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WW1 Centennial News for Wednesday August 30, 2017 - Episode #35

Pvt. John Elk - Company D, 189th Infantry, 35th Division from Bismarck, ND - Full Blooded Sioux Indian DoughboyPvt. John Elk - Company D, 139th Infantry, 35th Division
from Bismarck, ND - Full Blooded Sioux Indian Doughboy

The player below allows you to share and download the show from here as well. See buttons on the top right. Contact us if you have any questions.


  • Please donate to the Hurricane Harvey victims |@ 01:00
  • WW1 in China and Japan |@ 02:30
  • Mike Shuster - The fire at Salonika |@ 11:35
  • Dr. “Russ” McDonald on 49th UTTC International Powwow |@ 18:15
  • Speaking WWI - This week: “Field Day” |@ 24:50
  • Joel Mize on 100C/100M project in Mussel Shoals, AL |@ 26:00
  • Chris Connelly - Story of Service about USMC grandfather |@ 34:20
  • Tanveer Kalo - former intern becoming subject matter expert |@ 40:30
  • The Buzz - This week in social Media |@ 41:50

And more...

View the PDF transcript


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

Today is August 30th, 2017 and our guests this week are:

  • Mike Shuster from the great war project blog,   
  • Dr. Leander “Russ” McDonald, President of the United Tribes Technical College
  • Joel Mize from the 100 Cities / 100 Memorials project in Sheffield, Alabama
  • And Chris Connelly from Dayton Ohio who submitted a “stories of service” post and we want to talk about THAT.

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 Commission and your host. Welcome to the show.


Before we start the show today, we wanted to take a moment for the people of Texas struggling with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Here is Dan Dayton the Executive Director of the WW1 Centennial Commission


There are several links for donating to the relief effort in the podcast notes.




World War One THEN

100 Year Ago This Week


It really was a world war. In part, what made WWI  so immediately global was the “imperial” mindset of the times. Everyone thought in terms of empires - global and regional conquest, possessions, colonies, holdings, opportunities and international allies and bringing all that baggage into the fray.



We’ve gone back in time 100 years to explore the war that changed the world!

It is August 1917 and on the 14th of august, China declares war on Germany. So that got us thinking, here at WW1 Centennial News - about an Asia focused segment -  and this is it.

Quick quiz! OK, China declares war on Germany - But is Japan in the war? An what side are they on?

[ticking - buzzer]

That’s right - in WW1 Japan is ALSO on the side of the allies.

This week 100 years ago, a Japanese Delegation comes to America headed by Viscount Ishii, the former Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Empire of Japan. This prompts a number of articles in the Official Bulletin - America’s War Gazette created by the order of the President and published daily by George Creel, America’s propaganda chief.

[SOUND EFFECT Radio and telegraph]

Dateline: Monday August 27, 1917

Headline: Japanese Mission Pays Homage to George Washington, “He Belongs to All Mankind” Declares Viscount Ishii

As the diplomat placed a wreath on the tomb of America’s first president, he declares:

In the name of my gracious sovereign, the Emperor of Japan, and representing all the liberty-loving people who own his sway, I stand to-day in this sacred presence, not to eulogize the name of Washington, for that were presumption, but to offer the simple tribute of a people’s reverence and lové.

The Day’s events began with a speech by Secretary of the Navy Daniels who recalled the visit to Japan by Admiral Perry a half a century earlier and couches it - NOT as gunboat diplomacy - but as the beginnings of a friendship between the nations.

Later, Secretary and' Mrs. Daniels host the Japanese mission, at  Mount Vernon.

The story goes on to list the guests who attend, including the 20 Japanese dignitaries and 60 odd American navy, diplomatic and political invited guests.

Near the end of the week, Viscount Ishii is invited to address a special session of the US Senate:


Dateline: Friday August 31, 1917

Headline: Viscount Ishii tells senate: “japan Took Up Arms Against Germany Because Our Solemn Treaty With Britain Was Not to Us, just a Scrap of Paper”

Viscount Ishii speech included:

To us, the fact that you, [the United State],  are now on the side of the allies in this titanic struggle, constitutes already a great moral victory for our common cause, which we believe to be the cause of right and justice, for the strong,  as for the weak… for the great, as for the small.

We of Japan believe We understand something of the American ideal of life. and we pay our most profound respects to it. Jefferson, your great democratic President, conceived the ideal of an American Commonwealth to be not a rule imposed on the people by force of arms, but as a free expression of the individual sentiments of that people.

