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WW1 Centennial News for March 30 2018 - Episode #65

Draftees Ship out from NY harbor to FranceDraftees ship out from New York for France

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Highlights - Draftees Ship Out

  • Update on the Spring Offensive - Mike Shuster | @02:25
  • America Emerges: The Draftees Ship Out - Edward Lengel | @06:20
  • Don’t send the boys “Dainties” by parcel post! | @11:40
  • Remembering Veterans: The Women’s Overseas Service League - Cathleen Cordova | @16:45
  • Updates from the States: Idaho Commission - K.C.Piccard and Frank Krone | @21:55
  • Spotlight in the Media: Sgt. Stubby Premiere | @27:35
  • 100C/100M: Glen Carbon IL - Linda Sinco | @32:45
  • 100C/100M: Appleton, WI - Alexander Schultz | @38:35
  • Speaking WW1: Tommy | @44:45WW1 War Tech: The Little Curie | @46:20
  • The Dispatch Newsletter | @48:05
  • The Buzz - The Centennial in Social Media - Katherine Akey | @49:25

View the PDF transcript


Welcome to World War 1 centennial News - episode #65 - 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 30th, 2018 and our guests for this week include:

  • Mike Shuster, from the great war project checking in on the progress of the German Spring Offensive - Operation Michael
  • Dr. Edward Lengel with a story of New York City’s Doughboys as they set sail for Europe
  • Cathleen Cordova shares the history of the Women’s Overseas Service League
  • K.C.Piccard and Frank Krone are here to tell us about the Idaho WW1 Centennial Commission
  • Linda Sinco shares the 100 Cities/100 Memorials project at Glen Carbon, Illinois
  • Alexander Schultz with the 100 Cities/100 memorials project in Appleton, Wisconsin
  • Katherine Akey with the WW1 commemoration in social media

And that is our lineup of guest for 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.



100 years ago this week, the fate and future, that would be determined by WWI hangs somewhat by a thread. In this episode, we want to give you a sense of what was happening on the ground in Europe, explore the push to get our troops across the Atlantic, and see how the war effort is affecting life and policy here stateside… A year after entering the fray - America is definitely in the thick of it!

With that as a setup, let’s jump into our Centennial Time Machine and roll back 100 years to - to witness a crucial moment,  in the War that Changed the World!

World War One THEN

100 Year Ago This Week

Great War Project

We are going to open our look back 100 years ago this week, with Mike Shuster former NPR correspondent and curator for the Great War project Blog….

Mike: Your post is a powerful update on the front line action, this last week of May, 1918. The Allies are trying desperately to cope with Germany’s “total commitment” onslaught -

By the week’s-end it turns out that maybe the Kaiser’s claim of total victory, last week,  may have been a bit premature. It’s not over yet. Looking forward to your report, Mike…

Thank you Theo - This week the headline read….


Mike Shuster from the Great War Project blog.



America Emerges: Military Stories from WW1

We are going to follow with America Emerges: Military Stories from WWI with Dr. Edward Lengel.

Ed:  As Mike just told us… getting our boys shipped out and on the ground in France is crucial… and your story this week focused on what that was like state -side… Many troops and individual soldiers that would play important roles in the upcoming battles are heading “over there”. What’s the story Ed:



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.  




On the Homefront


On the homefront, there are a number of articles this week reflecting our conversation from Last week, with the Smithsonian National Postal Museum’s Lynn Heidelbaugh, about the massive amount of mail going out to the troops - especially parcel post - so much so - that the War department begins the week by expressing concern, and ends the week by listing a whole stack of items banned from being sent to our boys “Over There”.


Dateline: Monday March 25, 1918

A Headline in the Official Bulletin Reads

Parcel Post to France Being Crowded With the Dainties Purchasable There

at Prices Lower Than the Cost Here

And the story reads:

What are you sending by parcel post to the boys in France? asks the department. If it is cookies, candies, or canned goods, bear in mind that the soldiers of the American Expeditionary Forces can purchase these things at the Y. M. C. A. recreation centers, or canteens in France, as cheaply as they can be had here.

And the article goes on the make an economic argument not to send these items.

Two days later


Dateline: Wednesday March 27, 1918

A Headline in the Official Bulletin Reads


The article goes on to explain:

the postmasters throughout the country are instructed to receive no parcel-post shipments for delivery to members of the American Expeditionary Forces abroad unless the articles offered have been requested by the individual to whom they are to be shipped and approved by his regimental or higher commander.

