African American Officers Mule Rearing doughboys with mules gas masks pilots in dress uniforms African American Soldiers 1 The pilots Riveters

World War I Centennial News


Amazing Collection of Digitized WWI Newspapers at Library of Congress

By Arlene Balkansky
via the Library of Congress web site

There is an amazing new set of World War I newspapers that are now available digitally from the Library of Congress.

This vast online collection of World War I era newspaper clippings is from a single unique source: the 400-volume, 80,000-page set, World War History: Daily Records and Comments as Appeared in American and Foreign Newspapers, 1914-1926.

Arizona newspaperBeginning with the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914 and extending to the November 11, 1918 armistice and years after, the clippings yield significant information about the political, social, cultural, and economic impact of the war as it is taking place and its aftermath. The clippings cover far beyond the valuable contemporary news reports and contain war-related editorials, features, cartoons, photos, maps, and more.

Front pages and full-page features of New York City newspapers are frequently presented, while many newspapers from around the country and some foreign ones are represented through clipped individual articles and cartoons.

The 400 volumes of World War History were created after the war through the dedicated direction of Otto Spengler, owner of the Argus Press Clipping Bureau. Spengler was particularly qualified to embark on this task, having spent his entire career working in news clipping services. As a teen, he worked at the Argus and Information Bureau of Berlin and, following his immigration to America in 1892, at a clippings bureau in New York for more than 10 years.

By the early 20th century, he had established his own company and understood the importance of his clipping service and how to market it. Ads in 1907 for the company in the magazine, Advocate of Peace, touted press clippings as "an important factor in peace negotiations" ending the Russo-Japanese War. The ads stated that both Russian and Japanese negotiators "were kept posted through newspaper clippings furnished by Argus." The ads then asked "What Interests You" with a cost of $5.00 per hundred clippings and $35.00 per 1,000.

The outbreak of the World War in 1914 presented Spengler with the massive task of documenting the conflict as fully as possible. Throughout the war years and for several years after, Spengler's Argus Bureau acquired and clipped newspapers from around the country, including several foreign language U.S. newspapers, and some from other nations. At a time when German language American newspapers faced newsstand boycotts, declining advertising and subscriptions, and even government raids, inclusion of these newspapers provides a particularly important perspective.

Read more: Amazing Collection of Newly-Digitized WWI Newspapers at Library of Congress

Author Nancy Cramer

"I realized the story of the retreat was a book I must to write"

By Nancy Cramer
Special to the United States World War One Centennial Commission web site

Nancy Cramer, author and long-time volunteer at the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, is publishing her 5th book on WWI, "Retreat to Victory," about the Serbian army retreating and not surrendering in WWI. It is a story unknown to most Americans, but worthy by its heroism, courage, determinism, and hardships. Many Serbs died in their efforts to reach safety, with only about half of them surviving. They recuperated, and went to northern Greece, and alongside the Brits and French, defeated the Bulgarians who surrendered in October, 1918. Nancy writes about how the book came to be written and published. 

Nancy CramerNancy CramerIn 2012 I toured the Balkan countries which included Serbia. The night before entering Serbia, I made a quick internet search of that country, because I knew little about it. I found a story about the 20,000 young boys the Army had conscripted in 1915, and the Army’s efforts later in 1916 to send them in 1916 to safety in other countries The Serbians had fought valiantly in 1914 and temporarily defeated the Austrians.

The next year with the mighty guns and soldiers of the German army, Serbia was attacked again. This time, out manned at least six to one and outgunned 12 to one, the Serbs had no chance of defeating the invaders. They could not win, but they would not surrender.

The leaders made an unusual decision. The Army would retreat through Serbia and cross over the 7,000-8,000 feet high roadless mountains to the shores of the Adriatic Sea. It was in mid-winter with unusually high snow falls and low temperatures. Allied ships would be waiting in the Adriatic Sea to rescue them despite attacks by German subs and Austrian airplanes on the helpless refugees on the beaches.

Read more: Author Nancy Cramer "I realized the story of the retreat was a book I must to write"

The Necessity of Intervention: A Foreign Policy Analysis of the U.S. and WWI

By Kyle Amonson
via the Small Wars Journal web site

“International relations is not a constant state of war… it is a state of relentless security competition, with the possibility of war always in the background.”