Jefferson saw Americans as a myriad of independent and free men, as individuals... only relying on a combined military force for protection against aggression from abroad or treachery from within.

In fact, the treaty he refers to means Japanese and the Brits have been besties since signing in 1902 - So - So on August 23, 1914 - 103 years ago (aside) - and - this is less than a month after war breaks out in Europe, Japan formally declares war on Germany and Austria/Hungary  -

Here’s the deal they made - Even in 1914, the Japanese Imperial Navy is no slouch - so they agree to protect England and France’s interests in the

Asia-Pacific-region, and in return, Japan gets to snag all the German territories in Asia as well as German pacific Islands.

So the first thing the Japan does … even before they declare war… is to target a big German colony port in China… Tsingtao.

Yes.. There is a connection… German beer… German breweries… German Chinese territories… and today’s great chinese beer brand.

Prost… Gānbēi.

Next, as per the agreement, Japan goes after the German colonies in the Pacific, making short work out of capturing the Mariana, Caroline and Marshall Islands. This kind of freaks out the Allies including the United States… although we weren’t at war yet. This Imperial Japanese Navy is performing just a little too well for our comfort.

It just isn’t natural in the western cultural thinking of the time - with its deep seated bigotry and ignorance - to believe that an asian navy might be world class. But it is!

Their support extends to europe….

By 1917, the on-going slaughter on the Western Front means that a constant stream of reinforcements is needed. If the Mediterranean route is squeezed shut, - by Uboats - the French and British Empire-troops would need to go all the way around the southern tip of Africa. So the Japanese Imperial Navy sends a fleet to the mediterranean to help with escort duties. Based in Malta they protect Allied shipping between Marseilles, France, taranto, Italy and Egyptian ports.   

By the end of the war, Japan’s Second Special Squadron has escorted 788 ships across the Mediterranean, safely transporting more than 700,000 troops to the Western Front.

Reportedly, several Japanese commanders commit Hari-Kari after ships under their protection are lost. They do have a powerful sense of duty!

So by 100 years ago this month, on August 14, 1917, - three years after Japan - China declares war on Germany - How come!?

Well, China declares itself neutral at the outset of the war, but also wants to show solidarity with the allies. Unable to send men to fight, they sent men to help.

By the end of the war, Chinese workers rank as the largest and longest-serving non-European contingent in World War I.

There are complex politics surrounding their role and the Chinese Labor force  - But perhaps most important -as China sees America entering the fray, it wants to earn itself a place at the post-war bargaining table.

Top of the list for china is to regain control over the vital Shantung Peninsula.. That poky little part in the yellow sea across from Korea that Japan grabbed at the start of the war…  You know, where Tsingtao is located - China wants to reassert its strength over Japan, which is it’s big , aggressive adversary and rival in the region.

At the Versailles Peace Conference following the armistice, the Allied Supreme Council—dominated by the United States, France and Britain - are divvying up the world… Japan and China are both there lobbying hard —about their respective claims to the Shantung Peninsula.

Meanwhile - Japan introduces another idea into the mix. They propose racial equality language to be included in the league of nations charter:

Their proposed language read:

“The equality of nations being a basic principle of the League of Nations, the High Contracting Parties, agree to accord, as soon as possible, to all alien nationals of states and members of the League, equal and just treatment in every respect making no distinction, either in law or in fact, on account of their race or nationality.”

A bargain is eventually struck with Japan, but not really to their liking!

They go home pretty angry and humiliated. The racial equality clause is shut down -

but --- in compensation - they get to keep some German submarines and the Shantung peninsula. Some historians noted that both sides see one another as unacceptably arrogant and bigoted…

It’s worth noting that the next time we see Japan at war it will not be as an allie.

And that is a quick overview of some of what happened in Asia 100 years ago

in the war that changed the world.

We have a bunch of references and links in the podcast notes.














More generally




Great War Project

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

Today Mike’s post takes us to the Aegean sea and the port town of Salonika, an allied stronghold in Greece - across the sea from Turkey. On August 27th, 100 years ago this week a major event strikes the city.

Welcome Mike!

[Mike Shuster]

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


The Great War Channel

For videos about WW1, visit our friend at the Great War Channel on Youtube - They have well over 400 episodes about WW1 - covering the conflict since 2014 - and from a more European perspective.

This week’s new episodes include:

  • The second battle of Verdun
  • Inside A British Mark IV WW1 Tank and
  • Inside A British Bristol Scout WW1 Airplane,

both from the Great War Channel’s recent trip to England

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




World War One NOW


We have moved forward in time to the present…

Welcome to WW1 Centennial News NOW  - This part of the program is not about history but how the centennial of the War that changed the world is being commemorated today.

