Let’s have a little historical levity the day before the Fourth of July.  Among the songs from WWI is “Canning the Kaiser,” written by Upton Sinclair and sung to the tune of “Marching Through Georgia.”  I’m not sure that it is remembered all that well today; perhaps that has something to do with hardened Southerners and how they felt about the melody.  But here goes:


Bring the good old bugle boys, we’ll sing another song,

Sing it with a spirit that will move the world along,

Sing it as we need to sing it, half a million strong,

While we are canning the Kaiser.



Oh, Bill, Oh, Bill, we’re on the job today;

Oh, Bill, Oh, Bill, we’ll seal you so you’ll stay,

We’ll put you up with ginger in the good old Yankee way,

While we are canning the Kaiser.


Come you men from Dixieland, you lumber jacks from Maine,

Come you Texas cowboy and you farmer from the plain;

From Florida to Oregon we boast the Yankee strain,

While we are canning the Kaiser.


Now we’ve started on the job, we mean to put it through;

Ship the kings and kaisers all and make the world anew;

Clear the way for common folk, for men like me and you,

While we are canning the Kaiser.


Hear the song we’re singing on the shining road to France,

Hear the Tommies cheering and see the Poilus prance,

Africanders and Kanucks, and Scots without their pants,

While we are canning the Kaiser.


Bring the guns from Bethlehem by way of old New York,

Bring the beans from Boston and don’t leave out the pork;

Bring a load of soda-pop and pull the grape-juice cork,

While we are canning the Kaiser.



Blair Tarr is the Museum Curator of the Kansas State Historical Society. He oversees the three-dimensional collections of the Society, but has special interests in the Civil War, Wichita-made Valentine diners, and Leavenworth's Abernathy Furniture. In the last few years he has also done a lot of cramming on The Great War. He is a past president of the Kansas Museums Association and the Civil War Round Tables of both Kansas City and Eastern Kansas. He is currently a board member of the Heritage League of Greater Kansas City.