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WW1 Centennial News for Wednesday July 19, 2017 - Episode #29

Secretary Baker draws the first lottery numberUS Secretary of War Baker draws the first draft lottery number

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  • Launching the Lottery: Feature |@ 01:15
  • A tale of combat between a merchantman and a U-boat: Feature |@ 03:15
  • The Russians and the Balkans: Guest Mike Shuster |@ 06:30
  • The Storyteller & The Historian with Dissent in 1917: Guests Richard Rubin and Jonathan Bratten |@ 10:35
  • Wrapup on Bastille Day: Feature |@ 16:30
  • “The Extraordinary Adventures of Colonel Hughes”: Event |@ 18:30
  • Governors Island WWI History Weekend: Guest Kevin Fitzpatrick |@ 20:00
  • “Luck of the Draw”, NZ art projects commemorating WW1: International |@ 24:45
  • Nieuport 11’s on Vimy Ridge Commemorative flight arrive in London: |@ 28:15
  • Youtube history hit channel “Extra Credits”: Guest James Portnow |@ 29:00
  • Stephanie Trouillard young french journalist on the WWrite Blog |@ 35:15

And more…

View the PDF transcript


Welcome to World War 1 centennial News - It’s about WW1 news 100 years ago this week  - and it’s about WW1 News NOW - news and updates about the centennial and the commemoration.

Today is July 19th, 2017 and this week we joined by Mike Shuster from the great war project blog, The Storyteller and the Historian, Richard Rubin and Jonathan Bratten  -  Kevin Fitzpatrick - WW1 historian and expert on New York’s Governors Island - and James Portnow whose Extra Credits Youtube channel just crossed a million subscribers - showing that History is not a snooze.

WW1 Centennial News is brought to you by the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission and the Pritzker Military Museum and Library. I’m Theo Mayer - Chief Technologist for the World War One Centennial Commission and your host. Welcome!

World War One THEN

100 Year Ago This Week

Our Wayback machine has moved back in time 100 years. It’s the week of July 16, 1917 and there’s big happenings in Washington DC…

[sound effect]

Dateline July 20, 1917



The scene is a large room in the Senate Office Building - Chalk Board covers the back wall. A double wide table is set in front and on the table - a large glass bowl filled with 10,500 capsules that contain numbers. The room is filled with press.

At 9:30 am Newton D. Baker, the US Secretary of war calls the room to order and states:

" We are met here to conduct a lottery or draft by which the National Army and such additions as may be necessary to bring the Regular Army and

National Guard to war strength are to be selected.

" This is an occasion of very great dignity and some solemnity. It represents the first application of the principles believed by many of us to be democratic, equal, and fair in selecting soldiers to defend the national honor abroad and at home."

Blindfolded, Baker announces: “let us begin” .

He reaches into the large bowl and pulls out a capsule.

"I have drawn the first number," says Mr. Baker in a tone of a man who has done an epochal thing. He holds the tiny capsule aloft.  An announcer takes it from him and breaks it open, taking out the tiny slip of paper that will change lives forever.

"The number is 2-5-8," he cries

"Two hundred and fifty-eight," echoes the voice of the tally chief. Another attendant posts the numerals "258" on the blackboard in the rear.

This begins a process that lasts for 22 hours with 600 numbers being draw every hour. And so the first men are chosen through the new American selective service system.

[sound effect]

Dateline July 20, 1917

Headline: Naval Gunners, On Armed American Merchant Ship Battle With German Submarine.  After Merchant Crew Takes to the Lifeboats Men Cheered and Congratulated by the U-Boat Sailors for Their Gallant Fight


This is a first person account by the chief petty officer in charge of the armed guard aboard the US steamship Moreni:

" We were attacked by a submarine at 4.05 a. m. on June 12,

  1. She was off the port quarter, about 9,000 yards away. She

fired four or five shots before we located her. We swung around

until our stern faced the submarine, and returned the fire at

range of about 7,000 yards.

"After a half-hour fight we were hit in the gasoline tank aft,

and a fire started.

It was reported to me that the ammunition aft was running low.

Immediately I lined up the forward gun's crew - with the merchant crew to pass ammunition from forward to aft. About an hour later fire broke out all over the ship and It became impossible for the men to pass any more ammunition.

I reached the bridge, being burned on the way there.


About this time our steering gear was shot away and we started to go around in circles.

