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List of last World War I veterans by country

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is a list of the last World War I veterans to die by country. The last living veteran of World War I (28 July 1914 – 11 November 1918) was Florence Green, a British citizen who served in the Allied armed forces, and who died 4 February 2012, aged 110.[1] The last combat veteran was Claude Choules who served in the British Royal Navy (and later the Royal Australian Navy) and died 5 May 2011, aged 110.[2] The last veteran who served in the trenches was Harry Patch (British Army) who died on 25 July 2009, aged 111. The last Central Powers veteran, Franz Künstler of Austria-Hungary, died on 27 May 2008 at the age of 107.

The total number of participating personnel is estimated by the Encyclopædia Britannica at 65,038,810. There were approximately 9,750,103 military deaths during the conflict.

Veterans, for this purpose, are defined as people who were members of the armed forces of one of the combatant nations up to and including the date of the Armistice. This policy may vary from the policy in actual use in some countries.

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Transcription

The United States of America, at this point in the war 100 years ago today, was neutral, but we’ve had a bunch of you write in about what was going on in the US at the time, and how the road to war developed, so that’s what I’m going to talk about today. I’m Indy Neidell; welcome to a Great War special episode about the United States before it joined the war. The years leading up to 1917, when the US joined the war, were a transformative period for the nation, and in many ways were when the US became a great power. By 1910, the US had become the world’s leading industrial power, and by the war we have numbers like the US possessing 35.5% of the world’s manufacturing capacity, compared to 16% for Germany, and just under 15% for Britain, and American industry and finance would be important to the war. Still though, most of America’s population was rural. Also, a large percentage of the population was either immigrants or the children of immigrants, and they came from all over the world. The largest number were from the British Isles, including Ireland, but Germans were the second largest number, so opinion about the war was pretty split when it broke out. In all, there were 15 million European immigrants in the US, with a million new immigrants arriving from the whole world each year. On August 19, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson gave a speech officially declaring the United States neutral, but Americans eagerly and actively contributed aid and supplies, and within a year there were over 100 institutions giving some form of humanitarian aid, and as an example of the scope of some of them, the Belgian relief organization contributed 6 million tons of food. But who did the Americans support? And how did American neutrality transform over the years into a declaration of war? Many immigrant communities had their own newspapers and organizations and used their own languages, and there was support for both sides, and certainly more for the Central Powers than one might think today. The German community supported the Central Powers, the Jewish community did as well since Austria-Hungary was the most tolerant of the warring powers toward Jews, while Russia was still often hated for it’s anti-Jewish pogroms in 1905. The Irish to a large extent also supported Germany, both being opposed to British interests. However, there was also a large anglophile elite and crossed bloodlines: Wilson’s mother was British while Winston Churchill’s was American, for example. But the US had historically steered clean of foreign engagements, and the only war with a European power in generations had been the Spanish-American war of 1898, which had not been widely supported popularly, and anyhow, the US in 1914 only had an army of 130,000 regulars and 70,000 national guardsmen. General Peyton March pointed out that this was barely enough to police domestic emergencies. But America’s role in the early stages of the war was immediate, and not surprisingly it was economic. Certainly, selling munitions was profitable. Heck, by October 1914 the British had already ordered 400,000 rifles. Munitions and war materiel exports would rise from 40 million dollars in 1914 to 1.29 billion two years later. The US also became the allies’ banker, and though neutral, would lend over 2 billion dollars to the allies, but only 27 million to the Central Powers. One US Congressman (ask Madeline who) described America as “the arch hypocrite among nations... praying for peace... while furnishing the instruments of murder to one side only. But why was that, since initially there was a great deal of German sentiment? Why choose to ally with Britain? There were several reasons. There was the constitutional and language similarity, of course. Also, Germany’s trans-Atlantic communications cables had been cut, so American reporters routed everything through London, and only things favorable to Britain passed the censors. Parliament had passed the Defense of the Realm Act that gave censors power to scrutinize every word that went from Britain to America, and German atrocities were hyped. Episodes such as the rape of Belgium and the execution of Edith Cavell provoked great outrage as they were reported by the giants of yellow journalism, Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst. The Central Powers could not possibly keep up from a PR standpoint, and if those things were big deals, think how big the sinking of the liners Lusitania and Arabic by German submarines were to the American public, with the loss of American civilian lives. In fact, the only media that time and again spoke out against the war and wished to keep America out of it was the Socialist Press and the German press, and their reach was limited. To look at the slide to war, you have to look at President Wilson and how his views changed between 1914 and 1917. Now, as President, Wilson is also commander in chief of the armed forces, and though it falls to Congress to declare war, Congress was in session for only three months between the outbreak of the war and the end of 1915. Yep, three months. The Congress elected in November 1914 wouldn’t convene till December 1915, so Wilson acted on his own, and he was, by his own admission, new to foreign policy. He said this when he was elected in 1912, “it would be an irony of fate if my administration had to deal with foreign problems, for all my preparation has been in domestic matters.” His concerns were more moral than strategic, and initially he saw himself as a mediator, and even in December 1914, he emphasized that the US had never had and never would have a standing army. Former President Teddy Roosevelt blasted Wilson for “abject cowardice” and said Wilson “was willing to sacrifice the honor and interest of the country to his own political advancement.” Roosevelt wrote a book promoting American intervention and even said the US ran the risk of becoming another Belgium. But the campaign of unrestricted submarine warfare that resulted in the sinking of the Lusitania and the Arabic, and Wilson’s friend and personal advisor Edward House, a big influence on Wilson who urged him to support Britain, and new Secretary of State Robert Lansing who did the same, began to really change Wilson’s mind about intervention. In his December 1915 State of the Union address, Wilson presented plans for building up the armed forces, and in May 1916 passed the National Defense Act, which doubled the army, and the Naval Appropriations Act aimed to create a world class navy. In early 1916, he had kicked off his “President’s preparedness campaign” with a series of speeches saying that the US might well be drawn into the conflict and must prepare for it. Like it or not, and he didn’t, the Presidential election of 1916 would have the war as its central issue. Wilson won a narrow victory. As 1917 began, the Germans once again began a campaign of unrestricted submarine warfare and American citizens died as a result. When the Russian revolution toppled the Tsar, one of the major contradictions for allied claims that they were fighting for democracy was removed, but as late as March 19th, Wilson still felt like this about going to war, “it would mean we should lose our heads and stop weighing right and wrong... once lead people into this war and they’ll forget there ever was a thing such as tolerance. To fight you must be brutal and ruthless, and the spirit of ruthless brutality will enter into the very fiber of our national life... if there is any alternative, for God’s sake let’s take it!” Less than a month later, Woodrow Wilson asked Congress for a declaration of war on Germany. Now this was a brief and general rundown, and I encourage you all to look up the specifics yourself to get even a clearer idea of what was at play. I’m going to end this episode with another quote, this one from “the Origins of World War One”: “it is true that great forces of geopolitics, strategy, culture, and economics shaped the context in which Wilson made his decision. It is true that the opinions of others... counted in his decision. Wilson’s decision to intervene was a close, risky thing, a calculation of costs and benefits and a reflection on the human condition that could easily have taken him in a different direction. In the end, his decision was the critical factor. He and he alone took the United States into World War One.” Today the service of veterans is sometimes forgotten. That's why we are giving a shoutout to the United States World War 1 Centennial Commission and their important work for the remembrance of Veteran's Day. Check out the links in the description of this video to find out how you can help your veterans. We’d like to thank Madeline Johnson for doing the bulk of the research for this special; thanks Madeline, she also helped us with the Art special. If you’d like to learn more about the sinking of the Lusitania and the uproar it caused, you can see our episode about that right here. Don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See you next time.

