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World War I Centennial News


 

Four Questions for Lou Leto

"The best at secure communications gains a great advantage"

By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

Cryptology was a huge part of the World War I effort, yet the story is one that is not widely known. Lou Leto, of DC's National Cryptologic Museum, reached out to us the other day to tell us about the activities that they are planning for the World War I Centennial. These activities include some interesting new exhibits, and fascinating public programs.

The National Cryptologic Museum is a really unique place, and tells a unique story of World War I. Tell us about your mission, your facility, and your World War I-related exhibits.

Leto Reads Zimmerman BookLou Leto of DC's National Cryptologic MuseumThe National Cryptologic Museum is the National Security Agency’s principal gateway to the public. It shares the Nation's, as well as NSA’s, cryptologic legacy and place in world history. Located adjacent to NSA Headquarters at Ft. George G. Meade, Maryland, the museum houses a collection of thousands of artifacts that collectively serve to sustain the history of the cryptologic profession. Here visitors can catch a glimpse of some of the most dramatic moments in the history of American cryptology: the people who devoted their lives to cryptology and national defense, the machines and devices they developed, the techniques they used, and the places where they worked. For the visitor, some events in American and world history will take on a new meaning. For the cryptologic professional, it is an opportunity to absorb the heritage of the profession.

Originally designed to house artifacts from the Agency and to give employees a place to reflect on past successes and failures, the museum quickly developed into a priceless collection of the Nation's cryptologic history. The museum opened to the public in December 1993 and quickly became a highlight of the area.

Being the first and only public museum in the Intelligence Community, the National Cryptologic Museum hosts approximately 70,000 visitors annually from all over the country and around the world, allowing them a peek into the secret world of code making and code breaking.

The museum has been featured in a plethora of international TV, print, and radio media and has hosted visitors and dignitaries from around the world.

The museum houses several exhibits and displays dealing with the cryptologic aspects of World War I. They include the Zimmermann Telegram, the World War I Radio Intercept Site, and the Native American Code Talkers. Each has a unique and important story to tell about America’s role in The Great War. The Zimmermann Telegram exhibit, for example, highlights how a decoded message changed the course of history. The exhibit of the intercept site is important in telling the story of radio communications and interception. Signals could be intercepted without being in close proximity to the transmitter or transmission lines and could provide vital information about enemy tactics and strategy. As World War I was the first time messages could be sent using radio, the U.S. Army Radio Intelligence Section used their newfound capabilities to “spy” on enemy conversation.

Read more: Four Questions for Lou Leto

48 Fallen 48 Found Project

"Share with us a part of our past which we have forgotten"

By Jed Dunham

Editor's note: Jed Dunham is a former student & athlete at Kansas State University. He created a remarkable project, 48 FALLEN / 48 FOUND, to honor World War I veterans from his school. His story is unique, and he gave us a rundown on his project, in his own words.

48 Fallen 48 Found Project Roots and Origins:

My name is Jed Dunham and I am a 1996 graduate of Kansas State University. In the fall of 2014 I returned to Manhattan, Kansas to attend a lacrosse reunion and as I entered the stadium where I had played a "thousand times" I took a photograph of the plaque which honors the 48 students from Kansas State who had died in the First World War. The stadium is named Memorial Stadium but I and many, many others simply referred to it as "Old Stadium" after the football team vacated it in 1967 for the new stadium north of campus.The 48 Fallen PlaquePhoto of the plaque attached to Memorial Stadium which started the entire project

With the World War Centennial already happening I was interested in how the war impacted America and in particular how memorials had affected the landscape of the country in the wake of the Armistice. I had become aware of Mark Levitch's WWI Memorial Inventory Project and that was a factor in my renewed interest for the WWI memorial on the KSU campus.

How The Research Was Done:

I returned to New Hampshire where I am from and after looking through the photos from the reunion weekend I stopped at the one with the plaque. I wondered who these men were and thought for certain all my questions would be answered with a simple Google search.

This was not the case.

They had all vanished. Nothing remained of them to describe who they had been and what had happened to them. Each name was dropped into multiple websites and search engines but nothing hit. They were gone. And thus began my odyssey. The plaque itself says "In remembrance of those..." and yet there was nothing to found.

