This day in history, February 8, 1918, the Army newspaper, “The Stars and Stripes”, began publication for a second time.
The first paper called “The Stars and Stripes” was a product of the Civil War, put out by four Union soldiers in 1861. Using the facilities of a captured newspaper plant in Bloomfield, Mo, they ran off a one-page paper that made just one appearance.
The World War I edition first appeared late in the war in Paris on February 8, 1918 and ran through June 13, 1919. It was produced weekly by an all-military staff to serve the doughboys of the American Expeditionary Force under General of the Armies John J. “Black Jack” Pershing.
The newspaper was distributed to American soldiers dispersed across the Western Front to keep them unified and informed about the overall war effort and America’s part in it, as well as supply them with news from the home front. Included were news articles, cartoons, poetry, sports news, letters to the editor and other sorts of content. The newspaper was largely the creation of Second Lieutenant Guy T. Viskniskki, an AEF press officer and former censor at the American Field Test Headquarters in Neufchateau, France.
Some of its staff went on to journalistic fame, including Pvt. Harold Ross, who later became the founder and editor of The New Yorker magazine, and sports writer Lt. Grantland Rice.
The newspaper ceased production after the war ended, but 24 years later, on April 18, 1942, The Stars and Stripes was reborn again during World War II. In a London print shop’s tiny room, a small group of servicemen founded a four-page weekly paper selling for two pence a copy (about 5 cents) which quickly grew to an eight-page daily newspaper. The Hawaii edition was launched a week after VE day (Victory in Europe, May 8, 1945) and became the forerunner of the Pacific Stars and Stripes.