-- John Mearsheimer

Foreign policy often implores the inquiry, is war necessary to solve foreign policy challenges? It is not; however, the capability to wage, and win, conflict is necessary. War is often the insurance plan in the periphery of successful foreign policy, ready to be called upon when foreign policy no longer suits national interests or effectively ensures security. Prosperity and principles are essential, but security is the ultimate objective of foreign policy, and nations achieve security and peace through power.

House Wilson2President Woodrow Wilson, left, and Col. Edward M. House, who was Wilson's confidant and adviser on foreign affairs.Political and military strength remain the currencies of power. They are crucial to a strong national defense, to credible deterrence and to other effective means of statecraft. As the ancient Greek historian Thucydides wrote in The History of the Peloponnesian War, “the strong do what they have the power to do, and the weak accept what they have to accept.”

While the United States entered into “The Great War” in 1917 for several reasons, this unprecedented act of intervention introduced the international community to the U.S. as a global military and economic power for the first time.

This essay will examine the U.S. transition from unilateral policy and neutrality, to involvement in WWI as a case study to examine war as a tool of foreign policy.

Regardless of geographical displacement, US intervention became a necessity to ensure the progressive concept of American exceptionalism that, eventually, suited both classical realist and liberal internationalist ideologies.

This essay is structured to begin with a short overview of theory applied to foreign policy, a historical context to demonstrate U.S. unilateral polices pre-WWI, transition to U.S. intervention and conclude with an analysis focused on the application of warfare in support of U.S. national interests.

Read more: The Necessity of Intervention: A Foreign Policy Analysis of the United States and World War I

Battle of Belleau Wood was turning point for US

By Raf Casert
AP, via the Chicago Tribune newspaper web site

It was the spring of 1918, and the German army was making a final push toward Paris. The only thing in their way was a contingent of Allied troops, including untested U.S. forces near the Marne River in northern France.

margonne 010Among them: U.S. Army 1st Lt. Gordon Kaemmerling, a precocious and athletic Harvard graduate who had jumped at the opportunity to help the United States leave its shell of isolationism and join the war.

On June 6, 1918, the U.S. forces attacked, storming across the open fields near Belleau Wood. Germans sprayed them with shells and machine-gun fire from a densely forested hill. Without proper artillery cover, the Americans were mowed down easily at first.

In the chaos, the 26-year-old Kaemmerling rushed to help his comrades, and was nearly torn in two by shrapnel and bullets.

The bravery of Kaemmerling and others helped the Americans chase the German forces out of Belleau Wood by the end of the month. The battle became a defining moment in World War I, not just containing the German push along the Western Front but proving the Americans' military mettle for all to see.

Victory bonded the Allies, and that friendship became the cornerstone of global diplomacy for most of the last 100 years.

Read more: Battle of Belleau Wood was turning point for US

Panneau 1 minOne of the informational panels that will line the commemorative path in Corcieux, France to honor Lafayette Escadrille aviators who flew out of the Corcieux aviation field in WWI.

New Commemorative Pathway in Corcieux, France to Honor Lafayette Escadrille Airmen 

By Daniel Bastien
Special to the United States World War One Centennial Commission web site

Christian Cael, the Mayor of Corcieux, France, has been impressed by what had been done recently in the nearby town of Gerardmer, to honor the memory of WWI Aviation Hero Norman Prince.

CAEL ChristianChristian CaelAs a result, the mayor had in mind to create some form of commemorative plaques in Corcieux, near where the famous former Corcieux aviation field was located during World War I. 

The project is finally coming true, and will consist of a commemorative path, with a series of informational panels to tell the story of the Escadrille, of Norman Prince, and of the AEF aviation activity in the area.

Specifically -- along this commemorative path, 10 panels, with text and pictures, will summarize the activity of that former airfield from 1915 to 1919. Among all the many pilots of flew from that airfield, 4 of them will have their own panel:

  • Rene Fonck, the French Ace of Aces (75 aerial victories - just after he got his pilot wings, he started his operational life in Corcieux as an reconnaissance pilot ; and he was born ten miles from there )
  • Joseph Ferry, who was a famous aeronautical doctor and pilot
  • De Lareinty Tholozan, who was a flight commander who crashed and died there
  • Norman Prince, to remind the tourists his role as co founder of the LaFayette Escadrille.

