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WW1 Centennial News for May 25, 2018 - Episode #73

Munition worker at the National Shell Filling Factory, Chilwell, EnglandMunition worker at the National Shell Filling Factory, Chilwell, England

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Highlights: A lotta shelling going on!

  • 100 years ago this week: Drafting the young and the “idlers” | @01:15
  • War in the Sky: From Signal Corps to US Army Air Service | @07:40
  • Cantigny: AEF on the offensive - Mike Shuster & Dr. Edward Lengel | @11:15
  • Great War Channel: The Fightin-est Marine - Indy Neidell | @17:15
  • 369th Experience in NYC memorial weekend | @18:25
  • The Moralist: New Woodrow Wilson Book - Prof. Patricia O’Toole | @21:15
  • Update from the States: Artillery, dissenters and shells - Michael Hitt | @27:15
  • Remembering Vets: PTSD and Trauma - Dr. Jason Crouthamel | @32:45
  • Speaking WWI: Some onomatopoeia -Whizzband, Crump and Dud | @39:35
  • WW1 War Tech: The bicycle in WW1 | @41:15
  • Weekly Dispatch: Article highlights from the newsletter | @44:25
  • The Buzz: Commemoration in Social Media - Katherine Akey | @46:25

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.

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View the PDF transcript


Welcome to World War 1 centennial News - episode #73 - 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 and Dr Edward Lengel fill us in on the action at Cantigny
  • Patricia O’Toole tells us about her book The Moralist: Woodrow Wilson and the World He Made
  • Michael Hitt updates us on the great state of Georgia in the war
  • Dr. Jason Crouthamel shares his expertise on PTSD, Trauma and WW1
  • 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.



Although we know that the fighting in WWI is going to end this coming November - 100 years ago this week, the world did not!

The United States continues on it’s war effort, changing industry, society and nearly every aspect of life in the country.

This includes continuing to draft young men into the military service. With that in mind, let’s jump into our Centennial Time Machine and go back 100 years to see what’s leading in the news this week 100 years ago in the War that Changed the World!




World War One THEN

100 Year Ago This Week


From the pages of the Official Bulletin - the government’s war gazette - published by George Creel and the Committee on Public information - our government propaganda ministry, this week the headlines are full renewed vigor for pushing the war effort forward!

I want to stop and give you a note we have not mentioned for many weeks: The US WWI Centennial Commission is republishing this amazing primary source of information on what the US Government was thinking, saying and promoting 100 years ago. We re-publish a  new issue, every day on the centennial of its original publication date… So if you want to read the governments daily newspaper (except Sunday of course), go to ww1cc.org/bulletin and you can follow the war effort in a wholly unique and very interesting way.


DATELINE: Tuesday, May 21, 1918

Today the headline of the Official Bulletin reads:

President, in opening Red Cross campaign, calls German peace approaches insincere; no limit on size of Army going to France!

In the story President Woodrow Wilson says: Quote:

There are two duties with which we are face to face.

The first duty is to win the war, and the second duty,

that goes hand in hand with it, is to win it greatly and worthily,

showing the real quality of not only our power,

but the real quality of our purpose and of ourselves.

Of course, the first duty, the duty that we must keep in the foreground of all of our thoughts until it is accomplished, is to win the war.

I have heard gentleman recently say that we must get 5 million men ready. I ask, why limited to 5 million?

He continues with:

We are not diverted from the grim purpose of winning the war by any insincere approaches upon the subject of peace. I can say with a clear conscience that I have tested those imitations, and have found them insincere.

The president goes on to describe the full commitment and focus of the nation to carry out our mission. All this prefaces a proclamation the President will make the very next day - setting up a new call to arms to young men who have turned 21, and to all men who are not engaged directly in the war effort as you are about to hear.


Dateline, Tuesday, May 21, 1918
The headline reads:

President’s proclamation fixing June 5 as date for registering young men who have reached the age of 21 during the past year

Only persons exempt are the officers and enlisted men in naval and military service

The  proclamation includes:

It is resolved by the Senate and House representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled that during the present emergency all male persons, citizens of the United States, and all male persons residing in the United States, who have, since the fifth day of June 1917, and on or before the day set for the registration, attained the age of 21 years, shall be subject to registration in accordance with the regulations to be prescribed by the President, stating the time and place of such registration. It shall be the duty of all such persons, except such persons as are exempt from registration, to present themselves for and submit to registration under the provisions of set act approved May 18, 1917.

