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WW1 Centennial News for Wednesday October 4, 2017 - Episode #40

Americans Volunteer for French Foreign Legion before America enters warAmericans Volunteer for French Foreign Legion pre 1917

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  • Ask Alexa: “Play W W 1 Centennial News Podcast” |@ 01:00
  • Second Liberty Bond drive launches |@ 02:00
  • Spy ring in Palestine - Mike Shuster |@ 06:25
  • War In the Sky - RiesenFlugzeug - behemoths of the sky |@ 10:10
  • Great War Alliance Forum |@ 13:05
  • Follow up on Cardines Field rededication |@ 13:55
  • Holding talks about WWI in communities - Richard Rubin |@ 15:15
  • Speaking WWI -  This week: “Booby Trap” |@ 21:30
  • 100C/100M in Ridgewood, NJ - Chris Stout |@ 23:10
  • “Rendezvous With Death” - David Hanna |@ 28:30
  • Pershing/Lafayette statues rededicated in Versaille |@ 34:40
  • Trek through the Dolomites - WWrtie Blog w Shannon Huffman Polson |@ 36:00
  • The Buzz on #CountdownToVeteransDay -Katherine Akey |@ 36:55


Welcome to World War 1 centennial News - It’s about WW1 THEN - what was happening 100 years ago this week  - and it’s about WW1 NOW - news and updates about the centennial and the commemoration.

Today is October 4th, 2017 and our guests this week are:

  • Mike Shuster from the great war project blog,   
  • Richard Rubin, author of The Last of the Doughboys and Back Over There
  • Chris Stout from the 100 Cities / 100 Memorials project in Ridgewood, New Jersey
  • And David Hanna, author of the WW1 book and now website - Rendezvous with Death

WW1 Centennial News is brought to you by the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission and the Pritzker Military Museum and Library. I’m Theo Mayer - the Chief Technologist for the Commission and your host. Welcome to the show.


Before we get going today I wanted to let you know,

especially all of you who own Amazon Echo or other Alexa enabled device, Alexa has a new skill. If you say “Alexa, play the “W” “W” one centennial news podcast” she will dutifully find the most current episode on the internet and play it for you.

We are excited because that opens up WW1 Centennial News to 20 million new player and all you have to do is ask! Welcome to the future - but right now - let’s jump into our wayback machine and head 100 years into the past!

World War One THEN

100 Year Ago This Week


Yes, we’ve gone back in time 100 years to explore the war that changed the world! And It’s the first week of October 1917.

What’s on the US government’s mind this week?

Raising money to pay for the war!


Dateline October 1st 1917

Headline: Secretary of the treasury - McAdoo begins Second Liberty Loan Drive...

Five Billion Dollars from Ten Million Subscribers fixed as goal!

So In 1917, financing a war with deficit spending is not at all the plan. The Wilson administration is determined to raise the money needed for this immense effort, and in part, by issuing of government backed war bonds.

This is innovative… and it is interesting to note, that the same 1917 law that authorizes the war bonds will continue to be used to sell US treasury bonds 100 years later!

Back in June (during our episode 24), we reported on the Wilson administration touting the first liberty loan drive was an unprecedented and huge success. In fact, they raised $2 billion dollars from five and one half million people! A century later that $2 billion is the equivalent of 38 billion dollars. So - not too bad!

This Second Liberty Bond drive is targeting twice as much revenue from two times as many subscribers.

Though there is a lot of controversy about how successful the liberty bond program is, with the government claiming HUGE success and other press of the time criticizing lackluster enthusiasm and talking about the discounting of the bonds,  anyone who has ever undertaken to raise substantial amounts of money KNOWS, it’s no cake walk!

Focusing on participation by the general public as small investors -- Secretary  Mcadoo reaches out to the administration’s secret weapon --- their powerhouse of propaganda, their empresario of promo, their master of emotion, their superman of spin - George Creel’s Committee on Public Information!

This is the same outfit that publishes the daily Official Bulletin that we use here on the podcast every week to tell you the story of WW1, and whose pages we re-publish daily

on the centennial anniversary of their original publication

at ww1cc.org/bulletin.

Anyway, Creel is probably America’s first marketing genius. He shows up as the man behind the curtain all over the place during this period...

And with outrageous but brilliant ideas -

like in late May -- as the first Liberty loan drive wraps up, he gets all churches, schools and city halls around the country to ring their bells every night in a countdown to the end of the first drive! Talk about taking your promotion to the grassroots.

