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A New Threat: Civilians at Risk in World War I

In Issue:

In World War I, for the first time in history, even those civilians far from the battlefield faced grave danger from aerial bombardment. The Post asked readers to imagine what a future war on American soil might be like.

If ever there be another war, you’ll be as much in the zone of fighting as the soldiers on the firing line.

Think that over; then, on the first still, starry night, step out and take a look at your home and its surroundings. Imagine you hear in the upper reaches the terrible drone of enemy machines. Comes a lurid glare, the rending crash of a raider’s bomb, falling walls, and a smother of dust. Tiny flames are licking and writhing in a huge crater where your house stood a moment before. Why shouldn’t it happen to you? It has happened to thousands upon thousands of noncombatants in Europe.

—“Places of Dreadful Night” by George Pattullo, October 26, 1918

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