The guy in charge of pulling off this new draft registration is the Provost Marshall - a General Enoch Herbert Crowder from Missouri. He seemed determined not to let anything slip by as the next article illustrates:


Dateline Thursday, May 23, 1918

A headline in the New York Times reads:

Work or fight, warning to all on draft rolls

Gen. Crowder issues sweeping order aimed at idlers and those in non-useful pursuits.

Goes into effect on July 1

Includes gamblers, waiters, service, store clerks, elevator men, and those with no occupation.

Maybe blow to baseball.

In the article it reads:

Idlers, unemployed and those of draft age not engaged in a central or useful employment will be rounded up for military service unless they apply themselves at some sort of labor that will dovetail into the plans of the administration for winning the war. All such youths of draft age we'll either have to serve in the army or work.

There is resistance to the draft around the nation, but for the most part, the young men of America join up, and loyally help the war effort in the best way they can - and they are put on notice…  100 years ago this week. in the war that changed the world.

See the May 20 to may 24 issues of the official bulletin at ww1cc.org/bulletin and see other links in the podcast notes.


War in the Sky

Also - One hundred years ago this week, the war in the sky takes a turn for America, not on the battlefields of europe but in the halls of administration back home.


Dateline May 20, 1918

A headline of The New York Times reads:

Wilson recasts aviation service

Takes all control of operations and production away from signal core

President acts under the Overman law to bring about improvements in the situation

Pres. Wilson today took what he regards as definitive action towards the improvement of the Army aircraft program when he issued a presidential order stripping the chief signal corps officer of the Army, Major Gen. George O. Squier, of every function pertaining to aircraft and aviation.

The functions were transferred to two new offices,

Bureau of military aeronautics and

The bureau of aircraft production

Created directly under the Secretary of War.

“The signal Corps”, said Sec. Baker this afternoon, “will now have only to do with signals, and nothing to do with any phase of the production or use of aircraft.”

The order gives Brigadier General William Kenley all of the property pertaining to the use of aircraft and all money in connection therewith.

This development essentially creates the US Army Air Corps.

Our regular listeners may remember from our March 9,  episode #62 - how the Signal Corps, one of the real technology innovators  was also the founding pioneer in the use of aircraft for the military… Here is a clip from Episode #62

[change sound EQ]

By the turn of the century the US Army Signal Corps had taken on a leadership role not just with visual signalling but also with the telegraph, telephone, cable communications, meteorology, combat photography and had even sprouted an aeronautical and aviation section.

Nearly a decade before American Forces engaged the enemy, the wright brothers made test flights of the army’s first airplane built to Signal Corps’ specifications. Tests appropriately performed at Fort Myers. Army aviation stayed with the Signal Corps until May of 1918, when the Aviation Section of the Signal Corps is transformed by President Wilson’s  Executive order, into the Army Air Service - the forerunner of the United States Air Force.


Well, that moment in May of 1918 is now… driven partially by the previous “scandals” about the effectiveness of US investment in its airplane development, production and training, and partially by the fact the aircraft - once seen primarily as reconnaissance devices are taking on a strategic offensive warcraft role - now put under the US Army Air Service and later to become the US Air Force.

A transition that takes a major turn this week 100 years ago in the war in the sky.
See the podcast notes for a simple 50 year timeline showing how the use of aircraft evolved from 1907 to September 1947 when the US Air Force is established as a separate branch of the US Armed Forces.


  • Aeronautical Division, Signal Corps (1 August 1907 – 18 July 1914)
  • Aviation Section, Signal Corps (18 July 1914 – 20 May 1918)
  • Division of Military Aeronautics (20 May 1918 – 24 May 1918)
  • Air Service, U.S. Army (24 May 1918 – 2 July 1926)
  • U.S. Army Air Corps (2 July 1926 – 20 June 1941)*
  • U.S. Army Air Forces (20 June 1941 – 17 September 1947)
  • US Air Force - established as a separate branch on September 18, 1947




NYTimes Air Service Articles


Battle of Cantigny

This week, 100 years ago in the war on the Western Front-- the American forces attack for the first time at Cantigny, in France. Both Mike Shuster and Ed Lengel tell us the story of the battle, a first test of American mettle-- but they each explore the event using different sources. So this week, we are going to blend the together the Great War Project with Mike Shuster - and America Emerges with Dr. Edward Lengel into a single story about the battle of Cantigny.



