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Sync Call for Wednesday September 16 at Noon EDT
Tsar Nicholas and Grand Duke Nicholas
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You Can Help the WW1CC!

  1. Make a donation to the Memorial Fund for the National WWI Memorial at Pershing Park We can't build this Memorial without your help!.
  2. Send a letter to the US Post Office Stamp Committee to encourage them to make a WW1 stamp series. Please feel free to use this template for your letter. Contact Andrew McGreal with any questions.
  3. We're looking for interns for the Spring semester. If you or someone you know would like to intern, please visit our Internship webpage.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 at no cost to you!.

News and Announcements:

National WWI Museum Upcoming Events

In the Know
Sunday, September 20, 2015, 2:00 PM Join the National WWI Museum for the latest conversation in its In the Know series as Kip Lindberg, Director of the U.S. Army Chemical Corps Museum, discusses the development of chemical warfare in history. In particular, he will discuss chemical warfare in WWI, its development and the use of poison gas near the hundredth anniversary of the Battle of Loos, when the British deployed gas warfare for the first time.

Hands-on History
Saturdays in September, 11 a.m. History is brought to life during this family-friendly program, where kids of all ages are invited to handle Great War artifacts in the Museum main gallery. Included with Museum admission and free for members.

Check out the National WWI Museum's Upcoming Events page for more information.


WW1 Symposium

Lisle, IL- Oct 2 and 3
The WWI Historical Association will host their 2015 Symposium, in collaboration with the League of WWI Aviation Historians. You can register for this event on their website's registration page.


Update from the States

State Commission Status Map

State Outreach Collaboration Call
Every other Thursday, the National State Outreach Team holds a State Outreach Collaboration Call at noon Eastern time. These calls take place every other Thursday at noon, EST. Volunteers and commemorative bodies across the country dial in and talk about what is working in their respective states. It gives everyone an opportunity to network and to partner up.
As seen in the map above, there are only fourteen white states/territories/districts left. White means that we know of no WWI commemorative activity and need to identify a point of contact. Enlighten us if you know better or know a POC!
Volunteer for state outreach. Contact Andrew McGreal if you are willing to help.

Upper Midwest Regional Meeting - Today!
September 16th at the Pritzker Military Museum and Library 11am to 3pm CDT

The Pritzker Military Museum and Library located in Chicago would is hosting a meeting of representatives from the Upper Midwest Region--that’s Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky,Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, Tennessee, South Dakota, and Wisconsin--today. This meeting will serve to increase contact and coordination between these states’ volunteers. WW1CC Executive Director Dan Dayton and Director of Operations Rebekah Wilson are attending to provide an overview of the staff support options available to states as well as the status of the WWI Memorial Design competition and updates from the Commission’s leadership.
You can participate in the meeting remotely via the Livestream broadcast. Visit the PMML’s Livestream page on Sept 16 at 11:00 a.m. Central to view the broadcast. You must have a Livestream account to leave questions or comments. You can create your login at Livestream.com.


Hill Update

Commission staff members continue to meet with members and staff on Capitol Hill to generate awareness about the Commission and to ask for support.

Commissioner O’Connell’s Hill Briefing
We had a very enthusiastic response to Dr. O’Connell’s Capitol Hill briefing earlier this month. Her presentation tracked the causes of unrest as a result of the treaty that ended WWI and effects that we are still seeing across the world today, from the Middle East to China. Because it was so well attended, we are working with Congressman Yoder’s staff to schedule another one sometime in mid-October.

Volunteer Congressional Outreach
Your efforts at home are helping! Thank you to everyone who is reaching out to your Senators and Congressmen and women- it is most certainly raising awareness about WWI and putting the Commission on Members’ radars.
A notable success in this regard comes from Indiana. Ms. Lana Johnston in wrote to Indiana Senator Dan Coats asking for support in commemorating the centennial of WWI. Senator Coats wrote a letter back pledging his support for commemoration, whether it be efforts related to the National World War I Museum and Memorial or efforts establish a WW1 memorial at Pershing Park in Washington, D.C. Very exciting news indeed!


We Need Volunteers

We are looking for folks to help us man a table at the Association of the US Army (AUSA) Annual Meeting that's taking place October 12-14 at the Washington DC Convention Center. The meeting is the largest of its kind, with over 25,000 attendees, and promises to be an exciting show. Volunteers would talk to visitors about WWI, Commission programs, and the WWI Memorial. Any amount of time you would be willing to volunteer would be immensely helpful to us.
Email Chris Isleib to get involved.


The National WWI Memorial at Pershing Park- Design Competition Update

Check out the the five final design concepts for the National WW1 Memorial at Pershing Park on the Stage II Finalist webpage. The finalists met with the WWICC Design Oversight Committee and technical advisers last week. The meeting started the finalists down the long development process that will refine their original design concepts. The original concepts are open to public comment, and the evolved designs will also be put out on display for public comment prior to jury making a final decision in early 2016.