Last week we reported on the massive national billboard campaign for “Food will win the war” including using electric lights to light up the billboards at night. We have not verified that Creel was the man behind this endeavor, but it has his style written all over it.

He is also a multi-media and social media genius… and In 1917 that means the flaming hot new media of the MOVIES and the Phonograph.

Before the 4th liberty bond sale is over, and there will be 4 of them - Creel will have recruited the biggest stars of the day including Al jolson, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and his premiere celebrity pitch man - Charlie Chaplin

Creel doesn’t just go big, he also goes wide. George puts together a citizen army of 70,000 called “the 4 minute men”. He arms them with 4 minutes speeches -

And in this case - on why buying Bonds is the key to Liberty and Freedom for Americans and why it is every citizens patriotic duty to participate

He sends this army into every movie theater in the nation, arranging for them to make their presentation just before the features film.

And so McAdoo launches his second liberty loan campaign 100 years ago this week!


Great War Project

Now we are joined by Mike shuster, former NPR correspondent and curator for the Great War Project blog, to walk us through his fascinating post - A Ring of Spies in Palestine… all about a Jewish Spy ring assisting the british against the turks --- that gets busted by the turkish Secret Police...

Welcome Mike!

[Mike Shuster]

Thank you Mike. That was Mike Shuster from the Great War Project blog.



War in the Sky

This week in the Great War in the sky, there are two stories worth noting.

The first involves a british Battle cruiser - The HMS Repulse. At the time, she is touted to be the fastest battle ship of the fleet.

On October 1st 1917, having built a strange - slightly up-angled - platform on top of the turret of one of the big 15-inch guns  - her captain faces the Repulse into the wind --.

Sitting atop the platform, Royal Naval Air Service Commander F.J. Rutland fires up the engine on his Sopwith Pup fighter plane. He cranks the RPM, higher, higher and higher still as the battle cruiser pushes into the wind - Finally he lets loose the brakes and his planes takes to the air making it the first fighter plane ever launched from such a ship!

He, of course, does NOT attempt a landing on same!

And we have a link in the podcast notes showing you a picture of the rig they used.

Also this week, on October 5th, after a long period of unfavorable weather, the Germans finally send planes to the UK for a night raid on London. Nineteen Gotha bombers and two Reisenflugzeug bombers come at the brits in several waves causing quite a bit of damage but inflicting no casualties.

Now… Reisenflugzeug literally means GIANT AIRPLANE in German… and they were. These multi-engine behemoths had wingspans of 100 feet or more and seemed more like an exercise in the art of the possible instead of the art of war.

This was to be the last German raid against the UK until January of 1918 - the Gotha bombers and two of these behemoth flying machines let loose their payloads over the UK during the war in the sky - 100 years ago this week.

We also have a link to a picture of a Reisenflugzeug in the podcast notes.

Link: http://media.iwm.org.uk/ciim5/331/146/mid_000000.jpg



The Great War Channel

If you’d like to watch some videos about WW1, visit our friend at the Great War Channel on Youtube - They have well over 400 episodes about WW1 and from a more European perspective.

New episodes for this week include:

  • The Battle of Polygon Wood
  • Recap of Our Trip to Italy and Slovenia
  • And Denmark in WW1

Follow the link in the podcast notes or search for “the great war” on youtube.



World War One NOW


We have moved forward in time to the present…

Welcome to WW1 Centennial News NOW  - This part of the program is not about history but how the centennial of

the War that changed the world

is being commemorated today.

Commission News

This week in Commission news, we highlight a panel discussion about the Origins of the Trilateral Alliance - The alliance between Britain, America and France during World War One, its difficult birth, and its enduring impact after the war. The event was part of the Great War Alliance Forum at the Meridian International Center, a premier nonprofit global leadership organization headquartered in Washington DC

Our own Commissioner Monique Seefried was part of the team that explored the history of the trilateral alliance; societal changes and the future of global conflict. You can read more about the event and watch the videos of this insightful discussion by following the link in the podcast notes.


[Sound Effect]

Activities and Events

Cardines Field

Next, in our Activities and Events Section, we wanted to follow up on our report about the Rededication of Cardines Baseball Field which took place on September 29th,

US Centennial Commissioner Jack Monahan attended the event in Rhode island,  that included an Army-Navy baseball game played by students from the U.S. Naval War College dressed in period baseball uniforms.

