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Sync Call for Wednesday May 11 at 12pm EDT

Artillery shells arrive at British positions near the Somme by rail, spring 1916.

News at a Glance

1. May is Memorial Month!

2. Diane Spencer Foundation Grant!

3. Wargaming Jutland - May 31

Read more below!

 

Help the WW1CC!

  1. Donate! Go to our donations page.
  2. Send us interns! Direct anyone you know who is interested to our Internship webpage.
  3. Help with state and regional organization! Email the National Coordination Team to get involved.
  4. Shop at SMILE.AMAZON.COM! Enter the "United States Foundation for the Commemoration of the World Wars" as your charitable organization.
  5. Wear official WW1 commemorative merchandise with pride! Head over to the Commission shop for a full selection.

Register for the Sync Call

To join us for the Sync Call you must register here (name and email are all that are required). You need register only once - doing so will sign you up to join next week's call and every call thereafter.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us via ww1cc.org/contact using subject line "Sync Call"

Updates from the States

Volunteer for state outreach. Contact the National Coordination Team if you are willing to help.

State Outreach Special Seminar: May is Memorial Month - May 19

Next week on Thursday May 19 at 12pm EDT, we will host a special collaboration call on “May is Memorial Month” which will include information on merchandising and other ways to make the most of May. Email the National Coordination Team for an invitation to the call.

New York

Last week the New York State Senate passed legislation to create a New York State World War I 100th anniversary commemoration commission. BUT we need YOUR HELP to get it through the assembly and signed by the governor. We need you to send letters of support to Senator Jack Martins. We have a template, address, and email for you - download it here.

Hawaii

The WWI Task Force in Hawaii is so organized and so motivated- we are so proud of the Aloha State! Their state Website will be up on our WWICC page soon. They are also exploring the opportunity to produce the challenge coin with their logo on one side and our national logo on the other. Keep it up, Hawaii!

WW1CC.org/State-Outreach

Hey all of you who are working state-based activities - have you checked out the State Outreach section of the website: WW1CC.org/State-Outreach? We are improving it every day - and we encourage you to check it out for the latest version of The Green Book, tools, resources, reports from Collaboration Calls, and more.

News and Announcements:

Call to Action: May is Memorial Month!

We are using the weeks leading up to Memorial Day to increase public awareness of the National World War one Memorial we will be building in Washington DC.

Our largest organizational challenge is increasing public awareness of the impact WW1 has on our daily lives, why the war was so pivotal, and that the United States is on the cusp of the 100th anniversary of almost five million young Americans serving in WW1. Each state based organization, and each volunteer within, can play a critical role in addressing this public awareness challenge.

YOU can help us engage the American people in the next month, and here’s how;

1. Letters to the Editor

Every local newspaper accepts LTE, and this is a wonderful way to reach tens of thousands of your neighbors with WW1 messaging. There are two ways this can happen. First, a handwritten letter or typed can be mailed to your local newspaper’s mailing address. The letter should be no more than 2-3 paragraphs, maybe 300 words, and in it you can be very direct about what you are writing, such as; “It is important that your readers appreciate the sacrifice of so many Americans in WW1,” etc. Feel free to speak about why this matters to you, as well, in a personal context, since perhaps a relative served or some part of the war and resulting social change has had an impact on your family or community. The second way is through the paper’s web page, and normally this can be found in the “Contact Us” section, or just search the page for Letters to the Editor. The same format as handwritten applies; 2-3 paragraphs, somewhere around 300 words, etc. One thing that is critical is to include our web site in any letter, be it handwritten or submitted on their page, so together we not only raise awareness but engage people with ways they can help. WW1CC.ORG is the address every letter should contain.

2. Open Comment period in groups you belong to.

Many civic groups, neighborhood groups, Rotaries, etc often conclude their monthly meetings with open comment periods. This is a perfect opportunity to raise your hand and share some of the same sentiments discussed in the letter to the editor section above. World War One matters. We live in a world shaped by the Great War. We need people’s help to honor properly the almost five million who served. Maybe print up some information with our web site on it and have it ready to hand out. YOU can be a major asset in our effort to increase public awareness!

Your own networks; friends, colleagues, church attendees, neighbors; when you are having casual chats about Memorial Day weekend plans, that is a perfect time to talk about the meaning of Memorial Day and how we have a generation of forgotten vets who were signing up 100 years ago right now. Take a minute in May and have that conversation, remind people that Memorial Day is more than a three day weekend, it is a tribute to men and women throughout our history who were willing to put their lives on the line for this country.

