Additional Readings and Resources
Listed below are resources we highly recommend if you are interested in California during WW1. Listed first are the On-line Resources, followed by the Practical Resources (which includes historic sites, libraries, and museums.) Next are the Book Resources listing books on California during WW1 and/or books written by California authors on topics related to the war. After that are listed the Periodical Resources. The final listings are resources for WW1 in general.
Our first listing contains the link to one of our state's most valuable military history resources.
On-Line California Resources
California Military Department's State Military Museums On-line
Greetings from the California State Military Museum System (CSMM) and the California Military Heritage Command (CMHC)! We are part of the California Military Department under the Adjutant General MG Dave Baldwin. I encourage you to visit out web site - www.militarymuseum.org. I hope you will find it educational and enlightening. It covers topics from before European settlement to the present. It should be noted that this site does not glorify war. Rather, its intent is to remind this and future generations of the sacrifices made by previous generations to keep our state and nation free.
Californians have a long and proud tradition of service that stretches back over two centuries when Alta California was a Spanish colony and later a Mexican province. Since joining the Union, California has provided more of its citizens to our common defense than any other state. From the lonely 18th century colonial presidios of the El Real Ejército de California (Royal Spanish Army of California) to the mountains of Afghanistan, Californians have always been there and continue the tradition of selfless service.
Californians who have served our nation reads like a who's who of American Military History. Generals Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman and Joseph Hooker all served in California before the Civil War. Many of the leaders on both sides of that war served in California. The California Volunteers were among the first to enter Manila during the Spanish-American War. Nelson Holderman, considered by many to be the most decorated American soldier of the First World War, served in the California National Guard before and after the war. Generals George Patton and Jimmy Doolittle were native Californians and Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz and General of the Air Force Henry "Hap" Arnold considered California their home state.
As we commemorate the Centennial of America's entry into World War One, also known as the Great War, I would like to point out the extensive subjects related to that war available to you. California and the Lost Battalion, The Naval Militia, Home Guard, and especially the California Roll of Honor are here. Two major training sites were developed during the war, Camp Fremont in the Palo Alto-Redwood City area and Camp Kearny in San Diego County were established. Both trained tens of thousands of soldiers for the war, while Mare Island and Yerba Buena Island trained sailors and marines. When the war ended, Camp Fremont was dismantled and only three buildings remain. The development of the fort created a real estate boom on the peninsula. Camp Kearny was turned over to the Navy.
Enjoy the articles and photographs, and please give credit were due for anything you share. Historical researchers spend many hours putting this material together over the years. Again, thanks for checking in and I hope you visit this site soon.
Frederick S. Rutledge Welcome to California Military History Online!
Colonel (CA) CSMR
History of the California National Guard and Naval Militia in World War I 1917-1919
Completed in 1940 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in conjunction with the California National Guard and the California State Library, this history was later digitized by the History Office, Camp San Luis Obispo, in January of 2015. The original document is on file at the California State Library.
Though produced in 1940, more than two decades after the end of World War One, many might consider this a Primary Source document.
Preparation of these materials was furnished by the official personnel of the Work Projects Administration and is at first a concise record beginning with the sinking of the Sussex in 1916 forming a brief summary of events that drew the U.S., and thus California, into the war, and by page three the narration begins to focus on the role of California's soldiers and sailors. It is an exceptional resource for the student of WW1, and the part the California National Guard and the California Naval Militia played.
Inclusive are brief facts and statistics relating to the Coast Defense Command, the Coast Artillery Corp and the 40th and 42nd Divisions. Though absent narratives of soldier and seamen detailed actions, this 163 page Outline History provides a report of commanders, and of the individual units deployments and dates of muster, assignments, actions, and demobilization.
For a complete view of the .pdf document, click: California National Guard and California Naval Militia in World War I
American Battle Monuments Commission California Page
AMERICAN BATTLE MONUMENTS COMMISSION
Following World War I, Congress recognized the need for federal control over the commemoration of American armed forces overseas. The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) was established on March 4, 1923, when President Harding signed legislation that made the new agency responsible for the construction of monuments honoring the American Expeditionary Forces. Soon after, Congress directed ABMC to construct memorial chapels in the eight permanent military cemeteries in Europe, which were at the time maintained by the War Department.
The ABMC web-page entitled “Hometown Boys from California: Information and Statistics about WWI Service Members” is part of an ongoing series will feature information and statistics about World War I service members from every state.