Thanks to Associated Press reporter Jennifer McDermott from Rhode Island, the story about this unique and fun WW1 commemoration event got picked up by newspapers, blogs and posts all around the country

This includes the New York Times, the Washington Post and local papers in Washington State, North Carolina, Texas, Oklahoma and more. Check out the articles

from across the country

in the podcast notes.

We invite YOU to add your own event to the National U.S. WW1 Centennial Events Register. Go to ww1cc.org/events, click the big red button and post your WW1 commemoration event for all to discover.
We just added a new category this week for Social Media Events - so if you are planning a Facebook Live, livestream, WW1 Hackathon or other online WW1 commemoration event - get it posted and let our community of interest know!














Richard Rubin Talks To Towns

We are joined by our good friend Richard Rubin - author of the WWI books, The Last of the Doughboys and Back Over There.

Richard is joining us today to talk to us about his experiences during speaking engagements across the country about World War One. Welcome, Richard!

[exchange greetings]

[So Richard, you have gone around the country to speak about your books, the research that went into them and World War 1 at large -  tell us a bit about these events?]

[Richard, you mentioned that people often come with artifacts,  photos, mementos, and family histories. Why do you think people are so eager to share these with you? ]

[-Is there one story or artifact that someone brought in

that stands out in your mind?]

[-If somebody wants to have hold one of these events, how do they get a hold of you?]

Richard Rubin - Thank you very much for coming on!

That was author Richard Rubin, we have links in the podcast notes to Richard’s website which is also a great way to contact him.



Speaking WW1

And now for our feature “Speaking World War 1 - Where we  explore today’s words & phrases that are rooted in the war  ---

First some background - In spanish, a bobo is a fool, a clown, or someone who is easily cheated" … in the late 1800’s the term was anglicised into “booby” for terms like Booby Prize - and Booby Trap… then, it signified a prank like a book, or water put atop a door left ajar - so when someone walked in - Sploosh! And a great big guffaw!

In WWI the word ‘Booby Trap” this week’s speaking WW1 word - took on a whole new sinister meaning!

The English journalist Sir Philip Gibbs wrote in his war memoir From Bapaume to Passchendaele:

“the enemy left … slow-working fuses and ‘booby-traps’ to blow a man to bits or blind him for life if he touched a harmless looking stick or opened the lid of a box, or stumbled over an old boot.”

So troops picked up the phrase to describe a myriad of explosive devices deliberately disguised as a harmless objects

often left behind in territory that exchanged hands, hidden in doorways, set to go off when a curious soldier opened the lid to a box or rifled through abandoned equipment.

In modern times with this tactic becoming a major tool in asymmetric warfare the term was updated to IED - Improvised Explosive Device.

Booby-trap --- a fool’s trap - one more word that was altered forever during the War that Changed the World. See the podcast notes to learn more!

link: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/jun/28/first-world-war-one-soldiers-tommies-common-language-trenches



100 Cities/100 Memorials

Chris Stout - Ridgewood, NJ

Next, we are going to profile another 100 Cities / 100 Memorials project. That is our $200,000 matching grant giveaway to rescue ailing WW1 memorials. Last week, we profiled a project from Swanton Ohio. This week, we head to Ridgewood, NJ.

Joining us is Chris Stout, a member of Ridgewood’s American Legion Post 53 and a self-appointed amateur local historian.

Welcome, Chris!

[exchange greetings]

[Chris.. The saying is “a man is not dead until he is forgotten” and that frames your 100 Cities / 100 Memorials project. Tell us about it.]

[What was your reaction when you learned about being one of the awardees for a Matching Grant by the program?]

[Can you tell us about the rededication that took place on Memorial day?]

[Chris - What distinguishes your project - for me - is that it is a fairly small project that is righting a large issue… Congratulations to you and your whole post!]

Thank you so much for being here with us today!

That was Chris Stout, member of American Legion Post 53, local historian and resident of Ridgewood, New Jersey.

We will continue to profile the submitting teams and their unique and amazing projects on the show over the coming months. Learn more about the 100 Cities / 100 Memorials program at ww1cc.org/100memorials or follow the link in the podcast notes.

Link: www.ww1cc.org/100memorials



Stories of Service

Rendezvous With death - Interview with David Hanna

In our “Remember the veterans” section, today we have David Hanna with us. David is a history teacher at Stuyvesant (Sty-ves-ant) High School in New York City and author of two books, Knights of the Sea about a naval battle that occurred off the coast of Maine in 1813; and Rendezvous with Death, about the original group of American volunteers in the French Army in 1914.

Welcome, David!

[exchange greetings]

[David, how did you come to write a book about the American Volunteers of WW1?]

