During my research I now and then searching for names of Swedishg soldiers and other facts in the digital versions of old newspapers on internet.
I have found some places myself, but now and then I get some tips from visitors on my page, that sends me other links to the old newspapers, which I am very grateful for.
The other day I found some interesting facts that I didnt know anything about, it was an article from the American newspaper with Swedish text, the “Svenska Amerikanen”.
It told me about a visit that the former leader of the Social Democrats in 1918, Hjalmar Branting, who later on became the Swedish version of Prime Minister, “Stadminister”, when he was visiting the Swedish soldiers who fought in The American Expediotionary Forces at the Western Front in France, in 1918.
Really interesting article, and it leaves me wondering how he went down to France, which way he took, and how it felt for the soldiers to have a visit from their former country representative.
I will try to translate the text in the article into English. You find it below.
AT “THE OURS” ON THE WEST FRONT
Hjalmar Branting visits the Swedes in the American contingent.
AMERICANS SHOWS TRUST
Hjalmar Branting has recently been to France and took the opportunity to visit the American troops. He stayed for three days in the American section of the Western Front. On his return to Stockholm, he told the Chicago Tribune’s correspondent James O’Donnell Bennett his impressions of the Americans.
He thus explains that the American soldiers gave him a depth. sense of esteem and confidence, the discipline is strict, stricter than in the French army. But at the same time, no one can fail to notice that a democratic spirit is asserting itself.
Branting felt particularly happy to find so many Swedish-Americans among the American soldiers. “Within a section, he found 15,000 Swedish Americans and a division consisted for the most part of Swedish-born or of Swedish descent,” the telegram states. It is probable that either Branting or the correspondent was wrong in this, for such a large number could not possibly be. “Next year, 200,000 Swedish Americans are expected to participate.” continues the telegram “the largest Swedish army ever assembled.” exclaims the correspondent.
Many of the Swedish-American soldiers have excelled in the battles on the western front, Branting said. He found several in the hospital, where they found the most caring host of American Red Cross paramedics. France has the highest admiration for this department. The most difficult Sufferers are those who have been exposed to toxic gases. One type of gas, mustard gas, attacks the skin, while another blinds the victims for a couple of three weeks.
One day Branting undertook a car ride of over 150 english miles and all the way, nothing but American soldiers and their barracks were seen. In some villages, where the Americans are housed, it was gratifying to see the American soldiers busy playing with the French children. For their kindness to children and women and consistent courtesy, Americans have made themselves known everywhere.
Branting praised the Swedish-Americans as good citizens and splendid soldiers, attached to their new homeland with a fidelity and affection that could serve as a role model.
During his visit to the Western Front, Branting paid a visit to General Pershing, of which he spoke very favorably.