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WW1 Centennial News for June 8, 2018 - Episode #75

Interior of a WWI era German U-BoatInterior of a WWI era German U-Boat

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Highlights: War Comes to US Shore!

  • 100 Years Ago This Week: German U-boats on the Eastern seaboard | @01:30
  • War In The Sky: First American Ace | @07:30
  • A million men in France - Mike Shuster | @`12:30
  • Machine gunners at Chateau Thierry - Dr. Edward Lengel | @16:45
  • Commission Armistice Centennial Plans - Meredith Carr | @21:10
  • CBS News Radio at Pershing Park - Chas Henry | @27:15
  • WWI at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum - Dr. Peter Jakab | @29:50
  • New Mexico in WWI - Jeff Laudermilk | @36:10
  • 100C /100M: Hawaii’s Memorial Natatorium - Donna Ching | @43:00
  • Centennial in Social Media - Katherine Akey | @51:25

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Welcome to World War 1 centennial News - episode #75 - 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 updates us on the fighting fronts around the world
  • Ed Lengel tells the story of the machine gunners at Chateau Thierry
  • Meredith Carr gives us a preview of commemorative events planned for the upcoming centennial of the Armistice
  • Dr. Peter Jakab [jay-cub] introduces us to the WW1 programming at the National Air and Space Museum
  • Jeff Lowdermilk joins us from
    the New Mexico WW1 Centennial Commission
  • Donna Ching shares the 100 cities/100 memorials project in Honolulu
  • Katherine Akey highlights 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.




As we screened the stories running 100 years ago this week, in the NY times and the Official Bulletin, the government’s War Gazette - a major US domestic theme took front and center.

The germans were trying to bring the war to our shore! U-boats were cruising off our eastern seaboard, threatening our merchant shipping and sinking ships. Though the loss of life was minimum, the psychological effects were powerful… and the media was speaking to it.

With that as a setup, we are going to jump into our Centennial TIme Machine and go back 100 years ago this week in the War that changed the world!



World War One THEN

100 Years Ago


From the front page of the Official Bulletin - published by George Creel’s Committee for Public Information...

Dateline:  Monday, June 3, 1918

Headline: three American ships sunk off New Jersey coast by enemy submarines

Crews are rescued

And the stories reads:

Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels authorizes the following statement:

The Navy department has been informed that three American schooners have been sunk off this coast by enemy submarines.

The secretary’s statement closed with:

“The Navy department is taking the necessary steps to safeguard the shipping along the coast.”

The next day in the Bulletin


Dateline Tuesday, June 4, 1918

Headline: Navy announces - now five US ships sunk by submarines off Atlantic Coast

One life known lost

Steamship Carolina not heard from since reported under fire of U-boat Sunday afternoon.

Oil tanker among the vessels reported lost.

Later in the same issue of the Bulletin there is a first person account of the attack. It is an account of how these attacks went throughout the week -

Headline: Steamer Bristol chased by submarine after picking up Schooner Cole's crew; latter saw the second steamship sunk

And the story reads:

the captain of the Bristol reported:

"on June 2 at 4:30 PM, I cited a lifeboat with 11 men, the crew of the American schooner Edward H Cole, The Cole having been sunk by a submarine at 3:30 PM about 50 miles south east of Barnegat light."

"the crew of the Cole say the submarine was about 200 feet long and was armed with two 6 inch guns. About 3 PM the Cole sighted the submarine on the starboard bow about 2000 yards away.

He circled around and came up their port side. The submarine commander told the  captain and crew to get in their boats, saying that he was going to sink the vessel.

He then came aboard and examined the ships papers, and at the same time gave the captain 7 1/2 minutes to leave the ship.

About 15 minutes after the crew got away from the Cole it sank. Four bombs had been placed on the vessel, two on each side, and some were placed about the deck.

The submarine stayed until the crew rowed to the northwest."

