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WW1 Centennial News for March 16, 2018 - Episode #63

Sgt. Stubby popular with kids today and 100 years ago!Sgt. Stubby popular with kids today and 100 years ago!

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Highlights - Death and Taxes

  • Federal Income Tax in 1918 | @02:15
  • Casualty List Controversy | @05:20
  • America Emerges - 26th Yankee Division and rats - Dr. Edward Lengel | @07:35
  • War In The Sky - Personal account of Paris air raids | @13:30
  • US anti-war activism in 1918 - Mike Shuster | @16:10
  • Euro WWI Commemoration events - Dr. Monique Seefried | @21:05
  • Dog Tags reunited with Doughboy - James Shetler | @30:15
  • Spotlight in the media 1: Sgt. Stubby - Jacy Jenkins | @36:45
  • Spotlight in the media 2: Journey’s End - Trailer clip | @42:35
  • 100C/100M in Ogden Utah, Terry Schow | @44:55
  • Speaking WWI - Penguin | @51:10
  • WWI Commemoration in Social Media - Katherine Akey | @52:45

View the PDF transcript


Welcome to World War 1 centennial News - episode #63 - 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 March 16th, 2018 and our guests for this week include:

  • Dr. Edward Lengel with a story from the Yankee Division and rats...
  • Mike Shuster, from the great war project blog revisiting the ongoing anti-war movement in America
  • Commissioner Monique Seefried tells us about upcoming centennial events in Europe
  • James Shetler with the story of one doughboy’s dog tags and their journey back beside him
  • Jacy Jenkins gets us ready for the premiere of the new animated WWI set film Sgt Stubby: An American Hero
  • Terry Schow, sharing the 100 Cities/100 Memorials project in Ogden Utah
  • Katherine Akey with the WW1 commemoration in social media

WW1 Centennial News -- a weekly podcast brought to you by the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission, the Pritzker Military Museum and Library and the Starr foundation.

I’m Theo Mayer - the Chief Technologist for the Commission and your host. Welcome to the show.



This week, as we were looking at the news and articles from various publications 100 years ago, an unexpected theme popped out.. A theme that covers two ideas that are said to be the only sure things in life. Death and Taxes - both of which are all over the news this week 100 years ago.

With that as a setup, let’s jump into our Centennial Time Machine and roll back 100 years to understand how we see death and taxes 100 years ago in the War that Changed the World!

World War One THEN

100 Year Ago This Week


We are back in 1918 and some things never change. We are in mid March, heading towards April and it’s TAX TIME!!


Dateline March 11, 1918

A headline from the Official Bulletin reads:

Voices of 25,000 Four-Minute Men to Be Heard Throughout the Land, Warning All to Make Tax Returns

The story opens with:

Twenty-five thousand Four-Minute Men will start out today on a nation-wide

campaign to impress upon the American public their patriotic duty promptly to file their income tax return and pay their taxes. The period for filing ends April 1.

You remember who the four-minute-men are, right?

The four minute men are a force of volunteers that are deployed by George Creel - America’s propaganda chief - to deliver 4 minute government written pitches to the population. The article continues to explain:

The Four-Minute Men will appear in theaters, moving picture houses, and public gatherings.  Special meetings will be held by chambers of commerce, boards of trade, rotary clubs, luncheon clubs, and business organizations.

" Don't delay " is the warning that will be given by the

speakers. Taxpayers will be urged to protect themselves and aid the Government by being prompt.

It will cost the Government money and trouble to hunt down the man who dodges the income tax, but the word has gone forth from headquarters

that this will be done. Be it known that the “slacker " will be shown no leniency.

Now here it gets interesting!

The article goes on to reveal how much people actually pay for taxes in 1918 - In the article it states:

The man of modest income is made to bear a just share of the common burden. Tables have been produced comparing the rate of tax in the United

States and Great Britain.

