As Europe went to war in August 1914, Ima Hogg and many other American tourists were stranded abroad. The earliest passage home that she could book was on the American Line’s St. Paul--on October 3.
Before Ima sailed for home, a huge German army had plunged through Belgium into northern France. From September 5 through September 12 the armies fought near the Marne River in what would be called the first battle of the Marne, involving over 2,000,000 men and 500,000 total dead and wounded. That was just the beginning. Oddly enough, Ima wrote only two letters home that fall. What did she do, all that dreadful autumn?
World War I was the first modern war: the first war to use tanks, airplanes, and heavy artillery that could fire a shell sixty miles. Such destructive power produced devastating losses of life and limb. No one planned it that way. At the turn of the century, international conferences had banned new and deadly weapons of destruction: bombs dropped from the air, chemical warfare, and certain kinds of bullets.
From 1914 to 1918 World War I killed 8,528,831 (including 53,513 Americans) and wounded 21,159,154 (204,002 of them Americans).
One of the wounded would be Mike Hogg.