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WW1 Centennial News for Wednesday August 9, 2017 - Episode #32

An American Red Cross angel provides comfort to a wounded manAn American Red Cross angel provides comfort to a wounded man

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  • Then: The American Red Cross - Part 2 |@ 01:00
  • Storyteller & Historian: The Herbert Hoover Food Administration |@ 07:00
  • Mike Shuster: Where did “Doughboy” come from? |@ 13:30
  • Feature: The US Mint WWI Commemorative Coin |@ 17:45
  • NEW: Speaking WWI this week “Slaker” |@ 19:30
  • Event Picks: Portland Maine, Los Angeles |@ 20:25
  • 100C/100M: Neil Urban on Veterans of WWI of the USA Monument in Arizona |@ 22:40
  • Media: Professor Sir Hew Stachan & Catriona Oliphant on Podcast Docudrama - “Enter The Peace Broker” |@ 28:55
  • Articles: National Guard, Rainbow Division and The Wool Brigade |@ 39:50
  • The Buzz: Katherine Akey on Social Media |@ 43:15

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 August 9th, 2017 and this week we’re joined by

  • The Storyteller and the Historian, Richard Rubin and Jonathan Bratten  -
  • Mike Shuster from the great war project blog,
  • Neil Urban from the 100 Cities / 100 Memorials project in Phoenix, Arizona
  • As well as Catriona Oliphant and Sir Hew Strachan talking to us about a new British podcast docudrama called Enter The Peace Brokers.

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 - the Chief Technologist for the World War One Centennial Commission and your host.

World War One THEN

100 Year Ago This Week


In Episode #26 we told you the story of how the American Red Cross was nearly instantly transformed by the US entry into the war. In that one week in late July, 100 years ago - the US government, uses its propaganda machine and raises well over $100 million dollars on behalf of the Red Cross. Then they technically install their man, Henry P. Davidson as the organization’s overseer through a War Council, and finally they announce that Red Cross personnel will wear uniforms when in the war theater.

It’s a bit over a month later and time for an update on this iconic humanitarian organization that was not born, but forged by the war that changed the world.


We have gone back in time 100 year and It’s the week of August 5th, 1917.

From the headlines and pages of the Official Bulletin - the government’s war gazette published by order of President Wilson by George Creel, America’s Propaganda Chief - we now explore the next chapter in the story of the Red Cross. This week the story is not about transformation - but preparation as the Red Cross prepares to take on new challenges!


Dateline: Tuesday August 7, 1917


The story reads:

‘In response to an urgent cablegram -  the Red Cross is planning to ship 100,000 one-half pound tins of ether to France.

Also, because of the shortage of anesthetics in France, the Red Cross War Council, has also authorized the establishment, as soon as practicable, a central plant to manufacture nitrous oxygen, or “laughing gas,” one of the

most effective and harmless of anesthetics for short operations.

American machinery will be shipped to France for this purpose, and American operatives will be sent over to conduct the plant.



In this story, the Red Cross prepares for what is probably the biggest instant human migration in the country’s history as tens of thousands of young men from across the land are gathered in rapidly built military training camps.

The story reads: Following its policy of caring for the health of not only of the soldiers and sailors of the United States, but that of the civil population, the American Red Cross has established a bureau of sanitary service, which will supplement and assist Federal, State, and local health authorities in meeting sanitary emergencies created by the war effort.

The work of the bureau will center in the civilian areas surrounding Army cantonments.

While sanitary control of National Army cantonments, National Guard camps, and naval bases will be exercised by the military authorities,

the districts immediately adjoining these camps will be under no such jurisdiction. Yet the assembling of large bodies of troops from around the nation will create new sanitary condition challenges which must be met to safeguard the health of civilians and soldiers alike.

And in a detail follow up to the announcement of uniforms and ranks for American Red Cross personnel - the government now provides details


Headline: Army Rank Assigned to the American Red Cross Workers, The Insignia to Be Worn and Restrictions to Be Placed Upon Them

In this article we learn about the ranks and insignias that will be assigned to Red Cross personnel.

Examples include a Red Cross Director who is the equivalent of a military Major and who will wear the Greek Cross in red enamel on cap, hat or helmet. Or a Red Cross Secretary - the equivalent of a Sergeant Major will wear the Greek Cross in red enamel on both sides of the collar of coat or shirt.