Here in the United States, the married man with an income of $2,500 pays $10 in taxes while in Great Britain the-man with an income of $2,500 pays a tax of $223!

However, larger incomes in the US are subject to a surtax!

The normal rate of tax under the war revenue act of 1917 is 2 percent on the net Income of married persons earning $2,000.

The surtax ranges from an additional 1 per cent on incomes between $5,000 and $7,500 to a surtax of 50 percent on incomes in excess of $1,000,000.

So in 1918, we have a tax code that can be explained in 4 minutes. It supports working people with a small tax burden and expects the wealthy to contribute a substantial share back to the nation that makes it possible for them to gain such wealth.

Weird - huh!?


OK So much for Taxes - Let’s talk about the other sure thing in life - Death!

This week 100 years ago there is great controversy raging in the pages of the NY times over the publication of casualty lists.

Concerned over German abilities to derive useful military information from casualty lists and under pressure from the French, Pershing only publishes names of casualties with no unit, or home address information.


Dateline: March 11, 1918
A headline in the NY Times reads:


Shows No Intention of Yielding on Publication of Addresses.


Expect Flood of Protests from Constituents

Information is Declared to be Valuable to Foe

The article goes on to explain that the French do not publish ANY casualty lists instead they simply inform the next of kin directly.

George Creel,  the head of the Committee on Public information, also easy to describe as America’s propaganda chief is in on this fight, as the Times describes the committee’s stand as:

“The mere publishing of name of soldiers without home addresses to Identify them to neighbors and friends or to prevent confusion with other men of similar names, is so devoid of news value that the committee will not Issue the lists.”

Interestingly, the NY Times clearly has it wrong - because George Creel is also the publisher of the government daily War Gazette the “Official Bulletin” -- and on the same day, May 11, in issue #254 - on page 2 -- there is an article whose headline reads: LIST OF CASUALTIES AS REPORTED AMONG THE U.S. FORCES OVERSEAS

And continues to list the casualties by the Rank, first name, middle initial and last name.

Looking further into it we found something else fascinating. A few days later, on March 16, another article in the NY times is published:



1,722 Casualties in Overseas Forces so Far;

162 Killed in Action or Dead From Wounds.

The article goes on to list what the causes of the casualties are. Some of the smallest numbers are death from gas, civilians and executions - but when you look at the numbers you realize that out the casusualies, less than 10% are killed in action. About the same % as killed by accidents, while a whopping 37% -  over ⅓ of casualties are the result of disease.

So if you are an American Soldier in Europe in March of 1918 - you are nearly 4 times more likely to get killed by a bacterium or a virus than you are likely to get killed by the Kaiser’s forces… a strange twist of fate at this stage in the war that changed the world!








America Emerges: Military Stories from WW1

And that brings us to this week’s segment of America Emerges: Military Stories from WWI with Dr. Edward Lengel.

Ed: This week your story is about the 26th Yankee division.. And last week you teased us with the fact that this week’s story was going to include special RATS! Can’t wait to hear the story!


[Ed, what will you be telling us about next week?]

Dr. Edward Lengel is an American military historian, author, and our segment host for America Emerges: Military Stories from WWI.

There are links in the podcast notes to Ed’s post and his website as an author.





War in the Sky

Combining the War in The Sky and Women’s History Month

we have this first person account from a YMCA canteen worker who went to Paris to help our boys:

This week, one hundred years ago, the war in the sky over Paris is alive with attacks on the city.

This is from one of the last letters written by a Miss Winona C Martin,  a YMCA worker who was killed in a German air raid attack on Paris. In this letter she describes another raid much like the one in which she was killed. Hospitalized in Paris with Bronchitis she writes:

“Above the red brick wall, which is all I see, of the world’s most beautiful city, there rises a patch of sky… and as the light began to fade on my first night in the hospital, I noticed some stars of marvelous brilliance.

Suddenly they began to move about in the weirdest manner, which I thought due to the fact that I was slightly lightheaded. My nurse came to me presently and explain that they were airplanes on guard. She said the Bosh were expected any moment, because it was full moon.

