A Chronicle of the Pandemic: Hugh Gibson’s Notes on the “Spanish Flu” of 1918

Vivian Reed


A Chronicle of the Pandemic: Hugh Gibson’s Notes on the “Spanish Flu” of 1918

Hugh Gibson (1883–1954) was a young American diplomat who had a knack for landing in the thick of the action. During the pandemic of 1918, he found himself in Paris tasked with advising General John Pershing on diplomatic matters, straightening out the morass of American propaganda in Europe, and collaborating with military intelligence. To this was added the role of official US liaison to the Polish and Czech national committees. His multiple tasks were carried out against the backdrop of the dramatic last six months of the Great War. The Armistice of November 1918 arrived on the heels of the deadly second wave of the “Spanish Flu”. Gibson then turned his attention from military matters to humanitarian aid for all of Europe as diplomatic adviser to Herbert Hoover’s American Relief Administration. Throughout the tumultuous year from spring 1918 to spring 1919, Gibson experienced the Spanish Flu from multiple angles: military, diplomatic, international, refugee, care-giver, and a personal bout with the flu. Using excerpts from An American in Europe at War and Peace: Hugh Gibson’s Chronicles, 1918–1919 (edited by Vivian Reed and Jochen Böhler, DeGruyter Oldenbourg, Fall 2020), this article traces Gibson’s fascinating journey through a historic pandemic.

Słowa kluczowe: grypa „hiszpanka”, Hugh S. Gibson, pandemia, 1918 r., Woodrow Wilson, Herbert Hoover, płk Edward House

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