[As you’ve noted, the dozens of Americans that volunteered in 1914 represented a cross-section of American society at the time. What common impulse made them volunteer for the war?]

[There are many famous individuals who volunteered early on in the war: Ernest Hemingway, Alan Seeger, e. e. cummings, Walt Disney… but of all the many volunteers you’ve researched, does anyone stand out to you?]

[David: How did you decide on the title “Rendezvous with Death”?]

[David - put up a website on the Commissions server - what kinds of information can I find there?]

Thank you so much for joining us!

That was David Hanna, author of Rendezvous with Death and curator of the website at ww1cc.org/rendezvous

The links are in the podcast notes.



International Report

For our International Report, we head to France, to the town of Versaille for an interesting story about two companion statues

one of General Pershing and the other of the Marquis de Lafayette

The statues were recently restored and re-dedicated on October 6th 2017.

The dual monuments to the generals were originally built in 1937, two equestrian statues of the generals on nine meter tall pedestals on either side of the road leading into the town of Versaille.

The two statues were erected to commemorate the friendship between France and the United States and to pay tribute to the Americans troops for their significant contribution to the Allied victory in 1918. The statues were hastily built in plaster with a bronze patina (puh-tee-nuh) so they could be in place and on view for they’re inauguration, which took place with General Pershing present on a European tour. The plaster statues were quickly damaged by exposure and had never been replaced,

until now.

On October 6th 2017, exactly 80 years after the initial inauguration, permanent versions of the statues were re-dedicated.  Read more about the statues and the rededication at the links in the podcast notes.



WWrite Blog

It’s time for an update for our WWRITE blog, which explores WWI’s Influence on contemporary writing and scholarship, this week's post is: “What the Mountains Hold: A Writer's Trek Through the Dolomites of Mark Helprin's WWI Italy”

The post brings a fresh face to the WWI Italy

described in  Hemingway's “A Farewell to Arms”.

Author and veteran, Shannon Huffman Polson, takes us on a spellbinding trek through the Dolomites,

where 689,000 Italians perished during the war.

Following the footsteps of characters from Mark Helprin's novel, “A Soldier of the Great War”, Polson leads us through the stark, striking landscape of one of Italian-history's most indelible memories.

A stunning narrative not to be missed! Read it by following the link in the podcast notes.

Link: www.ww1cc.org.wwrite


The Buzz - WW1 in Social Media Posts

That brings us to the buzz - the centennial of WW1 this week in social media with Katherine Akey - Katherine - You have two stories to share with us today - Take it away!

Thanks Theo!

Fort Riley and the 1st Division Museum

Watch a great video series about the 1st division in WW1!



Countdown to Veterans Day

Follow us as we #countdowntoveteransday . You can join in, too!





Well It’s time to wrap things up - and for those who listen through to the very end of the episode you know about the little treats we always put there.

We want to thank our guests:

  • Mike Shuster and his report on espionage in the middle east  
  • Richard Rubin, telling us about his experiences speaking across the country
  • Chris Stout from the 100 Cities / 100 Memorials project in Ridgewood, New Jersey
  • David Hanna giving us insight into the Americans who joined the war well before America did
  • Katherine Akey the Commission’s social media director and also the line producer for the show.

And I am Theo Mayer - your host.

The US World War One Centennial Commission was created by Congress to honor, commemorate and educate about WW1.

Our programs are to--

inspire a national conversation and awareness about WW1; This program is a part of that….

We are bringing the lessons of the 100 years ago into today's classrooms;

We are helping to restore WW1 memorials in communities of all sizes across our country;

and of course we are building America’s National WW1 Memorial in Washington DC.

If you like the work we are doing, please support it with a tax deductible donation at ww1cc.org/donate - all lower case

Or if you are on your smart phone text  the word: WW1 to 41444. that's the letters ww the number 1 texted to 41444. Any amount is appreciated.

We want to thank commission’s founding sponsor the Pritzker Military Museum and Library for their support.

The podcast can be found on our website at ww1cc.org/cn  

on  iTunes and google play ww1 Centennial News, and on Amazon Echo or other Alexa enabled devices.

Our twitter and instagram handles are both @ww1cc and we are on facebook @ww1centennial.

Thanks for joining us. And don’t forget to share the stories you are hearing here with someone about the war that changed the world!

[music - The man behind the hammer and the plow - Arthur Fields - Edison Record]

Alexa: Play the W W 1 Centennial News Podcast

[Alexa response]

So long!


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