National Geographic : 1945 Jul
The National Geographic Magazine Drawn by Theodora Price and Irvin E. Allema The Rhine Barrier Parallels Germany's Western Border Since Napoleon, this swift, muddy river had held Germany's enemies at bay until Lt. Gen. Courtney H. Hodges' First Army crossed at Remagen on March 7, 1945 (page 17). American doughboys, fighting in the Rhineland, saw at first hand the famous cities, churches, castles, vineyards, mountains, and scenes of mythology which have attracted travelers from around the world. The armistice had been signed several days only silence, scowl when the first Americans entered the Rhine- cheers were for a G land in 1918. thehoodof oneof o The picture that afternoon remained fairly A few days later typical, except that R6tgen was undamaged. hiding and the Germ The town was deserted. A white sheet or Eupen proved as ho; tablecloth was hung from an upper window gian city. But to th of nearly every house, in token of surrender. tomed to the role o The people had fled to the woods. Within the Eupen was like a d next two days they began drifting back, led The troops swept by Rotgen's one policeman in full uniform, Rhineland. Within riding a bicycle. They were stunned into a holes through the gr sort of apathy, so rapid and unexpected had massive concrete p been the armored dash across Belgium. Line. They moved Actually the American soldiers had had keted with evergree their first taste of the civilian reaction they like forests to the r were likely to receive in Germany the evening and the Cologne before, when they had entered the Belgian crossed by broad aut border town of Eupen. This had been a part straight into the nor of the Reich until the last war, when it was city. awarded to Belgium. The tang of autu When the Nazi forces crossed the border in hills were redolent 1940, the district immediately had been incor- musical with the tl porated in the Rhineland again. The German We were in the Eif s, element of the popula tion, actually in the minority, had been in the saddle for four years. The Belgians either were "under ground" or discreetly silent, awaiting their day. The armored divi sion which I accompa nied had swept north ward on the tail of the disorganized German Army with unexpected speed. We had stopped the night before at Ver viers. There the Amer icans had received the wildest reception of the whole war. They had been pelted with fruit and flowers, their uni forms were soaked with wine, their faces were scarlet with lipsticked kisses from thousands of joy-frenzied women. It had been the climax of the whole progress across Belgium (p. 3). Eupen was only a few miles away, but the difference was dum founding. Here were no kisses, no flowers and sobs. The only German prisoner riding on ur jeeps. the Belgians came out of ians went "underground." spitable as any other Bel e American soldier, accus f liberator, the entry into ash of cold water. over the border into the a day they had punched eat green dragon teeth and illboxes of the Siegfried eastward over hills blan is and through cathedral eal gate of the Rhineland )lain which lay beyond, tomobile highways leading thern Rhineland's largest mn was in the air. The with the odor of spruces, under of falling waters. el mountains.