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WW1 Centennial News for Wednesday October 18, 2017 - Episode #42

Those magnificent men and their flying machinesThose magnificent men and their flying machines

The player below allows you to share and download the show from here as well. See buttons on the top right. Contact us if you have any questions.


  • Trading With The Enemy Act |@01:15
  • Mata Hari is executes - Mike Shuster |@06:10
  • Little companies big ideas - War in the Sky |@09:50
  • Gilder Lehrman Institute program - Tim Bailey |@14:30
  • Speaking WWI: “Short Hairs” |@21:20
  • 100 Cities / 100 Memorials genesis and future - Ken Clarke |@22:40
  • 100 Cities / 100 Memorials profile - Memorial to US Air Service - Michael O’neal and Robert Kasprzak |@30:35
  • Kiwis Commemorate Passchendaele |@37:00
  • Michigan sign WWI Centennial Commission into law |@39:00
  • Madame Curie in WWI |@39:40

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 18th, 2017 and our guests this week are:

  • Mike Shuster from the great war project blog,   
  • Tim Bailey, Director of Education at the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
  • Kenneth Clark, President and CEO of the Pritzker Military Museum and Library
  • And Michael O'Neal with Robert A. Kasprzak from the 100 Cities / 100 Memorials project in Dayton, Ohio sponsored by the League of WW1 Aviation Historians

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 about hunkering down in the midst of a threat. America has declared its martial intent on 1/2 of a world at war,

and now it must take both an offensive and defensive poster.

Though u-Boats are an endless threat on the seas, there is little chance that the kaiser would land an army in the Chesapeake bay. But there were plenty of threats to worry about… and the Wilson Administration did!

One hundred years ago this week, on October 14th, Wilson signs the “Trading with the enemy act” into law. Today, many aspects of this law would be unthinkable including the appointment of an Alien Property Custodian empowered to seize the assets of immigrant’s businesses and not just mom & Pop outfits but national brands.

So let’s jump into the wayback machine to see how this plays out starting 100 years ago this week.

World War One THEN

100 Year Ago This Week


Welcome to mid October 1917 - President Wilson has just signed the Trading with the Enemy Act into law giving him new broad powers relating to foreign trade. The intent is that no American trade aids can benefit Germany and its allies in any way. Those allies include Austria-hungary, Bulgaria, and Turkey - even though America has not actually declared war with those allies.

Under the act, German-owned property in the US can be seized, and as enemy property German owned patents can be used without royalty including, for example, the German-owned Bayer company’s patented aspirin pills.

Treasury secretary McAdoo gets extensive power to control the exchange of Gold and securities between the US and foreign countries.

Meanwhile, the Postmaster General has total censorship over the non-english-language press as well as total control over international communications by telegraph.

Interestingly, unlike many of the other wartime acts, the trading with the enemy act will not be repealed after the war and will have lasting impact into the 21st century!

As one reads the law - it starts by defining who IS an enemy

in essence and simply put,  an Enemy is someone we have declared war on.

That is simple and makes sense.

But the President can also declare any other nation and the citizens of that nation enemies by proclamation. In other words, the friends of my enemy are also my enemy --

And the act reaches deep. For example, if you are a German immigrant living in the US for 20 years. You have built a life, a business and a family,  but you yourself are not an American citizen - well, you are an enemy.

Which leads to another expanded definition: “Allie of the Enemy” - which includes any individual, partnership or group of individuals of any nationality inside the enemy’s territories, or someone doing business with the enemy or an allie of the enemy, or company incorporated in enemy territory, or doing business within an allie of the enemy territory - you are an enemy.

Given that being declared an enemy allows the US Government to seize your property - both real property and intellectual property, the newly formed Office of Alien Property Custodian, headed by an appointee named Mitchell Palmer, gets busy. Within a year, Palmer will manage 30,000 trusts - or seized properties, businesses or assets - worth ½ a billion dollars.

Whole industries are affected - for example, the United States Brewers Association - and the rest of the overwhelmingly German liquor industry is proclaimed to harbor unpatriotic and pro-german sentiments and is effectively seized.

