History | August 26, 2017 5:00 am

What World War II Heroes Were Doing During World War I

Find out what these men did before the second great war made them famous.

What Future U.S. Presidents Were Doing in World War I
A photographic postcard portrait of Harry S. Truman while he was a soldier in World War I. Truman was promoted to captain in April 1918, in charge of Battery D of the 129th Field Artillery. (© CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

History books often wax on longer about World War II, because well, it was a conflict that had greater worldwide outcomes. With the defeat of the Nazis and the eventual bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the world would be forever changed.

But what were the heroes of WWII doing during the first major international conflict, World War I. The U.S. National Archives’ Prologue magazine recently explored this question in detail, and RealClearLife has teased out some of the more interesting insights.

Franklin D. Roosevelt – Before being elected the 32nd president of the United States—and being reelected three more times—Roosevelt was President Woodrow Wilson’s assistant secretary of the Navy. He was integral in America’s defense buildup during his tenure, which lasted from 1913 to 1920.

Harry S. Truman – Truman, then known as “Captain Harry,” led the 129th Field Artillery Regimen—aka Battery D (or “Truman’s Own”), which was 200-men strong, in France.

Dwight D. Eisenhower – Obviously, later president of the United States in his own right, Eisenhower (or “Ike,” as he was known) was the commander of Camp Colt, the U.S. Army’s first tank training center in Pennsylvania. Though he was deployed to France in 1918, the war ended before he saw combat.

Douglas McArthur – During World War I, McArthur served as a brigadier general and chief of staff to the Army’s 42nd “Rainbow” Division—which consisted of a pair of infantry brigades and saw action on the Western Front. He earned two Distinguished Service Crosses and seven Silver Stars.

George C. Marshall – Marshall, who was appointed Army Chief of Staff under Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman—as well as Truman’s Secretary of State and Defense—was an operations officer for the First Infantry Division abroad. He didn’t see combat, but rather was hailed as a tactical genius.

Watch Prologue‘s full video above.