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WW1 Centennial News for Wednesday October 11, 2017 - Episode #41

Young girls collecting peach pits used for gas maskYoung girls collecting peach pits used for gas mask

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  • America’s youth goes to war |@01:20
  • Russia stalls - Germany attacks -Mike Shuster |@08:05
  • Building the DH-4 bomber |@11:30
  • WW1 Commemoration flags for Veterans Day |@14:50
  • DHS and WW1 - Allison Finkelstein and Zack Wilske |@15:40
  • “World War 100” and “1917: America Joins The Fight” symposia |@23:05
  • Speaking WW1 - Cushie! |@25:15
  • 100C/100M in Trafford, PA - Andrew Capets |@26:35
  • WW1CC.org/edu goes live |@31:55
  • The Lost Sketchbooks - Rex Passion |@32:45
  • Roll of Honor Foundation - Jerry Michaud |@39:15
  • WWrite Blog: “God Armeth the Patriot” |@45:35

View the PDF transcript


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 11th, 2017 and our guests this week are:

  • Mike Shuster from the great war project blog,   
  • Allison S. Finkelstein (STEEN) and Zack Wilske from the USCIS History Office and Library
  • Andrew Capets from the 100 Cities / 100 Memorials project in Trafford, Pennsylvania
  • Rex Passion, author of the WW1 book and now website - The Lost Sketchbooks
  • And Jerry Michaud Executive Director of the Roll of Honor Foundation


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.

Our theme this week is going to focus on the youth of America - how young people were folded into the war effort THEN - 100 years ago and we also want to tell you more about our current education initiatives about ‘The War That Changed The World” today in our WW1 Centennial News NOW section.

In an article "WWI: Support from the home front” written by Richard Zuber - a North Carolinian historian, Zuber helps to frame the issue:

When most people hear the word war they think of soldiers and sailors, guns and battles, death and destruction. Those are all part of war, but historians also study everything and everyone affected by conflicts. This is especially true of what military historians call a “total war”.

In discussing how women and even the elderly aided in the total war effort in 1917, Zuber notes:

Children worked just as hard as the adults and contributed a great deal. Boy Scouts participated in patriotic rallies and the Liberty Loan drives. The Woodcraft Girls distributed food pledge cards and enrolled as “Potatriots” entering a competition for growing the largest potato crop. The Camp Fire Girls baby-sat for women working in war plants and helped the Red Cross roll bandages and make dressings for wounds. Girl Scouts were involved in all those activities and sold war bonds, made scrapbooks for hospitals, and wrapped Christmas packages for soldiers.

With that as a setup,  let’s jump into the wayback machine to see what was happening for America’s youth and education 100 years ago this week.

World War One THEN

100 Year Ago This Week


Welcome to 1917 It’s the second week of October and the Wilson administration - offers several articles this week in it’s Official Bulletin - about education and teaching patriotism to the youth of America.


Dateline October 9, 1917

Headline: Influence of the War on Teaching History!

The article tries to frame America’s entry into the war in terms that teachers might impart. In the article -  which is speaking to the teachers - the US Bureau of Educations states:

The Nation has finally been drawn into the great War - a war that demands for its successful prosecution not only efficient and courageous service in the Army and Navy but also the loyal cooperation of millions of men and women who are not enrolled in the fighting forces nor directly responsible for the civil administration on which these forces depend.

Interestingly - the article goes on the frame the fight as being between free and democratic societies and hereditary monarchies.

Quote: We have as clear an interest in international law as individuals have in the laws of society.

That was said long before the steam ship, the submarine. and the wireless had broken down our ‘splendid isolation.” No one can take an intelligent part in a great conflict for the safety of democracy -- unless they are really interested in -- and know something about -- nations other than their own—about the difference between a republican government like our own or that of France or the scarcely less democratic constitution of Great Britain on the one side, and, in sharp contrast to all of these, a strongly monarchical government like that of the German Empire, in which the most important measures affecting the national welfare may be practically determined by a single hereditary sovereign or a small group of such sovereigns.

