By the time America declared war against Germany in 1917 and joined allied forces in France, World War One was in its fourth year. The first real test in battle for the United States Marine Corps was the 1918 battle at Belleau Wood. The Germans had advanced to within 50 miles of Paris. Belleau Wood was part of an Allied campaign to push back against the German Spring Offensive to halt their advance towards Paris. The battle raged on for three weeks before the Marines were finally victorious. General Pershing said it was the most important battle fought by American forces since the Civil War. It was during the battle of Belleau Wood where the fighting spirit of the Marines and soon- to-be mascot, the English Bulldog, became synonymous.
According to stories, the Marines fought with such tenacity and valor that the Germans nicknamed the Americans Teufelhunden or “Devil Dogs.” In Bavarian folklore, devil dogs were wild mountain dogs. The battle at Belleau Wood was real, but the German nickname was based on mythology. However, it wasn’t long before a recruiting poster painted by Charles Falls appeared showing a dachshund wearing a spiked helmet and Iron Cross running from an English Bulldog wearing a helmet with the globe and anchor insignia on it. Written on the poster was “Teufelhunden – Devil Dog Recruiting Station.” The poster was embraced by the Marine Corps and the public.
The first unofficial mascot, King Bulwark, was an English Bulldog pup sired by Rob Roy, a well known and famous English Bulldog. Born May 22, 1922, the pup’s royal registered name was quickly changed to Jiggs. Private Jiggs was enlisted into the United States Marine Corps at a formal ceremony on October 14, 1922 by Brigadier General Smedley Butler.