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WW1 Centennial News for May 18, 2018 - Episode #72

Submarine Chaser from of WWISubmarine Chaser from of WWI

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Highlights: Submarine Chasers of WWI

  • The 1918 Sedition Act | @01:35
  • Darkest before the dawn - Mike Shuster | @07:45
  • America Emerges - Dr. Edward Lengel | @11:445
  • Memorial Day Parade | @15:50
  • Hunters of the Steel Sharks - Todd Woofenden | @17:05
  • Remembering Major Raoul Lufbery - Raoul Lubery III | @24:40
  • Centenary News website - Peter Alhadeff & Patrick Gregory | @31:20
  • Speaking WWI - “I’m in a flap” | @38:15
  • Highlights of the Dispatch Newsletter | @39:30
  • The Buzz: The commemoration in social Media - Katherine Akey | @41:45

NEW FEATURE - Interactive transcript with "Search & Play".

With the new WW1 Centennial News Interactive Transcript, 1. click on any word in the transcript and the audio will begin to play from that word. 2. Use Control+F, or Command+F on a Mac and put in any search term to highlight in the transcript for quick "Search & Play". 3. Copy sections of the transcript for articles.

Note: The transcript publishes 24-48 hours after the episode. If the space below is blank - check tomorrow.

View the PDF transcript


Welcome to World War 1 centennial News - episode #72 - 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.

This week:

  • Mike Schuster, from the great war project blog tells us about the on-going German aggression, the allies desperation and Pershing’s plan to provide CERTAIN troops to be commanded Directly by the allied forces.
  • Dr. Edward Lengel with a story about American troops that land in the UK.
  • Todd Woofenden introduces us about the US Navy’s submarine chasers
  • Tanveer Kalo helps us commemorate Asian Pacific Heritage Month
  • Raoul Lufbery III tells us about a recent event in Connecticut commemorating his great-uncle, Raoul Lufbery
  • Peter Alhadeff (AL-adeff) and Patrick Gregory join us from the WWI website “Centenary News”
  • Katherine Akey with the commemoration of world war one in social media

All on 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.



The United States constitutional Bill of rights was passed and adopted on December 15, 1791

This included the first amendment which reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances

126 years later, in 1917, under the pressures of entering WW1 - this constitutional right of the American people came under attack in profound ways.

It began in June of 1917 with the passage of the Espionage Act, prohibiting any American from saying or doing anything to undermine the war effort, with the threat of 20 years in prison, a $10,000 fine, or both  .


4 months later, in October 1917, congress followed up with the “Trading with the Enemy Act “, which empowered the government to confiscate the property of any person who engages in trade or any other form of financial transaction with an enemy nation during wartime.

Overall, about $500 million worth of property was seized by the federal government in World War I from german immigrants and companies with ties to enemy nations, an amount equal to the entire federal budget before the War.

But the most onerous attack on the first amendment was coming.

With that as background let's jump into our Centennial Time Machine and roll back 100 years ago this week to learn more about the new Sedition Act!




World War One THEN

100 Year Ago This Week


Dateline: May 21, 1918

A tiny obscure 4 line article appears in the New York times with the headline:

President Signs Sedition Bill

The entire article reads:

President Wilson today signed the Sedition bill, giving the government wide powers to punish disloyal acts and utterances.

Let me read that again…

“Giving the government wide powers to punish disloyal acts and utterances.”

That sounds downright unconstitutional… and if I had said that in May of 1918, I could have been prosecuted, fined $10,000 (the equivalent of $180,000 today) and imprisoned for up to 30 years!

Though President Wilson and Congress regarded the Sedition Act as crucial in order to stifle the spread of dissent within the country in that time of war, modern legal scholars consider the act as contrary to the letter and spirit of the U.S. Constitution, namely to the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights.

A part of the act also allowed the Postmaster General to refuse to deliver mail that met those same standards for punishable speech or opinion effectively blocking the mail dissemination of dissenting newspapers, pamphlets and flyers.

It was directly applied to trying to control the socialist leaning organized labor movement, and one of the most famous prosecutions under the Sedition Act during World War I was that of Eugene V. Debs, a pacifist labor organizer and founder of the International Workers of the World (the IWW) who had run for president in 1900 as a Social Democrat and in 1904, 1908 and 1912 on the Socialist Party of America ticket.