Mike Shuster, is a former NPR correspondent and curator for the Great War Project blog and 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 both their sites.

LINK - Mike Shuster:


LINK - Dr. Edward Lengel http://www.edwardlengel.com/assault-cantigny-1918-u-s-army-comes-age/



Updates on fighting front in the NY Times









The Great War Channel

This week the Great War Channel on Youtube released a wonderful bio episode on the US Marine Corps’ legendary Dan Daly - the recipient of two Medals of Honor and probably deserving of more. The episode is called: The Fightin-est Marine - Dan Daly:


To see the whole clip, search for  “the great war” on youtube or follow the link in the podcast notes!


World War One NOW

And that’s the news from 100 Years ago this week  - so now let’s 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

369th Experience in NYC

This week in Commission News -- we want to highlight a special Memorial Day centennial event happening in New York City! It’s the 369th Experience -- Three musical performances depicting the African American and Puerto Rican experience in World War I through the eyes and ears of the 369th U.S. Infantry Regimental band.

Named by their German enemies as the HellFighters, the “Harlem Hellfighters", the 369th regiment was formed out of the volunteer 15th New York National Guard. While they were “Over There” fought heroically and ferociously in the trenches of France - under french command - through some of the most brutal combat, in some of the most important battles, of the entire war. Their story is a powerful one as they faced staunch racism during training, in a segregated military and sadly- after their exemplary performance as American Soldiers…. on their return home from the war.

The 369th famously had as part of their unit a regimental military band -- made up of some of the most influential & talented musicians of their day.

The military band became legendary for their unique sound, and their warm reception by the people of the war-torn regions “over there” -- under the care of band leader, Major James Reese Europe,they introduced French listeners to American jazz, and ushered in the Jazz Age in europe.

Carrying on their legacy, the 369th Experience pulls together talented modern-day musicians from colleges around the country. They competed to participate in a 369th tribute - which will perform and highlight the original band’s music This Memorial Day Weekend. The U.S. World War One Centennial Commission is proud to sponsor the performances by the 369th EXPERIENCE  at the USS Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Complex in New York. The concerts are free and are sure to be awesome!

If you are in the big apple this memorial day weekend - perhaps attending fleet week - Performances are schedule for Sunday, May 27th, at 1:00 pm and on Monday at

1:30pm & 3:30 pm at the USS Intrepid.

There are reference links in the podcast notes and we will be doing a follow up story next week to tell you how it went.

Links: www.IntrepidMuseum.org



Spotlight on the Media

Book: The Moralist

For this week’s Spotlight on the Media -- we are turning our attention back onto the President of the United States during World War One, Woodrow Wilson. We’re joined by Professor Patricia O’Toole, a biographer and professor emerita in the School of the Arts at Columbia University and author of three acclaimed biographies including her new book: The Moralist: Woodrow Wilson and the World He Made

Welcome to the podcast!


[Patricia - let we start with an overview question - Woodrow Wilson doesn't  always show up on the list of the most important presidents in US history - Do you think he was? And why?]

[When you call Wilson “the moralist” -- what do you mean?]

[He was also one of the few “professional” ]

[Wilson seems like a bundle of contrasting ideas -  He campaigns with - He keep us out of war” - but then leads the nation to war.

He wants America to fight for freedom and liberty - but he nationalized industries, gags dissent and attacks freedom of speech...so the question is - How do all these contrasting ideas reconcile?]

[This is a man who had a huge effect on the nation and indeed on the world - what would you say his most remarkable achievement was as a President?]

[President Wilson is, of course, an ongoing key character on this podcast, what else should we understand about Wilson --- to help us keep it all --- and him in context?]

[thank you/goodbyes]

Professor Patricia O’Toole is a biographer and professor emerita in the School of the Arts at Columbia University.