In the article there is no reference to the growing socialism in europe and Russia, nor of the powerful dictatorships that would be so prominent in the next generation.


Dateline Oct 13, 1917

Headline: Lesson leaflets on patriotism intended for permanent course in public schools

The story reads

The plan for Educational Administrators Is to Educate a Rising Generation

How to Conduct the Business of Living

A Wide Variety of Topics Treated in Pamphlets Prepared to Suit Pupils of the Various Grades Will Be Supplied.

The article goes on to read

In order to bring the lessons of patriotism and of national and international

relations within the comprehension of children, the instruction in conservation which is to be given in American schools this year at the insistence of President Wilson will begin with and emphasize

home and local problems.

A series of lesson leaflets will be issued monthly by the Food Administration and the Bureau of Education throughout the present

school year.

The plan is to educate a rising generation that will know better than its predecessors how to conduct the business of living.

Now - This “theme” for lessons about the “business of living” comes up a number of times, but is not elaborated on - leaving one to wonder what the Wilson Administration meant.

However a panoply of headlines do reveal a theme that the government is thinking about the Nations youth and their role in the war effort. Here is a whole bunch of them:

On October 2nd:

“American school children to be given lessons in community and natural life” in democracy” requested by president”

On October 6th:

“Leaflets as guides to school teachers sent by us commissions to teach children democracy's meaning”

On October 10th:

Work of american boy scouts commended in promoting sale of liberty loan bonds

And in earlier months:

“President appeals to school children of nation to enroll in red cross service”

“War topics at high school commencements recommended by commissioner claxton” may 28

“School Bells to ring out call for liberty loan subscriptions” june11

“Schools with shopwork depts urged to continue during summer to train skilled mechanics and high grade helpers” july 27

And finally

“Program of school activity during the war suggested to educational institutions” july 7

So as Richard Zuber points out at the top of the section  - WW1 is very much a part of daily life in America -  for the men called to service, for the mothers, wives and daughters and even for the children of the nation.

It is not some remote and distant foreign policy, everyone is in the fight - in some way -  the entire citizenry - and non-citizens alike - as we will discuss a bit later in the show.


Great War Project

From the Great War Project Blog - we are joined by Mike shuster, former NPR correspondent and curator for the Great War project. Mike is going to tell us about the collapsing eastern front as Russia stalls and Germany develops a new naval and Storm Trooper prowess in their baltic sea offensive.

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, America begins to mass produce a two seater bomber!

Although through all of WWI, America never produced or or fielded a single American fighter plane, we did manufacture a bunch of them - and this week 100 years ago, the US Army Air Service put in an order for thousands of British designed DeHavilland DH-4 planes.

The version they ordered were to be delivered with the US made American Liberty 12 cylinder engine - rather than the Rolls Royce engine of the British version.

It was slow going at first, but in the end, the Dayton Wright company delivered over 3,100 of them, General Motors 1,600 of them and Standard Aircraft corporation another 160.

And it all started 100 years ago this week in the war in the sky.

You can follow the War in The sky by checking with our comprehensive timeline, curated by former fighter pilot, air force general and author RG head. Go to ww1cc.org/warinthesky - all lower case or follow the links in the podcast notes.

Link: http://www.worldwar1centennial.org/1181-timeline-of-wwi-aviation-history-demo.htm#1917


The Great War Channel

To watch videos about WW1, we recommend our friend at the Great War Channel on Youtube - They offer well over 400 episodes about WW1

and from a more European perspective.

New episodes for this week include:

Sabotage in the Desert

Then - Indy Nydel takes viewers’ questions in a “Out of the Trenches” segment which is always popular with their regular viewers - this time: Electricity, the Wright Brothers and Hip Firing MGs --

And finally an episode called Evolution of British Battle Tanks 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

In this week’s in Commission news, a follow up on the US Mint’s unveiling of the 2018 WWI Centennial Silver Dollar. The unveiling happened on October 9 and was hosted by the Acting Secretary of the U.S. Army, Ryan McCarthy, during A-USA meeting in Washington DC also known as the National Meeting of the Association of the U.S. Army.