3. Activate your e-mail lists and social media

Take a moment one morning in the next week and sit down and write out why World War One matters to you. Why did you decide to volunteer? Why is this a passion for you? Then take that and share it with friends, family, and neighbors through your e-mail or social media. Many of us talk about what we think is important, but it is actually kind of rare when people speak about WHY that subject is important to THEM. This is your chance, and as always, include WW1CC.ORG so we not only engage them, inform them, we also give them a way to get involved just like you did.

Memorial Day Ceremonies at National Cemeteries: 2016

Thanks to our Ex Officio Member at the Dept of Veterans Affairs, Joe Curtin, we can share with you the listing of all the ceremonies at national cemeteries across the country on Memorial Day. This listing is in alphabetic order by state. You can find this list here.

Centennial Countdown: Blog by Dennis Cross

Dennis Cross has published the April entry of his monthly Centennial Countdown blog:

It's April 1916. In the twenty-first month of the Great War, the Allies continue to struggle. The British government's attention is temporarily diverted from the Western Front to its own soil as an uprising by Irish nationalists in Dublin costs the lives of British soldiers, many of them Irish, as well as Irish rebels. On the Western Front the assault on Verdun continues and a squadron of American pilots, later named the Lafayette Escadrille, begins operations. Preparations continue by the British for the attack along the Somme and by the Russians for an offensive against Austria-Hungary on the Eastern Front. Great Britain and France agree to divide the Ottoman Empire into areas of control and spheres of influence. The United States sends a tough note to German about submarine attacks on civilian ships. General Pershing's expeditionary force clashes with Mexican troops deep in Mexican territory. The presidential election season draws near.

Read all about it here!.

Friends of Jenny - DH4

The organization Friends of Jenny is working to reconstruct a DH-4 “Liberty Plane.” The plan is to reconstruct the DH4 with as many original parts as they can. It will be able to fly- to not only commemorate those who flew her in World War 1, but also all military aviators who have served over the last 100 years. If you are interested in learning more about the project and getting involved and helping you can visit their site here: ww1cc.org/dh4.

Upcoming Events

World War I Day at Eisenhower National Historic Site - May 14

GETTYSBURG, Pa. – This Saturday, On May 14, the National Park Service will sponsor a World War I living history day at the Eisenhower National Historic Site. The public is invited to see living historians portraying members of the Allied and the Central Powers during WWI and listen to special programs from guest speakers and Park Rangers focusing on the year 1916 and WWI. Begins at 10:15 am For more information contact, visit Eisenhower National Historic Site webpage.

Sea Air Space Expo May 16-18

The Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space Exposition brings the U.S. defense industrial base, private-sector U.S. companies and key military decision makers together for an annual innovative, educational, professional and maritime based event. Sea-Air-Space is now the largest maritime exposition in the U.S. and continues as an invaluable extension of the Navy League’s mission of maritime policy education and sea service support. The Sea-Air-Space Exposition will continue to support the mission of the Navy League and lead the way as “THE” Exposition to attend each year to display the most current information and technology relevant to maritime policy. The event will take place at the Gaylord Hotel at the National Harbor. Read more here.

Press Conference to Announce WWICC Special Advisers- 18 May

On Wednesday, May 18, 11 a.m. EDT we will host a Press Conference at at the National Press Club to announce our newest advisers to the Commission. Secretary Leon Panetta will headline - we will have special advisers Vint Cerf, Sandy Pershing and former NYC Police Commissioner Ray Kelly on hand as well. During the press conference we will also sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Canada - if you are in DC we invite you to attend! You can read more about our special advisers here.

Wargaming Jutland - May 31

Jutland wargame - May 31, 2016.

Battle of Jutland Wargame at the Washington Navy Yard, 12 pm EDT.
The Battle of Jutland on 31 May - 1 June 1916 was the only major surface action between the battleships and battlecruisers of the British Royal Navy's Grand Fleet and the Imperial German Navy's High Seas Fleet. The battle ended in a German tactical victory, but resulted in a British strategic triumph. Can you repeat the German victory, or win the day for Britain? Using simple rules (involving a lot of dice rolling) players will have the chance to refight the naval battle endlessly studied and replayed in a similar fashion by U.S. British, and Japanese navies of the Interwar Period. Contact edward.furgol@navy.mil to reserve your spot at the battle.

Battle of Jutland Lecture - June 1

The National Museum of the US Navy will also give a living history lecture on the Battle of Jutland. That will take place at 12 pm EDT. Contact edward.furgol@navy.mil for more information.

National WWI Memorial at Pershing Park

We are pleased to announce that The Diana Davis Spencer Foundation is delighted to grant $1 million to the U.S. Foundation for the Commemoration of the World Wars for the construction and installation of the National World War One Memorial in Pershing Park, Washington, D.C.

You can make this memorial a reality by donating $11.11 today to the Memorial Fund. These veterans deserve a memorial. We can build it.

