Although America officially entered WWI in April 1917, the war began more than two and a half years earlier in July 1914. Some American soldiers had been serving in foreign armies since 1914, 1915, or 1916, fighting for nations that the U.S. would later officially ally with.
Under the bill, any American soldier would now be allowed to receive a foreign medal for their military service, such as the British Victoria Cross of the French Croix de Guerre.
Strangely, I’ve been unable to track down precisely whether this bill passed into law, as the article did not mention the bill’s exact title. It does not appear to be listed in this list of legislation enacted during that Congress, although that list acknowledges it’s incomplete. (If anybody in the comments section could track down the exact fate of this bill, it would be much appreciated.)
But presumably it passed, because there have been five American recipients of the Victoria Cross, all of whom were during WWI.
In 2017, the highest American military award called the Medal of Honor has never been awarded to a non-American recipient. Non-Americans have won other high American medals, the first being the Navy Cross to Ernesto Burzagli in 1919, two years after this article’s publication.
Foreign Medals for American Soldier Heroes: Congress Is to Pass a Bill Removing Restrictions on Acceptance and Display of Honor Awards from Allies
From Sunday, December 9, 1917
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