Welcome to World War 1 centennial News - episode #61 - It’s about WW1 THEN - what was happening 100 years ago this week - and it’s about WW1 NOW - news and updates about the centennial and the commemoration.
Today is March 2nd, 2018 and our guests for this week include:
A great lineup -- today -- 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.
Last month we did an experiment. Dr. Edward Lengel, Katherine and I sat down together - as we often do in our editorial meetings - and talked about the upcoming month of February.
We got great feedback from you so we are going to do it again, here at the top of March!
I put a sidecar on our centennial Time Machine so we’d all fit as we roll back 100 years to the war that changed the world!
Overview Chat with Ed, Katherine and Theo
Ed, Katherine - welcome to early March 1918.
[Ed & Katherine make some comment]
So guys - I understand that this is our last chance to take a breather - Starting this month, the action gets pretty hot and heavy with the Germans getting ready for their big Spring offensive.
[Katherine - you use the term Kaiser Schlagt or Emperor’s Strike. Is that the same thing as the “spring offensive?”]
[Ed - this is going to go on for months going forward - can you give us an overview and what the German’s have in mind?]
[Quick change of subject - As we get into the military action we keep throwing around all these names of military formation like division, corps, regiment, brigade - and I’ll wager 80% of our audience has no idea of what all that means - so let’s do an overview - We sent over a Field Army - that’s the big one - the American forces]
[Ed - can you break it down for us - sort of big to small and tell us about how many soldiers are in these various formations?]
[Force building in Europe - March - April - May - June etc…]
[Now that we have a clear idea that there are ARMIES on the ground -
As the German offensive starts - Our US General Pershing needs to integrate with the French and the British commands - How does all that lay out?]
That was Dr. Edward Lengel and Katherine Akey as we talked about an overview for the upcoming month of March, 1918 and even looking forward a bit more than that.
Next week we will be back to our regular 100-years-ago this week format including our regular feature ‘America Emerges - Military Stories from WWI”
Now on to the Great War project with Mike Shuster - former NPR correspondent and curator for the Great War project Blog….
Mike’s recent posts have told us of the devastating suffering of the German people in the fatherland, But…. the Kaiser and his Generals are feeling hot and empowered by the total defeat of the Russians on the Eastern front. They think they are going to win this thing!
The spoils-of-war from that campaign include vast territorial gains, massive stashes of captured arms, repatriation of huge numbers of soldier all now available to put the big wallop on the French and Brits - hopefully before the Americans can really join in the fight.
So Mike the details of the Russian collapse are really monumental, aren’t they!?
Mike Shuster from the Great War Project blog.
The Great War Channel on Youtube is hosted by Indy Neidel. Here is Indy.
[Hello WW1 Centennial News Listeners - I’m Indy Neidell, host of the Great War Channel on Youtube. American troops are about to experience their first major battle of the war-- the Kaiserschlacht. Join us every Thursday for a new episode to follow this massive German offensive as it unfolds. Find us on Youtube and follow us on Facebook.]
This week’s new videos from the Great War Channel include:
To see their videos by searching for “the great war” on youtube or following the link in the podcast notes!
OK… time to fast forward into the present with WW1 Centennial News NOW -
In this section we explore what is happening NOW to commemorate the centennial of the War that changed the world!
We have a lot to unpack here so let’s get going with Medicine in WWI!
We have three guests with us today who not only know a whole lot about the subject - but they have also bundles that know-how into an amazing new website on the Commission’s server at WW1CC.org/medicine - all lower case.
Charles Van Way, a retired Army Colonel, Professor Emeritus at University of Missouri–Kansas City
George Thompson, Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of the History and Philosophy of Medicine at the University of Kansas Medical Center, and
Sanders Marble, the senior historian with the Army Medical Department Center of History and Heritage.
These are the three men responsible for this website. And they did a masterful job. It may be one of the most authoritative, in-depth, well illustrated and concise subject sections on our site.
[Gentlemen: At the very top of your website you put a statement.. It reads: A century ago, American Medicine went to war! I love that - it’s very illustrative.]
[How did the three of you come together to undertake making with wonderful resource?]
[What was the biggest impact of the war on American Medicine? Charles, let’s start with you.]
[OK - a round table question - with a one phrase answer - what was the single most important innovation in medicine coming out of this war - ] [Sanders --- George --- Charles----]
(talk about how they agree and disagree)
[We just had a question come in from a member of our live audience:
When influenza cases started to appear on the in-transit troop ships - what kind of isolation units were set up on these overcrowded transports to lower the contagion rate? ]
[Quickly about the website - It is really comprehensive - You could do a semester course with it. Charles, could you give us a high level overview of what all is there?