The article also specifies:

To avoid the presence in European theaters of war of persons who may not be acceptable to the authorities of any foreign Government or in whose loyalty there may not be placed undoubted confidence by the Government of the United States as well as of such Governments, the name, residence, and former employment of each member of the American National Red Cross below grade 7 - will be furnished to The Adjutant General of the Army for transmission to the Chief, War College Division of the General Staff Corps with, similar information furnished to the commanding general, United States forces in France.

And in a final story this week to - to clarify that members of the Red Cross are NOT US military personnel…



The story reads:

Many questions have arisen as to the attitude of the American Red Cross toward Germans wounded on the battle field and also toward Americans of German origin affiliating themselves with Red Cross hospital units going abroad.

To make clear the attitude of the Red Cross, Henry P. Davison, chairman of the war council, authorizes the following statement:

“When war was declared between the United States and Germany the neutrality of the American Red Cross, of course, ended automatically. The American Red Cross can cooperate only behind the lines of the armies of the United States and its allies.

But the Red Cross knows no such thing as the nationality of a wounded man. Any wounded enemy turned over to the care of the American Red Cross will receive as kindly treatment as any friend.

The Red Cross will not only extend every aid and comfort to the armies of

America and its allies, but it will assist in every possible way the sick, wounded, and afflicted among the civilian populations among our allied countries. This is in conformity with the practice of the Red Cross Society in every country.

And that is the update on the American Red Cross 100 years ago this week.


still from the pages of the Official Bulletin comes a lead in to the next section of our program.

Dateline: Saturday August 11, 1917

This simple one paragraph notice reads:

The President yesterday afternoon formally announced the appointment of

Herbert C. Hoover as Food Administrator for the United States.

Herbert Hoover and US Food Admin


Storyteller and the Historian

Which is the perfect lead in to our intrepid duo - the storyteller and the historian - Richard Rubin and Jonathan Bratten. Today they’re going to explore the Administration and Herbert Hoover’s take over of food US production.


Thank you gentlemen! That was - the StoryTeller - Richard Rubin and The Historian - Jonathan Bratten

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

Link: http://storytellerandhistorian.libsyn.com


Great War Project Blog

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

Today Mike’s post looks at the murky origins of an iconic World War One symbol  - the doughboy!

Welcome Mike


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

The Great War Channel

For videos about WW1, we invite you to check out the Great War Channel on Youtube -  they offer great videos about great war from a more European perspective..

This week’s new episodes include:

The Battle of Passchendaele and Mutiny in the German Navy

Recap of our Trip to England

The Baltic states in WW1

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



World War One NOW


We have moved forward into the present with  WW1 Centennial News NOW  - News about the centennial and the commemoration.

Commission News

For this week’s  "Commission News" segment we decided to... flip a coin

[coin roll sound effect]

There is a US mint - World War I commemorative coin project that we want to tell you about.

In 2014, the United States  Congress authorized the US Mint to develop and produce a World War One commemorative coin as a part of the Centennial Commemoration.

It’s been fascinating to watch the process, because it takes a really long time! The project was authorized by congress in 2014. Then in 2016, the US mint held a design competition and collected ideas. This year in 2017,  we will be able to announce the final design and the availability of the coin which will be early in 2018.

This US mint issued coin is an ideal collectible keepsake of the centennial for anyone who served, anyone who had a family member in WWI, certainly a “must have” for anyone who has been involved in this centennial commemoration - and of course anyone who listens to this podcast!!!! -   or anyone,  who wants to honor and remember those men and women who gave so much for our freedom 100 years ago.

There are other WWI commemorative coins out there, like the beautiful Pritzker Military Museum and Library commemorative coin, our own remembrance coin in our official merchandise shop and others.. But the official US Mint commemorative coin is a genuine numismatic collectible and most important - the proceeds go directly toward the building America’s WWI Memorial in Washington DC….

Think of it as the OFFICIAL “official” US keepsakes for the centennial of the war that changed the world!

Speaking WW1

Today - we’d like to introduce a new segment called “Speaking World War 1 - Where we  explore today’s words & phrases that are rooted in Then.

