Sync Call for Wednesday August 12 at Noon EDT
How You Can Help the WW1CC this Week:
- Consider making a donation to the Memorial Fund for the National WWI Memorial at Pershing Park.
- Help us get a WW1 series of stamps by sending in a letter to the US Post Office Stamp Committee using this template. Email Andrew McGreal with any questions.
- 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.
- If you or someone you know is looking for an internship opportunity, head over to or send them to the WW1CC Internship page.
- Shop at SMILE.AMAZON.COM! Enter the "United States Foundation for the Commemoration of the World Wars" as your charitable organization. Amazon will donate .5% of your purchase to us!.
News and Announcements:
Operation Doorknock: Volunteer Follow-up
As you know, teams from the WW1CC met with over 30 members of the House and Senate during July and informational packets were dropped off at each member's offices. We conducted that outreach in an effort to raise awareness about the commemorative and educational activities the Commission will be conducting as we prepare for the 100th anniversary of the US entering the Great War, as well as to update them on the design competition for the national memorial site. We received very warm welcomes and almost all of the officials pledged to help the Commission.
During August members of Congress will return to their states and districts - this is a critical time for them to hear from you, their constituents, about your support of the WW1CC. We need you to use the following resources so you can contact your Representative and Senators.
Go to www.house.gov and www.senate.gov to get the contact information for your Senators' and members of Congress's local offices in your state.
Then call or e-mail those offices and ask them to become active supporters of the World War One Centennial Commission. Use these Talking Points and fill out and send to us this Form afterwards. You can be very helpful to the Commission by just spending 15 minutes of your time on a few e-mails and phone calls!
State Outreach Blitz
You can see from the map we have a lot of states whose activity seem to be unreported. We have other states where we need more help.
WE NEED YOUR HELP.
Tomorrow, Thursday August 13, from 12:00pm to 3:00pm EDT we will conduct a push to contact a long list of organizations and offices that may help us with our state outreach efforts. We NEED VOLUNTEERS to help us with this telethon. You don’t have to be from the states in question and we will provide talking points and a list of people and offices to contact. Please help us make these calls. Contact Andrew McGreal if you would like to help or would like more information.
American Legion Convention
We need volunteers who have some time to spend with us on Sep 1st and 2nd at the American Legion Conference in Baltimore, MD. Please email Chris Isleib if you have some time or are going to be there.
Update from the States
The North Carolina Dept. of Transportation with support of the Garden Club of NC has created a proposal to the NC WWI Centennial Committee to plant poppies in honor of the commemoration along North Carolina roadsides. They are happy to share their plan with other states- list of seed sources, best materials, best practices, etc. Encourage your state to consider this- we can put you in touch with the folks in North Carolina that prepared the plan. Additionally, you can check out the plan here.
The Ohio Historical Center is making a state-wide call for war memorabilia from Ohio service men and women. The center is asking citizens to donate any items related to your or a family member's military service, such as mementos that carry personal significance, photographs, letters, objects used during service, etc. It does not have to be WW1. By donating your items, you can ensure that they will be known to future generation and not lost to time.
The initial meeting of the Kansas WW 1 Centennial Commemoration Committee will take place at 10:00 a.m. Friday, August 14, 2015 in the Kansas Museum of History, 6425 SW Sixth Avenue Topeka, KS. The meeting is being chaired by Mary Madden, Director of the Kansas Museum of History and Kansas Historical Society. One of our early Kansas state outreach volunteer, James Patton will be in attendance, as will Commissioner Jim Whitfield. This meeting is a direct result of Chairman Dalessandro's letter to Governor Brownback- so we are excited about that. Stay tuned for more from Kansas!
Hawaii is in the process of setting up its very own commission, thanks in no small part to the efforts of our volunteer and Hawaii Committee Liaison Col. Arthur Tulak (Ret.). The Committee is forming with participation from the State Government, the Academic community, and Veterans organizations. Its kick-off meeting is tentatively set for September. It will initially focus on developing a Hawaii WWI timeline and a dedicated website to share that timeline. Congrats to everyone in Hawaii for making such quick progress! Check out a short news clip here.