For history and law buffs interested in the details, we recommend that you read Mitchell Palmer’s report to President Wilson called:

A detailed Report by the Alien Property Custodian of all Proceedings Had by Him under the Trading with the Enemy Act during the Calendar Year of 1918

And the close of business on February 15, 1919.

It’s not exactly a page turner but if you skim the index for ideas of interest - like for me personally it is the patents they grabbed and the people they jailed.. Reading primary sources - instead of historian interpretations is really fun - and enlightening.

The link to the report and lots of other related articles are in the Podcast notes.


Trading with the enemy overview:


Office of the Alien Property Custodian overview


The spoils of war at home


Annual Report of the Alien Property Custodian: https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=hvd.32044090082678;view=1up;seq=7

Trading with the Enemy Act: https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=nnc2.ark:/13960/t4cn8qf7s;view=1up;seq=45

Great War Project

OK let’s move from the business of war - interesting - but really - let’s get into something a little hotter, and steamier and maybe more exciting!

From the Great War Project Blog - we are joined by Mike shuster, former NPR correspondent and curator for the Great War project.

Mike’s post this week is about espionage agent H-21, better known at Mata Hari!

Tell us the story Mike!

[Mike Shuster]

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



War in the Sky

Today for our War in The sky segment, we are leafing through a current issue of the Aviation and Aeronautical engineering magazine.  Now it’s not the lead articles that draws attention - of course it sets the mood of the industry with excited  talk of the $640,000,0000 congressional appropriation aimed at aircraft manufacturing.

Instead, we are exploring the back end of the magazine where the ads are.

There is great stuff here!

Like the ⅓ page ad from the Kyle Smith Aircraft company from Wheeling West Virginia. They’ll sell you a two seater biplane - with a land model for $3,000 and for an extra $100 - pontoons for water.

Billy Brock and Al Boshek from the Flint Aircraft Company in Michigan will teach you to fly so you can qualify for military examinations as a pilot or as a mechanic.

Or the Foxboro Company of Massachusetts who offers a fine looking air speed indicator - noting in their sales pitch: Quote: accurately indicates the relative wind pressure, the force that holds the plane in the air. Hey -- you really gonna want one of those!!

Then I stumble across a genuine mystery  - The innovative and visionary Buck Aircraft and Munitions Company of Denver Colorado who places a ¼ page - editorial style ad - you know one of those that today has to have a little “advertising” flag on it so you don’t think it is part of the magazine editorial.

The headline reads:

The Automatic Aerial Torpedo

The story reads: Built on the Buck Aerial Torpedo patent - the aircraft is equipped with a 50 HP motor and designed to carry explosives in the air to any distance up to thirty miles.

A time controlled release drops the torpedo at any given distance. The entire equipment is automatic and is launched from a compressed air catapult mounted on a motor truck, the engine of which furnishes the air for the catapult.

The torpedo can be fired at any range and at any degree of the compass.

This almost sounds like a flying torpedo drone - well that doesn’t make sense for 1917 ---  So of course I chase down the patent they mention.

Sure enough… US Patent # 1,388,932 for an aerial torpedo was filed by Hugo Centerwall of Brooklyn New York on July 27, 1916 and here is the kicker. The patent talks about an electric automated guidance steering mechanism with a smart site. Well, I could have spent the rest of the night chasing this down both I, and this segment have run out of time!...

So we have to drop the mystery here about the Buck Aircraft and Munitions company of Denver Colorado -- with their catapult launched, maybe unmanned!? guided aerial missile torpedo from 1916---  which happens to pop up in an aerospace engineering magazine 100 years ago in the great war in the sky.

There are links in the podcast notes to the ad and to the patent. If any of our intrepid listeners learn more about these guys and their aerial torpedo - please get in touch with us through the contact link at ww1cc.org. There’s a fascinating story here somewhere!