This was followed up on October 10 with the unveiling of the designs for five silver medals that will be issued in conjunction with the Centennial Silver Dollar.  Each medal, composed of 90 percent silver, pays homage to branches of the U.S. Armed Forces that were active in World War I.

We set up a website at ww1cc.org/coin where you’ll find press releases with detail information, the presentations and bios of the speakers, lots of links and images. The coins and medals will be available in early 1918. Follow the links in the podcast notes for more information.






Update for  #CountDownToVeteransDay

In an update for  #CountDownToVeteransDay we wanted to let you know about the official WW1 Centennial commemoration flags that honor the memory of our WWI doughboys.

There is a wonderful full-size 3 foot by 5 foot flag and also small 12” by 8” ground stake flag designed to make an ideal marker for veteran resting places. Both feature the centennial graphics and the doughboy icon.

The flags are manufactured out of high quality nylon materials, and of course made in the USA - They are available exclusively at the WWI Centennial Commission’s Official Merchandise shop which you will find under the Commemorate menu or by following the link in the podcast notes. But hurry - don’t wait - supplies are limited and orders are shipped in 7-10 days. Rush orders carry a 20% surcharge.





US Citizenship and Immigration Services

Many individual government agencies are commemorating the first world war and today we’d like to highlight the US Citizenship and Immigration Services. Joining us are Allison Finkelstein FinkelSTEEN and Zack Wilske, Historians at the USCIS History Office and Library. Welcome to both of you!

[exchange greetings]

[Let’s start with you Zack - in 1914 how was this area of the government organized? ]

[Allison  - Stories abound - about immigrants - not even citizens yet that came to America and found themselves going “back over there” to fight in the countries they immigrated from - like Italy  - Are there any specific stories like that come to mind?]

[So to both of you - the USCIS has a new web page about the WWI Centennial - What will we find there and how about some of your other WWI Centennial activities ]

[Thank you both so much for being here!]

That was Allison Finkelstein and Zack Wilske, Historians at the USCIS History Office and Library. Learn more about the USCIS and WW1 by following the links in the podcast notes.



Activities and Events

[Sound Effect]

World War 100 Symposium

Combining events and our Updates from the States - we are going to the Badger state - Wisconsin! Where they are holding The World War 100 Symposium at the University of Wisconsin on the Madison campus October 27th.

The symposium was put together by the University and the Wisconsin World War One Centennial Committee - It is a great example of how the State WWI centennial Commissions are nurturing and support WW1 Commemorative events!

The World War 100 Symposium will premiere the Documentary film “Dawn of the Red Arrow” which follows the Wisconsin National Guard in 1917 when the iconic 32nd "Red Arrow" Division was born and earned its place in history on the battlefields of France in World War I.

The program is filled with great events, experts, subjects and speakers including  including participation by Sir Hugh Strachan - considered by many as the pre-eminent historian on WWI and who joined us on here on the podcast In Episode #32.

Sir Hugh Strachan in Kansas

Then On  Nov. 2nd, Sir Hugh will be speaking at the National World War One Museum and Memorial in Kansas City at a free evening public event in advance of the Museum’s second international symposium on WWI

“1917: America Joins the Fight” featuring renowned scholars from across the world.

Follow the links in the podcast notes for information and access to these symposia and other great WWI commemoration events happening around the country.

As a reminder - 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.

And as we mentioned last week - we just added a new category 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!








Speaking WW1

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

English, is constantly absorbing new words from other languages. This week’s Word for Speaking WWI comes from working in close quarters with Urdu speaking soldiers from the British Colonial forces.

In Urdu kusi means pleasure or convenience and in WWI the word spread amongst soldiers in the trenches transforming as these words always do into a word that means “easy” or “comfortable” - Cushie!

And you thought that word came from Cushion…

Nawww - Cushion came from latin for hip or thigh...

In WWI the troops also used Cushie to describe a wound which was non-fatal but could potentially get them sent home or, at the least, away from the front line.