After a "long process" I was able to find a peripheral source through an online archive and the discovery of the 1919 Royal Purple, the college year book, gave me the first clues as to who they may have been. Further searches found the story of how the stadium came to be and in the 1923 edition, dedicated to the Fallen, I found a page with home towns, dates of birth and death and in some cases the military units they belonged to. This broke the case and with these clues I was able to unravel the mystery.

What Was Learned:

What surfaced is the never before told story of the American experience in the First World War told through the eyes of those who saw it. It's a chronological evolution of how the country entered the war and what happened as a result. These men served in all branches, across every front and through every battle. Through them we feel the arrival of the Influenza virus at Camp Funston where many of them trained. And as they died they tell us how the war unfolded. Slowly at first and then with dramatic speed and horror.

Read more: 48 Fallen / 48 Found

French Embassy to host series of World War I-themed events in NYC

17352357 1843755495894654 382491282316296189 nOne hundred years after the United States entered World War One, the French Embassy seeks to shed light on this momentous occasion through a series of exhibitions, talks, concerts, and screenings beginning in New York City and continuing across the US throughout 2017. The program aims to familiarize younger generations with this transformative moment by exploring the ongoing impact of the cultural and aesthetic upheaval of the period and uncovering untold stories of communities that were instrumental to this critical period of history.

Kicking off a major nationwide centennial commemoration this spring, the French Embassy has assembled a series of events in New York City as part of a yearlong program “How 1917 Changed the World”. Centennial activities will continue throughout the year from Boston to Chicago and Atlanta.

As the events of this year demonstrate, the friendship between the United States and France has been both central to the preservation of democracy around the world and a driving force behind a long, remarkable history of cultural and artistic creativity. It is our honor to commemorate the sacrifice made by the American soldiers who participated in the war and to celebrate the enduring bond between France and the United States that has helped shape our world over the last hundred years.

Read more: French Embassy to host a series of World War I-themed events in NYC

Patrouille de France to perform at April 6th event in KC

Patrouille de france éclatement 500

By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

The famed aviation demonstration team from France, Patrouille de France, will perform in the skies over Kansas City on April 6th, 2017, as part of the national commemoration event hosted by the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission and the National World War I Museum and Memorial. This show will be part of their 2017 tour the USA.

The Patrouille de France is coming back to the United States for the first time since 2009 to commemorate the U.S. entry in World War One 100 years ago, in April 2017, and to thank the United States for its support of France in time of need.

Since 1915, American volunteers had joined the French Air Service and in 1916, the Lafayette Flying Corps and the Lafayette Escadrille had been formed, in honor of the Marquis de Lafayette whose role had been so significant in America’s War of Independence.

The airplane was the war’s newest weapon and Americans were quick to distinguish themselves alongside their French brothers in arms. Many of these young men joined the American air service by the end of 1917 when American pilots kept arriving from the United States.

To them, and to all the American pilots who fought in the skies of France until the Armistice on November 11, 1918, the Patrouille de France would like to express its gratitude during this USA 2017 tour: "We remember and we thank you."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read more: Patrouille de France to perform at April 6th event in Kansas City

 

VFW joins WW1CC Poppy Program

Poppy Box VFW

By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

WASHINGTON, DC: One of the largest veterans service organizations in the world, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. (VFW), has officially partnered with the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission for the Commission's innovative new veterans-awareness program.

The WW1CC rolled out the WW1 Poppy Program two weeks ago. Details on it can be found here: ww1cc.org/poppy.

Founded in 1899, the Veterans of Foreign Wars is the oldest major veteran’s organization in the nation, and its membership, combined with that of its Auxiliary, stands at nearly 1.7 million people. They fund and manage programs that support veterans, service members and their families, as well as communities, worldwide.

Poppies are a familiar symbol for VFW members -- since 1922, the VFW has sold its own "Buddy" Poppies, in memory of the America's veterans. The poppy flower became a veterans remembrance symbol during World War I, stemming from the famous poem "In Flanders Field" by Canadian medical officer, Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae.

With this new WWI poppy program, a partner organization can provide WW1CC with a $64.99 donation and get a poppy seed kit, containing 60 poppy seed packets. The partner organization can, in turn, distribute the poppy seed packets for $2 a piece -- and the partner organization can keep that second dollar.

