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WW1 Centennial News for June 1, 2018 - Episode #74

Belleau Wood Battle of Belleau Wood: June 1-26, 1918

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

Highlights: June 1918 Overview

  • June 1918 Overview roundtable - Dr. Edward Lengel, Katherine Akey, Theo Mayer | @01:35
  • Not all quiet on the western front - Mike Shuster | @15:30
  • National Memorial Day Parade | @19:55
  • 369th Experience Memorial Weekend concerts | @22:05
  • East Indians in WW1 - Tanveer Kalo | @25:35
  • Belgian Children’s “Thank You” - Nancy Heingartner | @32:15
  • 100C/100M in Bismarck, ND - Susan Wefald | @39:25
  • Speaking WW1: Cantonment | @44:50
  • WW1 War Tech: FlammenWerfer | @46:15
  • Dispatch Newsletter Highlights | @48:45
  • The Buzz: Social Media - Katherine Akey | @51:40

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 #74 - 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:

  • Dr. Edward Lengel, Katherine Akey and I sit down for our
    June 1918 preview roundtable
  • Mike Schuster updates us on the fact that it is NOT all quiet on the Western Front
  • Tanveer Kalo tells us about American immigrants from East Indians and their WWI experience
  • Nancy Heingartner shares the story of her great-grandfather, the US Consul in Liege, Belgium in WW1
  • Susan Wefald [wee-fald] tells us about the 100 Cities/100 Memorials project in Bismarck, North Dakota
  • Katherine Akey with the commemoration of world war one in social media

And a whole lot more 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 first week of every month, we invite you to our preview roundtable where Dr. Ed lengel, Katherine Akey and I talk about the upcoming month and the key events that happened 100 years ago.  The question on the table as we sat down was, “ what WERE the big stories and themes in June 1918… What follows is our conversation.



World War One THEN

June 1918 Roundtable

[Ed Lengel, Katherine Akey, Theo Mayer take an overview of June 1918]


Great War Project

Let’s move on to the great war project with Mike Shuster, former NPR correspondent and curator for the Great War project blog.

Mike - in your post this week you talk about Pershing telling the Allies that the American Forces would not really be ready till the end of the year - maybe not until 1919 - which totally freaks everyone out. The French are quite certain that they cannot last till then, aren’t they Mike?


Mike Shuster, curator for the Great War Project blog. The link to his post is in the podcast notes




World War One NOW

And that’s what was happening 100 Years ago  - 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 Follow Up:

This past weekend we celebrated Memorial Day -- and WWI commemorations were front and center in communities all across the country. The Commission had a pretty busy weekend as well!

First of all we had a float to commemorate the centennial of WWI in the National Memorial Day parade in Washington, DC. Besides being joined by  a number of very cool WW1-era trucks and vehicles, General John J. Pershing himself -- and a bunch of reenactors - We also introduced America’s National WWI Memorial -- asking crowds - “Did you know that every major war of the 20th century has a Memorial in the Nation’s capitol except WWI?” The unbelieving shock at this revelation was pretty universal. Everyone assumes that there is one! But there’s not

[video clip of anchors]


Now New York City always has quite a Memorial Day - Besides their own parade, the Navy coming to town for the much beloved Fleet week - this year the Commission was instrumental in sponsoring a very special event for the occasion.

The musicians of the 369th Experience brought turn-of-the-century ragtime and Jazz onto the decks of the USS Intrepid at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum at  Manhattan’s Pier 86.

Carrying on the legacy of the famous Harlem Hellfighters Regimental band, the 369th Experience pulled together talented modern-day musicians from  HBCU’s - Historically black colleges and universities, all around the country.

The musicians competed to participate in this 369th regimental band tribute -- and a number of amazing and amazed young men came to New York for a truly memorable experience!

[Video clip from PIX 11 News]

We collected the social media posts about the 369th Regiment, regimental band and the Memorial day concerts from everywhere, and put them in a special gallery at ww1cc.org/369th or follow the various links in the podcast notes to learn more.







Remembering Veterans

Indian Americans in WW1 with Tanveer Kalo

This week For Remembering Veterans -- We want to end the month of May-- which is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month-- with a focus on Indian American immigrants in WW1.

Our guest for this segment has an unusual background in his WWI expertise… He has become one of the leading “ Go To Guys” when it comes to indian participation in WWI.  He just graduated as the Ronald E. McNair Scholar from St. Lawrence University - but before that - he was an intern at our own World War One Centennial Commission. His name is Tanveer Kalo, Tanveer, thank you for joining us!


[Tanveer-- it is so exciting to see an intern from the commission continuing their passion fanned to flame by that experience. Can you tell us the story of of your intern experience and how it shaped this interest of yours in the Indian American experience of a hundred years ago?]

[When you interned, you helped the noted journalist Suruchi Mohan

put together one of our publishing partner site called Vande Mataram and dedicated to the Indian American experience.]

[The site features the story of the “Hindoo” conspiracy -- can give us an overview of the incident?]