There will be a small ceremony set to inaugurate this memory path on June 15 and 16. Local historians, including myself and Christian Marchal, helped to research the panels, and they are also in the process of creating a small companion book, to tell the story of Corcieux's special role in aviation, and in World War I. The book will be published sometime in the coming months.

Read more: New Commemorative Pathway being created in Corcieux, France to Honor Lafayette Escadrille Airmen

NC & OH highway commemorative gardens honor WWI Centennial

By Will Kaiser
Staff Writer

This Memorial Day Weekend in Columbus, OH, Thursday, May 24, 2018, marked the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) commemoration of the Centennial of the end of World War I. ODOT unveiled its own World War I Red Poppy Remembrance Garden at the Interstate 70 eastbound rest area in Madison County, Ohio.

ODOT NCDOT PoppiesBoth the Ohio Department of Transportation (top) and the North Carolina Department of Transportation have used poppies planted along state highways to commemorate the centennial of World War I.The garden honors those who lost their lives in WWI, raises awareness of Ohio’s role in WWI, and enhances commuter’s experience as they travel through Ohio.

“Ohio played a major role in WWI and we owe these brave Ohioans a debt of gratitude,” said ODOT Director Jerry Wray. “This red poppy garden is a beautiful way to honor them and educate travelers about their service to our great country.”

Ohio contributed approximately 263,000 men and women to service, which constituted 5.3% of the nation’s military man power, whether they were national guardsman, volunteers, or draftees. Unfortunately, roughly 6,500 Ohio troops would succumb to battle wounds or disease throughout The Great War.

More than 1,600 full-size red poppies will fill the nearly one-third acre garden. The blooms will be spectacular from May through July, so plan to visit the gardens soon! Check out the Ohio Centennial Celebration of the End of WWI information web page for more details, images, and to request a free packet of red poppy seeds.

ODOT, in cooperation with the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars, is honoring their memory by planting this memorial poppy garden. ODOT actively encourages our veterans to join its workforce. In particular, ODOT's veteran apprentice program helps connect former and active duty military service members to careers in highway maintenance.

Meanwhile in North Carolina -- In addition to the Ohio Blue Star Memorial Gardens, the award-winning wildflowers blooming along North Carolina’s highways also commemorate WWI veterans. This past year, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) Wildflower Program planted 240 acres of poppies in remembrance of those who gave their lives during World War One.

As stated by Roadside Environment Engineer David Harris, “The wildflower program is one of the department’s most popular initiatives (…) Not only are the flowers wonderful to look at, they also help sustain the pollinator population, which is essential to the success of the state’s agriculture community.”

Read more: Highway Commemorative Gardens in NC and OH Honor Centennial of WWI

"Not to include World War I with the memorials to other 20th century wars in Washington would be wrong."

Capital disgrace: Still no National WWI Memorial in DC 

By Marsha Mercer
via the Richmond Times-Dispatch newspaper's web site

When you’re in Washington, you can visit memorials to veterans of Vietnam, Korea, and World War II — but you won’t find one for the veterans of World War I.

“If all goes as hoped,” the National World War I memorial will open in 2018, the 100th anniversary of the armistice ending the Great War, I wrote in a column three years ago.

Virginia Richmond memorial 300 The Carillon in Richmond’s Byrd Park — the state’s memorial to Virginians who died in World War I — was dedicated in 1932. (2017, P. KEVIN MORLEY/TIMES-DISPATCH )It certainly seemed doable. The last surviving World War I veteran, Frank Buckles, died in 2011, after devoting his last years to pushing for a memorial on the National Mall in Washington.

But all did not go as hoped. In a capital known for its dysfunction, the National World War I Memorial could be Exhibit A.

For Americans, the Great War lasted one year, seven months, and five days — but planning for this national memorial has dragged on more than five years.

In a capital known for its dysfunction, the National World War I Memorial could be Exhibit A.