The following night I was watching them again when suddenly I heard the boom of canons. There came the call of sirens, which warn Paris that an air raid is on. There followed a scene as I hope never to witness again. All lights were extinguished and the women in the ward across the hall awakened and commenced to call on the Saints and the Virgin for protection. Further down, I heard babies crying. The nurses walked up and down ringing their hands, yet trying to prevent a panic.

For half an hour the firing continued. Sometimes directly above our heads, sometimes becoming more distant.

Meanwhile the whole battle was visible from my window. The airplanes, mere streaks of light,  darted hither and thither and sometimes there was a blaze like a falling star when one was hit. At the end of that time, the firing ceased. The siren blew the recall, which meant that the Bosh were driven back. And to my immense surprise, the whole hospital instantly calmed down, turned over on its pillows and went peacefully to sleep.

Miss Martin was a civilian casualty this month, but her letters home give us a  special glimpse into one woman’s experience of the war in the sky, the war on the sea, and the war in Paris 100 years ago this week.

Link:  https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1918/03/17/109329237.pdf

Great War Project

Now on to the Great War project with Mike Shuster - former NPR correspondent and curator for the Great War project Blog….

Mike, this week you turn your focus back to the homefront with a report on those who still resist America’s participation in the war. Their voice is not a welcome echo in the US, is it Mike?

it certainly is not Theo… The headline on the "Great War Project" this week read…


Mike Shuster from the Great War Project blog.




The Great War Channel

If you’d like to see videos about WWI, we suggest our friends at the Great War Channel on Youtube.

This week’s new episodes include:  

  • Peace in the east -- The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
  • German Tactics for the 1918 Spring Offensive

See their videos by searching for “the great war” on youtube or following the link in the podcast notes!


World War One NOW

It is time to fast forward into the present with WW1 Centennial News NOW -


This part of the podcast is not about the past - it is about NOW and what is happening to commemorate the centennial of the War that changed the world!

Commission News/Events

Euro Commemoration Events with Commissioner Seefried

This week in Commission News, we’re looking across the Atlantic and towards the summer-- to the many centennial commemoration events that will be taking place all across Europe as the desperate and decisive battles that brought the war to end are remembered. Joining us now with an overview on some of these commemorations,  is US World War One Centennial Commissioner Dr. Monique Seefried.

[Monique - Welcome back to the podcast! We haven’t had you on the show for a long time!]


[Monique - In overview, what are the key commemoration events planned in Europe this year?]

[I know there is one event in particular that is close to your heart. It is taking place at the Croix Rouge farm in late July-- what is it ?]

[If Americans want to participate in these commemorations - how to they go about it? ]


Dr. Monique Seefried is a Commissioner on the US WW1 Centennial Commission. We have put a number of links including to some of the guide Dr. Seefried mentioned into the podcast notes.










Remembering Veterans

Dog Tags Reunited

In our Remembering Veterans segment this week -- we’re joined by James Shetler, a citizen historian and independent researcher.

James is here to tell us the story of a pair of dog tags-- and their long journey back to the doughboy that had lost them a century ago.

Welcome, James!


[James - to start-- Can you tell us a bit about the man these dog tags belonged to-- Captain Swenson?]

[So, how did the dog tags come to be in your possession?]

[So you went to back to France to return the tags?]

[Are you working on any other World War One research projects now?]

Thank you!

[goodbyes]James Shetler is a citizen historian who pursued a story of service!

If you have the story of someone who serves in WWI ---- a doughboy, volunteer, an individual - your ancestor or someone who you just connect with, lime James did with captain swenson, we can help you share their story and get it into the permanent national archival record about WWI. Just go to ww1cc.org/stories where you can submit their story of service to be published and archived.

That link as well as the expanded story of Captain Swenson are in the podcast notes.