"Coming down off the bridge, I saw the captain and the boat

Swain ready to lower the lifeboat.

The captain said to come and get In the lifeboat, as it was starting to burn. I asked him to wait.

He said he would hold the boat as long as possible for me.

I then noticed two of the gun's crew in the lifeboat. I ordered them to get out and come with me.

We went forward and manned the forward gun, with which we fired four shots -- but then, the firing pin went out of commission.

As we could fire no more and as the captain called that the life

boat was burning, we got into the boat.

Seeing us in the water the submarine called the boats alongside. They congratulated us, shook hands with the captain, and told us that it was the

best fight they had ever seen any merchantman put up.

The Germans treated two men who had been wounded and

returned us to our boats. The commander of the submarine said he would have towed us toward the beach but for the fact that we had called for assistance.

[Sound effect]

Both these stories were in the Friday July 20th issue of the Official Bulletin -  Volume 1 - Issue 60. The Official Bulletin is the US government war gazette published at the President’s order by George Creel, his propaganda chief.

You can read each issue of the Official Bulletin yourself on our web site -- We re-publish each issue of the bulletin on the centennial anniversary of its original publication. This is an amazing resource for historians and history buffs, educators and students, social and media anthropologists, and folks like me who just happen to be deeply interested in the actual words published by the US government 100 years ago this week - in the war that changed the world.


The URL is easy to remember - just go to ww1cc.org/bulletin or follow the link in the podcast notes.

Link: http://www.worldwar1centennial.org/educate/history/official-bulletin.html

[sound effect]

Great War Project

Now we are joined by Mike shuster, former NPR correspondent and curator for the Great War Project blog.

Eastern Europe is still a major aspect of this conflict with Russia disintegrating as an allied power - and with Balkans who started all this  - Mike - we look forward to your post.

[Mike Shuster]


Thank you Mike. That was Mike Shuster from the Great War Project blog.

The Great War Channel

As we do every week, we want to tell you what is happening on the Great War Channel on Youtube -  WW1 100 years ago this week, from a more european perspective.

This week’s new episodes include:

A new “OUT OF THE TRENCHES” where Indy Niedel the host addresses your feedback and comments.

Operation Beach Party - Mustard Gas Unleashed

Maria Bochkareva and the First Russian Women's Battalion of Death

Follow the link in the podcast notes or search for “the great war” on youtube.



[Sound Effect]

Storyteller and the Historian

We have talked about the espionage act and the government crackdown on dissent -  a few times this month. We are going to give the last word on this to our intrepid duo - the storyteller and the historian!  With us are author and storyteller Richard Rubin and historian Jonathan Bratten:

[Audio S&H]

That was - the StoryTeller - Richard Rubin and The Historian - Jonathan Bratten talking talking about the crack-down on dissent and the espionage act of 1917.

The Storyteller and the Historian is now a full hour-long monthly podcast. Look for it on iTunes or follow the link in the podcast notes.

Link: http://storytellerandhistorian.libsyn.com

WW1 Centennial News  NOW

[Sound Transition]

We have moved forward into the present with

WW1 Centennial News NOW  - News about the centennial and the commemoration.

Commission News

Over the past three weeks we been talking about President Trump’s visit to paris,  as the guest of French President Macron --- to participate in their July 14th Bastille day ceremonies.

This year included the traditional parade of French military might down the Champs Elysee, but with a slight twist: the inclusion of American troops and vehicles.

Joining the thousands of French soldiers, 241 horses, 63 airplanes and 29 helicopters were 150 US soldiers, airmen, sailors, and Marines, including a doughboy clad color guard and American jet fly overs.


The inclusion of American Armed Forces was to commemorate the arrival of US troops to France 100 years ago.  

As President Trump and President Macron stood in review, Macron remarked,

"On this day of national celebration, we must not ever forget the price that we paid for winning our freedom and our rights. The price which we are prepared to pay to defend them... because it is “they” [our rights and freedom] which unite us and make France, France and make France what it is today. The United States is one of our friends. Nothing will separate us ever. The presence at my side of Donald Trump and his wife is a sign of our friendship that travels time. I want to thank them here, and thank the United States for the choices made over 100 years."

You can access videos, photos and articles about the event by browsing our Social Media Wall at ww1cc.org/social

Link: http://ww1cc.org/social

Activities and Events

[Sound Effect]

From the U.S. National WW1 Centennial Events Register at WW1CC.org/events - here is our upcoming “event pick” of the week:

Topeka: The Extraordinary Adventures of Colonel Hughes

This week we focus on Topeka Kansas!