The Great War Channel

Well - we love that you listen to us - but If you’d like to watch some videos about WW1, go see our friends at the Great War Channel on Youtube - Here is Indy Neidell the shows host:

“ Hello WW1 Centennial News Listeners - This is Indy Neidell, host of the Great War Channel on Youtube. American soldiers are dying in combat and the Bolsheviks seize control in Russia as autumn sets in across Europe. Join us for a new episode of The Great War every Thursday by subscribing to our Youtube channel and following us on Facebook. “

New episodes for this week include:

  • Operation Albion -Passchendaele drowns in mud
  • The edge of the abyss - mountain warfare on the italian front
  • Brazil in WW1 - The South American Ally

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.


[Sound Effect]

Education Symposia

This week we are leading off with our Education section  -- You know--- Bringing the lessons of WWI into the classroom is one of the Commission’s prime goals - and with the help of a generous $50,000 grant from the American Legion - we are kicking off a six city teaching tour called “Teaching Literacy Through History”.

The program is being produced by  the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the nation’s leading American history organization dedicated to K-12 education.

This exciting project is kicking off this month --- and with us today ---  to tell us more about it is Tim Bailey, Director of Education at the Gilder Lehrman Institute.

Welcome Tim!

[exchange greetings]

Tim - let’s start with the Gilder Lehrman Institute - can you tell us a bit more about it?

[Now about the WWI program - what cities are you going to?]

[If I am a teacher, what will my experience be… and what will I walk away with? ]

[Tim - As the folks that educate the educators - do you have a particular success story that comes to mind?]

[I know this is going to be popular with the teachers - what do they need to do to qualify and how do they sign up?]

Tim - thank you. Hopefully we can find additional funding to take this wonderful program to more cities and teachers around the country - We look forward to having you come back to tell us how the tour went.

[exchange closing]

That was Tim Bailey, Director of Education from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. We have links about the program and where to sign up in the podcast notes.






Education Newsletter

And we have more news for teaching WWI - The newest education newsletter from the WW1 Centennial Commission and the National WW1 Museum and Memorial just came out! Issue #9 is “Americans All!” focuses on the diversity of those who served and participated in the war that changed the world.

This issue includes resources for teaching about Puerto Rican Laborers, the Harlem Hellfighters, Native Americans in the Red Cross, America’s Foreign born doughboys -- and how World War 1 sparked the gay rights movement.

Go to our new education website at ww1cc.org/edu all lower case where you can link to and sign up for the education newsletters and connect with the commission education program - or  follow the link in the podcast notes.

Link: ww1cc.org/edu


Speaking WW1

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

“ALRIGHT MAGGOT - What are you doing sitting on sorry butt. Get on your feet before I drag you up by the Short Hairs!”

Thank you Gunny - it’s good to have you back on the show.

What was Gunny actually saying? Is Short hairs - a vulgar phrase referring to the “nether regions”?

Well - Actually not!

It refers to an area of the body quite a bit north...  

The short hairs in question are those little hairs on the back of the neck. A phrase that seems to have first been used in the military with examples from the Brits dating back to the 1890’s with colonial occupation in india.

They were referred to in Rudyard Kilplings “Indian Tales”.

The phrase, popularized and spread during the first world war, but then took a turn SOUTH during the second world war, becoming “the short and curlies” and assuming its more vulgar variation.

By the short hairs-- not how you want to be caught!-- and this week’s phrase for speaking WW1.

See the podcast notes to learn more!

link: https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/by-the-short-hairs.html


100 Cities/100 Memorials


Welcome to our 100 Cities / 100 Memorials segment about our $200,000 matching grant challenge to rescue and focus on our local WWI memorials.

Last month, we announced the first 50 “WWI Centennial Memorials”.

Now we are full tilt into ROUND 2 - which includes all the projects that have not received a grant from round 1 and all the new projects that are joining the program.

Round 2 applications can be submitted until January 15th, 2018. Then the selection committee goes back into their VERY difficult process of selecting the second 50 awardees from the submissions.

Without exception - every project submitted is amazing -

Actually you already know that - You have been hearing project profiles on the podcast for months now - and not all of the projects you learned about were among the first 50 awardees!

But before we jump into this week’s profile from the League of WW 1 Aviation Historians about their project at National Museum of the United States Air Force - we have a special treat.