The World War One Centennial Commission was created by Congress in 2013 to educate people on what it calls “America’s forgotten war, even though more Americans gave their lives during that war than during Korea and Vietnam combined.”

Nearly 5 million American men and women served and 116,516 died in the “war to end all wars.”

Congress authorized building the national memorial in Washington in 2014. But squabbling over the design continues, and no opening date has been set. Planners now hope for 2021, Politico reported this week.

Washington once again could learn from the people in cities and towns around the country, who gathered together to honor their World War I dead in their hometowns. Residents of the District of Columbia built an elegant memorial and bandstand in West Potomac Park in 1931 to honor the more than 26,000 District residents who served in World War I.

Almost every city and county in Virginia has a memorial to the local men and women who served in the First World War. The 240-foot tall Carillon in Richmond’s Byrd Park is the state’s memorial to the 3,700 Virginians who died in or because of World War I.

In Lynchburg, a “Doughboy” statue at the base of Monument Terrace remembers 43 casualties. A granite column outside Alexandria’s Union Station commemorates the city’s World War I dead.

There’s even a National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri. But not to include World War I with the memorials to other 20th century wars in Washington would be wrong.

Read more: Capital disgrace: Still no National WWI Memorial in DC

render posesWall design developed by Joe Weishaar, to be executed in bronze by sculptor Sabin Howard, is part of the World War I Memorial design under review, for which funds are now being raised, some anticipated from World War I American Veterans Centennial silver dollar surcharges.

Fundraising continues for WWI Memorial with coin sales

By Paul Gilkes
via the Coin World Magazine web site

Coin onlyPrivate fundraising continues toward amassing the $46 million necessary to construct the World War I Memorial in Pershing Park, a less than two-acre parcel a stone’s throw from the White House.

The World War I Centennial Commission has accomplished roughly 25 percent of that fundraising goal, which will eventually include net surcharges from the proceeds of sales of Proof and Uncirculated 2018-P World War I American Veterans Centennial silver dollars. The purchase price of each silver dollar includes a $10 surcharge.

The net surcharges, after the U.S. Mint has recouped all of its production and associated costs, will be paid to the United States Foundation for the Commemoration of the World Wars, to assist the World War I Centennial Commission in commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

No surcharges are to be paid out until the conclusion of the commemorative coin program in December 2018. No more coins can be struck and issued after Dec. 31.

Based on sales through May 27 of 47,574 single Proof silver dollars, 57,579 Proof silver dollars in five different coin and medal sets, and 18,123 Uncirculated silver dollars, $1,232,760 in gross surcharges have been generated.

Read more: Fundraising continues toward World War I Memorial construction with coin sales

Heartland Men’s Chorus Presents WWI-themed Events in Kansas City

via the Heartland Men's Chorus web site

The Heartland Men’s Chorus joins forces with the National World War I Memorial and Museum to celebrate the principle that ALL are created equal. 

9eeca0b86edb39ccdf8259d8b74d61f8 originalSheet music from WE, THE UNKNOWNTheir summer concert "Indivisible" in which the world premiere of "We, The Unknown", will occur on June 9th at 8pm and June 10th at 4pm at the C. Stephen Metzler Hall of the Folly Theater, downtown Kansas City, MO. They will be joined by the Men's Ensemble of the U.S. Army Soldiers' Chorus.

This project is an official Commemorative Partner of the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission.

Inspired by the story of the Unknown Soldier of WWI, a new choral commission pays tribute to all who served. 

One hundred years after the U.S. entered WWI, resistance to injustice continues to be our nation’s greatest strength. The premiere of the beautiful oratorio We, The Unknown, commissioned by Heartland Men’s Chorus and composed by Timothy Takach, tells the story of an unknown soldier. Indeed, who is buried in the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. It could be any of us who fight for our rights. 