In this way, WW1CC raises money for the National World War I Memorial at Pershing Park in Washington, DC, and we also help our partner organizations to raise money for their own programs.

Read more: Veterans of Foreign Wars joins the new WW1 Poppy Program

 

Will Smith's Overbrook Tackling Max Brooks' 'Harlem Hellfighters' for History Channel

By Borys Kit and Lesley Goldberg
via Hollywood Reporter

Book CoverHarlem Hellfighters, the fact-based graphic novel by World War Z author Max Brooks, is getting the limited-series treatment from History Channel.

Jeremy Passmore and Andre Fabrizio, who wrote the Dwayne Johnson earthquake adventure movie San Andreas, are on board to pen what is being developed as a six-hour series that will hail from A+E Studios in association with Overbrook Entertainment and Immersive Pictures.

Will SmithWill SmithHellfighters, illustrated by Caanan White, was based on the real-life U.S. Army's 369th infantry division, an African American unit fighting in Europe during World War I. Breaking down racial barriers, the unit spent more time in combat than any other American unit, never losing a foot of ground to the enemy, or a man to capture, and went on to win countless decorations. They faced tremendous discrimination during the war and even when they returned from the front as heroes.

What changed for the men of Harlem was being assigned to a French command whereupon the Hellfighters first experienced something unknown to them in America at that time — racial equality. The unit would eventually be awarded the Croix de Guerre by the French Government for their distinction in battle in liberating France from the Germans.

Will Smith, James Lassiter and Jada Pinkett Smith’s Overbrook production banner is executive producing with Brooks and Immersive’s Josh Bratman. Fabrizio and Passmore will also executive produce.

Read more: Will Smith's Overbrook Tackling Max Brooks' 'Harlem Hellfighters' for History Channel

Four Questions for Dr. Matt Field, U.S. Capitol Visitor Center

"The continued relevance of Congress’s actions during World War I to today"

By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

There are a group of new world-class exhibits opening this Spring in Washington DC, to help tell the story of America and World War I. 1917-1918 was a tumultuous time for decision-makers in Washington, and this show shows us what those leaders did, and what the results were. To commemorate the centennial of U.S. entry into World War I in 2017, the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center presents the yearlong exhibition, Congress and the World Wars. Through constituent correspondence, petitions, political cartoons, and posters, visitors will be able to see how Congress responded to the issues facing the nation and how that response impacted the lives of Americans and redefined the nation within the world. Key legislation, such as the Selective Service Act, G.I. Bill of Rights, Marshall Plan, and declarations of war will be highlighted. The first half of the exhibit, on display March 8, 2017, through September 11, 2017, will feature Congress’s actions during World War I and World War II. The second half, on display September 13, 2017, through March 5, 2018, will feature Congress’s actions after the wars. We recently spoke with Dr. Matt Field, from the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center. He is their Exhibits and Education Program Specialist, and is curator of the exhibit. He gave us his insights on the exhibit.

You have a remarkable new exhibit coming up, CONGRESS AND THE WORLD WARS. Tell us about the exhibit overall. What will we see?

Dr Matt Field US Capitol Visitor CenterDr. Matt FieldWe are very excited about our yearlong exhibit, Congress and the World Wars, which will commemorate the centennial of the United States’ entry into World War I.

Visitors will see constituent correspondence, petitions, political cartoons, and posters—all examples of how Congress responded to the issues facing the nation and how that response impacted the lives of the American people and redefined the nation within the world. Key legislation, such as the Selective Service Act, G.I. Bill of Rights, Marshall Plan, and declarations of war will be highlighted.

The first half of the exhibit, on display March 8, 2017, through September 11, 2017, will feature Congress’s actions during World War I and World War II. The second half, on display September 13, 2017, through March 5, 2018, will feature Congress’s actions after the wars.

Was there much connection between Congress's actions on 6 April 1917 and on 8 December 1941? How did the national tones compare? Were there new & different players involved? How did the arguments compare? Was there unity between the parties?

There were important connections between Congress’s actions in April 1917 and December 1941. First of all, both declarations of war occurred after long, extended periods of debate, which reflected the country’s clear preference for non-intervention in the conflicts. In our “Debating the Wars” section, you will learn about the Gore-McLemore Resolution in early 1916 and the Neutrality Acts prior to Pearl Harbor. Both topics are examples of Congress’s preference for non-intervention, a policy adhered to for years prior to entry in the conflicts.