In the same issue another headline reads

Prices at Which Our Soldiers in France May Purchase Those .Little Dainties You Are Sending Them by Mail

And once again, the article details the price of razors, cigarettes, even malted milk balls. Although seemingly redundant - anyone interested in a great primary source on prices of basic item in 1918 - this article is a treaure trove of detail. You can access each issue of the Official Bulletin on the Commission’s website at ww1cc.org/bulletin - each issue is re-published on the centennial anniversary of its original publish date. This article is on Page 7 of the wednesday March 27th issue.

The week continues with more cajoling about not sending our boys loving care packages from home, AND by the end of the week - the War Department gets unambiguous and definitive!

Dateline: Saturday, March 30, 1918

A Headline in the Official Bulletin on Page 7 reads



The War Department has issued the following statement regarding the restrictions of the shipment of parcels to officers and soldiers in France.

On account of the well-known shortage in shipping it is necessary' to limit shipments to France to things which are absolutely essential for the fighting efficiency of our forces in France. In other words, we must strip for action. It his been found that the shipments of parcels to individual officers and soldiers has assumed enormous proportions now averaging 250 tons a week, and by reason of their bulkiness displacing a great amount

of important Army freight on commercial liners and transports.

And that’s the end of Aunt Ethel's home-made cookies and Momma’s canned peaches for our doughboys in France 100 years ago this week in the war that changed the world!


The Great War Channel

As we have mentioned before, we are very happy that you listen to our audio podcast, but If you’d like to see videos about WWI 100 years ago this week,  we suggest our friends at the Great War Channel on Youtube, Hosted by Indy Neidell. New videos this week include:

  • Conscientious Objectors -- Water -- Wastage
  • German WW1 Prototype Tanks of 1918
  • Backs to the Wall -- All Eyes on Amiens

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 isn’t about the past - it is about NOW and how we are commemorating the centennial of WWI!

Remembering Veterans

Women's Overseas Service League

This week for remembering veterans

and for our last article focused on Women’s History Month

we want to introduce you to

the Women’s Overseas Service League.  As the name implies, the League was founded by American women who had served overseas during World War One. With us to help us understand the WOSL, their heritage, mission and constituency we are joined by Cathleen Cordova, the Past National President of the WOSL. Welcome Cathleen.


[Cathleen -- the Women’s Overseas Service League was formed in 1921, just after the war -- What prompted the formation? Who was it for?]

[Would I consider the Women’s Overseas Service League a Veterans Service Organization? How does it differ?]

[The league’s focus and mission has evolved over the years? What is the continuing legacy of WWI in within the League?]

[Does the League have any specific WWI Centennial commemoration - or any heritage focused programs?]


Cathleen Cordova is the Past National President of the Women’s Overseas Service League. Learn more about the organization and their legacy of friendship and advocacy by following the links in the podcast notes.

Link: http://wosl.org/history/


Updates from the States

Idaho Commission

It’s time for our Updates from the States. This week we’re joined by K.C. Piccard, Commissioner for the Idaho World War 1 Centennial Commission, and Frank Krone, the commission’s co-founder.



[Frank --  I don’t know very much about the Idaho Centennial Commission? Would you tell us about it - and how did it get started?]

[K.C.--On the Podcast in February, we told our listeners quite a bit about the sinking of the Tuscania --  You and your Commission got deeply involved with a connected commemoration called Hands Across the Atlantic Project. Can you tell us about it?

[Frank - any other plans or programs from Idaho you’d like to tell us about?]


K.C. Piccard and Franke Krone are with the Idaho World War 1 Centennial Commission. Learn more about the commission and their projects by visiting their website at the links in the podcast notes.


Spotlight in the Media

Sgt Stubby Premiere: Follow up

Earlier this week, here in Los Angeles, I had the pleasure of joining US WWI Centennial Commissioner Zoe Dunning, and the California WW1 Centennial commission Courtland Jindra and Bill Betten at the premiere of the Animated Feature film - Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero.

I have been following the development of this movie for a long time, and of course we have had the film’s producer, writer, and director Richard Lanni and Associate producer Jordan Beck on the podcast over the past months, so I was really ready to see the actual the Sgt. Stubby movie.

I loved it! And so did the 800 person audience at the premiere! Flat out - it’s a really good, class double A animated film that delivers a great movie experience for kids and grown up alike.

You know, it’s really - I mean REALLY hard to create a sympathetic, animated animal character that is someone that you actually care about. Especially if that character has no voice. Everyone in the room fell in love with Stubby.