Gentlemen - thank you for introducing us to the subject of Medicine in WWI - but most of all - thank you for the huge effort you put into building the scholarly, in-depth and well thought web site at ww1cc.org/medicine!
Charles Van Way, George Thompson, and Sanders Marble are the curators of Medicine in WW1, the amazing new resource at ww1cc.org/medicine.
To kick off our Remembering Veterans Section this week, let’s talk about VSOs - that stands for Veteran Service Organizations. Organizations like the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars or VFW, The Daughters of the American Revolution or DAR and a whole lot of others. These organizations are very important partners for the commission with closely aligned goals and missions.
Many of you listening today are in fact members of a VSO, but if you are not, let me give you an overview of who they are. First of all - they are amazing - and amazingly dedicated organizations focused on the men and women who served and sacrificed for our nation.
And although they have national organizations, for the most part - they are very grassroots by nature with thousands of local posts or chapters all around the country that do all the real hands stuff.
For example - When my dad, who was a Marine Corps Pilot in WWII passed away, a local American Legion post provided an honor guard for his funeral - because he served his nation! And they won’t forget one of their own. And I’ll never forget how they honored him - even though he was not a member of their post.
VSO’s have been deeply involved in many of our commemoration programs including 100 Cities / 100 Memorials, centennial commemorations with States, and they have been key financial contributors to the national WWI Memorial project in Washington DC.
But as I said - it is all about the local level - so for the local posts and chapters - we just published a special landing page on our website just for them - it’s a landing page with a series of “subject and activity tiles” that make it easy to see how to get involved with the centennial commemoration of the war that changed the world.
It’s actually not a bad resource for anyone - at ww1cc.org/veteran all lower case and of course you can always follow the link in the podcast notes.
Staying with veterans, wrapping up African American History Month and leading us into Women’s History month, this segment is about the experiences of African American Nurses.
Joining us again is Dr. Marjorie DesRosier (de-roh-zuhr), who was on a few weeks ago. Dr. DesRosier is an international nurse historian and independent scholar. She, herself is also a Registered Nurse and former clinical professor from the University of Washington School of Nursing, in Seattle.
Welcome back, Dr. DesRosier!
[The story of African American Nurses in WWI is fascinating - To start, could you tell us about how an African American woman would go about becoming a Nurse in that era? ]
[What kinds of resistance did these women encounter?]
[How did these women respond? Especially to the Surgeon General’s policies?]
[Did it work?]
[Where can people learn more about this?]
We’ve posted some links in the podcast notes for our listeners - Dr. DesRosier - thank you for coming back on the show to bring us this story.
Dr. DesRosier is an international nurse historian, independent scholar and registered nurse - Follow the link in the podcast notes to learn more about African American Nurses in WW1 and Dr. DesRosier’s work.
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 is a perfect tie-in to the VSO story we told you about earlier - because this project is being done by --- Veterans of Foreign Wars post 968 in Raymond, Washington. With us tell us about their city and the project is Gordon Aleshire, Adjutant of VFW Post 968.
[Gordon - you live in a beautiful - and pretty remote part of the country - tells us about Raymond, Pacific County and the areas roll in WWI?]
[I have seen the before and “in process” pictures of your memorial. It really needed help. Tell us about how the post decided to take this on.]
[Did the 100 Cities / 100 Memorials project come along for you before or after you took on the challenge?]
[What are your rededication plans?]
Gordon - Thank you and post 968 for the great work you are doing in remember our WW1 doughboys!
Project support link: https://www.gofundme.com/ww-i-memorial-restoration
Gordon Aleshire, is Adjutant of VFW Post 968 in beautiful Raymond Washington
As we mentioned - March is Women’s History month -
So This week for our Spotlight in the Media --
We’re joined by Eliza Chin, Keri Kukral and Mollie Marr. They are the team that researched and produced a documentary called:
At Home and Over There: American Women Physicians in World War I.
Welcome to you!
[Eliza: You are the executive Director of the American Medical Women’s Association - Briefly - what is that? What does the organization represent?]
[Keri: You are the founder and CEO of Raw Science TV - again briefly what is that?]
[Mollie: you know this was coming - I know you are a student at the Oregon Health & Science University - but you’re also the Executive Chair of the American Medical Women's Association branch at the school - how does that work at a university?]