We have links for you in the podcast notes to learn more about her biographies including The Moralist: Woodrow Wilson and the World He Made.

Links: http://www.simonandschuster.com/books/The-Moralist/Patricia-OToole/9780743298094


Updates from the States

Marietta Museum and Georgia in WW1

For our Updates from the States -- this week we head down to Georgia, where a passionate citizen historian, author, veteran and retired police officer Michael Hitt has become something of a Georgia-in-WW1 expert.

Welcome, Michael!


[Michael -- to start us off, you mentioned to us that there are two incidents - forgotten incidents in Georgia from WWI - could you outline them about them?]

[You recently made a shocking -- and potentially dangerous -- discovery at a local Museum. Would happened?]

[You know similar stories have come up from the UK, and France. If you are a museum curator - is there a procedure you should follow with military artifacts?]

[Michael - thank you for coming in and telling us about Georgia in WWI and some of the commemorative events.]

[goodbyes/thank you]

Michael Hitt is a citizen historian, author, veteran and retired police officer of 34 years.


Remembering Veterans

PTSD and Trauma in WW1 and Today

Moving to Remembering Veterans -- May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so we wanted to take a look into the history of PTSD and trauma both in WW1 and after.

With us to help us navigate the topic is Dr. Jason Crouthamel, Professor of History at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan and co-editor with Peter Leese of the book Psychological Trauma and the Legacy of the First World War.

Welcome, Dr. Crouthamel!


[“shell shock” was coined during WW1-- how was it perceived and dealt with during the war?]

[Was PTSD recognized before WW1?]

[What about WW1 changed the way trauma is understood and handled by the medical community and by society at large?]

[Jumping off your book’s title-- what IS the legacy of the first world war when it comes to psychological trauma?]

[goodbyes/thank you]

Dr. Crouthamel is a Professor of History at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan. Learn more about him and his numerous books by visiting the link in the podcast notes. We’ve also included links where you can learn more about PTSD and Veterans’ health.






Speaking WW1

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

An onomatopoeia is defined as a word that phonetically imitates, resembles or suggests the sound that it describes, like buzz or hissss.

And that leads into our Speaking WW1 words for this week.

Whizzzbang! Crrrrump! And DUD.

These onomatopoeia, each for different munitions -- their nicknames reflecting the noise that they made as they soared through the air towards the trenches. Whizzbangs were small, fast moving shells -- crumps were high explosives. And DUDS -- well, they were duds!

Before the war, Duds were clothes -- and indeed we sometimes still use that meaning today! But during the war, as munitions and artillery earned nicknames for their sound and their appearance, the word “dud” referred to a shell that failed to explode, supposedly derived from the ‘thud’ sound the shell would make when it hit the ground. Shells could bury themselves feet deep into the soft muddy earth of the western front if they failed to go off-- and as many as one in every three shells fired did not detonate! In the Ypres Salient alone an estimated 300 million projectiles from World War I were duds, and most of them have not yet been recovered.

DUD - we hope they stay that way - and this week’s word for speaking WW1. There are links for you in the podcast notes.

Links: https://wordsinwartime.wordpress.com/2015/02/05/watching-language-change-in-ww1-on-being-a-dud/


WW1 War Tech

Bike Month

This week for WW1 War Tech -- May is bike month! So as the saying goes, they rode into WWI on horses and came out riding tanks and planes --- -- but they also rode a lot of bicycles.

For their combination of speed and efficiency there isn’t much that can beat the modern bicycle. Experiments were carried out in the late 19th century to determine the possible role of bicycles and cycling within the military, primarily because a soldier on a bike can carry more equipment and travel longer distances than a soldier marching.

The US Army experimentally mounted infantry on bicycles in 1897 and had them complete a 1,900 mile journey across the plains and the Midwest. The Army’s evaluation found that the bicycle lacked the ability to carry heavier weapons -- It could not replace the horse’s ability to carry heavier artillery broken down into pack loads. And so for the US military - bicycle units were not promoted.  

However, despite not having a bike mounted infantry, the United States took a large number, perhaps over twenty thousand, bicycles to Europe with the AEF - the American Expeditionary Force.