I didn’t ask the grownups, but I did ask some of the 400 kids in the theater what they thought:

[Kid’s comments]

Sgt. Stubby - an American Hero - and a really great movie experience coming to a theater near you. Grab a friend, grab a kid, grab a grandparent and go see this really heartfelt and heartwarming movie.

Oh yea - did I forget to mention - its based on a real story and its all about WWI. Sorry!



100 Cities 100 Memorials

Glen Carbon, IL

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. Next week, on Friday April 6th, we will be announcing the final 50 Awardees. Some very exciting memorials and project are among that group.

Before that, this week, we are going to profile TWO projects from Round #1. They are very different and very much the same -  the first is a deeply meaningful but humble project about a WWI memorial restoration from the Village of Glen Carbon Illinois, where a doughboy statue stands guard over the graves of two local WW1 veterans.  

With us tell us about the project is Linda Sinco, Museum Coordinator of the Glen Carbon Heritage Museum.                              

Welcome Linda!


[Linda: Your project was designated as a WWI Centennial Memorial, in part because it represents memorials of it’s type all over the country. Can you tell us about it please?]

[The doughboy isn’t a bronze - what is it made out of? What’s the status of the statue now?]

[When you took on the project, you did research and got some great local newspaper coverage for the endeavor - what was the community involvement?]

[How did you connect with the 100 Cities / 100 Memorials program?]

[You rededicated your statue last year in September - Any commemoration plans for Memorial Day or Armistice day this year?]

[Linda - thank you so much for looking after your doughboys!]


Linda Sinco is the Museum Coordinator for the Glen Carbon Heritage Museum.    Learn more about the 100 Cities/100 Memorials program and their doughboy statue restoration at the link in the podcast notes or by going to ww1cc.org/100Memorials

Link: www.ww1cc.org/100cities



Appleton, WI

Our second 100 Cities / 100 Memorials project profile this week is the Spirit of the American Doughboy project in Appleton, Wisconsin.

This doughboy sculpture is from famed WWI memorial sculptor E. M. Visquesney and it has had one tough time of it,  since it was erected in 1934.

With us tell us about the project, it’s checkered restoration history and its current rescue is Alexander Schultz, Executive Director of Sculpture Valley.

Welcome Alex!


[Alex - This monument was originally put in place in 1934 for $700 - the equivalent of $13,000 today… and it has had a troubled history since. Can you tell us a bit about the maintenance woes of this doughboy?]

[So in 2015 Sculpture Valley stepped in to fix the issues from the ground up - what IS Sculpture Valley?]

[What kind of support did the project get from the community? ]

[You did a rededication on Veterans Day last year - any plans for Armistice day this year?]

[Alex: Thanks so much for being here!]


Alexander Schultz is the Executive Director of Sculpture Valley. Learn more about Sculpture Valley and the 100 Cities/100 Memorials program at the link in the podcast notes or by going to ww1cc.org/100Memorials

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  ---

By the time America joined the war, nicknames for the various forces involved in the conflict were already established. The French infantry were known as the Poilus, or the hairy ones -- the Australian and New Zealanders were collectively known as the ANZAC a simple contraction for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps - meanwhile the New Zealanders were also called Kiwis. The American were often referred to as Sammies but self branded as Doughboys.

And the British common soldier?

Well, That’s our Speaking WWI word for this week.

The British soldier was known as the Tommy.

The nickname appears to come from an individual, Tommy Atkins, a mythical, courageous British soldier who fought under the Duke of Wellington in 1794. Lore has it that In 1815, the British War Office asked the Duke for a name that could personify a strong British soldier, and he, apocryphally, replied “Tommy”.

From a branding perspective, it sounds like a great choice to an old marketing guy like me…. it’s so aptly descriptive of a regular joe… resolute… a comrade… a good fellow and unlike a lot of the other names - Tommy seems human.

The nickname was popular enough in the 19th century that Rudyard Kipling included a poem about a mistreated soldier named Tommy.

Tommy didn’t get associated with the British army, until World War I, when the name Tommy Atkins was featured on a guidance sheet enclosed in every pocket ledger provided to every British soldier to inscribe their personal information.

Tommy -- a valiant and humble soldier, and this week’s speaking WW1 word.




WW1 War Tech

Little Curie

This week for WW1 War Tech -- we’re focusing on a medical device that saved countless lives -- and was invented by a woman.

Almost immediately after the discovery of the X-ray in 1895, medical professionals began using it to locate foreign objects, that had become lodged in the body. - you know - like bullets.

At the start of the war in 1914, the only X-Ray machines to be found where located in city hospitals, far away from the frontlines and only benefiting soldiers that could survive the long journe to get to them.