In 1915 an english physician wrote:

“When you are in the trenches a cushy wound... seems the most desirable thing in the world.”

Cushy, this week’s speaking WW1 word - “A most desirable way to get hit during the war”.

See the podcast notes to learn more!

link: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/oxford-english-dictionary/word-origins_b_4904467.html


100 Cities/100 Memorials


Andrew Capets 100 cities

It’s time for a 100 Cities / 100 Memorials project profile. Round #2 is open so you can apply for a matching grant to rescue, restore or build a WWI Memorial in your community -  but you have to submit the application before January 15th!

Last week, we profiled a project from Ridgewood, NJ. This week, we head to Trafford, PA.

Joining us is Andrew Capets, Member of the Trafford Veterans Memorial Renovation Committee and Author of a new book “Good War, Great Men” a commemoration to the 313th Machine Gun Battalion of World War I

Welcome, Andrew!

[exchange greetings]

[Andrew, in your application your moto was: Our Memorial, Our Community and Our Project

Who all came together to restore this memorial?]

[Your WWI Memorial was originally dedicated in 1919 - that is earlier than most - Tell us about its dedication?]

[I have seen the before and after images of the memorial and it is really beautiful! Do you have Veterans day plans there?]

[You produced a really nice video for the project - tell us about that?]

[Andrew congratulations on being a Round #1 awardee and for your group doing such a great job on behalf of our WWI Doughboys! We surely do speak for them!]

That was Andrew Capets, Member of the Trafford Veterans Memorial Renovation Committee and Author of the new book “Good War, Great Men” a commemoration to the 313th Machine Gun Battalion of World War I

We will continue to profile not only awardees but also teams that are continuing on to round #2 which is now open for submissions. 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






Ahoy teachers and learners!

With education as our theme we are very happy to announce the launch of the commission’s new EDUCATION WEBSITE at ww1cc.org/edu all lower case.

The site is filled with resources for teachers and learners, access to our semi-monthly educator newsletter and more.

A brand new idea is that registered educators are eligible to submit information and images about the work they have done with students to teach and commemorate America’s involvement in the First World War.

Check out the new website and if you are an educator, register to submit your programs to share with others. We invite you to follow the link in the podcast notes.


Stories of Service

Interview with Rex Passion

In our “Remember the veterans” section, today we have with us Rex Passion, author of the book The Lost Sketchbooks: A Young Artist in the Great War.

Welcome, Rex!

[exchange greetings]

[Rex: What is the Lost Sketchbooks about?

How did you wind up writing The Lost Sketchbooks]

[Rex - it really sounds like a treasure trove of discovery --- the book is really beautiful and the art is amazing - so Is there one sketch that stands out for you in particular?]

[From the images I have seen, they really hit me harder than many of the photos I’ve seen!]

[You just completed and launched a new website on the WW1 centennial server at WW1CC.org/sketch to support the book -  What are we going to find there?]

[So we can follow his experience day by day - that’s really great.]

Rex - thank you so much for joining us!

That was Rex Passion, author of The Lost Sketchbooks and curator of the website at ww1cc.org/sketch. Follow the links in the podcast notes for the website, rex’s facebook page and to order the book.

Link: http://ww1cc.org/sketch




Interview with Jerry Michaud: Roll of Honor

We have a second interview in our Remembering the Veterans segment  as we #countdowntoveteransday - With us is Jerry Michaud, Executive Director of the Roll of Honor Foundation.

Welcome Jerry!


[Jerry-  tell us a bit about the Roll of Honor foundation and what it does to help remember our veterans?]

[This year you set up a WWI section -

The World War 1 Centennial Commission and Roll of Honor are working on a unique collaboration; can you tell us about it?]

[So if I submit a Story of service on either website, it will be added to my veteran’s profile right?]

[When I get a tribute wreath for my veteran, how much money goes to Roll of Honor and how much goes to building the National WWI Memorial in Washington DC?]

Thank you so much for being here today and for the Roll of Honor’s great work in profiling those who served!