Read more: Four Questions for Dr. Matt Field, U.S. Capitol Visitor Center

100 years on, Brooke USA organization honors USA’s million war horses

via horsetalk.co.nz

The USA’s World War One Centennial Commission has made Brooke USA’s Horse Heroes campaign an official Centennial Partner, recognizing the contribution of America’s horses and mules to the war effort.

Horse Heroes textThis year the United States will commemorate the 100th anniversary of its entry into one of bloodiest wars of the century.

The Commission was established by the US Congress under the World War I Centennial Commission Act. The role of the Commission is, among other things, to develop programs to commemorate the historic event and to encourage and facilitate the activities of private, state, and local organizations which are commemorating the centennial. President Obama signed the Act, and Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush are Honorary Chairs of the Commission.

The Commission believes that Horse Heroes will further the Commission’s goals of educating the American people about the causes, courses and consequences of WW1, commemorating US involvement in that war, and honoring the service and sacrifice of American servicemen and women in the war.

The role of Horse Heroes will be to remember the nearly one million American horses and mules who served alongside their brave soldiers, by raising $1 million to improve equine welfare around the world.

Brooke USA Chairman Dr David Jones said the organization was honored to be named as a partner alongside several highly esteemed organizations. “We’re also grateful for the privilege of bringing the immeasurable impact that American horses and mules had on the war to the public’s attention.”

Read more: 100 years on, USA’s million war horses honored

Three Questions for Dr. Noriko Kawamura

"Slow but steady escalation of invisible conflicts"

By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

Dr. Noriko Kawamura is associate professor of history at Washington State University. Kawamura’s research focuses on the history of war, peace, and diplomacy in the Pacific World. She teaches the history of U.S. foreign relations, U.S.-East Asian relations, U.S. military history, and modern Japanese history. She is also the author of Emperor Hirohito and the Pacific War. She also co-edited Building New Pathways to Peace and Toward a Peaceable Future: Redefining Peace, Security, and Kyosei from a Multidisciplinary Perspective. We caught up with Dr. Noriko Kawamura, recently, and talked to her regarding her recent Pritzker Military Museum and Library presentation on Japan's role in WWI.

You recently gave a talk at the Pritzker Military Museum & Library on World War I and Japan's role. Tell us about your talk. What is your background, and what did you cover?

I am teaching the history of U.S. foreign relations, U.S. military history, and U.S.-Japanese relations at Washington State University. My talk at the Pritzker Military Museum & Library is based on my book, Turbulence in the Pacific: Japanese-U.S. Relations During World War I (Praeger, 2000).KawamuraDr. Noriko Kawamura

My book examines the trajectory of U.S.-Japanese relations and show how World War I impacted these two Pacific powers. I argue that World War I was a contingent factor in the Pacific when it started, but by the end of the war, the balance of power shifted in the Pacific in a fundamental way. Japan who emerged as the leading regional power in Asia challenged the domination of the Western Powers in the Pacific, especially the United States.

The role of Japan -- and the war activity in the Pacific -- was quite significant. There was the confiscation of ships, occupation of colonial 'territories', power plays in Russia, the scuttling of the SMS Comoran. Whole empires were colliding. Tell us about what was happening in/around Japan at this time.

Japan as an ally of Great Britain declared war on Germany and occupied the German leased territory in Shandong in China, and German Pacific islands (the Marianas, the Carolines, and the Marshalls). While European powers were preoccupied with the war in Europe, Japan launched an ambitious assertive policy to establish its supremacy in China, and later in eastern Siberia (which utterly failed). Japan’s relationship with the United Stated rapidly deteriorated because President Woodrow Wilson emerged as a protector of the Open Door and independence of China, and tried to curb Japan’s aggressive policy. The anticlimactic U.S.-Japanese joint military expedition in Siberia caused more tension between the two, and their distrust of each other deepened. President Wilson and the Japanese delegation had a showdown at the Paris Peace Conference.

Read more: Three Questions for Dr. Noriko Kawamura

American Association for State and Local History joins WW1CC Poppy Program

By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

The U.S. World War I Centennial Commission (WW1CC) welcomes the partnership of the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) in the new WW1 Poppy Program.

