Huns Pleased at Arrival of Yanks on German Soil

Damon Runyon

Ottawa Free Trader Journal/December 14, 1918

Prefer Americans to Occupy Their Territory Instead of French—Humility Sweeps Vanquished Nation

With the American Army of Occupation, in the Rhineland, Dec. 14 (by Courier to Nancy, France).—If a person had come direct to this section of Germany since the armistice and mingled with the people and heard their story, without having seen anything of the war as waged by the Germans in France and Belgium, it is quite conceivable he might develop a compassion that would warp his viewpoint.

He might forget he is seeing in humility that same German who swaggered about the world only a few short months ago. He has merely changed his shirt.

It seems to the writer there is food for reflection in the thought that the Germans here are glad Americans came instead of the French, against whom the German has sinned most. It is idle to say they really welcome the soldiers; it would be idle to say any country would welcome enemy soldiers, but as long as they had to have some troops in their midst, there is no doubt it gratifies the Germans hereabouts that those soldiers are Americans.

The French would have treated them not a whit differently from the Americans, but they seem to feel the Americans understand them better because the regulations in the occupied zones are the same as have been applied to their own soldiers.

At many places they have to be off the streets at 9 o’clock. The civilians and former German soldiers stayed out as long as they pleased.

It was different when the Germans were in France. Although American soldiers are frequently billeted in German hones and maintain freidnly relations with the German families, there is no social intercourse between them and German civilians, nor is there likely to be.

Never by word or manner does an American soldier display any feeling against the Germans.. He just goes along minding his own business.

Of course, you’re never going to get any American displaying any feeling against children and women—no matter what the circumstances—but even toward the men our soldiers observe this policy.

A large number of Americans speak German, and many Germans here speak English. Many have been in America or have relatives there. In their hearts the Germans doubtless resent the presence of our troops, but on the surface there is no sign of bitterness or hostility such as their attitude toward America in the early part of the war led some Americans to expect.

(Source: Chronicling America,