After delivering an anti-war speech in June 1918 in Canton, Ohio, Debs was arrested, tried and sentenced to 10 years in prison under the Sedition Act. Debs appealed the decision, and the case eventually reached the U.S. Supreme Court, in January of 1919. In March of 1919, 101 years ago this month the court ruled Debs had acted with the intention of obstructing the war effort and upheld his conviction.

In the decision, Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes referred to the earlier landmark case of Schenck v. United States (1919), when Charles Schenck, also a Socialist, had been found guilty under the Espionage Act after distributing a flyer urging recently drafted men to oppose the U.S. conscription policy. In this decision, Holmes maintained that freedom of speech and press could be constrained in certain instances, and that The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger ---  which will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent.


Eugene Debs’ sentence was commuted a few years later in 1921 when the Sedition Act was repealed by Congress. Major portions of the Espionage Act remain part of United States law to the present day, although the crime of sedition was largely eliminated by a famous libel case  in 1964, which determined that the press’s criticism of public officials was protected speech under the First Amendment — unless a plaintiff could prove that the statements were made maliciously or with reckless disregard for the truth—.

Your right to free speech.. A very precious right and one that was effectively legislated against 100 years ago this week, in the war that changed the world!

We have links in the podcast notes a BUNCH of articles from the NY times where the espionage, trading with the enemy and sedition acts were applied.

NYTIMES Sedition Articles:















Links on Sedition Act: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/u-s-congress-passes-sedition-act












Great War Project

It’s time for Mike Shuster, former NPR correspondent and curator for the Great War Project Blog.

Mike, your post points out that the Germans are far from out of the fight and the allied troops are very near collapse - While Pershing, standing fast on his determination not to put American troop under British and French command turns out not to apply to all troops equally.

You point to a palpable Allied desperation - It seems like, on the western front it truly is darkest before the coming dawn.

[thanks Theo - The headlines read]


Mike Shuster curator for the Great War Project blog. The link to the blog and the post -- are in the podcast notes.




America Emerges: Military Stories from WW1

Now for - America Emerges: Military Stories from WWI with Dr. Edward Lengel.

Not all the troops landed in France - Many of them arrived “Over There” in England including a yet unknown hero-to-be… As you will hear in Ed’s story.



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 web sites as an author.  




The Great War Channel

From the Great War Channel on Youtube -  videos about WWI

100 years ago this week, and from a more european perspective ---

New episodes this week include:

  • The Ostende Raid and the Peace of Bucharest

Another episode is

  • Marie Curie in WW1 and Who Killed the Red Baron


  • Evolution of French Infantry during World War One


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


World War One NOW

That’s the news from 100 Years ago this week  - It is time to fast forward into the present with WW1 Centennial News NOW -


This part of the podcast focuses on NOW and how we are commemorating the centennial of WWI!

Commission News

Memorial Day Parade in DC

This week in Commission News --

The National Memorial Day Parade in Wshington DC is coming up on Monday, May 28th!

The parade will be huge -- including marching bands, flags, celebrities, veterans of all ages, 300,000 cheering visitors, and TV cameras that will broadcast the parade across the country.

This year, the parade will feature a special tribute to the American veterans of World War I, including several World War I-era military vehicles -- and for the first time ever -- a parade float to emphasise the centennial of WWI and America’s National WWI Memorial, which the Commission is building in Washington DC.

Commission volunteers will walking the parade and giving out free packets of Poppy seeds as a symbol of remembrance and sacrifice of those who served in WWI.

This parade is our nation’s largest Memorial Day event, drawing hundreds of thousands of spectators to the National Mall to pay tribute to those who serve and have served. Read more about the 2018 National Memorial Day Parade at the link in the podcast notes.


Links: http://www.worldwar1centennial.org/index.php/communicate/press-media/wwi-centennial-news/4441-centennial-commission-to-be-represented-in-2018-national-memorial-day-parade.html

Spotlight on the Media

Submarine Chasers

That was a 1918 radio style dramatization of a submarine attack on a US ship - from a cylinder recording we found.

For a more contemporary take, and for this week’s Spotlight on the Media -- we are going to learn more about the US Submarine Chasers of World War One. Joining us is Todd A. Woofenden, editor of The Subchaser Archives website and author of the book Hunters of the Steel Sharks: The Submarine Chasers of WWI.

Great book title, Todd! Welcome to the podcast!


Todd-- the submarine warfare conducted by the Germans helped push America over the brink and into war -- so, once we were in, how did the US respond to the continuing submarine threat?