The signal corps used bikes to deliver messenger pigeons to units and to monitor telephone and telegraph lines. By 1918, each unit had some 40 bikes at its disposal, mostly used to transmit messages. The military police also used bicycles, patrolling roads and managing traffic control stations behind the front.

Many of the european military bike mounted groups wielded foldable bikes that they could carry on their backs to cross more difficult terrain. The bikes even came in handy for a more modern use -- they could be turned into man-powered generators for bringing electricity to the trenches. Bikes did not, however, make or break military power during the war -- they had many uses, but could not give an army an advantage the way tanks, planes and artillery could. Many of the proposed uses for bicycles -- carrying machine guns, transporting the wounded, scouting the front lines -- were impractical given the realities of Trench Warfare.

The bikes at the front also proved an outlet for fun and distraction. Motorcycle and Bicycle Illustrated, a contemporary magazine, frequently reported on bike antics in the AEF-- Their March 1919 issue reported that the first AEF bicycle race occurred on George Washington’s Birthday, February 22nd, 1919, at Bar-sur-Aube, France.  The winner was Private Vandermeeren of First Army Headquarters, a Belgian immigrant and a former Belgian Champion cyclist.

Bicycles -- this week’s World War One War Tech. Check out the links in the podcast notes to learn more and to see some of the bike mounted infantry in action.

Links:  https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.$b16269;view=1up;seq=7

Motorcycle and Bicycle Illustrated March 27, 1919  https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=nyp.33433069061855;view=1up;seq=11

The United States Army in the World War 1917-1919, Organization of the AEF. 1948 https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015051411091;view=1up;seq=5










Articles and Posts

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


Headline: The New Yorker magazine interviews Sabin Howard about national WWI Memorial at Pershing Park in DC

In an article titled "There’s No First World War Memorial on the National Mall?"  The New Yorker Magazine travels to Sabin Howard's Tribeca studio to see the sculptural maquette and get the inside story on the creative process for the national World War I Memorial at Pershing Park in Washington, DC.


Headline: Pennsylvania WWI Symposium at US Army History and Education Center

Read about a the recent WW1 Symposium in Pennsylvania, which the commission’s Volunteer Coordinator Betsy Anderson attended


Headline: Proceedings due soon from "LaFayette U.S. voilà!" academic conference in Paris

The French Society of Cincinnati and the Sorbonne University organized an international history conference , "LaFayette U.S. voilà!: The American Engagement in France, 1917-1918" back in November, 2017 in Paris. The conference proceedings are soon to be published, and you can read more about them in this article.  


Headline: Fred Meyers - our featured Story of Service

Read about Fred Meyers, a farmer from South Dakota who served on the Western front 100 years ago this month.


Finally, our  selection

from our Official online Centennial Merchandise store -  

this week, it’s our Canvas and Leather Tote-- You can show your American pride while carrying this Made in the USA dark khaki tote. Plenty of room for keys, wallet, tablet and documents.

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?

The Great War Returns to PBS and Commemorative Stamps

Hey Theo --

Just two short announcements this week: first off, the PBS special  “The Great War” is going to re-air! So, if you missed it when it first came out last year, or if you’re like me and you just like rewatching good documentaries, you’re in luck. The three part series will come back to PBS stations everywhere on June 19th; the show can also be streamed online if you’re a subscribed member to your local PBS station, and you can visit the show’s website in the podcast links to watch hours of supplemental, free content.

Second and last this week, the USPS has put out a preview of it’s upcoming specialty stamps for 2018 -- including a special World War One commemorative stamp. This Forever Stamp shows a doughboy, gripping the American flag as barbed wire and biplanes loom over his shoulder. The stamp is called “Turning the Tide” and pays tribute to the sacrifice of American soldiers and millions of supporters on the homefront during World War I. Other 2018 stamps include pioneering astronaut Sally Ride, everyone’s favorite neighbor Mister Rogers, and a showcase of bioluminescent life, among others. Check them all out 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
  • Patricia O’Toole biographer and professor emerita in the School of the Arts at Columbia University
  • Michael Hitt, citizen historian, author, veteran and retired police officer
  • Dr. Jason Crouthamel, Professor of History at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan
  • 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...  

And I’m 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, bloggers, reporters and writers.

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!


No closing joke this week - but a puzzle - What do you think is the plural of Onomatopoeia

So long!


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