Read more: Heartland Men’s Chorus Presents WWI-themed Events in Kansas City

33475119 876313659241317 832981341959094272 nThe finished rolling kitchen replica, being used in the field

An army marches on its stomach, but a rolling kitchen helps 

By Joseph Vesper
Staff Writer

Imagine that you are a Doughboy and have just finished a 20 mile march in the rain. You feel frozen, tired and hungry. Thank goodness your company’s rolling field kitchen accompanied you on this long trek and tonight you will be well fed with a warm meal. The rolling kitchens of World War One were capable of feeding over 200 men at a time. The inspiration behind them was to have a fast warm meal ready to fuel the immense amount of calories burned per day while simultaneously boosting morale amongst the troops. In Norwich, Connecticut, Alan Crane, a WWI history enthusiast, re-enactor and manager of the 26th Yankee Division WW1 Living History Group, has created the iconic and well welcomed sight for many a hungry Doughboy. In a brief exchange with Alan Crane, I had the opportunity to ask him about his recently constructed WWI rolling kitchen.

Could you tell us more about the time and effort that was required to build your WWI rolling kitchen? Moreover, what gave you the idea to build this historical item in the first place?

Alan Crane 300Alan Crane wearing his WWI Yankee Division kitI started building it back in 2004, but the project got put on hold after I got married and had kids. I started back up in earnest in the winter of 2017. I always thought it would be cool to see a WW1 rolling kitchen in operation, so I just decided to make one.

What were some of the most challenging aspects of building the rolling kitchen and how did you overcome those challenges? What is the historical significance of the WWI rolling kitchen?

There is very little documentation on the rolling kitchen's purchased by the Army, and hardly any surviving original examples, so it was a real challenge to replicate the design and construction. I was able to gain access to the only surviving Taylor rolling kitchen in the world, at the Vermont National Guard museum and also found some incredible original photographs digitized by the National Archives which aided me greatly in the project. The rolling kitchen is significant because it was an iconic item familiar to just about every doughboy who went overseas. It was part of the daily fabric of life for the AEF and practically none of them have survived. I thought it was important to bring this part of the American WW1 experience back to life.

What were some of the most exciting and memorable moments while building your rolling kitchen? And if you had to do it all over again, what would you want to do differently?

It was incredibly exciting to light the first fire in the fire box, and see the thing start working exactly like Taylor had designed it to over 100 years ago. I knew I was seeing something come to life that no one else alive today had ever seen before. That was a very memorable moment for me. I don't know I would have done anything differently, maybe try to get some actual metal working tools!

Read more: An army marches on its stomach, but a rolling kitchen helps

National WWI Museum seeks partners to display names of 1918 war casualties

By Jonathan R. Casey
Archives and Edward Jones Research Center, National WWI Museum and Memorial

We invite your organization to take part in a national - and international - commemoration and education project. For the first time the names of the WWI dead from the United States and other combatant nations will be witnessed one by one: American, Canadian, British, French, German, Belgian, Italian, Turkish, Australian, Slovenian, New Zealand, the British Indian Army and the Chinese Labour Corps.

world remembers the wwi deadThe names of fallen soldiers and other military personnel from the First World War are projected on the side of the Government Conference Centre in Ottawa, Canada.Each name is displayed in the 100th year after death. Each name is programmed to appear on an exact day, hour and minute allowing viewers to find at the moment that any name will appear.

Our aims are remembrance and education and the WWI Centennial years provide an ideal opportunity for realizing these goals.

By engaging communities across the United States, we hope this broad and inclusive remembrance project will generate an interest in history. It will link Americans to their nation’s history as well as to the history of other nations.

Organizations across the United States are being asked to help us create a nationwide commemoration by displaying the names of the men and women killed in WWI in the Centenary years. The 2017 display presented the names of soldiers killed in 1917. Our 2018 display will show the 920,000 names of those killed in 1918 - including more than 116,000 Americans.

Read more: National WWI Museum seeks partners to display names of 1918 war casualties

Conscientious Objectors and Draft Registration: A Timely Lesson from WWI 

By Cynthia Wachtell
via the Tikkun Magazine web site

One hundred years ago my paternal grandfather, Benjamin Wachtell, was conscripted into the United States Army during World War I. He was a conscientious objector, but there had been no way for him to signal this on his required draft registration card. So, when he faced his draft board, he stated, “If you put a gun in my hands, I will shoot myself before I shoot another man.”