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. You can make this memorial a reality by making a donation to the Memorial Fund. Our Great War men and women deserve a memorial. We can build it.


Shout Outs

Lana Johnston in Indiana for writing a letter to Senator Coats and requesting support for the Centennial of WWI! This is a great example of grassroots efforts to help raise awareness. Thank you Lana!

Joe Curtin- Ex Officio member of the WWI Centennial from the Dept. of Veterans Affairs.
Joe is the Director, National Veterans Outreach Office and has been an enormous help to the Commission. He’d helped push out our messaging through the Department of Veterans Affairs social media and has invited Dan and Roger to brief top Veteran Service Organization leaders. Joe is a true friend of the Commission and we really appreciate it.


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:

Sweden during World War 1 - Balancing Neutrality: THE GREAT WAR Special
Published on Sep 14, 2015. Sweden was neutral during the Great War and like all neutral countries in World War 1 it was affected by the global conflict. Balancing neutrality between the Central Powers and the Entente while also maintaining trade with both sides was not easy - but very profitable. Especially the trade with Germany was very lucrative since it was circumventing the British Naval Blockade. But that was not the only effect the war had on Sweden which became the nation it is today during WW1.

The Socialists Call for Peace - But the Plans Do Not: THE GREAT WAR - Week 59
Published on Sep 10, 2015. While the Socialist movement gathers in Switzerland and calls for peace on the Western Front, on the Eastern Front and the Balkans the signs are set for the opposite: An escalation with new offensives. The French and British want to attack near Artois and in the Champagne, Germany wants to finish the war weary Russian Army. At the same time Bulgaria agrees to attack Serbia within the next 30 days. Even in London the war can still be felt when German Zeppelins continue to drop bombs on the British capital.


The Great War 100 Years Ago

Presented by Mr. Mike Hanlon - WorldWar1.com

100 Years Ago: Tsar Nicholas II Appoints Himself Russian Army Commander

The Russian Stavka

In the summer of 1915 following the Central Powers' Gorlice-Tarnow Offensive, the Polish salient was exposed to attacks from East Prussia, the Baltic region, and the Austro-Hungarian province of Galicia. Following the German capture of Warsaw in August, the Russians withdrew from the remaining part of Poland under their rule to avoid the risk of encirclement. Russian troops fell back to a straightened line running from the Baltic to the Romanian border, in what became known as the Great Retreat.

In early September 1915 Tsar Nicholas II named himself the new commander-in-chief of his armies. Against much advice, he had placed himself in the position of now being exposed to personal blame for any further misfortunes suffered by the Army and the Russian Empire. Little did he suspect that he had started down the road to defeat, revolution, abdication and the murder of his entire family.

Grand Duke Nicholas, a royal cousin, had been dismissed from the job and sent as Viceroy to the Caucasus. There were a number of reasons why the Grand Duke was vulnerable at this time, especially the series of spring and summer defeats, but another important one was most certainly the hostility of the Empress. The antagonism between Empress Alexandra and Grand Duke Nikolai was rooted in their respective views of the self-styled holy man, Rasputin. An early enthusiast, the Grand Duke had become one of the most outspoken critics of the monk. From that point on, the Empress viewed the Grand Duke both as a personal enemy and as an “enemy of God.” Her suspicions of the Grand Duke were greatly intensified by persistent rumors emanating from army headquarters in 1915 that the Supreme Commander-in-Chief was discussing the feasibility of a palace coup.

RasputinFor a few months after the Tsar's assuming command, though, matters remained manageable. Alexandra in Petrograd consulted regularly and fully with her husband and things along the front stabilized as the Russian Army dug in after their long retreat, and the German High Command came to realize they had a great deal of additional territory to garrison and their enemy was a long way from being defeated. Domestic matters, however, again became an issue for the Tsar, now ensconced at Army Headquarters.

About a month after Tsar Nicholas appointed himself to field command, he summoned his heir, Tsarevich Alexei, to join him. Naturally, this displeased the Empress to no end. Alexei, however, had a wonderful time. Issued a private's uniform, he accompanied his father everywhere. The staff, officers, and enlisted men alike all enjoyed him. Away from his mother's smothering and his sisters' protectiveness, he got over much of his shyness and even became something of a prankster.

Unfortunately for both him and Russia, his hemophilia caught up with him in December. Panicked when the military doctors were unable to arrest a nosebleed, the Tsar packed the boy off to his mother Petrograd. She – predictably – called in her old adviser Rasputin, whose reputation and influence had been on the wane. He exerted his usual calming powers on Alexei, the lad recovered, and the monk's status at court returned to its previous level.

In 1916, the Okhrana, the Tsar's secret police, recorded an increased frequency to Rasputin's visits to the palace as the Empress dabbled more and more in policy and key appointments. Worse, his regular contacts with Alexandra, as events went badly, incited resurgent rumors of wickedness and foreign influence at the palace, helping to undermine the nation's war effort and eroding confidence in the monarchy.

Suggested Reading:

Tsar Nicholas

Upcoming Events

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

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