Cliff Hitterdal & the Meuse-Argonne
Markus Krueger & Davin Wait
October 1, 2018
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This fall marks 100 years since maybe the most despairing months in Clay County history. Certainly the deadliest. Most Clay County soldiers were just landing on the battlefields of France in September of 1918, and they were landing just in time for the deadliest battle in American history: the Meuse-Argonne Offensive of World War I. More than one million American troops took part in the offensive, though it's now perhaps best known as the battle that made "Sergeant" Alvin York famous. Sadly, this is also the "deadliest" battle in American history because more than 26,000 American troops died on the field. Those that escaped the gunfire, gas, and shells had another adversary, as well: the new H1N1 "Spanish" Flu that was sweeping across the globe. The pandemic was coursing through the trenches of Europe at the time, and it reached Minnesota the same week the Meuse-Argonne Offensive was launched in France.
This short video offers an insider view of September 26, 1918, when Hitterdal, MN, native Cliff Hitterdal took part in the first morning of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. He was wounded two days later. The interview was conducted in 1976 and, yes, you can tell Cliff is a Midwestern boy and the son of Norwegian immigrants.