The Kansas Historical Society has an exhibit on view at the Kansas Museum of History in Topeka which is open through May 2018.

It is titled “The Extraordinary Adventures of Colonel Hughes” and features the story of one extraordinary Kansan soldier, James Clark Hughes.

Hughes began his service as a member of the Kansas National Guard and was sent to the Texas border with the American Expeditionary Forces in 1916.  

He joined the U.S. Army where he served from 1917 to 1948 and fought in both world wars, spending a cumulative 41 months as a POW - a Prisoner of War.

As a member of the U.S. Army he photographed battlefields and towns in Europe during World War I. These photographs are made public for the first time at the exhibit.

During the second world war, Colonel Hughes was captured at Bataan and recorded his daily survival as a Japanese Prisoner of War.

The exhibit displays his photographs, his diary excerpts, and many of his belongings from the wars which he donated to the Museum of History.

Learn more about Colonel Hughes and preview this unique and special exhibit by following the link in the podcast notes.




Kevin Fitzpatrick - Governors Island WWI History Weekend

For our next featured event and for a profile of a 100 Cities /100 Memorials project and just because he is such an interesting guy - we want to welcome our next guest - Kevin Fitzpatrick, author of “World War One New York: A Guide to the City’s Enduring Ties to the great war” and is the program director for the WWI Centennial Committee for New York City.

Welcome Kevin!

[Kevin - let’s start with Governors Island itself - give us the quick synopsis of what it is and what it was.]

[Kevin - You have been an organizing force for a re-enactor event on the island - It’s sounding like quite an event for 2017 - what can you tell us about it?]


[Kevin - I first met you in my capacity as the program manager for the 100 Cities / 100 memorials project - you submitted some memorials to program - how do they tie in?]

Kevin - it is always a pleasure speaking with you…

That was Kevin Fitzpatrick - citizen historian, ww1 centennial advocate, author, event organizer and man about manhattan.

Mark you calendars for an extraordinary event taking place on Governors island - a short ferry hop off the tip of Manhattan - coming up this September 16  and 17. Follow the links in the podcast notes.



International Report

New Zealand

In our International Report this week, we’ll start by visiting an art project in New Zealand.

This ties in directly with our story on the draft picks in Washington DC this week 100 years ago.

The project is called “Luck of the Draw” and was commissioned by the New Zealand First World War Centenary programme office.

The project  reflects on the issue of conscription 100 years ago. The programme office asked several of New Zealand’s young emerging artists aged between 18 and 25 to respond to film footage of the first conscription ballot being drawn from a small, unassuming wooden box, which the Kiwis nicknamed the death box!

The artifact is now housed at Te Papa, New Zealand’s national museum.

Turning to the arts and the young arts community --- for a take on WW1 commemoration strikes us as a really innovative commemoration concept  - And it produced some amazing results including a dance, and audio piece, a video and animation, glitch art and more.

Learn more and view some of these works by following links in the podcast notes.








Turning our attention to London, this week two replica WW1 planes landed in England to participate in a national tour called “Vimy Flight, a commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge and Canada's 150th birthday”.

The planes will be displayed at the Jet Aircraft Museum at London International Airport through Sunday.

The planes, both Nieuport 11’s, are replicas of the fighter planes that helped Canada win the battle at Vimy Ridge 100 years ago. Only two of the thousands of original Nieuport 11’s still exist, and both reside in museums in France. The replicas, though made of metal and non-flammable materials and not wood, are perfect copies of the originals. Learn more about Vimy Flight and the planes’ tour-schedule by following the links in the podcast notes.

Canada planes: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/london/first-world-war-fighter-planes-land-at-london-international-airport-1.4205337


Spotlight on the Media

Interview with James Portnow from Extra Credits

Today in our spotlight on the media section we are going to feature a Youtube channel called Extra Credits.

With an interesting mix of content that is based on gaming and somehow folds in history, they recently crossed the 1 million subscriber mark!  


Joining us is James Portnow - lead writer and co-creator of extra credits, to talk about how they have managed to make history relevant and interesting to the Youtube generation.

[James - first of all - congratulations on your million subscriber mark!]

[Your youtube channel started…  being about games and gaming - and it makes sense that your topical  / and to me non-technical approach about gaming would build a following… but how did history sneak into the mix?]

