_____ ♦ _____
for Italy Never Built !
Intended to Honor U.S. 332nd Infantry Reg't
and other Americans on duty in WWI Italy
Authorized & Funded in 1920s by
American Battle Monuments Commission
Cancelled due to Complicated Political Situations
Descendants of Ohio Doughboys & Other Americans who Served in Italy
Encouraged to Help Revive Project
Remembering the men of the U.S. 332nd Infantry and commemorating their service and sacrifice on the Italian Front in World War I are the key objectives of the United States 332nd Infantry Regiment WWI Centennial Committee. It is equally important to honor all Americans, women and men, military and civilian, who served and sacrificed in WWI Italy, as well.
"... Congress established the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) in 1923, which took over care of American national cemeteries in Europe from the War Department. One of the duties of the commission was to build monuments in the national cemeteries. The ABMC constructed chapels and monuments in the national cemeteries at Brookwood in England, Flanders Field in Belgium, the Somme, Oise-Aisne, Aisne-Marne, Suresnes, Meuse-Argonne, and St. Miheil, all in France. But the ABMC also built monuments at Andenarde and Kemmel in Belgium and Bellicourt, Cantigny, Tours, Brest, Chateau-Thierry, Sommepy, Montfaucon, Souilly, Montsec, and Chaumont in France where the American Expeditionary Force had important wartime roles. Some monuments, such as one in Rome, Italy, the ABMC planned but never built." 1
"In July 1923 Harding appointed the General of the Armies, John Pershing, to the commission; his fellow commissioners elected him chairman of the commission, a position he held until his death in 1948." 2
"General Pershing tried to shape the way monuments and national cemeteries would strike the imaginations of Europeans as well as American tourists and businessmen living and working in France, Belgium, and Italy. ... Some of the ABMC monuments included towers, so that visitors, guide book in hand, could scale the heights and get a good view of the terrain in front of them. The monuments, relief maps, and guidebook helped tourists imagine the battlefield as it had been in 1918. American tourists now could avoid, or correct, ill-informed local inhabitants and tour guides, and everyone could appreciate the decisive American contribution to Allied victory in 1918." 3
"One place that Pershing and the ABMC chose to build a monument was in Rome. It was to be dedicated to the American sailors and soldiers who served in Italy, but the ABMC never constructed it. The ABMC proposed the monument the government of Italy in 1925, three years after the Fascists marched on Rome and Benito Mussolini became Prime Minister. This was a peculiar location, as Pershing had sent only one regiment, the 332nd Infantry, to Italy, and it saw only sporadic action. But Pershing proposed a monument placed in Rome to 'perpetuate the bond of fellowship which existed between the Italian forces and ours at that period.' Pershing was 'very anxious' that the memorial 'please the Italian people as well as fittingly represent the United States.' " 4
A tangle of political situations in 1920s Italy, however, greatly complicated the situation. "It also influenced General Pershing, who had by 1929 developed a 'neutral attitude' to the memorial and was probably 'more inclined to recommend against the memorial than for it.' " 5 "Pershing and the ABMC ... closed the project down completely in December 1929." 6
- MORE TO ADD LATER -
1.Bontrager, Shannon T. P. D. Nationalizing the Dead: the Contested Making of an American Commemorative Tradition from the Civil War to the Great War. ScholarWorks @ Georgia State University, 2011.