Contents

List

Country Name Death date Age
 Armenia[a] Senekerim Arakelian[3] 9 September 2000 98 years
 Austrian Empire[b] August Bischof[4] 4 March 2006 105 years
 Australia[c] John Campbell Ross[5] 3 June 2009 110 years
 Belgium Cyriel Barbary[d] 16 September 2004 105 years
Brazil Waldemar Levy Cardoso 13 May 2009 108 years
 Bulgaria Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Canada[c] John Babcock[8] 18 February 2010 109 years
 China Zhu Guisheng[9] 5 March 2002 106 years
 Czechoslovakian Legions[a] Alois Vocásek[10] 9 August 2003 107 years
France Pierre Picault[11][e] 20 November 2008 109 years
 German Empire Erich Kästner[12] 1 January 2008 107 years
 Greece Unknown Unknown Unknown
 The Hejaz[a] Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Hungarian Monarchy[b] Franz Künstler[13] 27 May 2008 107 years
 Indian Empire[c] Robert Francis Ruttledge[14] 12 January 2002 102 years
 Italy Delfino Borroni[15] 26 October 2008 110 years
 Japan Yasuichi Sasaki[16] 26 July 2006 108 years
 Montenegro Danilo Dajković[17] 14 September 1993 98 years
 Newfoundland[c] Wallace Pike[18] 11 April 1999 99 years
New Zealand[c] Bright Williams[19] 13 February 2003 105 years
 Ottoman Empire Yakup Satar[20] 2 April 2008 110 years
Poland[a] Stanisław Wycech[21] 12 January 2008 105 years
Portugal José Ladeira[22] 5 May 2003 107 years
Romania Gheorghe Pănculescu[23] 9 January 2007 103 years
 Russian Empire Mikhail Krichevsky[24][25] 26 December 2008 111 years
 Serbia Aleksa Radovanović[26] 22 June 2004 103 years
Siam Yod Sangrungruang[27] 9 October 2003 106 years
 South Africa[c] Norman Kark[28][29] 30 March 2000 102 years
 United Kingdom Florence Green[30] 4 February 2012 110 years
 United States Frank Buckles[31] 27 February 2011 110 years

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d Accorded belligerent status at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919.
  2. ^ a b Austria and Hungary were component, technically sovereign, nations within the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
  3. ^ a b c d e f A self-governing Dominion under the British Empire.
  4. ^ At the time of his death in 2001 at the age of 102, Paul Ooghe was widely believed to be the last surviving Belgian veteran of the conflict.[6] Barbary, who had served in the Belgian army in the final months of the war and emigrated to the United States, was only subsequently recognised.[7]
  5. ^ Following the legal definition of a war veteran as a person having served for six months during the war years (for which Picault did not qualify), the French government officially recognized Lazare Ponticelli, who died on 12 March 2008, as the last poilu.