[So…. why do you think your viewers are responding to subjects that normally have a pretty bad rep?]

[James - You’ve immersed yourself in the subject… Why do YOU think WW1 is relevant today?]

Well.. as you publish new episodes on WW1 - be sure to let us know so we can mention them to this audience!

Thank you for joining us today!

That was James Portnow - co-creator and lead writer for the hit youtube channel Extra Credits. Learn more about James and Extra Credits by following the links in the podcast notes.




[Sound Effect]

Articles and Posts

It is time for our Articles and Posts segment - where we explore the World War One Centennial Commission’s rapidly growing website at ww1cc.org -

New York National Guard reported for World War I duty 100 years ago


This week in the news section is the article “New York National Guard reported for World War I duty 100 years ago”

The article talks about how on July 12 1917, President Woodrow Wilson had ordered all 112,000 National Guard Soldiers across the country to report for duty as part of the build up of the National Army.

New York's guardsmen, along with those in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska were all instructed to report on July 15 to their local armories and begin preparing to ship out.

Read the story about the New York National Guard's great mobilization by visiting the link in the podcast notes.

Link: http://www.worldwar1centennial.org/index.php/communicate/press-media/wwi-centennial-news/2787-ny-world-war-i-history-new-york-national-guard-reported-for-world-war-i-duty-100-years-ago.html

WWrite Blog

In our WWRITE blog, which explores WWI’s Influence on contemporary writing and scholarship, this week's post ties into making history relevant to a digital native generation. The post title is “Journalist Tweets WWI to French Youth. Plus! Her Exclusive Twitter Feed from Bastille Day in Paris“

Stéphanie Trouillard is a young french journalist with a rapidly expanding following on her blog and Twitter feed - as she tries to give a fresh face to WWI using social media.

This week on WWrite, France24's Stéphanie Trouillard tells us about her personal and professional passions driving her innovative historical writing project. And a special bonus! She's shared part of her Twitter feed from Bastille Day in Paris, where she covered President Trump meeting French President Emmanuel Macron.

Don't miss this alternate up-close look at this historic day on our WWRITE blog at ww1cc.org/w-w-r-i-t-e or follow the link in the podcast notes.




The Buzz - WW1 in Social Media

That brings us to the buzz - the centennial of WW1 this week in social media with Katherine Akey - Katherine - what do you have for us this week?

A Canadian and an American

A photo from 100 years ago inspires comparisons.  



The Marines Arrive

An informative FB post outlines the first few days in France for the 5th Marines


Thank you Katherine.  

And we welcome your comments and discussion of this week’s episode on Facebook - the new podcast announcement will be at www.facebook.com/ww1centennial. Drop in and tell us what you think of this episode.


And that is WW1 Centennial News for this week. Thank you for listening!

We want to thank our guests:

  • Mike Shuster from the Great War Project blog and his post about Russia and the Balkans...
  • Richard Rubin and Jonathan Bratten with their StoryTeller and the Historian segment on the US government crackdown on dissent in 1917
  • Kevin Fitzpatrick, author and tour guide speaking to us about Governors Island WW1 History Weekend
  • James Portnow, lead writer and co-creator for youtube’s Extra Credits channel
  • Katherine Akey the Commission’s social media director and also the line producer for the show.

And I am Theo Mayer - your host.


The US World War One Centennial Commission was created by Congress to honor, commemorate and educate about WW1.

Our programs are to--

inspire a national conversation and awareness about WW1;

We are bringing the lessons of the 100 years ago into today's classrooms;

We are helping to restore WW1 memorials in communities of all sizes across our country;

and of course we are building America’s National WW1 Memorial in Washington DC.

We rely entirely on your donations. No government appropriations or taxes are being used.

You can support these programs with a tax deductible donation ww1cc.org/donate - all lower case

Or if you are on your smart phone text  the word: WW1 to 41444. that's the letters ww the number 1 texted to 41444. Any amount is appreciated.


We want to thank commission’s founding sponsor the Pritzker Military Museum and Library for their support.

The podcast can be found on our website at ww1cc.org/cn  

on  iTunes and google play ww1 Centennial News.

Our twitter and instagram handles are both @ww1cc and we are on facebook @ww1centennial.

Thanks for joining us. And don’t forget to share the stories you are hearing here with someone about the war that changed the world!

So long.



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