Pursuit of an 'Unparalleled Opportunity'
The American YMCA and Prisoner of War Diplomacy among the Central Power Nations
during World War I, 1914-1923.
by Kenneth Steuer

Key Figures

YMCA Secretaries

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Sir Arthur Keysall Yapp (1869-1936)

See also:
Chap. 04, p5
See also:
Chap. 12, p9
See also:
Chap. 16, p26
A British YMCA leader, Yapp attended the Thirteenth World's Conference (the London Jubilee Conference) in 1894 in London as a representative from Derby. He was a British delegate at the Fourteenth World's Conference in Basle, Switzerland in July 1898. Yapp became the General Secretary of the Manchester Association in 1907 and gained national prominence. In 1912, Yapp became the General Secretary of the English National Council and led that Association through World War I. With the British entry into the conflict in August 1914, he mobilized the English YMCA to implement war work for British soldiers on the Western Front, Italy, Egypt, Palestine, Mesopotamia, the Dardanelles, German East Africa, and Russia as well as support for workers in the war industries in Great Britain. When Archibald Harte and C.V. Hibbard visited Britain in March 1915 to investigate opportunities for POW relief work, Yapp expressed initial reluctance for the need for neutral secretaries to conduct this kind of service. The English YMCA already assigned a secretary, F.L. Porter, to conduct this work and Yapp did not think the British government would accept international secretaries. Harte's success in Germany, however, persuaded Yapp and the English National Council to welcome American War Prisoners' Aid Secretaries and invited the International Committee to send three workers. For the English National Council's work on behalf of British soldiers, Yapp received a knighthood in 1917. After the war, Yapp supported the creation of a new League of National YMCA's which recognized the strength and cooperation of the American and British Associations. Under Yapp's plan, this league would eventually merge with the World's Committee. The World's Alliance, however, saw this plan as the demise of the international organization and opposed its creation. Due to the World's Committee opposition, the proposal was discarded in June 1919. Yapp supported John R. Mott's selection of Harte as the Senior Secretary in Palestine in 1919. Harte was appointed to establish the Jerusalem Association as a joint Anglo-American effort. The International Committee agreed to pay Harte's salary and the English National Council would pay for all of his other expenses. Yapp remained active in the English YMCA until 1934.

Wold von Ziegler und Klipphausen

A German YMCA secretary, von Ziegler und Klipphausen served in the Berlin Association in the 1890's. In 1896, Christian Phildius recruited him to become the leader of the new Austrian Association in Vienna. He established the Christlicher Vereine jünger Männer (Young Men's Christian Association) in the Austrian capital in September 1896.