18th century.... More »

Soldier's Room Still a Shrine 96 Years After WWI Death

Parents insisted bedroom be kept as it was for 500 years

(Newser) - Hubert Rochereau became a casualty of World War I some 96 years ago, and his mother and father are long gone as well. But one part of the French soldier lives on: his bedroom, which his parents preserved as a shrine to the young man after his death, the Guardian... More »

Black WWI Soldier May Get Medal of Honor

Henry Johnson fought off Germans to save fellow soldier

(Newser) - A black World War I soldier who single-handedly fought off nearly two dozen Germans with only a knife and a jammed rifle to save a fellow soldier is on his way to getting the nation's highest military honor almost a century after the fact. Defense chief Chuck Hagel has... More »

100 Years Later, Bosnia Marks Shooting that Started WWI

Debate continues over legacy of assassin Gavrilo Princip

(Newser) - It's been one hundred years since Austria's Archduke Franz Ferdinand was shot in Sarajevo, launching World War One. Today, the city and region are remembering the moment with a range of events and emotions, the BBC reports. In Sarajevo's Bosnian national library, the Vienna Philharmonic is performing... More »

Secret Details of Mata Hari's Final Days Released

MI5 files posted online this month

(Newser) - Details of infamous spy Mata Hari's final interview before her execution have been released by MI5, and the once-secret files show a woman unruffled by questions about her list of lovers. And according to those files, that list was a lengthy one, encompassing Germans, French, Russians, Swiss, and Spaniards... More »

Couple's Attic Find: WWI Love Letters

They're returned to relatives of soldier

(Newser) - A remodeling project that turned into a rediscovery: an Indiana couple found love letters dating back to World War I tucked away in their attic. A contractor hired for the home renovation found the letters in the couple's attic insulation; they were written by Clement Berger, a soldier heading... More »

O'Hare Screeners Find WWI Artillery Shells in Luggage

They were harmless, and teens weren't charged

(Newser) - It is not your run-of-the-mill red flag from airport security: Baggage screeners at Chicago's O'Hare airport discovered two World War I artillery shells in checked luggage that arrived on a flight from London. The Transportation Security Administration says the bags belonged to a 16-year-old and a 17-year-old who... More »

WWI Shell Kills 2 in Belgium

War's debris still deadly 100 years on

(Newser) - Almost a century after the beginning of World War I, the conflict is still killing people. The latest casualties were two construction workers in Ypres, Belgium, who were killed when a buried shell or grenade exploded yesterday, reports Reuters . "It's a shell that exploded with four workers there,... More »

Photo Leads to Lost Piece of WWI History

Mock battlefield in Britain found thanks to a photograph

(Newser) - Archaeologists have uncovered a piece of WWI history some 80 miles south of London, all thanks to a 1951 photograph. A British conservation officer poring over an aerial photo spotted something suspicious near the edge of one: crenellated lines (picture the notched top of a castle). Rob Harper's investigation... More »

From Melting Glaciers, WWI 'Mummies' Emerge

Retreating ice reveals those who fought in the 'White War' in Italy's Alps

(Newser) - Time calls it "one of the strangest consequences of global warming yet"—glaciers are melting in the Italian Alps and revealing the mummified corpses of soldiers from World War I. Two, for instance, were buried in unmarked graves last year in the village of Peio, reports the... More »

US' WWI Memorials Crumbling

Communities debate fate of monuments as funds dry up

(Newser) - All across the US, memorials to those who served in World War I are falling apart as funds dry up and interest in the conflict fades, the AP finds. One such memorial, the Waikiki Natatorium, was built in 1927 to honor the 10,000 Hawaiians who served in the conflict,... More »

Hitler Saved a Jewish Acquaintance

Hitler's commanding officer in WWI got special protection, for a while

(Newser) - Maybe Hollywood should make a movie called Hitler's List. Like Oskar Schindler, Adolf Hitler personally intervened to save a Jewish person from persecution and deportation to a concentration camp—too bad Hitler's list had just one name one it. The man Hitler saved was Ernst Hess, his old... More »

Last Known WWI Vet Dead at 110

Florence Green served as a mess steward in the Women's Royal Air Force

(Newser) - On Saturday night, the world lost its last known World War I service member. Though she never saw the front line, Florence Green, age 110, is thought to have been the last surviving veteran of the war. She was just two weeks shy of her 111th birthday, on Feb. 19,... More »

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