We shall fight for the things we have always carried nearest our hearts—for democracy—for the right of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their government.

These immortal words spoken by Woodrow Wilson on April 2, 1917, sent us into war. For eighteen months every activity of the nation was directed towards the single goal—Victory. Four million men offered their bodies. Other millions offered their time, their energies, and their fortunes for the one purpose. Mothers gave their sons, children gave their fathers, "that government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth."

The passing years have blurred the outline of memory for many who took part in these stirring scenes. To all such Forward-March!" will be a welcome memento. For those who were unable to take an active part and to those who were as yet unborn or too young to realize what was happening, this photographic record will bring a clear perception, an undistorted understanding of the World War and its aftermath.

The detail and composition of many of these pictures represent the height of achievement in the art of photography. Most troop movements were at night—the infantry usually jumped off at the first appearance of dawn—and it really did rain in France. Therefore, it is not surprising that a few of the photographs are totally lacking in the qualities that go to make a good picture. With shells exploding and bullets whistling, the photographers did not always pause to adjust the focus or time the exposure.

If it be true that, "one picture is worth a hundred printed pages," this work will fill a long felt need in the field of historical information. It is our purpose to show faithfully, the war as we knew it— the horror and tragedy, the sublime heights of courage, and even the comedy and pathos, that were all a part of "the great adventure." Every fine distinction has been observed in the selections. Photographs which might further distress Gold Star mothers have, in so far as possible, been omitted. It is not necessary to deliberately select gruesome pictures in order to prove that Sherman was right.

We are now far enough removed from the conflict to get a clear perspective. We know that the World War began long before 1914— we are not sure that it is now ended. The scenes depicted here are but the genesis of the events we are living today. Lost souls, broken bodies, foundered institutions, Communism, Fascism, Naziism and other isms yet to come, are the natural aftermath of this trial by the sword.

In no sense can "Forward-March!" be interpreted as propaganda. We simply state the facts—all of the facts. The World War definitely marks the beginning of a new epoch. Every essential event beginning with the period of neutrality, up through the tidal wave of social unrest, that has followed in the wake of the world clash of arms, is covered in detail. The majority of the photographs are U. S. Official. Many of them have never before been released. Most of them are identified—time, place and outfit. Some, developed from negatives from cameras picked up out in No Man’s Land, probably never will be identified. The soldier-camera man who made the exposures, also made the supreme sacrifice, that posterity might see and might know. The captions tell the authentic story. Documents from the government archives here reproduced are, we believe, all important in the study of the past two decades of mankind’s struggle. The statistical information is as accurate as governmental research can make it.

The purpose of the publication of "Forward-March!" is threefold:

To form a background of understanding for the social, political and economic trends of today and tomorrow.

To preserve intact, in picture and story, the important events of the greatest cataclysm in the history of man, that present and future generations, who have not been through the furnace of armed conflict might learn, through the all-seeing camera eye, just how much "glory and romance" there really is in war.

Believing in evolution of government rather than revolution, we feel that the facts contained in these portfolios will be instrumental in combating the subversive doctrines of Communism and other insidious foreign propaganda, designed to overthrow by force the free democracy which took root and flourished on American soil. Our comrades fought and died in defense of that democracy.

In conceiving "Forward-March!", we have been ever conscious of these lines penned by Col. John McCrae:

"Take up our quarrel with the foe!
To you from failing hands we throw
The Torch—be yours to hold it high;
If ye break faith with us who die,
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders’ fields."

The foe was not the German people America had no quarrel with them. The foe was, and still is, Autocracy. It is only right that they who bear the visible and invisible scars of the conflict against the enemy receive and accept The Torch. We shall strive to "hold it high" and carry on—not with the sword, but with education.

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