Notes

  1. ^ Blackmore, David (7 February 2012). "Norfolk First World War Veteran Dies". EDP24. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  2. ^ Carman, Gerry (6 May 2011). "Last man who served in two world wars dies, 110". The Age. Retrieved 6 May 2011.
  3. ^ Juliette Funes (2013-04-11). "Montebello hosts exhibit commemorating 98th anniversary of Armenian Genocide". San Gabriel Valley Tribune. Retrieved 2015-07-03.
  4. ^ "Autriche" (in French). Ders Des Ders. Retrieved 2010-11-20.
  5. ^ "Australia's oldest man and Digger Jack Ross dies aged 110". The Age. Retrieved 2011-02-15.
  6. ^ De Vuyst, Pierre (10 September 2001). "Le dernier poilu s'est éteint". La Dernière Heure. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  7. ^ "Adieu au dernier poilu belge". La Dernière Heure. 19 September 2004. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
  8. ^ Goldstein, Richard (2010-02-24). "..John Babcock, Last Canadian World War I Veteran, Dies at 109". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-11-20.
  9. ^ O'Neill, Mark (March 3, 2014). The Chinese Labour Corps. UK: Penguin Books. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  10. ^ Velinger, Jan (14 August 2003). "Oldest Czech legionnaire was never able to clear tarnished reputation". Radio Praha. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
  11. ^ "france" (in French). Ders Des Ders. Retrieved 2010-11-20.
  12. ^ "Germany's 'last' WWI veteran dies". BBC. January 2008. Retrieved 2010-11-20.
  13. ^ "Franz Künstler, Veteran of 2 Wars, Dies at 107". The New York Times. 2008-05-30. Retrieved 2010-11-21.
  14. ^ "Outstanding ornithologist and a founder of Irish Wildbird Conservancy", The Irish Times, 19 January 2002 |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  15. ^ "Delfino Borroni: Italy's last surviving veteran of the First World War". The Times. 2008-10-30. Retrieved 2010-11-21.
  16. ^ "佐々木安一さん106歳" [Yasuichi Sasaki 106 years old] (in Japanese). Sunday Yamaguchi. 15 September 2004. Retrieved 5 December 2018.
  17. ^ Петнаестогодишњица упокојења Митрополита црногорско-приморског Г. Данила (1895-1993) (in Serbian). Serbian Orthodox Church. 12 September 2008. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  18. ^ "Last of Newfoundland's WW1 vets passes away". CBC. 19 April 1999. Retrieved 4 November 2010.
  19. ^ "The last Great War veterans". RNZRSA. February 2003. Archived from the original on 22 May 2010. Retrieved 4 November 2010.
  20. ^ "Yakup Satar". The Times. 3 April 2008. Retrieved 21 November 2010.
  21. ^ "Poland's WWI veteran Stanislaw passes away". Oman Tribune. Archived from the original on 15 July 2011. Retrieved 4 November 2010.
  22. ^ Silva, Carlos (2005-09-07). "1643 portugueses mortos na grande guerra em França" (in Portuguese). Fórum de Genealogia. Retrieved 2010-11-21. Filipe Prista Lucas, a GRG correspondent says (translated from Portuguese) "According to the information I hold, the last Portuguese veteran of World War I died in 2003. His name was Jose Luis Ladeira, and he died on May 5, 2003, in Vale do Açor, Miranda do Corvo, 107 years old."
  23. ^ "ROUMANIE" (in French). Ders Des Ders. Retrieved 2010-11-21.
  24. ^ Последний в мире ветеран Первой мировой живет в Донецке (фото) (in Russian). Интернет-газета Донбасса. 2008-02-22. Retrieved 2010-11-21.
  25. ^ "Oldest known Ukrainian Jew dies at 111". JTA. 2009-01-05. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
  26. ^ Racić, M. (2004-06-27). "ODLAZAK POSLEDNJEG SRPSKOG SOLUNCA" (in Serbian). Kurir. Retrieved 2010-11-21.
  27. ^ "Last WW1 veteran dies". Taipei Times. 2003-10-11. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
  28. ^ Printing World (2000-04-17). "Longest serving Stationer dies at the wonderful age of 102". Highbeam Business. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
  29. ^ Ashley, Mike (2010-11-11). "Collecting Crime: London Mystery Magazine - Part Two". Crime Time. Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2010-11-21.
  30. ^ "Last surviving veteran of First World War dies aged 110". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-02-07.
  31. ^ Courson, Paul (2011-02-28). "Last living U.S. World War I veteran dies". CNN. Retrieved 2011-02-28.
This page was last edited on 28 February 2019, at 18:42
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