California- Pershing Family Remembrance at the San Francisco Presidio
There will be a Centennial Pershing Family Remembrance held at 2 pm at Pershing Square and the former Officers Club at the San Francisco Presidio on 27 August 2015. The event will include a wreath laying ceremony at the site where Mrs. Frances Pershing and the three Pershing daughters perished in a fire on 27 August 1915, followed by an informational presentation on General Pershing's career and family, and the Presidio during the Great War. General Alfred Valenzuela will represent World War One Centennial Commission at the event. The public is invited. There is no charge for the event, but adjacent parking is metered.
Tennessee Great War Commission - First Annual Commemorative Events
Tennessee’s Great War Commission will kick-off their commemorative activities November 6-7 at six different venues in Nashville, TN. The focus of the events is on Tennessee and Tennesseans who were involved in the war before U.S. intervention in 1917. Stories of men and women, many of whom have long been forgotten, will be presented in a variety of ways.
Next meeting of the VA WWI Centennial Committee will be on Monday, Aug 31, in Staunton, VA
Upper Midwest Regional Meeting - Save the Date
September 16th at the Pritzker Military Museum and Library
The Pritzker Museum and Military Library located in Chicago, Illinois would like to extend an invitation for the volunteer representatives in the Upper Midwest Region -- Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, Tennessee, South Dakota, and Wisconsin -- to a collaborative meeting. The purpose of this meeting is to increase contact and coordination between these states’ volunteers and to provide updates on the strides each state has made in the planning efforts for the centennial. Additional information will be announced in the near future.
Design Competition Update
The week before last, Phase 1 of our Design Competition ended. We posted the submitted memorial plans to our website, and since then they’ve gotten quite a bit of attention!There have been over 6,000 unique visits to the designs’ web page and 30,000 plus views of individual designs! In addition, we’ve received more than 1000 public comments on the submitted memorial layouts. You can see all of the submissions for yourself on the First Round Submission page of our website.
Please remember that even if we get the perfect design we can’t build it without donations. We encourage everyone on this call to consider donating. Every dollar counts double thanks to the generosity of our founding sponsor, the Pritzker Military Museum and Library, which will match your donation. We will include a link in the minutes. Our Great War men and women deserve a memorial. We can build it.
You can make this memorial a reality by making a donation to the Memorial Fund. 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!
We’re happy to announce that we will soon have WWI Centennial Commission merchandise available for sale on our website! C. Forbes, Inc. in Richmond, VA will be producing our products. They have a fantastic track record and will produce some really great stuff for use. Everything will be 100% made in America. We will include a link in subsequent Sync Calls once the online store is up and running.
Ralph N. Doerres, the U.S. 332nd Infantry Regiment, who had a booth at the Ross County, Ohio county fair and hosted WW1CC material at the booth. Thank you for promoting us Ralph!
Dale Archer - put together our National Education Plan. He did a phenomenal job. He continues to advise us in a professional capacity and assist when he is available.
Arthur Tulak - for helping to get a Hawaii state committee on the track to establishment
Hannah Friedman- our final summer intern finishes her internship tomorrow. Thank you Hannah for all of your hard work!
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 lastest two videos are:
The Forgotten War Heroine - Milunka Savic: WHO DID WHAT IN WW1?
August 10, 2015. Even though Milunka Savic was one of the highest decorated soldiers of the entire Great War, she was forgotten soon after it ended. Her great deeds for the Serbian Army and even the impossible fact that she was serving as a female soldier became lost and were only recently discovered. Find out all about the forgotten Serbian fighter which is now considered a war heroine with Indy.