One hour later, when we were about 4 miles from the submarine, another steamship appeared close up to the submarine, which fired five times before she altered her course".

On Wednesday another front page story in the bulletin


Dateline Wednesday, June 5, 1918

Headline: US destroyers stops U-boat attack on French steamer

Off Maryland coast

Warship also takes on board man from the Edward Bayard, bombed and sinking.

Another story in the same issue  lists 11 US ships reported to navy as sunk by submarines… The article goes on to read off the names of the ships the smallest of which was a 436 tons, schooner and the largest a steamship at 7200 tons.

From the NY times:


Headline: TEXEL sunk, 36 survivors landed

Former Dutch steamer attacked by a U-boat 60 miles from the city

Fired without warning

Shrapnel rained on deck, men reach Atlantic City lighthouse in small boats

And the story reads:

36 survivors of the steamer TEXEL, a former Dutch ship which recently had been operated by the United States shipping board, was sunk without warning, 60 miles off New York Harbor, Sunday afternoon at 4:21 p.m., The crew landed at a nearby lighthouse, just before midnight.

A cargo of 42,000 tons of sugar, valued at $20 a ton was lost. The total loss was more than $2 million.

The stories go on throughout the week and beyond with many articles providing first hand accounts of the attacks - many times, in attacking the unarmed merchant ships, the U-boats would fire warnings from guns, come aboard, examine papers, get the crews to abandon ship and blow them up with bombs rather than wasting torpedoes.

If the ships were armed or fought back - the submarines would stand off and torpedo them.

The general loss of life was not large, but the disruption to shipping in our eastern seaboard was profound.

We have posted a lot of our research links for you in the podcast notes. The most compelling are the many first person accounts of the attacks -   as the Germans bring the war to our shore -- 100 years ago this week in the war that changed the world.

Other naval stories






















Fighting Front
















War in the Sky

This week for the War in the Sky 100 years ago, we can easily stay on the theme of the war at our shore

with two stories

and then

we head overseas to pick up the action there.


Dateline June 5 1918

Headline: City lights out in  air raid test

Aviators make observations preliminary to possible darkening of the streets.

Anti aircraft guns ready

System of siren signals arranged to warn people of danger from the skies

And the story reads:

Electric signs and all lights, except street lamps and lights in dwellings, were out in the city last night in compliance with orders issued by police Commissioner and at the suggestion of the war Department, as a precaution against a possible attack by aircraft from a German submarine.

While the probability of raids by aircraft from submarines is not considered to be great, officers of the Army and Navy urged that every precaution be taken. In spite of the difficulties attending such an operation, to assemble an airplane on a submarine and launch it for a raid is held to be far from impossible.


Dateline June 3, 1918

Headline: Aero club  wants more aviators to hunt U-boats here

And the story reads

Extension of the airplane mail service is to give long distance flight training to American aviators to fit them for seeking out submarines which now have appeared off the coast and for bombing German cities, This  was urged by the post office department today by a committee from the Aero club of America.

They said that they had been informed by the military authorities that there were plenty of training planes and that the war Department was more than willing to cooperate with the postal authorities in extending the air Mail service.

Meanwhile from the war in the skies over Europe:


Dateline June 2 1918

Headline: Campbell first Ace of America

California pilot honored as well as two others who flew with Lafayette corps.

Campbell Downs a fifth adversary

And the story reads:

The first American trained Ace has arrived. This morning Lieut. Douglas Campbell, of California, brought down his fifth Bausch plane in a fight back of our lines.

Besides Campbell, America has two other cases, maj. William Thaw and Capt. Peterson, but both Thaw and Peterson got their training in the Lafayette escadrille. Campbell on the other hand, never trained with any other outfit than the Americans, and never did any air fighting before he arrived on the American front a few weeks ago.

Campbell is the son of the chief astronomer of the lick Observatory, near Pasadena California. He joined the American air service after the United States entered the war and came to France and began practice flying last fall. He is 22 years old. He is the first to get the credit of being a Simon pure American Ace.