Final dispositions of the remains of service personnel who died in World War I were carried out. This entitled the next of kin to select permanent interment of a family member’s remains in an American military cemetery on foreign soil designed, constructed and maintained specifically to honor in perpetuity the dead of these wars. Alternatively, the next of kin could have the remains repatriated to the United States for interment in a national or private cemetery.
Today, ABMC administers, operates and maintains 26 permanent American burial grounds and 29 separate memorials, monuments and markers, on foreign soil. It also maintains three memorials in the United States. Today there are 124,000 American war dead interred in these cemeteries, of which 30,973 are from World War I commemorative cemeteries.
In January 2017, the World War I commemorative program expanded when ABMC acquired its 26th cemetery, the Lafayette Escadrille Memorial Cemetery near Paris.
Read more about the 91st Division and Californians and the roll they played in this war at https://www.abmc.gov/news-events/news/hometown-boys-california
ROADS TO THE GREAT WAR - Mike Hanlon's Daily Blog
Since the 1980s Mike Hanlon has specialized in history of the First World War. As a guest speaker and author he has written and spoken extensively on the period, even appearing on The History Channel. For over a decade he has produced a whole series of printed and online publications about the Great War accessible at www.worldwar1.com. He also leads regular tours of the war's battlefields including the Western Front, Italy, and Gallipoli.
Visit Mike's blog at http://roadstothegreatwar-ww1.blogspot.com/
Mike specifically invited the California WW1 Centennial Task Force to link to these great articles:
(This is a three-parter)
Practical Resources of California
Oswald Boelcke: Germany's First Fighter Ace and Father of Air Combat by R.G. HEAD
Oswald Boelcke was Germany’s first ace in World War One with a total of forty victories. His character, inspirational leadership, organizational genius, development of air-to-air tactics and impact on aerial doctrine are all reasons why Boelcke remains an important figure in the history of air warfare.
Oswald Boelcke: The Red Baron’s Instructor
Paving the way for modern air forces across the world with his pioneering tactics, Boelcke had a dramatic effect on his contemporaries. The fact that he was the Red Baron’s mentor, instructor, squadron commander and friend demonstrates the influence he had upon the German air force. He was one of the first pilots to be awarded the famous Pour le Mérite commonly recognized as the ‘Blue Max’. All of this was achieved after overcoming medical obstacles in his childhood and later life with a willpower and determination. Boelcke even gained the admiration of his enemies. After his tragic death in a midair collision, the Royal Flying Corps dropped a wreath on his funeral, and several of his victims sent another wreath from their German prison camp. His name and legacy of leadership and inspiration live on, as seen in the Luftwaffe’s designation of the Tactical Air Force Wing 31 ‘Boelcke’.
In this definitive biography by retired Brigadier General RG Head explores why Oswald Boelcke deserves consideration as the most important fighter pilot of the 20th century and beyond; but also for setting the standard in military aviation flying. This book will appeal to enthusiasts of the German air force, military aviation in general and World War One in particular.
Coronado’s Man of the Year for 2014
Californian, RG Head began flying when he was 15 and wrote about aviation in high school. He entered the United States Air Force Academy in 1956. In 1962 he won the Top Gun award flying F-100s. Volunteering for Vietnam he flew 325 combat missions over Vietnam, earning the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with 12 Oak Leaf Clusters.
He returned to the United States to complete his Master’s degree and PhD, and taught at the Air Force Academy from 1970 to 1973. In 1983 he made Brigadier General and served as the Deputy Commander of the Fifth Allied Tactical Air Force in Italy. General Head retired in 1987, and in civilian life worked as an environmental engineer and Vice President of a company consulting to US Space Command.
In retirement, his contributions to California include building large, scale model WW1 aircraft which hang in the Coronado Library, and the San Diego Air & Space Museum, and has published articles in World War I Aero, Air Force Magazine, USAFA Checkpoints and the Boelcke Echo.
For a more detailed biography on RG Head, see our About Us page.
Deadly Secret of the Lusitania by Ivan Light
Ivan Light’s debut novel Deadly Secret of the Lusitania retells details about the Lusitania tragedy while also managing to tell an authentic adventure story.
Though the German authorities insisted that the Lusitania was secretly carrying explosives and therefore a justified target of war, and Light weaves all the facts and theories about the incident into an espionage tale where the central characters quickly find themselves caught up in a complex web of threats and counter-threats involving half-a-dozen interested parties.