Poppy Box AASLHLast week, the WW1CC went live with the program, which is a great new grassroots awareness and fundraising effort. Details can be found at ww1cc.org/poppy

With the program, a partner organization can provide WW1CC with a $64.99 donation and get a poppy seed kit, containing 60 poppy seed packets. The partner organization can, in turn, distribute the poppy seed packets for $2 a piece -- and the partner organization can keep that second dollar. In this way, WW1CC raises money for the National World War I Memorial in Pershing Park, and they also help our partner organizations to raise money for their own group.

The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) is a national association that provides leadership and support for its members, who preserve and interpret state and local history, in order to make the past more meaningful to all people. AASLH has over 6,000 members across the country.

John Dichtl, AASLH President/CEO, stated “I am excited to be working with our colleagues at the WW1CC to promote the poppy program. It’s a tangible way to connect the local to the global, to support the work of the Commission in communities across the country, and to help generate funds for state and local history institutions. AASLH will be eager to see how organizations integrate the poppies into innovative programs to mark this important commemoration.”

Read more: American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) joins WW1CC Poppy Program

Monahan sworn as Commissioner on U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

John D. Monahan of Essex, Connecticut was sworn in as Commissioner on the United States World War One Centennial Commission during the American Legion’s 57th annual Washington Conference last week. He was appointed to this position by the American Legion. He has served the Legion in the past as commander of La Place-Champlin American Legion Post 18 in Essex, Conn. and in various post, state and national levels.

Monahan swearing in 500John Monahan (left) is sworn in as a Commissioner by U.S. World War One Centennial Commission Chair Robert Dalessandro (right).The U.S. World War I Centennial Commission is a Congressional Commission, created to provide public outreach, education programs, and commemorative events for America’s involvement in World War I. Congress also authorized the Commission to create the new National World War I Memorial in Washington DC. Centennial Commission members are appointed by Congress, by the President of the United States, and by the American Legion and the VFW.

As representative of the nation’s largest organization of wartime veterans, Monahan joins fellow commissioners Col. Robert J. Dalessandro, chair; Edward L. Fountain, vice chair; Jerry L. Hester; Col. Thomas Moe; Ambassador Theodore Sedgwick; Dr. Libby O’Connell; Dr. Monique Seefried; Maj. Gen. Alfred A. Valenzuela; Debra Anderson; Terry Hamby; and Dr. Matthew Naylor. Monahan replaces the late Commissioner and American Legion representative James Whitfield, who passed away in December 2016.

A 20-year veteran of the U.S. Army, Monahan served in uniform both as an enlisted soldier and as an officer. His military career was wide-ranging, including duties as a rifleman, tank company commander, foreign area expert, staff officer, linguist and arms-control inspector. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Rhode Island and a master’s degree in European studies from Cornell University.

Read more: Monahan sworn as Commissioner on U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

World War I exhibits at the National Museum of American History

By Melinda Machado
Director, Office of Communications & Marketing, Smithsonian's National Museum of American History

The year 2017 marks the centennial of the official United States involvement in the First World War and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History will commemorate this anniversary with a number of displays and programs.

si wwi header 1 400The Museum holds a variety of collections demonstrating the transformative history of World War I and of the United States’ participation in it. The objects and their stories help illuminate civilian participation, civil rights, volunteerism, women’s military service, minority experiences, art and visual culture, medical technological development and new technologies of war and peace.

Read more: World War I exhibits at the National Museum of American History

Flag at Legion HQThe American Legion proudly flies the World War One Centennial flag at their headquarters in Indianapolis.

Commission unfurls new commemorative flag

By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

The World War One Centennial Commission has proudly launched a new flag! This 3x5 flag features a single silhouette of the famous Doughboys – the brave American men who served in the Army and Marine Corps – against a backdrop of the front lines of World War One.

Nearly 117,000 American service members gave their lives in support of freedom during World War One. More than 200,000 were injured. Our mission is simple: to honor those American families who served – and sacrificed – to ensure our security and freedoms.

Will you help us in this vital cause by buying a flag or making a tax deductible donation? Proceeds support the World War One Centennial Commission and building the new WWI Memorial in Washington, D.C.

To buy your flag, click here. Please connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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