Sync Call for Wednesday May 13 at Noon EST
1. News and Announcements:
Recap of Lusitania events
Our NYC Lusitania wreath-laying ceremony was a success! Diplomats, dignitaries, and descendants joined us to pay their respects to the victims of the tragic sinking. We have a short video of the event available on the WWICC Homepage. Our panel on the Lusitania in Washington DC went just as well as its NYC counterpart, receiving coverage on CSPAN.
A big thank you to everyone who made either event possible!
Recap of the Embassy Events for EU day
Our participation in the EU Embassy Open Houses went well. We had over 10,000 visitors at UK Embassy and 3,200 at Belgium Embassy, meaning we exposed 13,200+ people to the WWICC and our mission over 6 hours! As a result, we've gained a multitude of new social media followers and two pages of volunteer candidates. A special thanks goes out to the volunteers who helped that effort.
All Government Briefing
Next Thursday, May 21, we will hold an all government briefing at the US Navy Memorial. Here we will brief our Ex Officio Members, Advisors and partner agencies on our mission, timeline and significant events.
Design Competition Press Announcement
This is the announcement many of you have been waiting for... We will announce the design competition for the WWI Memorial at Pershing Park in Washington, DC on Thursday May 21, 2015 at the National Press Club at 2pm. The announcement is open to the public and afterward that portion of our website will go live. This is very exciting to us, we can't wait to see submissions and move this along.
National WWI Museum Memorial Day Weekend Events
The National World War I Museum in Kansas City, MO is hosting 10 events over the course of the Memorial Day weekend. As the commemoration of the Centennial of World War I (2014-19) continues, the Museum serves as a fitting place to honor and recognize the men and women who sacrificed their lives while serving their country during Memorial Day Weekend.
For more information:https://theworldwar.org/memorialday2015
We Need Volunteers!
See the listings below!
2. Volunteer Spotlight:
Virginia Dilkes (Georgia), Lola Dilkes Koniuszy (New Jersey), and Georgia Dilkes Harris (Texas)
We three sisters have a keen interest in the centennial commemoration of World War I. I live in Atlanta, Georgia, and will talk about how we became interested in World War I. My sister, Lola, lives in New Jersey and will talk about our recent trip to the annual meeting of the Society for Military History and our work on behalf of the World War I Centennial Commission. Our sister, Georgia, lives in Texas and will talk about her activities in Texas for veterans' affairs and her work for the World War I Centennial Commission.
Our father, Sergeant Charles Edward Dilkes, fought in World War I. He shared in the patriotic fervor that engulfed our country when we declared war on Germany in 1917 and volunteered to serve in the U.S. Army as an engineer-soldier. He was assigned to the 1st Division and served under General Pershing from May 1, 1917, until his discharge on September 19, 1919. He fought in four battles on the Western front and continued his service as a part of the Army of Occupation in Germany. Despite orders to the contrary, he kept a daily diary, sometimes burying it before battle in the event the Allies were not victorious. When he returned home, he wrote his memoirs based on his diary but never published them. In honor of the centennial commemoration of World War I, my sisters and I decided to publish his memoirs: Remembering World War I: An Engineer's Diary of the War by Charles Edward Dilkes. We have spent 15 years editing his memoirs and relating them to the documented history of the war. We are proud to share our father's experience with those who respect the sacrifices made to keep our country free.
Lola Dilkes Koniuszy:
My name is Lola Dilkes Koniuszy, and I live in Whiting, New Jersey. I am happy to be a volunteer for the World War I Centennial Commission. As a volunteer, the first event that I attended was in Montgomery, Alabama, with the Society for Military History. I attended this event with my sister, Virginia Dilkes.
At this meeting I met Jennifer Mittlestadt who is a professor with Rutgers University in New Jersey. We discussed the World War I Centennial Commission, and I was able to share with her the brochure and information regarding the Centennial Commission. Jennifer gave me her contact information, which was forwarded to the Commission for further use. I also met Paul Grasmehr, (pronounced Grase mer) who is the Reference Coordinator at the Pritzker Military Museum and Library, located in Chicago, Illinois. The Pritzker Military Museum and Library is one of the key sponsors of the World War I Centennial Commission. My sister and I discussed the work of the Centennial Commission with Mr. Grasmehr.
Participating in this event was a rewarding experience and a learning experience for me.
Georgia Dilkes Harris:
My name is Georgia Dilkes Harris, living in Colorado City, Texas and a volunteer for the State of Texas. I have spoken with legislative aid, Daniel Sheppard, who works for Dustin Burrows, the Texas House of Representatives for District 83. We discussed current national projects for the World War I Centennial Commission and the development of programs such as World War I courses at Texas universities, the Library of Congress digitization project of letters to home from World War I veterans, the World War I Memorial Inventory Project, and the status of the dreadnought USS Texas. I encouraged him to listen to the next Wednesday "gotomeeting" for further insight into the US World War I Centennial Commission activities and to contact General Valenzuela and Rebekah Wilson. Mr. Sheppard encouraged me to contact US Congressman Mike Conaway, Chairman of the US House Agriculture Committee, which I will do in the following days. After talking with the canteen manager at the West Texas VA Medical Center, Big Spring, Texas, she has graciously put up a display for the World War I Centennial. Two weeks ago I spoke with the Vice Chairman of the Centennial Commission of the American Legion for the state of Texas, Ron Pietzsch, and was told they are in the planning stages for a program in San Antonio in 2018. Discussion has begun with Patty Pharis, the curator for the Heart of West Texas Museum in Colorado City, Texas, regarding a possible inclusive pictorial program for the wars of the 19th and 20th centuries in which the United States was involved including World War I. Several weeks ago the Texas volunteers shared emails in response to Dr. Marble's outreach for a meeting. This seems to be a hurdle we need to work through. I look forward to a voice or data meeting with the Texas volunteers as indicated in Dr. Marble's email.