Today’s  word  is “slacker”, common today to describe a lazy, unmotivated, flakey individual.

It first started being used in during the World War 1 era to describe someone who was not participating in the war effort, especially someone who avoided military service. Essentially - a slacker was a draft dodger. Citizens would even organize coordinated attempts to track down these evaders, an event called a “slacker raid”. A San Francisco Chronicle headline on September 7, 1918, read: "Slacker is Doused in Barrel of Paint"

Learn more about the term by following the links in the podcast notes



Activities and Events


Portland Maine

In Activities and Events we are going to profile 2 events -  selected from the U.S. National WW1 Centennial Events Register at WW1CC.org/events where we are compiling and recording WW1 Commemoration events from around the country- not just from major metros and museums but also local events from the heart of the country- showing how the WW1 Centennial Commemoration is playing out all over..

Our local event from Portland Maine is at the Osher Map Library. They have an exhibit on view through October 2017 called “To Conquer or Submit? America Views the Great War”.

The exhibit explores the world of propagandistic maps and printed images that Americans relied on to understand World War I. The display goes beyond the propaganda posters to include a range of informative  propaganda, maps, and atlases. The show was curated  from the collections of the Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education.

The link in the podcast notes leads to more information about this great local event.



Los Angeles

For our major metro event, we want to profile a recent lecture at the Hollywood American Legion, Post 43 in Los Angeles, California.

R.G. Head, a decorated War hero, aviator, scholar, author and public speaker, shared the story of one of World War I’s most Important Aviators: German aviator Oswald Boelcke.

read more about event and RG Head by following the links in the podcast notes.




RG is also the curator of our own Great War In The Sky timeline and will be joining us here on WW1 Centennial News next week for an update retrospection of the War in The Sky over the past 6 months.

If you are involved with any WW1 centennial events, you are invited to submit them to the National WW1 Centennial Events Register. This not only promotes them to the WW1 community of interest, but also puts them into the permanent national US archival record of the centennial. Go to ww1cc.org/events. Click the big red button and fill out the form.


100 Cities/100 Memorials


Neil Urban  - Veterans of World War I of the U.S.A. Monument in Arizona’s Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza

Every week we are going to profile one of the many amazing projects that are participating in our 100 Cities / 100 Memorials national matching grant challenge. Last week we profiled Mobile, Alabama.. This week we are heading to Phoenix, Arizona to the Veterans of World War I of the U.S.A. Monument in Arizona’s Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza. This specific project is unique in program in that the memorial is in the states capital plaza where they have their Capital Museum, their State Library, a whole veteran’s plaza - and the project is being supported by a state department.

To tell us about it, we’re joined by Neil Urban, Capital Planner for the Arizona Department of Administration. Welcome Neil!

[exchange greetings]

[Neil - So Niel - you work for the State of Arizona - tell us a little bit about what you do and how you became involved with this memorial restoration?]

[Neil - in reading a lot of the grant applications - one thing has popped out for me and that is that for each one of these memorial restoration projects  - someone’s personal passion is a key driving force. Is this more than just another job assignment for you?]

[in reading through your grant application, it almost seems like the 100 Cities / 100 Memorials initiative combined AND your passion seem to have triggered a state-wide review of your WW1 memorials. Is that true?]

That was Neil Urban on the Veterans of World War I of the U.S.A. Monument in Phoenix Arizona.

We will continue to profile the submitting teams and their projects on the show over the coming months. Learn more about the 100 Cities / 100 Memorials program at ww1cc.org/100memorials or follow the link in the podcast notes.

Link: www.ww1cc.org/100memorials

Spotlight in the Media

Interview with Catriona Oliphant and Professor Sir Hew Strachan on “Enter The Peace Broker” by Martyn Wade

This week we are combining our Spotlight in the Media and International report segments by introducing you to a new WWI radio docudrama from the UK.

The headline in the UK Daily Mail article reads:

America's forgotten heroes: 100 years ago, the U.S. finally agreed to send soldiers to join the Allies in the trenches and help turn the course of WWI. So why, asks a top historian, is their awesome bravery barely remembered today?


“Enter The Peace Broker” by Martyn Wade, was produced by ChromeRadio as a new five part podcast docudrama that uses first-hand accounts — diaries, correspondence and contemporary coverage — to highlight the events leading up to America’s entry into World War I.