The fleet set out to chase the submarines was pretty unique -- Why did we pick small, wooden vessels for the job?

WWI was all about new tech…. What was the TECH side of chasing and attacking submarines?

What should we remember about this endeavor - and what did it lead to in the future?

[thank you/goodbyes]


Todd A. Woofenden is the editor of The Subchaser Archives website and author of the book Hunters of the Steel Sharks: The Submarine Chasers of WWI. We have links for you in the podcast notes to learn more and how to get a copy of the book for yourself!

Links: https://www.subchaser.org/




Lufbery Memorial

This week we want to feature a commemoration event that took place recently in Wallingford Connecticut -- the event honored the centennial of the combat death of French  American pilot Raoul Lufbery, the 8th pilot to join the Lafayette Escadrille. Lufbery went on to command the 94th Aero Squadron when the Escadrille was disbanded in 1918, and was an Ace three times over.

He was killed in an aerial dogfight over Maron, France 100 years ago this week on May 19, 1918 --

Here to tell us about his life and the commemoration in Connecticut is his great-nephew, Raoul Lufbery III.

Raoul, welcome to the podcast!


Raoul, what a wonderful namesake you carry - Raoul Lufbery was quite a colorful character -- please tell us about your great-uncle -- - what’s his story?


The commemoration took place in Wallingford, Connecticut -- how was it? why was it held there? what did it include?

Raoul, you’ve worked on compiling and editing a couple of photo albums about your great uncle -- can you tell us about them?

Raoul - Thank you for joining us!


Raoul Lufbery III is the great-nephew of WW1 Ace and Lafayette Escadrille member Major Raoul Lufbery. Learn more about the recent commemoration of his life, and about his service in the war, by following the links in the notes.




International Report

Centenary News

This week in our International Report -- we’re going back across the pond as we’re joined by the creators of a wonderful web site “Centenary News”.

it’s a super centralized resource for all things WW1 --  filled with news, articles, events listings, book reviews and more --

Joining us to tell us more are Peter Alhadeff (AL-adeff) ,  Editor for Centenary News,

and Patrick Gregory, former BBC news editor, contributor to Centenary News and co-editor & author of the book ‘An American on the Western Front’.

Gentlemen - thank you so much for joining us!


Let me start by saying that your site is really wonderful. It very broad in perspective and a wonderful resource - especially for our listeners.

Peter, how did Centenary News start? Who is behind it?

As kindred public history projects - and with WWI being and epic and vast story - how do YOU manage your editorial calendar and choices for what you publish and what you don’t?

What are your most popular articles and stories?

Patrick-- you’re interest, and expertise, is focused on the American experience of the war. How did you come to that topic of interest -- and has there been a tendency to neglect or downplay the role America played in WW1 from the European point of view?

The Armistice is coming up in November, Versaille the following June - what are Centenary News plans for coverage as the fighting stops?

I really want to encourage our listeners to stop by your site at www.centenarynews.com. If you listen to this podcast - you’ll like the site.

Gentlemen - Thank you so much for joining us today!


Peter Alhadeff (AL-adeff) is the Editor for the Centenary News web  site, and Patrick Gregory is a former BBC news editor, contributor to Centenary News Visit the site at www.centenarynews.com or by following the links in the podcast notes.


Speaking WW1

Welcome to our weekly feature “Speaking World War 1” -- Where we explore the words & phrases that are rooted in the war  ---

If you can face chaos, uncertainty and drama without succumbing to panic or anxiety -- you might be described as unflappable -- marked by assurance and self-control.

Though unflappable doesn’t enter the English lexicon until the 1950s, it is derived from a WWI era phrase, “to be in a flap”.

Usually defined as “to be worried”, the phrase “to be in a flap” has its origins in the Royal Navy around 1916. Taken from the frantic flapping birds would perform as they attempted to fly, the phrase spread among the ground troops as well. And there was a lot to be in a flap about during the war -- constant artillery barrages, snipers taking shots round the clock, poor food and living conditions -- the phrase probably got a lot of use in the trenches.

“To be in a flap” and Unflappable - this week’s phrases for speaking WW1. There are links for you in the podcast notes.

Links: http://mentalfloss.com/article/58233/21-slang-terms-world-war-i



Articles and Posts

For Articles and posts -- here are some of the highlights from our weekly Dispatch newsletter.