The answer came from famed French scientist Madame Marie Curie, discoverer of radium ... polonium and twice-awarded the Nobel Prize.

When the German army began marching toward Paris early in the war, Madame Curie shipped her supply of radium to a bank in Bordeaux and devoted her time to the war effort.

Curie came up with the “radiological car” - a rig with an X-Ray machine, a photographic dark room, and an early electrical generator to produce the X-Rays. Using funding from the Union of Women of France and cars donated by wealthy Parisians, she trained some 150 women, including her daughter Irene, to operate these machines and move them around the front lines to where they were most needed. The “little curies” --as they were called-- debuted at the First Battle of the Marne. Over 1 million soldiers received Xray exams from the mobile units over the course of the war.

The LIttle Curie-- a big idea from an awesome scientist, Madame Marie Curie, and this week’s WW1 War Tech. Learn more, and see images of the mobile machines, at the links in the notes.

Link: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/how-marie-curie-brought-x-ray-machines-to-battlefield-180965240/

Articles and Posts

For Articles and posts we want to re-introduce you to a fantastic WWI Centennial resource.

It’s the Commission’s weekly Dispatch Newsletter.

Every week, the Commission publishes all sorts of great information about WWI and the centennial commemoration.

There are articles posted in the website’s news section,

New Stories of Service that are submitted by you.

Important commemoration events.

Blog posts and postings from our state partners.

And even the highlight listing from the WWI Centennial News podcast.

Well - in the dispatch, the editor, Chris Christopher works diligently to keep it short and useful.  He provides a quick summary of each new post with links to read, listen or see more…
It takes just a minute to subscribe, and only a couple of minute to scan each Dispatch issue when it comes in to your email on Tuesday mornings -

It’s a great way to see if there is something you’d like to know more about.

So sign up for the Weekly  Dispatch newsletter at ww1cc.org/subscribe and take a look at samples in the archive at ww1cc.org/dispatch or follow the link in the podcast notes.

Link: http://www.worldwar1centennial.org/index.php/communicate/2015-12-28-18-26-00/subscribe.html


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?

Adopt an Orphan!

We shared a beautiful image this week on Facebook from the Marine Corps History Division. It’s a studio portrait of a little girl, Jeanne Louise Alphonsine Pascal. She’s maybe three or four years old, dressed in a dark frock with an enormous white bow atop her head. She is the Mascot of Company L, Thirteenth Regiment, U.S. Marines, A.E.F.

Under the auspices of the American Red Cross, soldiers were able to adopt war orphans; it’s a very early example of a familiar charitable system. For four cents a month, per man, a unit of some 200 men could fully feed, clothe and house an orphan.

Some estimated 200,000 children were orphaned in France and Belgium alone during the war. Grassroots orphans’ relief efforts appeared in France as early as 1914.

Many editions of the Stars and Stripes-- the American Expeditionary Forces’ official newspaper-- discuss and promote The Red Cross’s orphan relief campaigns, including the issue from this week 100 years ago.

These children, supported by the Allies and under the care of a variety of service organizations, were beneficial for the soldiers; they reminded the men of their children back home and the orphans received food and care from the Allied troops.

By April 1918, Stars and Stripes reports that 38 children were adopted by various Infantry companies.

You can read the article “Take as your mascot a French war orphan” in the Stars and Stripes, and see the image of little Jeanne Louise, by following the links in the podcast notes.

That’s it for this week in the Buzz.




Thank you Katherine -


And that is also it for this week’s episode of WW1 Centennial News. Thank you for listening.

We also want to thank our guests...

  • Mike Shuster, Curator for the great war project blog
  • Dr. Edward Lengel, Military historian and author
  • Cathleen Cordova the Past National President of the Women’s Overseas Service League
  • KC Piccard, and and Frank Krone co-founders of the Idaho World War 1 Centennial Commission,
  • Linda Sinco with the 100 Cities/100 Memorials project at Glen Carbon, Illinois
  • Alexander Schultz with the 100 Cities/100 memorials project from Appleton, Wisconsin
  • Katherine Akey, the commission’s social media director and line producer for the podcast

A shout out 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; Including this podcast!

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, Stitcher - Radio on Demand --- or using your smart speaker.. Just say “Play W W One Centennial News Podcast” and we are excited to announce - as of this week - you can listen to us on Spotify. Search ww1 Centennial News.

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!


What did the American Captain shout to the British left-tennant as the German barrage rained down?

[insert music clip Tommy]

So long!


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