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.
11/29/2019 03:00:29 pm
I have my grandfather's purple heart, victory in Europe medal, enlistment papers, discharge papers, and letters written to his mother while in the battle at Muese Argonne. I also have a picture album kept by his sister while in army. He was gassed and sent home. He described to his mother "bayonetting babies with peach fuzz" I have no one to leave these to and am looking for an organization that may want these items Can you help me?
Constance HITTERDAL Erickson
4/6/2021 08:32:37 pm
Cliff Hitterdal was my father!! I do wished that I would have asked my father more questions but living out of our little village of Hitterdal-a great place to grow up-and a young mother it was a busy time. Dads sister died of the Spanish Flu. My dad was shot in his arm and recvd a Purple Heart. He also saved another by another soldier off the battle field and saved his life and they were friends for their lifetime. My father would be 126 years. I am proud to be his DAUGHTER!!
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