1918: WWI ends — front pages of Ames, Des Moines newspapers

104 years ago at 5 a.m. central time, World War I came to an end.

Overnight, the draft ceased, holidays were declared, and celebrations were had across the United States.

Here are the front pages of some central Iowa newspapers:

The Des Moines Register

The Des Moines Register, 11 Nov 1918

Page one of The Des Moines Register consists entirely of wire stories.

The story in the left hand column (“Washington waits for official word, truce is signed”) has a subhead of “Hears of the hun upheaval,” if you are curious how the press thought of the Germans at the time. The word “hun” is used a few other times on this page alone.

The Associated Press piece “Review of world’s greatest war now in dramatic finish” begins:

The German people, for a generation the obedient and submissive servants of their war lord, for more than four years his pliant instruments in ravaging the world, have spoken a new word, and the old Germany is gone.

The illustration is of an unkempt house labeled as Reconstruction and with a big War napping away. On the sidelines, sitting beside a nice basket of Peace, are his offspring Destitution, Hunger, Anarchy, Disorder, and Want. The next steps were already on the mind of Ding Darling.

On the inside pages, stories vary from more stories from Europe, notices on soldiers, some Iowa farming updates, a brief note about Yorktown no longer being under a quarantine as the late fall wave of Spanish flu waned, and a page celebrating the soldiers and the victory, plus some long editorials about the war.

Movies playing in Des Moines at this time included: Toys of FateDe Luxe Annie, Laughing Bill Hyde, The Doctor and the Woman, The Yellow DogThe Rainbow Trail, and Are Crooks Dishonest.

Ames Evening Times

Ames Evening Times, 11 Nov 1918

Unlike the Register, the Ames Evening Times includes some local headlines on page one and most of its national headlines are popular/quick digest stories. The illustration is a denigration of Germany, blaming it for everything and now must finally pay for it.

Local stories included the declaration that the day was a holiday and stores would be closed for celebrations and the number of typhoid fever cases in Ames recent years had dropped, which stemmed from a statement from a medical officer that scarlet fever and diphtheria were on campus. The mayor disagreed typhoid fever should be a future concern for residents.

The other local story was the return of the Spanish flu. West Ames and especially campus had spent the past month under a quarantine that largely stifled travel. Here it was announced 100 students were possibly sick with the flu. The second local wave had arrived.

Inside, it was largely business as usual with some local stories and occasional wire stories from Europe, but nothing celebratory or dedicated to the ending of the war.

What movies were playing in Ames? None. Movie theaters had been closed for a month and would remain so for another month.

Ames Tri-Weekly Tribune

Ames Tri-Weekly Tribune, 11 Nov 1918

The Tribune doesn’t splash its front page with that much about the armistice, but some stories in the Times probably hadn’t reached the Tribune since it went to press hours prior to the Times. It notes the end of the war, conditions of the surrender, and the celebration in Ames. There is also a letter about what comes next.

A clean-up day for downtown Ames gets plenty of attention and was surely the original big story for the day. Other stories are common local stories for the time such as Spanish flu deaths, a city council meeting, and a new ambulance in use at Iowa State.

The inside pages have nothing to do with the war ending. There’s new items from Gilbert and Huxley and then other lesser items about happenings and events in the Ames vicinity. There are a couple pieces about experiences of army men traveling overseas but have nothing to do with the armistice.

Iowa State Student

Iowa State Student, 12 Nov 1918

The Iowa State Student didn’t publish on Monday, so Tuesday is the day it notes the end of the war. However, the item doesn’t get heavy treatment on the front. Since the day-to-day oversight of the Student was done by women, I am curious what their perception of it all was. The front page includes a handful of stories about women (“Told of sacrifice of French women,” “I.S.C. women pledge in excess of quota”), which was common for this term since most men were strictly quarantined. Being the day after the celebration, the Student mentions the Monday celebrations in downtown Ames, which included an effigy of Kaiser Wilhelm II — or Kaiser Bill as he’s called here — that was then burned and shot… the head flew off, too.

On campus, the girls ran the Campanile bells at 10:30 a.m. immediately after hearing news of the armistice.

Iowa State College celebrates peace with convocation

Victory bell proclaims victory for U. S. in world war
Girls leave exams
Girls rushed to victory bell to ring it until exhausted

The victory bell never rang for a greater victory than it did yesterday morning at 10:30 o’clock. About that time a small news boy appeared on campus with a huge pile of “Peace” papers. Swiftly the glad news spread to all parts of the campus.

Three girls who were taking an examination in architectural engineering, threw their papers to the winds and rushed to the victory bell. They were the first to reach the spot and rang the bell with all their might and main. When they were completely exhausted three librarians came down to take their place.

However, classes continued until 11:30 when the first celebration Iowa State College has had this year took place. Some 500 girls gathered on the steps of Central where led by Prof. A. A. Bailey they sang every patriotic and peppy song in creation.

All the S. A. T. C. soldiers on the campus turned out for the celebration, when some 2,000 of them headed by the navy band marched past Central Building with the band playing and girls yelling. “We’ll hike, hike, hike along the along the old turn pike till we reach, reach Berlin.”

The girls marched at the end of the procession around the campus, past dairy building and back to Central again where speeches were given by Acting President E. W. Stanton, Prof. F. W. Beckman and Major J. R. Lincoln.

The other big story, which receives better treatment being placed in the top left corner, is the return of the Spanish flu. After a few weeks of the flu’s waning, 100 men are sick and 6 women are, too, making the quarantine a top priority again. The football game against Iowa scheduled for Saturday was moved to Iowa City because of the new outbreak. Indeed the second wave of the flu had arrived. 

Other front page stories are about the war effort and items needed for those the Red Cross.

Inside pages include an editorial about how everyone should show some self control and not swear so much and several articles on former students and alumni in Europe, campus events, and briefs on faculty.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s