Kenneth Clarke section

Kenneth Clarke, the CEO and President of the Pritzker Military Museum and Library is joining us. This program is actually Ken’s brainchild and no one can articulate the value and meaning of 100 Cities / 100 Memorials like he can.

Ken and I recently had a chance to sit down in Washington DC and talk about the program.


[Ken - 100 Cities / 100 Memorials was a concept you initiated  - Talk to us about how this concept came to mind, germinated and grew into what it is today?]

[Ken - I happen to know that you personally read all the submissions   - what are some of the thoughts you’ve had as a result?]

[Ken, last month we announced the first 50 awardees - What are your thoughts about that ? ]

That was Ken Clarke - the President and CEO of the Pritzker Military Museum and Library and the spark that lit the 100 Cities / 100 Memorials program into being.

Joining us now to talk about THEIR 100 Cities / 100 Memorials project are Michael O'Neal, President of the League of WW 1 Aviation Historians and Robert A. Kasprzak (CASPERZAK), Major, USAF (Retired)  

Welcome, gentlemen!

[exchange greetings]

[Gentlemen: Your grant application opens with:

Even though the US Air Service of WW1 was the forerunner of today's Air Force and is a major part of USAF history, no monument dedicated to the World War I Airmen who served at the Front exists today at the National

Museum of the United States Air Force.]

[So Michael - as an aviation historian - can you give us a quick overview about how “air power” was organized “Over There” in WWI?]

[Robert - you have been the rally point and cheerleader for getting this memorial to the WWI aviators built - Why is this important?]

[Well gentlemen - your project is a perfect example of amazing, important and wonderful memorial projects that did not get selected in the first 50 grant awards but you are certainly still fully in the running.]

[You have a video on Youtube about the project that is pretty compelling - let me play a clip - ]

[You’ve been busy gathering support for your project - how has the response been?]

[Michael you have some project milestones coming up- can you tell us more about them…]

As you may know I am a big WWI aviation fan - and I am rooting for and supporting your project all the way! Thank for taking on the mission - I don’t mean it as a pun - but it IS a monumental task!

[exchange thanks]


That was Michael O'Neal and Robert A. Kasprzak talking about their project to commemorate the 75,000 that served in the US Air Service, US Naval and US Marine aviation in WWI - The precursors to the US Air Force. If you are into war birds, aviation history, and the roots of where it call comes from, support these gentlemen and their project - let them know their work matters and contribute to their memorial by following the link in the podcast notes.

We are going to continue to profile 100 Cities / 100 Memorials projects - 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 by following the link in the podcast notes.

Link: www.ww1cc.org/100memorials




International Report

Kiwis commemorate Passchendaele with Haka at Menin Gate

In our International report this week, we head to Ypres, Belgium - There - at the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing

on October 11th and again on the next day

at Tyne Cot Cemetery -- New Zealanders gathered to pay tribute to the Kiwi soldiers who fell at the Battle of Passchendaele.

October 12th marks the centenary of an attack remembered as the 'darkest day' in New Zealand post-1840’s history.

Within a matter of hours, 846 New Zealanders fell in the assault on

Bellevue Spur. They were part of repeated Allied attempts to capture the Passchendaele ridge.

Including those wounded and missing, New Zealand troops suffered about 2,700 casualties in this single episode.

This is a devastating number of young men for a country who,

in their 1916 census only counted 1,150,000 people.

Speaking during the commemorative event,

New Zealand government minister Dr Nick Smith said: "The losses at Passchendaele were so huge that most New Zealand families have a direct connection to a fallen soldier.”

The commemorations included a passionate haka, a traditional Maori war cry and dance.


[insert audio of Haka]


We keep mentioning the Battle of Passchendaele,

a battle remembered for its mud that swallowed guns, horses and men whole.

As the Third Battle of Ypres, the Battle of Passchendaele lasted from July 31st to November 10th 1917.

