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Sync Call for Wednesday June 10 at Noon EDT
King's African Rifles in East Africa, circa Sept 1917
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1. News and Announcements:

World War I Symposium in Alabama
On June 22 the Alabama Department of Archives and History will host Remembering the Great War: A Symposium on World War I. This is a free public symposium featuring noted scholars who will discuss the causes and consequences of the Great War, the experiences of the soldiers and communities who sent them, and the ways in which we have and continue to remember the War's significance. The event will be held on June 22, 2015 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm at the Alabama Department of Archives and History in Montgomery, Alabama.

Follow us on our Social Media!
As always, we encourage you to follow us on all of our social media platforms: facebook, twitter, google+, youtube, and instagram. Invite your friends, too!

Genealogy Series
Starting next week , our social media team will be publishing a series on genealogy and how to research your WWI ancestors. Stay tuned for that!

Design Competition 
As you know, last week we officially announced the our competition for the design of the National WWI Memorial at Pershing Park! Details about the competition, as well as the competition manual can be found hereYou can also help make this restoration a reality by making a donation to the Memorial Fund.
They deserve a memorial. We can build it for them. Share this link on social media and on your organization's website--however you can get the word out. We cannot do this without your support. Thank you.


2. Volunteer Spotlight

Dennis Skupinski, Michigan State Outreach Volunteer

 Dennis Skupinski got into collecting military equipment and uniforms back in the 1970s. Everyone around him was so interested in every war but World War one so Dennis decided to be different. The kind of uniforms he has collected over the years are that of enlisted people, those on the western front, and junior officers.

Due to his interest in WWI Dennis has been trying to get a commission in Michigan started for some time now. After the little support he was receiving from the governor and other elected officials he contacted the WWI Centennial Commission office and got in touch with Rebecca. After three years of trying Dennis finally got the legislators in Michigan to agree to look at making a commission and possibly putting it into legislation.

Dennis developed a marketing grass roots plan to help him get his goal accomplished. He started by using Facebook as his webpage where he would post daily updates. He then added a Flickr account, which acted as his online museum for the all the uniforms and things he has collected. Third he created videos which would be on YouTube and local new stations. These videos included Lots of updates (Local, state, national), creating documentation of what happened in Michigan in WW1. This will serve as referencing in arguing for a commission.


3. Shout Outs:

We want to shout out to our Kansas volunteers for standing strong and marching forward on trying to get a some sort of WWI activity in Kansas.


4. How you can help the WWICC this week:

  1. Help us get a WWI stamps series!
    Help us Get a WWI series of stamps!! We need help from all of your organizations. The USPS uses a committee to choose stamps for the upcoming years and they take suggestions by letter. We know that they are considering a WWI stamp for 2017. We want to not only ensure that this happens, but also encourage them to create a series of stamps throughout the centennial period. We will send out the template to everyone on our Sync Call roster. You can edit as you see fit, place it in your letterhead, even provide suggestions of what you think the stamp should be. You can only pick a subject USPS has their own designers. We just ask that you ask them to do a series of WWI stamps. We are getting ready to send ours off, but we want to make sure this happens. Please please please take this template or just make your own and suggest to the stamp committee to make WWI series of stamps throughout the centennial. You can submit the letter as an organization or as a person. Thank you in advance. Here is a link to to post office stamp selection process.
  2. 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.
  3. 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:

South Africa in WW1: THE GREAT WAR Special feat. Extra Credits
June 6, 2015. The history of South Africa was already influenced by ethnic tension between the natives and the recently arrived colonists from Great Britain and the Netherlands. The Boers had actually fought two wars with the Empire for self determination. Still, in World War 1 they fought for the King. South Africa saw major action in German East Africa against Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck. But their troops were tested in Europe as well. For example in Delville Woods too where they fiercely fought against the attacking German Army.

The Key to Success is Artillery: The Great War week 45
June 4, 2015. When Przemysl falls for the 2nd time and when the British and ANZAC troops fail at Gallipoli again, one thing becomes clear: Artillery is the key for future battles. August von Mackensen had used it with great success at the Gorlice-Tarnow-Offensive and the French even diverted one million men to shell factories. Meanwhile German Zeppelins bombed London and the US sent submarines for aid.


6. The Great War 100 Years Ago

Presented by Mr. Mike Hanlon -http://www.worldwar1.com

 Africa and the Great War

Map of Africa during WWI

The European War of August 1914 quickly spread to Africa and would soon lead to fighting throughout the continent. It would be a sideshow, but a vast and costly sideshow for those involved.

  • The war fought in Africa was fought principally by Africans themselves. Over 2,000,000 natives served as soldiers or porters; about 10% died in service.
  • Campaigns were instigated in North Africa by Germany and the Ottoman Empire
  • Local rebellions were initiated or continued against colonial rule
  • And 19th Century style campaigns were waged by the Allies against German colonies in Sub-Saharan Africa – Cameroons, Togoland, Southwest and East Africa.
  • Large numbers of colonial troops and laborers were also raised to fight elsewhere: On the Western Front 440,000 indigenous soldiers and 268,000 indigenous war workers, were sent alongside 140,000 settlers of European descent between 1914 and 1918. The Armistice would end the German colonial empire and lead to a repartition of the continent
  • Yet the First World War did not result in the upsurge of African nationalism sparked by World War II.

The initial impulses of the white settlers, however, had been to maintain order among the natives, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. The earliest fighting involved reducing German radio and coaling coastal stations in the name of keeping the sea lanes open.

However, both the expansionist-minded among the locals and the European governments harbored territorial aims. The German colonies, being smaller and abutting the territories of several Allied war participants seemed to be easy pickings. The Allied parties were usually the aggressors.

  • The war was different in Africa than in Europe:
  • No modern transport (Animals often could not be used either because of the Tsetse-fly) Human bearers made up the majority of the forces
  • No large formations
  • No Artillery
  • Disease rather than wounding was the big killer and disabler

The campaign in East Africa produced one of the most admired soldiers of the war: German Col. Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, who tied down Allied forces 10 times his size past the Armistice date. He returned home a hero, Berlin took a break in the revolution to welcome him. Transport and supply were the big problems in Africa. Vast numbers of bearers were conscripted locally, usually 2-3 times the number of soldiers. Yet they suffered casualties at the same, sometimes higher, rates. Disease was the big killer: Besides Malaria, Black Water Fever and other exotic tropical diseases. Colonial troops from Africa were a great asset for the Allies, especially France. Take Senegal for example:

By the end of 1918, a total of 163,000 Senegalese Riflemen were serving in French forces in the west. Tirailleur battalions served with the US First Army at St. Mihiel and in the Meuse-Argonne campaign.German Askari Company formed up for a march, circa 1914-1918

The Allies — France, for example — emerged victorious in 1918, and moved quickly to improve public services in her African colonies and take advantage of the good will and prestige of the returning native veterans.


An Ice Cream War, by Wm. Boyd, Harper Collins, 1983. (Novel)

Tip and Run - the Untold Tragedy of the Great War in Africa, by Edward Paice, – Import, 2007

World War I in Africa


Upcoming Events

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.)

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