Erster Weltkrieg und
    Besatzung 1918-1930
    in Rheinland-Pfalz

    Major General Henry Tureman Allen

    Portrait of Henry T. Allen (IGL, Mainz).

    Major General Henry T. Allen was born on April 13, 1859, in Sharpsburg, Kentucky, graduated from West Point and later married Dora Johnston. Allen served as Military Attaché in Berlin between 1897 and 1898, and effectively organized the American Occupation of the Philippines following the Spanish-American War. In April 1917, he took command of the 90th Infantry Division in World War I. This division was mainly composed of men from Texas and Oklahoma. On July 8, 1919, General Pershing made Allen the commander of the newly formed American Forces in Germany.

    German children happy after having received sweets from Americans (Photo: National Archives Washington, D.C.).

    General Allen believed in a friendly, well-balanced treatment of the German population and wanted more cooperation with local authorities. Furthermore, he later became a member of the Inter-Allied Rhineland High Commission in May 1919.  As a member of the Commission and using his authority as the commander of the American Forces in Germany, Allen participated in the successful efforts to save the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, despite the demilitarization terms laid forth in the Treaty of Versailles, which called for its demolition.

    Major General Henry T. Allen (front), later commander of the army of occupation, with his staff and two French officers in Mouzay, France. The picture was taken one day before the Third Army began marching into Germany on November 17, 1918 (National Archives, Washington, D.C.).

    He also regarded his soldiers as representatives of America, enforced strict discipline, and maintained close contact with the other occupation armies. Allen regretted that the United States were gradually withdrawing from European affairs instead of using their economic power to support economic and political recovery in Germany.

    A Thank You letter from David Langner, Lord Mayor of Koblenz, to the General Henry T. Allen Fund, confirming receipt of $12,922 and its appropriate use for the youth welfare program, January 2019 (Stadtverwaltung Koblenz).

    Allen was gravely concerned about the starving children of the Rhineland. Upon his return to the United States in 1923, he founded the “American Committee for the Relief of German Children,” which raised $4.3 million to provide meals for over one million needy children, pregnant women, or young mothers. And in 1925, the “General Henry T. Allen Fund” was set up, collecting money for hungry children of the Rhineland over many years. Until this very day, underprivileged children and adolescents annually receive small sums of money from the “General Henry T. Allen Fund” through the youth welfare offices in Koblenz.

    Texts and editing: Marc Holzheimer M.A., Hauke Petersen M.A., Benjamin Pfannes B.A., Dr. Kai-Michael Sprenger