Links: http://www.worldwar1centennial.org/index.php/commemorate/family-ties/stories-of-service.html



Spotlight in the Media

Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero

This week for our Spotlight in the Media --

We’re joined by Jacy Jenkins, VP of Partnerships and Outreach from Fun Academy Motion Pictures. That is who is putting out the new animated film: Sgt Stubby: An American Hero! Which is having a combination world premiere showing and children’s benefit in Los Angeles later this month on March 27th.

Welcome, Jacy!


[Jacy, Sgt. Stubby is a great story about the relationship between some American Doughboys and a very special dog that they adopted or maybe a dog  that adopted them. But it’s based on a true story, right? ]

[The premiere is also a fundraiser -- can you tell us about that?]

[Jacy - that seems to be part of the Fun Academy’s culture - you make movies but you also have a philanthropic bent - creating events to raise awareness for the film and raise money for causes -- Can you tell us about the Sgt Stubby look-alike contest?]

[When can the public go see Sgt Stubby in theaters?]

[Is there anything else you’d like us to know about the film?]


Jacy Jenkins is the VP of Partnerships and Outreach from Fun Academy Motion Pictures. You can learn more about the film Sgt Stubby: An American Hero by following the links in the podcast notes; we’ve included links to the most recent  trailers and to their social media accounts.





Journey’s End

Another Spotlight in the Media is for another WW1 film premiering THIS weekend in New York and LA.

Journey’s End is an intimate, gritty, and powerful film about men, mortality and fear. It’s about a group of British soldiers sent back to the front line trenches - just about exactly 100 years ago -- som this podcast audience knows what going on right now…. there is an imminent massive German assault rumored to be coming…. Like right now…. and these seasoned veterans, who are joined by a fresh faced young 19 years old, know what they are probably in for!

[run sound clip]

I just saw a viewing copy of the film and I have to tell you - this is a beautifully made, wonderfully written, well cast, powerful and poignant WWI movie you’ll want to make an effort to see.

The film is going into limited release in the US and we have included a link to the playdate schedule in the podcast notes. You can also google Journey’s End to learn more.

Tune in next week, when we’ve arranged an interview with the film’s director, Saul Dibb.

Both the trailer and the showing listing are linked below.



100 Cities 100 Memorials

Moving on to our 100 Cities / 100 Memorials segment

about the $200,000 matching grant challenge

to rescue and focus on our local WWI memorials.

This week we are profiling the WWI doughboy monument project by the Weber County Historical Society & American Legion Post 9 in Ogden, Utah.

With us tell us about their project is Terry Schow [Scow] , a member of the National Executive Committee for The American Legion of Utah.

Welcome Terry!


[Terry - You were one of the very first projects to submit a grant application to the 100 Cities / 100 Memorials program. When did you get started on this?]

[Your doughboy statue was originally installed way up high on the side of a building  - at the legion post wasn’t it?]

[It’s been a while - but didn’t you have a story about gold radiator paint being used to refurbish the statue back in the 70’s or something?]

[You pulled together a really strong coalition of project partners in Ogden… who all signed on?]

[Well, congratulations on being selected as a World War 1 Centennial Memorial. Are there re-dedication plans?]

Terry Schow is a member of the National Executive Committee for The American Legion of Utah. Learn more about the 100 Cities/100 Memorials program at the link in the podcast notes or by going to ww1cc.org/100cities

Link: www.ww1cc.org/100cities


Speaking WW1

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

100 years ago, penguins stumbled across grassy fields of America, France, and england - playing a critical and important role in the aerial war effort. Penguins!? Yea - Penguins!

In your mind’s eye, are you still seeing little black-and-white, flightless,  tuxedo clad birds --- flapping their stubby wings on grassy knolls? Well - actually you’ve got the stubby wings, the flightless and grassy knolls right!

Penguin is our Speaking WWI word, this week…

And the penguins of World War One were indeed flightless and stubby winged.