Headline: Lost and found World War I medal returned to veteran's family in NJ

This is an update on the recently found WW1 medal in New Jersey -- it’s original owner’s family has been found and the medal has been returned!


Headline: Maryland World War I Chapel Keeping Faith in Troubled Times

Read about a local community commemorative event in Odenton, Maryland -- On June 3, 2018 the public is invited to an outdoor concert and dedication of a WWI Centennial Monument at Epiphany Chapel & Church House in Odenton, MD. In 1918 the Chapel was a home-away-from-home for soldiers and included “reinforcements to the Chaplains of the colored regiments.”


Headline: Annual 'In Flanders Fields' Memorial Commemorative Event in New York City

For a major metro event, read about the upcoming commemoration in New York City. General Delegate of the Government of Flanders to the United States will be hosting the Annual In 'Flanders Fields' Memorial event on May 24, 10am, featuring the East Coast Doughboys Honor Guard.


Headline: Harriett Louise Carfrae - our featured Story of Service

Read about Harriett Louise Cafrae, a nurse who served in World War 1 with the Red Cross.


Finally, our  selection

from our Official online Centennial Merchandise store -  

this week, it’s our U.S. Army “Doughboy” Window Decal -- An easy and inexpensive way to let the world know that it’s the centennial of WWI!

Featuring the iconic Doughboy silhouette flanked by barbed wire so prevalent during WWI, you can proudly display this poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by U.S. soldiers.  Hey, it’s only 4 bucks and a great add on item when you’re getting other merchandise!

And those are some of the headlines this week from the Dispatch Newsletter

Subscribe by going to ww1cc.org/subscribe or follow

the links 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 did you pick?

Mothers Day and the Harlem Hellfighters

Hi Theo --

Last weekend was Mother’s Day -- a holiday dear to doughboys in europe a hundred years ago as much as it is to us today. This week we shared an article from historian and WW1 Centennial Commission Historical Advisor Mitchell Yockelson published in the New York Times. The article entitled “Dear Mom, the War’s Going Great” surveys Mother’s Day correspondances during war time, from General Pershing down to the humblest of doughboys. The Army promoted what it called Mothers Letters, joined in a campaign by the YMCA and Red Cross. Read the article at the link in the podcast notes.

Finally -- this week was the centennial of a harrowing incident that helped establish the reputation of the Harlem Hellfighters. On the night of May 15, 1918, Pvt. Henry Johnson and Needham Roberts, members of the all-black 369th Infantry Regiment, found themselves fighting for their lives against 20 German Soldiers out in front of their unit's trench line. Johnson fired the three rounds in his French-made rifle, tossed all his hand grenades and then grabbed his Army-issue bolo knife and started stabbing.

Both survived the incident -- and Johnson earned himself the nickname Black Death for his ferocious stand. The question of whether the African American unit would fight as well as any other was answered by his actions in the darkness of May 15th. Read more about the intense engagement, and the Hellfighters’ subsequent struggles upon returning to civilian life, by following the link in the podcast notes.

That’s it for this week in the Buzz.




And that wraps up this  week in May for 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
  • Todd Woofenden, editor of The Subchaser Archives website and author of the book Hunters of the Steel Sharks: The Submarine Chasers of WWI.
  • Tanveer Kalo, graduating Ronald E. McNair Scholar from St. Lawrence University and a former WW1 Centennial Commission Intern
  • Raoul Lufbery III, great-nephew of WW1 Ace Major Raoul Lufbery
  • Peter Alhadeff (AL-adeff) and Patrick Gregory join us from the website Centenary News
  • Katherine Akey, WWI Photography specialist and line producer for the podcast

Many thanks to Mac Nelsen our sound editor and to Eric Marr for his great input and research assistance...  

A small retraction from last week.. We mistakenly referred to the  co-founder of the Boy Scouts of America as Ernest Thomas Seton [see-ton] rather than Ernest Thompson Seton [see-ton]

And I am neither Thomas, nor Thompson - I am Theo- 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  - now with our new interactive transcript feature for students, teachers and sharing. Just a note to listeners, the transcript publishes about 2 days after the show.

You can also access the WW1 Centennial News podcast on  iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Podbean, Stitcher - Radio on Demand, Spotify, using your smart speaker.. By saying “Play W W One Centennial News Podcast” - and now also available on Youtube - just search for our WW1 Centennial youtube channel.

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!


So long!


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