In a final story from the NY times we have a front line correspondent story about the allied air superiority in France.

Dateline June 7, 1918

Headline: air superiority rewon

Allied bombers operate with impunity on the French battlefront

"In the valley of the Savierre, our bombardment squadrons threw more than 17 tons of bombs on enemy troop concentrations." Says last nights communiqué. The New York Times correspondent today visited one of the finest aviation groups in the French army and learn a first-hand story of that exploit.

In the early afternoon, the airmen were informed that a large number of Germans were assembling in the valley of the Savierre, a little river whose course is almost parallel with the front. Owing to the configuration of the ground

they were sheltered from the fire of artillery and it was evident that they intended to reinforce the German move westward into the forest of Viller-cotterets.

A first squadron of Bomb planes were sent out.

Then a second...

At first, no Germans were visible, then circling low, the air men discovered the enemy hiding in the horseshoe woods on the Eastern side of the valley.

Again the German battalions were subjected to a terrible bombardment amidst trees that gave no protection.

Before the decimated units could reform the first squadron had returned with a new load and once more the wood was filled with the roar of explosion. No human morale could stand such triple strain. In vain, the German officers tried to reform their panic stricken men. When the French infantry counter attacked they had an easy victory over the weakened forces that had made the advance.

And those are some of the stories --

100 years ago this week

From the war in the sky!






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, your post this week includes a very interesting and relatively unknown skirmish near the village of Montsec - when the US forces get thrown off a hill there for one night and the germans use that for propaganda that the American’s can’t fight. Of course that turns out quite incorrect, but things are far from rosy at this point, aren’t they Mike!

That’s true Theo! The headlines this week read...

[thanks Theo - The headlines read]


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



America Emerges: Military Stories from WW1

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

The Americans turn out to be fierce fighters -- despite all initial uncertainty coming from their French and British allies - and of course the German propaganda that these are not fighters.  Ed’s here to tell us about how one division, the 3rd, proved their worth in battle -- 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 and his web sites as an author.  





World War One NOW

And that’s what was happening 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

Armistice Events in 2018 with Meredith Carr

With the centennial of the Armistice, only 6 months away, the US WW1 Centennial Commission is preparing for a national commemoration of this very significant moment, November 11, 2018.

Of course “Armistice Day” has evolved into Veterans day, but this year, it is is marked with very special significance as the centennial of the END of WWI!

Meredith Carr, the Deputy Director of the US WW1 Centennial Commission is heading up the initiative of what will happen on November 11th and we thought it would be great to have her come on the show and give us a heads up on what we can expect, both in Washington DC and around the nation… indeed maybe around the world!

Meredith! Welcome to the podcast.


Meredith - I gotta go for a little insider info for the audience - Way back in 2013, Meredith used to “host” a weekly conference call for various organizations planning the WWI centennial - and that very same call evolved into this podcast! So welcome home Meredith!


Let’s talk through some of the events the Commission has planned to commemorate the end of WW1 on November 11th this year--

Can you start by telling us about the event at Washington’s National cathedral?

You’ve got another program that EVERYONE around the country can participate in - a bell tolling - can you tell us about that?

I know it is early - and plans are just coming together and we will be having you on again over the coming months but is there anything else you can tell us about today? [Pershing park activities in planning]

Meredith - thank you for joining us and giving a preview of coming attraction for the upcoming centennial of the WWI armistice.


Follow the links in the podcast notes to learn more about upcoming WW1 commemoration events across the country.

Links: http://www.worldwar1centennial.org/



A Century In The Making

A Century in the Making is our on-going narrative about the National World War One Memorial at Pershing Park in Washington DC.

This week, CBS News radio is running a story where host  Chas Henry - Himself a retired US Marine Corps Captain - did an extended interview for CBS Eye On Veterans with Commissioner Edwin Fountain, and memorial designer Joe Weishaar recorded AT pershing park.