[You recently wrote up a profile on Dr. Bhagat Singh Thind -- who was he, and why did you choose to focus on his story?]

[Tanveer… What’s next on your horizon?]

[Tanveer - we are all very proud and excited about your growing work and recognition in this area. Thank you so much for coming in and speaking with us today!]


Tanveer Kalo just graduated as the Ronald E. McNair Scholar from St. Lawrence University and a former WW1 Centennial Commission Intern. Read his articles and learn more about Indian American service in WW1 at the links in the podcast notes.




Special Remembering WWI

Belgian Children’s Project

In a special Remembering WWI segment -- we’re going to hear about a very touching and heartfelt tribute made by Belgian refugee children from one hundred years ago. For this, we are joined by Nancy Heingartner, the Assistant Director for Outreach at the University of Wisconsin -

Madison's Institute for Regional and International Studies. Nancy also happens to be the great-granddaughter of Alexander Heingartner, the U.S. Consul in liege, Belgium, in 1915. Her discoveries in a family attic has gifted her with a very special collection of letters sent to Alexander Heingartner -- letters of thanks -- from Belgian school children 100 years ago.

Nancy - welcome to the podcast!


[Nancy, could you start off by telling us a bit about your great-grandfather? Was he in Belgium when the war broke out?]

[The children writing him letters were thanking him for the support and provisions given to them by the Commission for Relief in Belgium -- Now that was the organization that was led by a young engineer and mining consultant named Herbert Hoover - what is that Commission, and how was your Great-Grandfather involved in it?]

[Tell us about the letters! We’re audio only, but we hear that they are really delicate and beautiful objects.]

[What are your plans for the letters now?]


Nancy Heingartner is the Assistant Director for Outreach at the University of Wisconsin, Madison's Institute for Regional and International Studies. Learn more about her discoveries by following the links in the podcast notes.

Link: https://www.facebook.com/usembassybelgium/photos/a.119544323109.103769.39878083109/10153509217488110/?type=3&theater




100 Cities / 100 Memorials

World War Memorial Building - Bismarck, ND

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’re profiling a project from Bismarck, North Dakota - it is the capital city of North Dakota located on the bluffs of the Missouri River..

With us to tell us more about the World War Memorial Building project is Susan Wefald, vice chair of the North Dakota World War I Centennial Committee, an active volunteer, and a retired elected state official.

Susan, Welcome to the Podcast!

[Susan, your project involves a WWI memorial building rather than a statue or a monument. What made your community decide to build a WWI memorial building in 1929?]

[In its early years, the building housed the state legislature for a time, how did that come about?]

[Susan, you have clearly been the spearhead for a lobby restoration efforts, how did you get involved.]

[Has there been any community reaction to the site being selected as a WWI Centennial Memorial site?]

[What stage is the work at?]

[Do you plan a rededication?]

Thank you Susan for coming in and telling us about the project.

[goodbyes/thank you]

Susan Wefald is vice chair of the North Dakota World War I Centennial Committee. Learn more about the 100 Cities/100 Memorials program by following the link in the podcast notes.

Links: www.ww1cc.org/100cities

Speaking WW1

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

After April 6th of last year, we started talking about the Cantonments that the US government was building all around the country to train our millions of new recruits.

Everybody got the idea that Cantonments were big ol’ training camps from the context we used it in  - All the historians. and military experts around me were using the word like it was something I should have known - but you know, when I started asking around, who the heck uses the term Cantonment on a regular basis!?

Seriously - turn out that the word cantonment comes from a 16th century middle french term for a corner or angle - which leads to an area - then a section of land - then a segment of a region -

By 1917, Cantonment was the name for a permanent military camp or garrisons -- and for World War One

the US built some 30 of these camps to accommodate the training for our new army.

Cantonment -  but a pretty esoteric term for my money!  - this week’s word for Speaking WWI
Next week we are going to look at the word Boot Camp - which also shows up at this time, and unlike Cantonment - it sticks around and is popular  today!




WW1 War Tech


Now for WW1 War Tech -- This week we’re looking at one of the truly horrific ww1 weapons - tweaked up by the Germans and called - Der FlammenWerfer - which quite literally translated as the flame thrower.  100 years ago as the Americans entered the fray at Cantigny, French flamethrower troops were part of the offensive forces used against the Germans.

Now The idea of the flamethrower goes WAY back… to the 5th century BC, with some of the earliest working examples dating back to the Byzantine era --- by the 1st century AD hand-pumped flamethrowers on board ships were being used and known as Greek Fire.

The more contemporary version of the weapon was developed in the early 1900s by the German inventor Richard Fiedler. There were two types, the Kleinflammenwerfer and the Grossflammenwerfer, which appropriate to very  literal nature of the german language means the small flame thrower and big flame thrower. The small ones were one-man portable backpack devices and the large ones were three-man, big hose, big pressure, long throw monsters.

Although it was initially placed into the German arsenal in 1911, the flamethrower wasn’t used extensively until the summer of 1915. The shock, fear and terror caused by the cascading sheets of fire led to quite a panic among the defenders.