That was Jerry Michaud,  Executive Director of the Roll of Honor Foundation Roll of Honor. You can learn more about Roll of Honor and their collaboration with the Commission by following the links in the podcast notes and by going to www.rollofhonor.org/ww1




Articles and Posts

This week in our Articles and Posts segment - where we explore the World War One Centennial Commission’s rapidly growing website at ww1cc.org - And the content really is pouring in! We have now published over 3,200 articles - If you read one article a day it would take you 8 years and 9 months to read the whole site as it sits now.

Anna Coleman Ladd

A new article this week under WW1cc.org/news, is about Anna Coleman Ladd and her unusual work with WW1 veterans.

Ladd was an American sculptor who studied sculpture in Paris and Rome before WWI. After the war broke out, she devoted her time to giving soldiers, whose faces  were disfigured by gas, or explosives, or other wounds -  artistic prosthetic masks. Cosmetic surgery as we know it today did not exist - but there was relief from disfigurement -

See the article featuring before and after photographs that show how WWI soldiers’ horrific facial injuries were surgically repaired, then covered with the sculpted prosthetics that Ladd developed. Follow the link in the podcast notes.

Link: http://www.worldwar1centennial.org/index.php/communicate/press-media/wwi-centennial-news/3222-american-born-sculptor-built-facial-prosthetics-for-wwi-soldiers.html

WWrite Blog

And now for an update on our WWRITE blog, which explores WWI’s Influence on contemporary writing and scholarship, this week's post is: "God Armeth the Patriot."

These words come from Thomas Croft Neibaur NIGH-BOWER, the first Mormon to receive the Medal of Honor during WWI - for his heroism during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. This is know as one of the bloodiest battles in American military history.

Writer Benjamin Sonnenberg returns to the WWrite blog this week with another riveting short story, inspired by Neibaur's letters home. Delve into Neibaur's legendary experience in WWI with this captivating, well-researched, fictional narrative by visiting ww1cc.org/wwrite

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 a couple of stories to share with us today!

Thanks Theo!

Souvernir AEF En Haute Marne

Last week we mentioned the rededication of new sculptures of General Pershing and Lafayette in Versaille. The ceremony went very smoothly and now the statues are in their rightful places overlooking the Avenue Des Etats Unis. If you want to see images of the ceremony and the statues, you should check out the facebook page for the Souvenir AEF En Haute Marne, a French-based page commemorating the American Expeditionary Force’s time in the Haute Marne region of France. Find it and view many images and articles from the ceremony at Versaille by following the link in the podcast notes.


Buster Keaton

Finally this week, we’ll close out by celebrating Buster Keaton, whose birthday was celebrated last week and commemorated by the National WW1 museum and Memorial with a little video clip and a story. Keaton served with the 40th infantry division, and carried his sense of humor and mischievousness with him throughout his service.

A little anecdote to close us out: While with his battalion in Camp Upton, Buster observed how the officers, who were allowed to come and go in and out of camp, dressed in just their uniform shirts and ties and saluted the sentries. Buster took off his tunic, hopped into the back of his girlfriend's Packard roadster, and drove past the military police, giving that lazy salute that had them convinced he was like any other officer. He returned that night after a fabulous dinner with his girl and the next day the unit left for France.

Learn more at the link in the podcast notes. And that’s it this week for the Buzz!



That’s a really funny story…. Thank you Katherine.



And that is WW1 Centennial News for this week.

We want to thank our guests:

  • Mike Shuster and his update on the situation in Russia
  • Allison S. Finkelstein and Zack Wilske talking with us about the USCIS commemoration of the war
  • Andrew Capets from the 100 Cities / 100 Memorials project in Trafford, Pennsylvania
  • Rex Passion speaking with us about his WW1 book and now website - The Lost Sketchbooks
  • Jerry Michaud telling us about Roll of Honor and their collaboration with the Commission
  • 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.

Thank you for joining us. And don’t forget

to share the stories you are hearing here today with someone

about the war that changed the world!


Hey - I’m just here on my tushie sittin’ a cushie, cushie cushion listening to the WW1 Centennial News podcast…  life is good!

So long!


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