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War and RemembranceThe Story of the American Battle Monuments Commission$
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Thomas H. Conner

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780813176314

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813176314.001.0001

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The American Battle Monuments Commission and World War II, 1939–1945

The American Battle Monuments Commission and World War II, 1939–1945

(p.143) 5 The American Battle Monuments Commission and World War II, 1939–1945
War and Remembrance

Thomas H. Conner

University Press of Kentucky

This chapter discusses the measures taken in order to secure the safety of the American memorials and the employees who tended them during the Second World War. Concern over the spreading war and growing hardship culminated in the evacuation of all the American employees of the commission, along with their dependents, from France and Belgium in 1941. Surprisingly, the monuments only suffered minor damage during the war. This chapter also highlights the efforts of army captain Charles G. Holle and Colonel T. Bentley Mott, the last two Americans to lead the Paris office of the ABMC before the United States entered the war, to preserve the memorial sites. Mott actually returned to wartime France in 1942 to supervise such efforts directly, and ultimately spent months in German custody. When the Allied armies liberated the ABMC sites in 1944, General Eisenhower sent an extremely joyful cable to Pershing announcing the good condition of the cemeteries and monuments.

Keywords:   General Pershing, Belgium, Captain Charles G. Holle, Dreux, Fall of France, German occupation of France, General T. Bentley Mott, Henri Philippe Pétain, Liberation of France, General Dwight D. Eisenhower

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