From the Susquehanna to the Rhine: The Military Career of Daniel Strickler in Two World Wars

“Hold at all costs.” It’s an order no commander wants to give. It is certainly unwelcome — and perhaps even terrifying — to the subordinate who receives it. The phrase was used on the morning of December 16, 1944, at the headquarters for the 28th Infantry Division in Wiltz, Luxembourg. Maj. Gen. Norman Cota (1893–1971), the commander of the 28th, issued the order during the initial phase of the...
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Soldiers to Governors: World War II

More than 1 million Pennsylvanians served in the Armed Forces during World War II. Five of these servicemembers would later be elected as Pennsylvania’s governor. Carrying on the great American tradition of citizen-soldiers, these civilians or members of the National Guard left their homes and families to volunteer to fight for their country during a crucial period in history. The Pennsylvania...
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William Curtis Truxal’s Footlocker

William Curtis Truxal (1882–1960) was a 34-year-old attorney residing in Somerset when the Pennsylvania National Guard unit he commanded, Company C of the 10th Infantry Regiment, was mustered into federal service for World War I on July 15, 1917. A graduate of Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, he had first enlisted in the guard as a private in February 1914, and by October of that...
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The Sacrifices of Company C: Somerset County’s Valiant Soldiers in the Great War

In spring 2004 a resident of Somerset in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, chanced upon an aged postcard that had fallen behind a dresser many years before. Dated November 7, 1918, the postcard had been sent by the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva, Switzerland, and was addressed to “the Family of Herbert Foust,” a soldier of Company C, 110th Infantry Regiment, a Pennsylvania...
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Pennsylvanians at Meuse-Argonne: The 28th, 79th and 80th Divisions in the Last Major Offensive of the Great War

Pennsylvanians served with honor and distinction in World War I, with more than 297,000 men from the Keystone State engaged in the conflict as part of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF), established in July 1917 to join the Allied Powers (France, Great Britain, Russia and Italy) in the fight against the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Ottoman Turkey and Bulgaria). The majority of...
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Keystone Men of Iron: The 28th Infantry Division in the Great War

In 1917, when America entered World War I, the 28th Infantry Division was the nation’s oldest National Guard unit. Organized by Pennsylvania in 1878, the division was made up of units that had already earned battle streamers for contributions in conflicts from the American Revolution to the Civil War. Arriving in France in late Spring 1918, the 28th immediately began developing a reputation for...
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Aeroplane Reconnaissance Photography in World War I

World War I marked a significant turning point in the history of armed conflict for many reasons, not the least of which was the development of more sophisticated reconnaissance. For thousands of years, men on horseback served as the main vehicle for information-gathering in most armies. With the proliferation of trench warfare and the mechanization of equipment in the Great War, the horse...
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Editor’s Letter

Sometimes Pennsylvania history occurs outside the boundaries of the Keystone State. Throughout the past, Pennsylvanians have traveled to other parts of the U.S. or have gone abroad to make their marks in the commonwealth’s history. Pennsylvania’s involvement in World War I is a good example, when soldiers from the state joined their fellow American servicemen in the Allied fight against the...
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Mount Gretna’s Spirit Lives On

Mount Gretna in Lebanon County is an enduring gem of a historic village that offers visitors a rare opportunity to experience an unembellished, Victorian-era lifestyle that shuffles on in similar fashion today. Cloistered within a 16-mile slice of forested rocky hills surrounded by a patchwork expanse of farmland between Lancaster and Hershey, Mount Gretna came to life in 1892 as a village (now...
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Recruitment, Conservation and Liberty Bonds: Posters and the War to End All Wars

The Pennsylvania State Archives holds a large and significant collection of World War I posters – 460 in all – that were hung throughout the Keystone State and around the country during the Great War. Many of these posters were produced on a national scale, although some were created specifically in Pennsylvania. The posters provide a fascinating glimpse at the means by which valued...
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