From the World War I Centennial News Podcast
In the News 100 Years Ago: The Official Bulletin
From January 25th's edition of the World War I Centennial News Podcast, Episode 107, we bring you some headlines from the U.S. Government's official wartime publication, The Official Bulletin, published 100 years ago this week. The following is a transcript, edited for clarity:
Theo Mayer: Welcome to In The News 100 years ago this week. Now, before we get going, I want to tell you about a special publication called The Official Bulletin. Right after America declared war in 1917, President Wilson asked a gentleman named George Creel to set up and publish a daily newspaper in which the Administration could inform America about its news, policies, programs and initiatives for the war effort. In other words, it is the Administration's daily propaganda gazette.
As part of the Centennial, we faithfully republished every issue, six issues a week on the Centennial of its original publication date. You'll find the whole collection at www.1cc.org/bulletin, all lower case. It is a really amazing primary source of information for what the U.S. Government was doing, thinking, proposing, promoting, and instructing during the war years. A lot of the Commission's web visitors have become avid daily readers.
Well, we're just about out of issues to share to with you. In fact, we thought we were going to run out next week, but one of our intrepid researchers, Dave Kramer, found another month's worth of issues which we're going to get published at www.1cc.org/bulletin, and you can follow that in the link in the podcast notes. Let's jump into our Centennial Time Machine, and go back to the closing days of January 1919, and read some headlines from the Official US Bulletin.
Date line, Monday, January 27, 1919: Headline, President Wilson's speech to the Paris Conference for a League of Nations. Necessary he says, to maintain peace. Continuous watch vital to protect all mankind from war and threats of war. "Must set up machinery to render conferences work complete." Describes ideal of American people, speaking as their servant.
Date line, Tuesday, January 28th 1919: Morning communique. "The President of the United States, and the Prime Ministers, and Foreign Ministers pf the Allied and Associated Powers, and the Japanese representatives met this morning at the Kay Dorset, from 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM, and defined a program of work and constitution of new committees for economic and financial questions, as well as questions relating to private and maritime laws. The afternoon session continued the exchange of views on the former German Colonies in the Pacific and the far East. The representatives of the Dominions and of China were heard. The next meeting will take place tomorrow at 11 o'clock." And on coming home from France. Headline, "Disposition of pet animals abandoned by troop units. It has been brought to the attention of the War Department that troop units which had, had dogs and other pet animals in their care as mascots, have abandoned them and are now outcasts and wanderers. Units should be instructed to make the proper disposition of such animals, and in accordance with the well-known sentiments of the society for the prevention of the cruelty to animals, prior to the demobilization of units and departures of its members for their homes. By order of the Secretary of War, Paton C. March, General Chief of Staff." The next day. Clearing the way for a commercial aerospace industry...
Date line, Tuesday, January 28th 1919: Headline, "Restrictions upon private airplane exhibitions in US withdrawn by Presidential proclamation. Flying permits now granted. Permits for flying are now granted to qualified civilians who apply according to the requirements of the President's proclamation. In making an application for a flying license, the civilian is required to forward a copy of his or her certificate or license, showing that the individual is qualified as a pilot." On rebuilding and expanding the US infrastructure: Headline, "Nation's businessmen asked to make suggestion tending to improve postal service." And the story reads: "The post office department has sent out a circular letter to more than 15,000 businessmen, firms, boards of trade, and chambers of commerce throughout the country, inviting suggestions and constructive criticisms which may tend to improve the postal service. Signed by JC Coons, First Assistant Postmaster General." And, post-war America begins to consider a global market. Headline, "American shoes are high in favor among Chinese people. American shoes are high in favor among the Chinese, says a report issued today by the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce Department of Commerce. Most of the high grade leather imported by the Chinese comes from the United States, and the Government reports states that this product can be sold increasing quantities if proper representation is obtained, reasonable credit extended, and samples sent when special offerings are made. Japan offers a market for shoe making machinery and materials, rather than for shoes as the use of important footwear is very limited. It is estimated that about seven percent of the population of Japan now uses modern footwear at least part of the time."
Date line, Wednesday, January 29 1919: Headline, "Executive Order dissolving War Industries Board and transferring certain of its functions. The Executive Order by President Woodrow Wilson reads: 'Whereas, by Executive Order Number 2868, dated May 28th 1918, I established the War Industries Board and now by virtue of the Armistice an approaching peace, it becomes desirable to provide for the dissolution of said Board, and for the termination of its activities in the manner herein set forth.'" But as controls are loosened with hand, they're tightened with the other, especially in regard to prohibition.
Headline, "Nationwide Prohibition now in US Constitution, declares proclamation by Acting Secretary Poke. Acting Secretary of State, Frank L. Poke, today signed the proclamation certifying that the prohibition amendment has become valid as a part of the constitution of the United States. The proclamation reads: Section 1: After one year from the date of ratification of this article, the manufacture, sale or transportation of intoxicating liquors within the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territories subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes, is hereby prohibited.'" In an incredibly relevant and prophetic article about America maybe forgetting about World War One.
Headline, "History of War for schools to be issued by Government. In order that boys and girls in American schools may have the latest possible information on how the war was fought and won, and what the problems of reconstruction are, the Bureau of Education has just printed a special bulletin on America's part in winning World War Peace." The bulletin, which is illustrated throughout with cartoons and pictures of the day, will be distributed at cost by the Government to all schools. 'It offers the needed help for schools which would study this most important phase of world history, while its events are still fresh in the minds of the people, and before interest in it has begun to wane.' says Commissioner Claxton."
Date line, Thursday, January 30th 1919: Headline, "Polish Republic recognized by US and cable to premier sent by Secretary Lancing by direction of the President. Promise given of America's help. The Provisional Polish Government is accorded complete recognition in a telegram, which Secretary Lancing has sent Ignace Paderewski, by direction of President Wilson." And in commerce news,
Headline, "Exports of rubber tires from US in year value within over $15 million. Canada, Argentina and Cuba were the principle countries of destination of the rubber tire exports from the United States during the fiscal year, end of June 30th 1918."
Date line, Friday, January 31st 1919: In economic news. Headline, "Home loan banks are planned similar to farm loan banks." And the story reads: "More than half a million new dwelling houses now are needed in the United States. $2 billion available for loans to home builders would go far in providing the necessary capital for building these dwellings." In science and technology,
Headline, "Film used instead of plates for Army X-ray photographs." And the story reads: "From the office of the Surgeon General: The use of films instead of plates for taking the X-ray photographs which have done so much to assist military surgery, has developed on a large scale during the war." And in International Commerce,
Headline, "Italian import restrictions placed on leather and shoes." And the story reads: "The War Trade Board announced that it has been requested by the High Commissioner for Italy to inform the American exporting public of the following restrictions, which have been imposed the importation of leather and shoes into Italy." And that gives you some insight into what the US Government was publishing and talking about in its Official Bulletin 100 years ago this week. You'll find all the issues of The Official Bulletin at www.1cc.org/bulletin, all lower case, or follow the link in the podcast notes.