[Alright - So the three of you came together to create this wonderful documentary - AND I have to add - impressive companion online web exhibit - How did this come together?
Eliza can you tell us?
[Keri-- the film has a 3D component to it. Tell us about that - What was the intent?]
[Mollie would you please tell us how you researched the subject - anything particularly surprize you?]
[Eliza -- If someone would like to book the film for a local screening or WWI event -- how do they do that?]
Thank you all for joining us today and telling us about this great project!
Eliza Chin is Executive Director of the American Medical Women's Association -- Keri Kukral is the CEO of Raw Science TV -- and Mollie Marr is an MD/PhD student at Oregon Health and Science University.
You can learn more about their project: At Home and Over There: American Women Physicians in World War I and how to access the documentary for your WWI event by following the links in the podcast notes.
And now for our feature “Speaking World War 1” - Where we explore the words & phrases that are rooted in the war ---
During WWI as planes flew over the front - little puffs of smoke appeared in the sky… Well - actually each one of those puffs was a deadly expanding ball of shrapnel designed to mangle planes and pilots!
True to British humor this deadly deterrent for fliers got a silly nickname - which is our Speaking WWI word for this week.
“Archie” -- was the British nickname for anti-aircraft fire-- and it has two contested origins.
Origin #1: A pilot in the Royal Air Force, Vice-Marshall Borton, who, upon encountering enemy anti-aircraft fire, apparently quoted a lyric from a popular music hall song of time: “Archibald certainly not!” - a popular contemporary cultural exclamation of defiance.
Origin #2: The training grounds for RAF pilots back in England at --- Brooklands in Surrey - neighbored a “sewage farm” -- The Archibald sewage farm.
Apparently the farm, which processed sewage to irrigate and fertilize the land, had notoriously difficult air currents above it, creating a wafting turbulence the pilots found quite similar to that of the anti-aircraft weapons.
Either way, Archie! an humorous and very English term for the explosives that trailed and tormented pilots as they flew over the front in WWI.
-- See the podcast notes to learn more!
Browning Machine Gun
For WW1 War Tech -- this week, we’re taking a look at The Browning Machine Gun.
It got a lot of press this week 100 years ago because apparently on February 27, 1918, in the vicinity of Congress Heights in Southeastern Washington D.C, it sounded like the War in Europe had suddenly spread to America. This is because they were test firings of the new Browning at the U.S. Government’s shooting range.
The guns, the Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) and the Browning M1917, were being demonstrated to a crowd of American politicians, foreign army officers, and the press.
The firearms were being touted as “the finest gun in the world”.
The machine guns were the brainchild of John Moses Browning, a man known as “the father of modern firearms” whose weapons designs, including the pump-action shotgun.
When the Army sent out a request to all American inventors asking for new firearms designs in 1917, Browning personally traveled to the capital to present his new prototypes. The Ordinance Department demanded these weapons be put to the test by shooting 20,000 rounds of ammunition. When the test was performed at the Government Proving Grounds in May 1917, Browning’s gun fired the 20,000 rounds with no complications, then fired another 20,000 only breaking a single part.
Besides reliability, another impressive feature was a design so simplistic, the officers who demonstrated the weapon could take it apart and put it back together while blindfolded. This made such an impression on the War Department that the “blindfold test” soon became an essential part of military training.
Mass production began soon thereafter, with the first Browning guns arriving in France on June 29, 1918. Though only 1,168 Brownings saw combat, the general design proved so useful the Browning M1917 was an essential part of the American arsenal all the way until the Korean War.
Read more about the Browning at the links in the podcast notes.
This week for the WWrite Blog, which explores WWI’s Influence on contemporary writing and scholarship, the post reads: “Brest-Litovsk: Eastern Europe’s Forgotten Father” The post was written by Adrian Bonenberger
In his lifetime, the world-famous Polish dancer, Vaslav Nijinsky, might have also claimed Russian, German, or Ukrainian nationality. The future of Nijinsky's Europe–and his identity–was decided on March 3, 1918. Veteran author, Adrian Bonenberger, calls the event "the moment" when "the old world falls apart, and creates space for the new to arise."
In this week's WWrite post, Bonenberger gives us a rich overview of the Brest-Litovsk Treaty and its implications for the former Soviet bloc countries! Read the story at the Wwrite Blog. Ww1cc.org/w w r i t e or follow the link in the podcast notes.