With us today are Noted WWI historian Sir Hew Strachan (STRAWN) Professor of International Relations at the University of St Andrews and a member of the UK’s National Committee for the Centenary of the First World War,

And Catriona Oliphant (KATRINA)  founding director of ChromeRadio, an independent audio production company.

Welcome to the both of you.

[exchange greetings]

[Catriona - Let me start with you… how did this project come about?

Sir Hew - you are considered by many as the leading WWI historian - how did you get involved in the project?]

[To both of you - as a listener to the series - what should I expect my experience to be?]

That was Catriona Oliphant and Sir Hew Strachan about the new podcast Docudrama: Enter The Peace Broker.

To listen to all the episodes of the Enter the Peace Broker, visit audioboom.com and search for ‘Enter The Peace Broker’.

It’s also available on iTunes and other major podcast platforms. Sir Hew’s recent Radio 3 Essay series, The Long Road To Peace, can be heard at bbc.co.uk/radio (search for ‘The Long Road To Peace’).

We have links for you in the podcast notes.






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 -

In the Official Bulletin this week 100 years ago, an article on August 9th reads “Mobilization of men for new national army to begin September 1st”.

The great trans-continental shuffling of soldiers to training camps has begun.

The centennial of this massive mobilization is being commemorated now. Three articles on the Commission website came out this week all profiling different aspects of this milestone moment.

“The National Guard's defining role in WWI”

We will start with the overview article: “The National Guard's defining role in WWI”  This is a great crash course about the National Guard mobilization and their transformation from traditionally local militias into a cohesive national military force as it gets drafted into the US Army on August 5th, 1917.

“Honoring World War I's finest: The Rainbow Division”

“Honoring World War I's finest: The Rainbow Division” outlines a commemoration and rededication to take place on August 12, 2017 marking the 100th anniversary of the activation of the 42nd New York division. It is called the rainbow division because the 42nd was created from National Guard units from 26 different states and the District of Columbia. A young Douglas MacArthur, who continued to play a major military role through the second world war -  was the 42nd Division’s Chief of Staff and said that this diverse unit would "Stretch over the whole country like a rainbow."

“Remembering the Rainbow Division”

Another article “Remembering the Rainbow Division” is even more local. It is a personal tribute.

On August 28 in Montgomery, Alabama, a Korean War veteran and Silver Star recipient will honor his father and the many others who served in the 4th Alabama National Guard, which became part of the the 42nd Rainbow Division after they were federalized.

Rod Frazer, author and historian, will officially unveil and dedicate a bronze monument marking exactly 100 years since 3,677 Alabama Guardsmen, including his father, William Frazer, hopped onto one of eight trains from Union Station to fight in the war that changed the world.

Read any of these articles by following the links in the podcast notes.






When knitting was a patriotic duty

In episode #26 we mentioned knitting used for covert communications in WW1 and WW2. This week’s article

“The wool brigades of World War 1: When knitting was a patriotic duty” discusses knitting’s more traditional use during the conflict.

Even before America even joined the war, organizations such as the American Red Cross and the American Fund for the French Wounded issued pleas for warm clothing for soldiers—or, as a Navy League poster put it, to “Knit a Bit.”

After April 1917, the Red Cross, and the Comforts Committee worked together to mobilize the general public to the war effort, with a goal for 1.5 million knitted garments for our boys!

Read more about it at ww1cc.org/news or follow the links in the notes:


The Buzz - WW1 in Social Media Posts

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?

Bomb Disposal

Belgian bomb disposal teams are still cleaning up after the fighting in WW1


Purple Heart Day

August 7th is #purpleheartday






Thank you Katherine. Closing


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

We want to thank our guests:

  • Richard Rubin and Jonathan Bratten and their StoryTeller and the Historian segment on the Food Administration
  • Mike Shuster from the Great War Project blog and his post about the origins of the Doughboy,
  • Neil Urban for our profile on the Veterans of World War I of the U.S.A. Monument in Phoenix, Arizona
  • Catriona Oliphant and Professor Sir Hew Strachan sharing their docudrama Enter the Peace Broker
  • 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; This program is a part of that….

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.

If you like the work we are doing, please support it with a tax deductible donation at 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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