Two more Battles for this small piece of territory are yet to come. Follow the link in the podcast notes to learn more.

link:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uHuqrbx890 - NOTE: See 02:30


Updates from the States


An exciting Update from the States -

We are heading over to the Great Lakes State - as Michigan’s Governor Rick Snyder and Michigan state Senator Rebekah Warren sign the Senate Public Act 97 of 2017 into law.

This created a new commission within the state's Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

The new official Michigan State WW1 Centennial Commission is charged with planning, developing and executing programs and activities to commemorate the centennial of World War I.

Read more about the new Michigan Commission, and check out what else is going on in states across the nation, by following the link in the podcast notes or by visiting ww1cc.org/michigan - all lower case.




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 -

This week we are profiling a great article about Madame Marie Curie

and her X-ray vehicles - with their contribution to WWI battlefield medicine

Ask people to name the most famous historical woman of science and their answer will likely be: Madame Marie Curie. Push further and ask what she did, and they might say it was something related to radioactivity. (She actually discovered the radioisotopes radium and polonium.) Some might also know that she was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize. (She actually won two of them.)

But few will know that madame curie was also a major hero of World War I. In fact, a visitor to her Paris laboratory in October of 1917 – 100 years ago this month – would not have found her or her radium on the premises. At that time, Curie decided to redirect her scientific skills toward the war effort; not to make weapons, but to save lives by applying her science to battlefield medicine.

Follow the link in the podcast notes to learn more about how Curie started an emergency medical revolution that is still saving the lives of both soldiers and civilians even today.

Link: http://www.worldwar1centennial.org/index.php/communicate/press-media/wwi-centennial-news/3247-marie-curie-and-her-x-ray-vehicles-contribution-to-world-war-i-battlefield-medicine.html

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 stories found using #countdowntoveterans day to share with us--

Hi Theo!

DeValles Elementary School

We’ll start with a story that dovetails all the amazing projects we hear about week to week coming out of the 100 Cities 100 Memorials program. In New Bedford, Massachusetts, an elementary school was recently rededicated to its namesake. John B DeValles elementary school installed a bronze relief of DeValles, which had been languishing in storage for decades. Massachusetts National Guardsmen, accompanied by a Black Hawk Helicopter, Humvees, the New Bedford High ROTC members and 200 elementary students took part in the ceremony. The city of New Bedford was also presented with the three medals DeValles was awarded: the Distinguished Service Cross, the WWI Victory Medal and the Croix de Guerre. DeValles was a chaplain, and was awarded these accolades for his bravery in rescuing men from no man’s land. You can read more about DeValles and the ceremony at the link in the podcast notes.


Native American Warriors

Finally this week, I wanted to share a post from the facebook page World War 1 Native American Warriors. They shared the story of Choctaw Private Simeon Cusher, who was killed in action in 1918. The post includes a moving anecdote from Cusher’s Great Grandson as he tells the story of the loss of his teenage son and his travel to visit Private Cusher’s grave at the Meuse-Argonne Cemetery and Memorial. The two losses, almost a hundred years apart, were brought together by this man and the birds that appeared in the sky above as he mourned these separate losses. I encourage you to visit the post via the link in the podcast notes to read the story.

I found these stories by following the #countdowntoveteransday tag on facebook. Tag your veteran’s story, whether historic or current, to share it with the countdowntoveteransday community as we approach November 11th. That’s it this week for the Buzz!


Thank you Katherine. And that all our stories for you this week on WW1 Centennial News - Now before you flick off your play button - remember - for those of you who listen to end - we always leave you with a special goody or two!


So in closing - we want to thank our guests:

  • Mike Shuster and his report on the demise of Mata Hari  
  • Tim Bailey telling us about the Teaching Literacy through History Program
  • Ken Clark, President and CEO of Pritzker Military Museum and Library
  • And Michael O'Neal and Robert A. Kasprzak from the 100 Cities / 100 Memorials project at the National Museum of the USAF
  • 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.

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. Just say: Alexa: Play W W One Centennial News Podcast.

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!


ALL RIGHT - Listen up - you lilly livers - Gunny knows the difference between scruff of the neck and short hairs - and no gal darn pod--cast is gonna tell me any different - Now move out!

Yes sir! So long!


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