Warsaw Falls - The Fokker Scourge Begins: THE GREAT WAR Week 54
August 6, 2015. After the Russian defeats on the Eastern Front, Warsaw falls. The first time in over 100 years a new foreign power occupies the city. The German onslaught in the East seems to be unstoppable. Also on the Western Front the Germans are causing havoc with the new Fokker-Eindecker planes which start the so called Fokker Scourge. The British pilots even start to call their airplanes Fokker-Fodder. At the same time, the battle in Gallipoli continues with ever more troops landing while neither the Ottomans nor the ANZAC troops can gain any advantage.
The Great War 100 Years Ago
Presented by Mr. Mike Hanlon - WorldWar1.com
August 1915: Warsaw Falls to the Central Powers
Although Russia suffered serious setbacks earlier in the war, it could be argued that the so-called Great Retreat of the summer of 1915 marked the turning point in the fortunes of Imperial Russia in the Great War. During those several months, the Russian army was forced to abandon Poland and much of the Baltic region to the advancing Central Powers. Earlier gains at the expense of the Austrians in Galicia were also erased. Nothing, however, symbolized the disaster that had befallen Russia as the fall of Warsaw, which the Empire had controlled for 100 years.
The main Battle for Warsaw (Poland) took place in August of 1915. After Germany’s victory at Gorlice-Tarnów in June of 1915, General August von Mackensen led his troops over the San River to capture Przemysl. On 22 June the Russian troops left Lvov, the Galician capital. A few days later, the German troops crossed over the Dniester. During the early part of July, Mackensen’s troops were stopped because of attacks by the Russians.
On 13 July the Central Powers (armies from the Ottoman Empire, Austro-Hungarian Empire, German Empire, and Bulgaria) started a new offensive that went across the whole front line. About one week later, the German troops had arrived at Narev.
When the Russians saw this, they started to retreat very quickly to the Ivangorod-Lublin-Chelm line. The Russian troops were vastly outnumbered because of their earlier losses. The Russian army grew weaker each day as a result of chronic supply shortages, which also caused a decline in morale.
During this period, the Russians ordered the civilians to evacuate Poland. This resulted in many hardships for the Polish people. Their evacuations caused problems for the Russian troops, too, because the people blocked the roads. On 22 July the armies of the Central Powers crossed over the Vistula River.
Germany’s Tenth and Niemen troops went to the northern end of the front to help surround the Russians. During the last part of July, these troops arrived at the Novo-Georgievsk (Russian fortress), north of Warsaw. The Russians chose to defend their Novo-Georgievsk fortress, which cost them approximately 90,000 casualties. Then Russia’s southern army had to retreat about 100 miles, near the Bug River. This left the Russians with only a very small part of Congress Poland, basically just the Ivangorod fortress and Warsaw.
In early August, Russia’s Fourth Army abandoned the Ivangorod fortress. Russia’s Grand Duke Nicholas Nicholaevich then made the decision to evacuate his army from Warsaw. On 5 August the Russians left Warsaw. Germany’s 12th Army (commanded by General von Gallwitz) was able to easily capture Warsaw.
In the end, the disaster at the front led to a fateful series of decisions on the part of Tsar Nicholas II. Most critically, the Tsar cashiered his Supreme Commander-in-Chief, the Grand Duke Nicholas, assumed personal command at Stavka (Army Headquarters), and left the Empress in Petrograd free to meddle in imperial politics.
Moreover, for many Russians, the horrors of the retreat left a lasting psychological scar - it had become clear that the regime was incapable of defending the Motherland by itself but was unwilling to contemplate any meaningful involvement of the Duma and the broader public in the war effort.
With the Armies of the Tsar by Florence Farmborough
Breakthrough: The Gorlice-Tarnow Campaign, 1915 by Richard DiNardo
The Great Retreat, Eastern Front 1915 by Michael Kihntopf
If you have an agenda item to include, please email Andrew McGreal by the Monday before the next Sync Call.
If you have an event for our calendar, please submit it here.
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.)