Changing formats a little - Katherine Akey is going to close out this week with a story about an article we posted on our website at ww1cc.org/news about American painter and ambulance driver - Waldo Pierce - but her report is equally about the Corine Reis - the author of the article and a dedicated French curator of WWI stories and images.
[Katherine - you were the one who came across Corine that led to the article maybe we should start with her - her curated images are truly AMAZING!!!]
Hey Theo -- yeah, the project Corine has been working on is something else.
Published on our website, and included in our weekly email dispatch, is an interview with Corine. She’s a French citizen historian -- and the great-niece of American painter and ambulance driver Waldo Peirce. He was one of the many students voluntarily leaving their lives at home-- for him, his studies at Harvard-- to aid the French years before America joined the war. Corine meticulously, and with a great sense of storytelling, curates and shares his photographs, artwork and writings on her Tumblr and Facebook pages, chronicling his experience throughout the war. Her interest and personal connection to Waldo grew over time, expanding to include the American Volunteers of WW1 at large.
In the interview, Corine discusses her passion, the incredible archive left behind by her great-uncle Waldo, and her plans for documenting the lives of volunteers during WW2 as well.
Additionally to reading the interview, I’d really, really encourage you to take the time to scroll through her Tumblr, which can be found embedded in the interview at WW1cc.org.
To say that Corine is a dedicated storyteller is a understatement of the highest order. Through this project, she has gathered photographs and excerpts from collections all across the world, creating a single body of stories that is unlike most we encounter when researching World War One. I first came across her Tumblr during my weekly search for photographic content for the Commission, and was really surprised at how few of the images were familiar to me. So much of what she has rediscovered and shared with the world is quiet, quotidian, and somehow spectacular: An image of a woman ambulance driver holding a kitten and casually wearing the Croix de Guerre; an over-the-shoulder shot of a young British officer staring longingly at a photo of a woman tucked inside his hat; an image of a man sitting in the midst of a dense, unspoiled French forest as sunbeams glance through the trees; a crowd gathering around a deep, shearing hole in the Parisian street, the result of a recent German air raid.
The collection Corine has assembled -- and continues to assemble-- is exceptional. The hours of work -- as well as her very artful eye and deep passion for the subject-- are evident in every post.
We’ve included links in the podcast notes to the interview we did with her, as well as to her Facebook and Tumblr pages.
Thank you Katherine -
Thank you for listening to this week’s episode of WW1 Centennial News.
We also want to thank our guests...
Thanks also to our intern John Morreale for his great research assistance.
And I am Theo Mayer - your host.
The US World War One Centennial Commission was created by Congress to honor, commemorate and educate about WW1.
Our programs are to--
inspire a national conversation and awareness about WW1; this podcast is a part of that…. Thank you!
We are bringing the lessons of the 100 years ago into today's classrooms;
We are helping to restore WW1 memorials in communities of all sizes across our country;
and of course we are building America’s National WW1 Memorial in Washington DC.
We want to thank commission’s founding sponsor the Pritzker Military Museum and Library as well as the Starr foundation for their support.
The podcast can be found on our website at ww1cc.org/cn
on iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Podbean, new this week on Stitcher - Radio on Demand --- as well as the other places you get your podcast -- even on your smart speaker.. Just say “Play W W One Centennial News Podcast.”
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!
Archie, Veronica and Jughead - Three types of deadly munitions from WWI - Not true…. Just kidding… So long!
SPECIAL: Sacred Service for WWI: Ep.# 148
SPECIAL: First Man Into Germany Ep.# 147
WWl Through Many Lenses - Ep.# 146
Overtures To Peace & Baseball - Ep.#145
October 1918 & The Lost Battalion - Ep.#144
FOCUS ON: The New WWI Memorial Ep.#143
Dr. John Morrow: Lifetime Achievement Ep.#142
FOCUS ON: The Animals of WWI - Ep.#141
The American Worker & WWI - Ep.#140
FOCUS ON: Non-Combatants of WWI - Ep.#139
War Football & the NFL - Ep.#138
American Legion Post #43 Revitalized: Ep.#137
The Ghost Fleet of Mallows Bay - Ep.#136
Focus ON: War in the Sky Ep.#135
American Philanthropy & WWI - Ep.# 134
WWI Remembered in KC & DC - Ep.# 133
Red Summer Riots - Ep.# 132
Monumental Scale! - Ep.#131
Ike’s Big Road Trip - Ep.# 130
4th of July 1919 - Ep# 129
American Revolution Podcast
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