WW1 Commemorative Merchandise

The WW1CC merchandise store is open on our website! Go online to get your own fine-crafted piece of WW1 commemorative merchandise and to support the Commission all at once. We have an exciting and varied line of products available for purchase - check it out today!

DISPATCH Newsletter

The Commission publishes a weekly newsletter, the DISPATCH. If you’re not receiving this and want to, sign up on our Commission Subscription webpage.

 

The Great War Channel

Would you like to see some great videos on YouTube about WWI? Check out The Great War Channel. Posting multiple times a week, ‘The Great War’ shows you the history of the First World War in the four years from 1914 to 1918. The host, Indy, takes you back week by week and shows you what was going on in the past. Please subscribe to see these great posts. Their latest videos are:

The British Surrender At Kut - Germany Restricts The U-Boats : THE GREAT WAR - Week 93
Published on May 5, 2016. After 140 days, the Siege of Kut ends with the biggest surrender of British forces in history. The remaining soldiers are starting their long march into captivity. Meanwhile the Italian front lights up again as Luigi Cadorna plans a new offensive and the Germans give in to diplomatic pressure and stop their unrestricted submarine warfare.

That Question From 2014 - Verdun Heroes - Foreign Medals : OUT OF THE TRENCHES
Published on May 7, 2016. It's Chair of Wisdom Time again and this week Indy talks a lot about Verdun.

Prisoners of War During World War 1 : THE GREAT WAR Special
Published on May 9, 2016. Millions of men were captured during World War 1 and most of them spent years in prison camps as pawns of the nation that captured them. However, their experience was a taboo in the post war society. We take a look at the hardships of being a prisoner and how the world powers used the POWs as leverage.

 

The Great War Project with Mike Shuster

BRITISH PREPARE FOR THE ‘BIG PUSH’

Millions of Artillery Shells Planned at the Somme.
‘Nothing Could Exist at the Conclusion of the Bombardment.’

Artillery shells arrive at British positions near the Somme by rail, spring 1916.

(5-8 May) On the Western Front during these days one hundred years ago, the British are preparing for something big.

Many believe they are getting ready for a big push at the River Somme, in northern France.

“All was being prepared for the battle of the Somme,” writes historian Martin Gilbert, “Daily British raids across No-Man’s-Land kept the soldiers on both sides of the line at constant readiness for action.”

At the same time, “through the docks of French ports,” reports historian Adam Hochschild, “flowed a torrent of supplies… as they prepared to smash through the German lines near the Somme.”

The numbers are staggering. Half a million British troops deployed along an eighteen-mile stretch of the front.

“This was to be the ‘Big Push’,” Hochschild reports, “a concentration of manpower and artillery so massive and in such a small space that the German defenses would burst open as if hit by floodwaters.”

“Once that happened, the generals believed, a key weapon in the hands of the soldiers pouring through would be the bayonet.”

“After the Germans had been bayoneted in their trenches,” the British commander believes, “it would be a matter of…fighting the enemy in the open, and so battalions were trained intensively in maneuvering across trenchless fields and meadows.”

“Finally of course, charging through the gap in the lines would come horsemen from three cavalry divisions.”

British troops in preparation for ‘the Big Push’ at the Somme, spring 1916.

If this sounds like an almost ancient fom of warfare, it is. The difference is the scale of the preparations. “That belongs to the era of mass production,” Hochschild observes. “Troops unrolled 70,000 miles of telephone cable.” Ammunition appeared in massive dumps. Miles of new railway are being laid, as are new roads.

“With as many British soldiers crammed into the launching area as the population of a good-sized city, wells had to be dug and dozens of water pipe laid. Horses, tractors, and more sweating soldiers maneuvered heavy artillery pieces into position – no easy job when a single eight-inch howitzer weighed thirteen tons.”

According to the plan, British soldiers are to cross no-man’s-land in precise successive waves. What about the Germans’ deadly use of machine guns, which has been so effective in other battles? Simple, observes Hochschild. Artillery.

“The preattack bombardment would destroy not just the Germans’ barbed wire but the trenches and firing positions that sheltered their riflemen and machine-gunners. How could this not be when there was one artillery piece for every 17 yards of front line?”

That would rain a total of a million and a half shells down on the German trenches over five solid days.

The preparations for the attack are so obvious that there’s no chance this offensive will be kept secret. But the commanders who dream up this plan – 35 pages long for the first day – believe it is so massive and well thought out that “nothing could exist at the conclusion of the bombardment.”

As for the Germans, they have launched no major attacks on the Somme sector for a year and a half. They use this time to strengthen their defenses, a development that the British are not fully aware of.

There are signs that the German defenses are strong, but the British commanders brush that off.

Horses pull supply carts in all weather conditions, date uncertain.

Read more at GreatWarProject.org

 

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