The segment will air

Saturday June 9th between 6-8 pm Eastern

and again Sunday June 10th between 2 and 4pm Eastern.

 You’ll find the interview around 34 minutes into the show and it runs for nearly 25 minutes - an interesting perspective on the Memorial not to be missed. Here is a brief introduction with Host  Chas Henry.



Events and Programs at the National Air and Space Museum

For this week’s commemoration events section - we are very pleased to welcome Dr. Peter Jakab, chief curator at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC--

Welcome, Dr. Jakab!


Dr. Jakab - Let me start by asking you about curation - WW1 is this incredibly important moment for flight technology -- with many planes and materials from the era lost to time! How do you approach this very complex period in aviation history?

The National Air and Space Museum is hosting this wonderful exhibit called “Artist Soldiers” -- It is a great exhibit - and not particularly about flight - so how did this show end up at the National Air and Space Museum?

You have an upcoming MUSICAL event called, "The Yanks Are Coming:" The Songs of World War I

Could you tell us about it?

Does the museum have any specific activities planned for the Armistice centennial this November?

Katherine noted that the Museum has great ways for people who are not in Washington to enjoy your content - could you tell our audience a bit about how they can enjoy the museum in other ways?

Dr. Jakab - Thank you so much for all the great focus you are bringing to the centennial of WWI and for coming on the podcast to tell us about it!

[thank you/goodbyes]

Dr. Peter Jakab is the chief curator at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC. Learn more about the museum and its WW1 programs and exhibitions at the links in the podcast notes.





Updates from the States

New Mexico

This week in Updates from the States -- we’re headed to a state we don’t automatically associate with WWI --- Pershing, and Pancho Via - yes - but WWI - not so much… It’s New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment! To tell us about New Mexico and WWI is Jeff Lowdermilk, deputy chairman of the New Mexico WW1 Centennial Commission

Jeff - welcome to the podcast!


Jeff -- let me start with your state and WWI - You were just 2 years old with WWI broke out! what was New Mexico like 100 years ago, and how did it participate in the war effort?

Jeff.. The New Mexico WWI commission was only recently established… Can you tell us about that?

What kinds of programs are the Commission planning?

Well, you just recently launched the New Mexico state website at ww1cc.org/nm or ww1cc.org/newmexico - all one word - lower case -- what can people expect to find there?

Jeff: As a side note - briefly - because we are almost out of time, you recently published a book; Honoring The Doughboys: Following My Grandfather’s WWI Diary, where you retraced you Grandfather journey in europe. Can you give us an overview?

Where is the book available?


The New Mexico in WWI website can be found at ww1cc.org/newmexico - all one word - all lower case… Jeff Lowdermilk is an author and the deputy chairman of the New Mexico WW1 Centennial Commission.  Learn more about the New Mexico WW1 Centennial Commission by going to their website or by following the links in the podcast notes.

Link: www.ww1cc.org/newmexico


100 Cities / 100 Memorials


Moving on to our 100 Cities / 100 Memorials segment

about the $200,000 matching grant challenge to rescue and focus on our local WWI memorials.

This week we are crossing the Pacific to Honolulu Hawaii!

Now Hawaii has been in the news for week with the volcano eruptions on the Big Island - which is not, for those of you who have not been lucky enough to go there - where the capital of Honolulu is located.

Hawaii was also in the news 100 years ago this week, when on June 4th, 1918 the secretary of War announced with a headline that read:



Now Hawaii was not even a state yet, but a force of 3,200 men were to be added to the Army from a proclamation by President Wilson placing the Hawaiian National Guard in service

Now they were not planning to send this force to France - but rather to relieve forces that the US army had stationed there - freeing them up  for deployment.