They were trainer planes for the air corps. These non-flying trainer aircraft were made for teaching new recruits how to operate an aircraft while still reasonably safe at ground level.

Around 300 of the “Penguin” trainers were made during the course of the War, with wings too short and engines too small to lift the craft into actual flight, allowing trainees to experiment with the flight controls, engine operations, and flight procedures while still at ground level.

These “aircraft” were jokingly nicknamed “Penguins” because both creatures and planes were something that probably should fly, but don’t.


Penguins -- a useful training tool for a novice pilot, a cute but very smelly animal - and this week’s Speaking WW1 Word. Check the podcast links to learn more, and to see photographs of the Penguin planes.

Links: https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc2.ark:/13960/t9t156s17;view=1up;seq=155






The Buzz

And that brings us to the buzz - the centennial of WW1 this week in social media with Katherine Akey - Katherine, what do you have for us this week?

Trunk and Daylight Savings

Hi Theo-- Daylight savings time appears in the news both this week in 2018 and this week in 1918. In fact, the most popular article we shared across social media accounts this week had to do with daylight savings time; most reactions to it were barf emojis and despair, which is pretty much how i felt trying to get up Monday morning at what felt like 5 am. But the NYtimes article from 1918 has a different tone: after months of tightly regulated coal and electricity usage, which meant many Americans spent their Mondays in the cold, Daylight Savings promised to help take the edge off coal rationing by giving us an hour more daylight in which to work and an hour less darkness that needed illumination. The change seems welcomed by the people of 1918, but I’m guessing they didn’t expect the wartime procedure to come back, and stay back, for a century. So, if you’re feeling as grumpy as I am about daylight savings-- you can thank the coal shortages of a century ago for the disruption.

Moving on to nicer news, we shared another story about a treasure trove found in a trunk this week. Last week, we told the story of a man who has written a book about his father’s life and service in the war, which he put together after inheriting his father’s foot locker, filled with wartime belongings. It seems that trunks and footlockers were the go-to way to store belongings a century ago, as a WW1 era trunk was recently donated to the Texas Military Forces Museum. The museum posted a video of curators and archivists opening the trunk, astonished at the good condition and the sheer quantity of objects inside; dozens of letters, photographs, mess kits, magazines, and well kept uniforms -- the possessions of two brothers-- one with the 141st Infantry Regiment and the other with the 149th and 150th Machine Gun Battalion, 42nd Rainbow Division. Watch the whole video for a sneak peak at the collection-- and if you have a weird old trunk in your attic, you may want to crack it open and see what treasures you may have!

Check the notes for links to these stories, and that’s it this week for the Buzz.





Thank you Katherine -


Thank you for listening to this week’s episode of WW1 Centennial News.

We also want to thank our guests...


  • Dr. Edward Lengel, Military historian and author
  • Mike Shuster, Curator for the great war project blog
  • Monique Seefried, World War One Centennial Commissioner
  • James Shetler, citizen historian and humanist
  • Jacy Jenkins, VP of Partnerships and Outreach at Fun Academy Motion Pictures
  • Terry Schow from the 100 Cities 100 Memorials project in Ogden, Utah
  • Katherine Akey, the commission’s social media director and line producer for the podcast

Thanks also to Eric Maar as well as our intern John Morreale for their great research assistance.

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 podcast is a part of that…. Thank you!

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.


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

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

on  iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Podbean, and now also on Stitcher - Radio on Demand --- as well as the other places you get your podcast --  even on your smart speaker.. Just say “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

about the war that changed the world!


OK…So what do you call a penguin in the trenches during WW1…?


So long!

Next week:

  • 100c/100m project at NC State University
  • We speak with the curator at the US Army Women's Museum
  • Speak with director/writer of short film: “The Hun”
  • Lynn Heidelbaugh introducing a new exhibit at the National Postal Museum
  • Speak with author about Dogs in the war: including stubby
  • Nursing and Red Cross focus
  • Speak with director of feature film: “Journey’s End”


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