Thank you for this time to speak on volunteering for the World War I Centennial Commission, and as we approach this Memorial Day, a special thank you for all our troops.
Mr. Mike Hanlon of Worldwar1.com reviewed Remembering World War I: An Engineer's Diary of the War for his website. He believes it is valuable not only for presentation of a personal side of the war but also for showing the oft overlooked perspective of a combat engineer in the First World War. He would highly recommend it to anyone interested in the war.
3. Shout Outs:
Greg Hindsley, Kate Lanigan, Frances Seghers, Ed Furgol, Mitch Yockelson, Jean Gossman, William Layer, and Chris Dunne for helping out at the UK and Belgian Embassies this past weekend.
Both embassy open houses were great. We have no hopes of completing amazing events like these without our volunteers - so thank you very much for continuing to make us a huge success.
4. How you can help the WWICC this week:
- A CALL TO ARMS: We need volunteers!
- We need a volunteer in the Washington DC area to guide Dave Lockard and his Packard truck for the Memorial Day parade.
- Memorial Weekend at the US Navy Memorial—Saturday May 23 and Monday May 25. We need people to man a table during several wreath laying ceremonies at the memorial.
- Please email Rebekah Wilson.
- More Volunteers!
- We’re looking for a volunteer who knows how to write grants, and
- Somebody to help with put together a WWICC Newsletter. The content will be provided, for the most part; We need someone to edit and format it.
- Email please Meredith Carr.
- If you are interested in helping with state and regional organization, please let Andrew McGreal know and he will send you information on how to get involved.
- SHOP AT SMILE.AMAZON.COM! Enter the "United States Foundation for the Commemoration of the World Wars" as your charitable organization.
5. The Great War Channel
Would you like to see some great videos on YouTube about WWI? Check out The Great War Channel. Posting twice 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 last two videos are:
- The Sky Was The Limit - World War 1 In The Air: THE GREAT WAR
May 11, 2015. World War 1 saw several completely new technologies develop rapidly. The airplane itself was only a few years old but pioneering engineers soon saw its potential for military use. For reconnaissance and later as fighter or bomber, World War 1 had huge impact on aviation and warfare in general. This special episode gives you an idea about the obstacles that had to be overcome.
- The Lusitania Sinking & The Gorlice–Tarnów Offensive: THE GREAT WAR - Week 41
May 7, 2015. Ignoring the warnings and cruising carelessly slow the RMS Lusitania is hit by a torpedo of the German U-Boat U20. Almost 2000 people die during the sinking of the Lusitania. At the same time the German and Austro-Hungarian army start a combined surprise offensive in the Carpathians. The Gorlice-Tarnów Offensive is a huge success for German commander August von Mackensen.
6. The Great War 100 Years Ago
Presented by Mr. Mike Hanlon - http://www.worldwar1.com
The Gorlice- Tarnów Offensive and the Great Retreat on the Eastern Front
In May 1915 a German-Austro-Hungarian offensive was launched against Russia that would result in the greatest victory of World War I by the Central Powers.
When: First Phase - 2 May – 22 June 1915
Where: Primarily in Poland, Starting South-east of Kraków
For 1915 the chief of the German General Staff, Erich von Falkenhyn had decided to look to the east. His forces were bogged down in the West and his principal ally, Austria-Hungary, was almost "steam-rollered" in the winter campaigns in Galicia.For his first operation, he chose to attack over the Carpathian Mountains into Galicia against Russian forces that were still attacking. Eight divisions were moved from the Western Front to form the new Eleventh Army under the command of aggressive general August von Mackensen. Flanked by two Austrian armies, the force attacked in early May near the rail centers of Gorlice &Tarnow.
The Gorlice-Tarnow Offensive succeeded beyond all expectations: one after another, Russian defensive lines were penetrated. Fortress Przemysl was recaptured; and Warsaw fell. Then, On July 9, Russia's supreme commander, Grand Duke Nicholas, ordered a scorched-earth retreat. By September, Poland and Galicia were lost, the Eastern Front was 300 miles east from its August 1914 starting point. The Russian Army by the end had lost 2 million men, killed, wounded, or captured.
This was the greatest victory by the Central Powers in WWI
- A Symbolic Victory: Gaining Almost All of Poland
- A Psychological Victory: The Russian High Command felt outmatched when facing the German Army for the rest of the war.
- Possibly the worst result of the defeats: the Tsar named himself commander-in-chief, leaving the Tsarista and Rasputin free to meddle in affairs in St. Petersburg.
Next Week: The Spring Allied Offensive in Artois
Battles East: A History of the Eastern Front of the First World War by G. Irving Root
If you have an agenda item or calendar event to include, please email Andrew McGreal before next Wednesday.
For a listing of events and exhibits, please visit the Commission Events Page. (We are in the process of transitioning into this calendar--please bear with us if your event does not appear immediately. Thank you.)