From fields of toil and fields of play,
AT the outbreak of the European war, during the season of summer travel in 1914, many Harvard men were in Europe. Not a few of them were attached to the United States embassies and legations in the various capitals. The business of these offices immediately became pressing in the extreme. The labors of those officially connected with them were shared at once by volunteers --- the first of the Harvard fellowship to offer a helping hand where it was needed in the sudden disorganization of an orderly world. The call to the colors of the various warring nations quickly drew into the conflict those who owed allegiance to one or another flag. In military service, such as that of the Foreign Legion and Flying Corps of the French Army, others have expressed the allegiance of sympathy if not of birth. But it has been in the organization of hospital service and in the work of ambulance corps engaged in the dangerous task of bringing wounded men with all possible speed to the ministrations of surgeons and nurses that Harvard has had by far the largest numerical representation. In hospital work it has been even an official representation, for the Surgical Units sent in the spring of 1915 to the American Ambulance Hospital in Paris, and in the summer of the same year to equip a British military hospital in France --- a service undertaken originally for three months, but continued until the present time --- were Units bearing the name and sanction of the University, through its Medical School. From the Medical School also Professor Strong was detached for his service of world-wide importance in combatting, successfully, the plague of typhus in Servia.
At the end of this volume a list of the Harvard men who have participated in various forms of service, in Europe, in connection with the War ---a list for which it is impossible to claim completeness --is printed. It would doubtless be longer if our own affairs on the Mexican border in the summer of 1916 had not drawn thither many young Harvard men of the type chiefly represented among the ambulance drivers in France. A list of those, young and old, who have identified themselves, to notable purpose, with relief work in America would be quite unwieldy in its proportions.
Of the more than four hundred men recorded as rendering their personal services in Europe, all but four have helped the cause of the Allies. From this fact it is not fair to draw the overwhelming conclusion that is most obvious. The Harvard Medical School is known to have been ready to undertake the organization of a Surgical Unit for service in Germany, in the event of the German government asking for it as the British government asked for the Unit maintained in France. That Harvard men of German birth and sympathies, led by a spirit of idealism and loyalty, would have given their services to Germany if access to the Teutonic countries had been possible, there can be no doubt.
It is, however, with those who have served, or are serving, in Europe that this volume must deal. From them have proceeded innumerable letters, diaries, and other records, a few of which have been available for the present purpose. The passages here brought together will be found to illustrate both the wide variety of the work in which Harvard men have been engaged and the zeal they have brought to its performance. It is a matter of regret that, although letters from the German side have been desired and definitely sought, they have not been obtainable. But the collection now offered does not aim at completeness. That must await the end of the War, and a scheme of encyclopedic dimensions. Meanwhile the following pages may contribute something to a knowledge of what has been going on in Europe, and of the part that Harvard men have played in it.
BOSTON, October, 1916.