Why Legion Wants No Americans

I found this article while researching information about Bennett Doty’s Foreign Legion experience.  It appeared in the Sunday edition of The Milwaukee Journal of 18 November 1933.  The article is bit hard to take it too seriously and the illustration was a tip-off that this would be sensational.  It was clearly written to fill newsprint but nonetheless does a good job describing American participation in the Foreign Legion during WWI and quite possibly illuminating a real fact that there were a large number of American men seeking adventure by enlisting in the Legion.  During the 1930’s the Foreign Legion was a fairly popular subject in fiction as well as the movies.  There were also all sorts of other “adventure” stories that captured the imaginations of young men in depression-era America.  It would be likely that many of these men did indeed decide to pursue a career in the Foreign Legion and pestered the French consuls in San Francisco and New Orleans.  I’m not sure that there was a ban on accepting Americans into the Legion (or a ban on English speakers in general).   There are several accounts of Americans and Englishmen who served in the Legion during the 1930’s.  Also, during the 1930’s the Legion was at one of its peaks in strength as France struggled to maintain control over it’s colonies in North Africa and Indochina so the Foreign Legion probably did have a high demand for manpower no matter where they came from.

Why Legion Wants No Americans

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About Jack Wagner

Retired Army.
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