Conscientious ObjectorsConscientious Objectors in the U.S. during WWI had the benefit of President Wilson's executive order stipulating that those “who object to participating in war because of conscientious scruples . . . will be assigned to noncombatant duty” in the medical corps, or elsewhere. Today, there still is no way for conscientious objectors to declare their convictions in the compulsory draft registration process, and that needs to change. We are needlessly punishing conscientious objectors, and there is a simple fix.

The lessons from WWI teach us that we must offer men with “religious or other conscientious scruples” a non-punitive way to opt out.

Although the United States has not had a draft in over forty-five years, American men ages 18 to 25 are required to register for conscription. The potential consequence of non-compliance are spelled out in stark terms on the Selective Service System’s website. “Failing to register or comply with the Military Selective Service Act is a felony punishable by a fine of up to $250,000 or a prison term of up to five years, or a combination of both.” (However, no one has been prosecuted for this crime since 1986, although the national registration rate is only 89%.)

There are other serious and lifelong ramifications for conscientious objectors and others who do not register. Twenty-six states require registration to receive a driver’s license, and twenty-one states require it to be a state employee. Registration is also required to be eligible for federal job training and for jobs in the executive branch of the federal government and the U.S. Postal Service.

Additionally, in the area of higher education, registration is required by twenty-nine states to be eligible for state financial aid, and in eleven states it is required even to enroll in a state school. Similarly, it is required to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the gateway to all federal student loans and grant programs.

This leaves conscientious objectors, opposed to registering for conscription, in an untenable position. They must either violate their convictions or commit a felony and forgo rights and benefits enjoyed by the rest of society.

Read more: Conscientious Objectors and Draft Registration: A Timely Lesson from WWI

Doughboys and Doughnut Girls – How the Salvation Army’s World War I Women Volunteers Made History, One Tasty Treat at a Time

By George Yagi, Jr.
via the Military History Now web site

In the summer of 1917, the first U.S. troops landed in France. Accompanying them was a contingent of volunteers from another, much smaller army – the Salvation Army.

All told, 250 young women joined the charity to travel with the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) to Europe. The organization’s 52-year-old firebrand matron, Evangeline Booth, tenaciously lobbied a reluctant U.S. General John Pershing to allow her volunteers to provide aid and support to the soldiers at the front. Eventually, he agreed.

932DC295 95C9 4840 A043 0EDC1CE079B3 9910 000002B1345743CBSalvation Army “Lassies” at the frontlines in WW1 fried up doughnuts by the thousands for American soldiers. The tireless efforts of these “Doughnut Girls” not only provided a morale-boosting treat for troops in the trenches, they helped popularize the now-ubiquitous snack food. Each member of Booth’s brigade carried a helmet, a gas mask and a .45 caliber revolver. The women soon found themselves in the trenches where they would serve as nurses, relief workers, and, most famously, as “Doughnut Girls.”

Amazingly, this celebrated nickname came about by pure happenstance, thanks to a pair of Booth’s volunteers — Ensigns Helen Purviance and Margaret Sheldon.

The two were stationed with U.S troops at Montiers-sur-Saulx in October of 1917. The soldiers manning the lines there had endured 36 days of constant rain. As morale plummeted, Purviance and Sheldon figured that some tasty baked goods would lift everyone’s spirits. After looking over the meager supplies available, the young women decided to try to make a batch of doughnuts. At the time, the now-ubiquitous fried-dough snack was available in some stateside cities, but it was still largely unknown to most Americans.

With a blanket concealing their kitchen from prying eyes, the two ensigns went to work. Equipped with only a very small pot-bellied stove, Purviance later recalled, “I was literally on my knees when those first doughnuts were fried, seven at a time, in a small frypan.”

Continuing their work into the early morning hours, the pair eventually whipped up 150 doughnuts. They were an instant hit. The first soldier to receive one of the sweet treats was Private Braxton Zuber.

“Oh, boy!” he reportedly exclaimed. “If this is war, let it continue.”

The following day, Purviance and Sheldon, made a fresh batch of doughnuts – 300 this time. All were devoured by grateful infantrymen. Word quickly spread and soldiers up and down the line were clamoring for more of the fried treats. Eventually, Purviance would find herself making as many as 8,000 doughnuts a day.

Read more: Doughboys and Doughnut Girls – How the Salvation Army’s World War I Women Volunteers Made History

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