According to the article in the Official Bulletin - That Hawaiian force was  genuinely cosmopolitan with native Hawaiians, Americans, Filipinos, Chinese-Americans, Japanese - Americans and more…

After the war - Hawaii dedicated a large swimming venue as a WWI memorial - it is called the Natatorium - and here to tell us about the venue, its restoration and its designation as a WWI Centennial Memorial is Donna Ching, Vice chairman of Hawaii's World War I centennial task force.

She is also vice president of the Friends of the Natatorium, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of the ocean pool known as Hawaii's 'living war memorial'

Donna, Welcome to the Podcast!

You know, I think most people have never thought about Hawaii and WWI - But there are really a surprising numbers of connections…  underestimate Hawaii's role in WW1 - by how much would you say?

Donna, can you start by telling us the history of Hawaii “Living Memorial”?

QUESTION: I hear…. that you have big plans for the armistice centennial coming up on 11/11.

QUESTION: Thank you Donna, for talking with us and sharing the story of Hawaii incredible living memorial!

There has been a big fight going between preserving and tearing down this really beautiful venue - how’s that going?

Your 100 Cities / 100 Memorials grant application was in large part built around informing your community about the importance of the venue -  rather than for restoration directly. Has the designation as a National WWI Centennial Memorial helped?

What’s next for the project?

Donna - It’s a great story - About Hawaii, about the centennial, about the armistice and for me - most important about passion for local heritage driven by WWI - thanks for sharing it with us!

[goodbyes/thank you]

Donna L. Ching, Vice chairman of Hawaii's World War I centennial task force . Learn more about the 100 Cities/100 Memorials program by following the link in the podcast notes.

Links: www.ww1cc.org/100cities

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?

Exhibits, Posters and More

I want to share a couple great resources and exhibits this week! In the fall, we let you know about the Department of Homeland Security's WWI Poster Series, which highlights the historic roles of the DHS components -- to include Immigration & Naturalization Service, Customs & Border Protection, Secret Service, Coast Guard, and legacy agencies. Well, the folks at DHS have now published these great poster files on their website -- so that the public can easily access them! They’re a wonderful, free educational resource -- check them out at the link in the podcast notes.

Additionally, there’s a new exhibit open at the Library of Virginia in the state’s capital, Richmond. The exhibit “"True Sons of Freedom" explores the stories of Virginia's African American soldiers who served during World War I -- and will be on view to the public through November 9, 2018. I’ve included a link to the exhibit’s website as well as to a video tour of the exhibit in the podcast notes. The exhibit’s website is a great resource for anyone who can’t quite make it to Richmond -- it include profiles of dozens of Virginian men who served.

Finally -- this week included June 6th, well known as the anniversary of the WW2 landings at Normandy, D-Day. But June also marks the anniversary of some of the most bloody and intense fighting American soldiers have ever faced -- the fighting at Belleau Wood. The battle forged the modern day Marine Corps -- and you can, and should, read the article recently put out in the Washington Post and included in the podcast notes -- it highlights the fighting from 100 years ago and contextualizes its importance to the modern day.

That’s it for this week in the Buzz.






And that wraps up episode #75

of 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
  • Meredith Carr, Deputy Director of the WW1 Centennial Commission
  • Dr. Peter Jakab, Chief Curator at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC
  • Jeff Lowdermilk, deputy chairman of the New Mexico WW1 Centennial Commission
  • Donna Ching, vice president of the Friends of the Natatorium
  • Katherine Akey, WWI Photography specialist and line producer for the podcast

Many thanks to Mac Nelsen our hard working sound editor

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!


Hey - in closing we just want to welcome all our new summer interns at the US WWI Centennial Commission. Hey Gunny - we haven’t heard from you you in a long time - I hear you want to welcome the interns.

That’s right you maggot - OK Intern’s listen up!

Welcome to WWI Centennial BOOT CAMP - I don’t wanna see any of you trying to spit polish your tennis shoes - Got it? Dismmised

So long!


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