Home Today's Reason to Drink June 26: The U.S. Expeditionary Force Arrives

June 26: The U.S. Expeditionary Force Arrives

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On this day in 1917, the U.S. Expeditionary Force arrived in France to help the Allies wrap up World War I. Military experiences aside, the exposure of millions of American doughboys to Europe, particularly Paris, would change American drinking culture forever. “How do you keep ’em down on the farm after they’ve seen Paree?” went the popular song of the day, and it spoke from truth. Many American youths had their first drink in the cafes of Paris while on leave, and they would never be the same again. When they finally came home, victorious and with a broader appreciation of the wild side of life, they would discover their treacherous fellow citizens had voted in National Prohibition. Which caused many of them to return to Paris and form an expatriate literary community that would come to be called the Lost Generation. Their style of writing, and drinking, would create a seismic shift in the literary landscape that is still felt today. Noted Ernest Hemingway: “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”