It really is a horribly grizzly weapon!

And like so many other devastations of  WWI, the Allies quickly began developing their own flame throwing machines.

Meanwhile, flamethrower operators typically do not live very long. The first threat is not from the enemy but from potential fatal malfunctions of the weapon

-- after all, with the portable ones, you were essentially carrying around an explosive backpack

with a lit fuse.

- with the big ones - well it’s just sort of nutty to squirt huge quantities of flammable liquids out a nozzle and then light it on fire…  

Enemy gunfire is a pretty big threat too  - You know that nicely lit-up guy with the flame stick -- well he’s just a natural target to shoot at first.

The Flammenwerfer - another horrific WWI weapon and this week’s subject for WWI War Tech  -- Learn more at the links in the podcast notes.



Articles and Posts

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


Headline: In DC Memorial Day Parade, heir to the Pie Man from Georgetown recalls efforts which provided ‘Dough for the Doughboys’

Writer Anthony Hayes, in  the Baltimore Post Examiner tells the amazing World War I history behind the quaint pie truck-- a black Model T box truck – replete with it’s creamy-white “Connecticut – Copperthite Pie Company” WWI logo.


Headline: POLITICO article offers in-depth look at current status of new national World War I Memorial at Pershing Park in Washington, DC

POLITICO published a broad-ranging and insightful article on May 28 that takes a hard look at the obstacles facing  progress of the new national World War I Memorial at Pershing Park in Washington, DC, and the opportunities which may emerge from moving forward on the project in the coming months.


Headline: Lowdermilk book aims to "shine the light of awareness" of WWI for next generation

Upon receiving the diary of his grandfather, a World War I veteran,

writer and photographer Jeffrey Lowdermilk

was inspired to honor his grandfather’s memory by taking the same journey across Europe.

mLearn about his book, Honoring The Doughboys: Following My Grandfather’s WWI Diary.


Headline: "There But Not There" silhouettes honor WWI fallen, and support military charities

A new nationwide campaign to commemorate the centennial of World War One and raise funds for military charities was launched across the United States this week -- read the article titled…  There But Not There


Headline: This week in the WWrite Blog: I Never Saw Him Drowning: Great-Uncle Charlie and the Great War

Philip Metres tells the story of his Great-Uncle Charlie, his veteran father, and of his own exploration of war through writing and poetry.


Finally, our  selection

from our Official online Centennial Merchandise store -  

this week, it’s centennial key tag, inscribed with -  nothing can stop these men!

Inspired by an original World War One poster, this key tag features the dramatic image of a bayonet advance on the enemy, with the United States flag in the upper corner. You can get it at in our official Merchandise store by following the links in our weekly newsletter the Dispatch…

Subscribe by going to ww1cc.org/subscribe 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 did you pick?

Memorial Day Stories and More

We have so many photo albums, links and articles to share with everyone from Memorial Day weekend! In the podcast links you’ll find photos and reports from the American Battle Monuments Commission and the US Army Center of Military History -- both of whom participated in the Grand Opening ceremony of the new Visitors Center at the American Monument in Chateau-Thierry, France on Sunday May 27th. You’ll also find links to videos of the Memorial Day commemorations at the Lafayette Escadrille Memorial and of WW1 Centennial Commissioner Monique Seefried speaking from the fields of the Meuse Argonne. There’s also an article from NPR about the temporary Poppy memorial set up on the National Mall over the weekend -- 645,000 synthetic flowers — one for each American killed in an international conflict since the start of World War I — pressed against acrylic panels and backlit.

Finally -- the team behind the film Sgt Stubby: An American Hero have teamed up with the American Legion to bring the film to communities across the country! Fun Academy Motion Pictures is offering American Legion posts nationwide opportunities to screen the critically acclaimed animated film beginning Memorial Day weekend and continuing through Veterans Day with the help of veterans-outreach nonprofit VetFlicks.org. Read more about it, and how to organize a screening in your local American Legion Post, by following the link in the podcast notes.

That’s it for this week in the Buzz.









And that wraps up the last week of May

for WW1 Centennial News.

Thank you so much for joining us.

We also want to thank our guests...

  • Mike Shuster, Curator for the great war project blog
  • Dr. Edward Lengel, Military historian and author
  • Tanveer Kalo , a quickly developing expert on indians in WW1 and a former Centennial Commission Intern
  • Nancy Heingartner, educator and custodian of a great century old collection of thank you letters from Belgian students
  • Susan Wefald,  vice chair of the North Dakota World War I Centennial Committee
  • Katherine Akey, WWI Photography specialist and line producer for the podcast

Many thanks to Mac Nelsen our hard working sound editor

who makes us all sound like we never make mistakes ---

And of course I never do!

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!


In closing, We have a discovered fact that is very strange but true…

Did you know that there are over 26,000 people in the united states that tend to use the word “cantonment” multiple times a week, and have for decades - Yup - and they all live near pensacola, Florida in, you guessed it - the only town in the US called cantonment.

So long!


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