In 1915, a German U-Boat sank the British passenger liner Lusitania. Many Americans, including women and children, were among the nearly 1,200 dead, so the crime caused a storm of protest in America, and helped plunge the U.S. into World War I. In Light’s novel, an insurance investigator and his fiancée help a murdered longshoreman's widow who has been unjustly denied her husband's life insurance. Finding themselves in possession of documents detailing the Lusitania's secret cargo, the couple are targeted by both German and British spies, Irish republicans, a rogue socialist, and the newly-formed FBI, all wanting to use the suppressed material for their own purposes.
Ivan Light grew up on the lower west side of Manhattan, not far from the Lusitania's berth. His first playmates were the Irish and Italian youngsters who played "stoop ball" in Washington Square Park. He knows the neighborhood as it was. After graduating from Harvard, where he majored in history, he attended the University of California, Berkeley, receiving a doctorate in sociology. He got a job at UCLA and took up permanent residence in Los Angeles. During many years of teaching and research at UCLA, he worked consistently and published frequently on the subjects of immigration, immigrant entrepreneurship, cities, criminology, and historical sociology. A complete bibliography and free downloads of many of his academic publications are available at his university website: https://www.sociology.ucla.edu/faculty/ivan-light. Deadly Secret of the Lusitania brings together all these background experiences plus the family oral history, acquired as a child, of German immigrants in St. Louis MO during the First World War.
Ivan Light is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles. The author of seven books, he received the Distinguished Career Award from the International Migration Section of the American Sociological Association in 2000 in recognition of his pioneering publications dealing with immigrant and ethnic minority entrepreneurship. His Deflecting Immigration received the American Sociological Association Best Book award in 2006. Professor Light has published many articles dealing with immigration to the United States, organized crime, and American social history. Deadly Secret of the Lusitania is his first novel.
Professor Light resides in Claremont, California.
World War One Illustrated
One of the most excellent periodicals on the Great War is published right here out of Berkeley, CA. World War One Illustrated is an high-quality, full-color publication of the World War One Historical Association. Each issue is produced on durable semi-glossy stock with a heavier cover, making each of the year's four issues a keepsake item any WW1 collector, historian, or general aficionado proud to display in their home. Well written articles, newly discovered photographs, and easy-to-read full color maps are found in each. The publication comes with a years membership to the World War One Historical Association, the worlds premier organization for the WW1 enthusiast. Contact the World War One Historical Association at:
World War One Historical Association
2625 Alcatraz Ave. #237
Berkley, CA 94705-2702
Or you can simply visit on-line at ww1ha.org, and click on the join tab. Trust us, you won't be disappointed!
Army Magazine: April 2017 Issue, p. 22
If you are looking for a great place for some basic information on the divisions in the A.E.F. check out the article by Matthew J. Seelinger and Patrick Feng that our own Col. Kenneth Nielsen* of the California State Military Reserve, (and Commander of the California Center for Military History) found on the WWI U.S. Divisions in the April issue of Army magazine, published by the Association of the United States Army.
The entire issue appears to be a commemoration of the U.S. entry into WW1 and to the A.E.F. in general. The article called "1917 Marked Formation of 41 Divisions" speaks of California's 40th Division and gives information not usually found on many of the others. Ken says it, "Should be of interest to all."
*Our thanks go to Col. Kenneth Nielson (Ret.), Military Historian & CCMH Commander for finding this article for us.
General Resources & Links (Non-California Specific)
Don't forget to check the United States World War One Commission's Website at http://www.worldwar1centennial.org
The National WWI Museum has good material on the war in general. Their website is https://www.theworldwar.org/ and their excellent students and teachers page is https://www.theworldwar.org/learn/educators-students
The World War One Historical Association is a non-profit, educational organization dedicated to studying all aspects of this global struggle. Their website is https://ww1ha.org
On the Great War Channel each week a new episode on WW1 is revealed at https://www.youtube.com/user/TheGreatWar
The Telegraph, is a national British daily broadsheet newspaper published out of London by Telegraph Media Group and distributed across the United Kingdom and internationally. Their WW1 webpage is http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ww1-archive/
Recent Books From Authors Outside California:
- Forty-Seven Days - How Pershing's Warriors Came of Age to Defeat the German Army in World War 1 by Mitchell Yockelson (2016)
- Portraits of Violence - War and the Aesthetics of Disfigurement by Suzannah Biernoff (2017)
- The Myth of the Great War - How the Germans Won the Battles and How the Americans Saved the Allies by John Mosier (2001)