Activities and Events

[Sound Effect]

I’d like to start by spending a little time on U.S. National WW1 Centennial Events Register itself.

One of the tasks of the commission is to record and archive what America is going to commemorate the centennial of the War that Changed the World.

So we built a US National Events register for that purpose at ww1cc.org/events - all lower case.

Then we created two programs to feed it.

One is a big red button that anyone can click and submit their event to the national register.

That does two things.

FIRST - It gets your event listed in the National Register and

THEN - It puts your event into the permanent national archive for what transpired during the US WWI centennial - This is a permanent archive that will live on long after the centennial itself passes. In theory, when the US prepare the bi-centennial another century from now, your commemoration idea and event will be part of that record for the 2117 team to reference.

The second program we created is for state centennial organizations, museums, libraries, universities and others who are holding a number of WW1 themed centennial events over the period.

If you are one of those organizations, we have a special publishing partner program where we will train you, and give you direct access to the register - so you can post your WW1 events directly into it.

If you would like to avail yourself of that program go to “contact” in the menu on any page of our website at ww1cc.org and send us a request .

And perhaps most important of all -  for those of you just wondering what WW1 themed events are happening in your area --- currently I counted around 70 on-going and 45 single day events. That is around 115 different events going on around the country on most any day.

And we think that is only a fraction of what is actually going on. So pass the word, if you are doing WW1 related events - Big or small - get them into the register and let our community of interest, and history know what you are doing to commemorate the centennial of World War I.

The link to the U.S. National WW1 Centennial Events Register is in the podcast notes.



Updates from the States

North Dakota


This week in our Updates from the States section - we want to highlight a very special gathering in North Dakota

On September 10th during the final day of the 48th Annual United Tribes Technical College International Powwow, an annual gathering of some five to ten thousand individuals - they are going to focus on native americans and WW1. Susan Mennenga from the Pritzker Military Museum and library - and World War One Centennial Commissioner Terry Hamby will be on hand for the ceremony.

We have with us today Dr. Leander “Russ” McDonald, United Tribes Technical College president.

Welcome, Russ!

[Exchange Greetings]

[Russ, the Native American Role in WW1 was profound - both in terms of indian nations independently declaring war on Germany - as sovereign nations - and Native Americans volunteering as soldiers. Can you give our audience an overview?]

[What do you think was the most profound effect of WW1 on the Native American Community?]

[On September 10th, during the 48th annual UTTC International Powwow there is a remembrance and honoring of native american WW1 warriors. Can you tell us about that please…]

[Russ, thank you for coming on the show]

That was “Russ” McDonald, United Tribes Technical College president and host for the 48th annual UTTC International Powwow.

There are links to the event in the podcast notes.


Speaking WW1

And now our “Speaking World War 1 feature - Where we  explore today’s words & phrases that are rooted in the war  ---

This week’s  phrase is “Field Day”

Today, one might say that the “Hollywood Press” had a field day when rumours broke out that Angelina and Brad broke up.

The way it is used now, the phrase “to have a field day” means an opportunity for action, success, or excitement.

But the phrase originates from the military. It was used in the literal sense, for a day spent in the field, doing maneuvers, exercises and drills. This was particularly true during WW1 when  A LOT of men got A LOT of training exercises... A marine corp barracks might have sounded like this:

Alright gentlemen, grab your packs, your rifles and your sorry butts - today we are having a field day - starting with a 4 mile run. Move out! You maggots.

Field Day… A big event - now and then!

The earliest references go back all the way to 1747.

see the the podcast notes for more

link: http://www.theidioms.com/field-day/


100 Cities/100 Memorials


Joel Mize 100 cities

Next, we are going to profile another 100 Cities / 100 Memorials project. That is our $200,000 matching grant giveaway to rescue ailing WW1 memorials. Last week we profiled a brand new memorial going up in Fort Towson, Oklahoma complete with a newly commission doughboy statue. This week, we head to Sheffield, Alabama for a project that honors those who died in the Northwest Alabama region known as muscle shoals.

Joining us is Joel Mize, Steering Committee Chairman for the 101 Memorial project. Welcome, Joel!

[exchange greetings]

[Joel - your projects honors 101 individuals who died as a result of WW1, but not on the battlefields of Europe - but in serving the nation as Civilian defense workers in a manufacturing plant,  Would you share their story with us please?]

[Joel - in putting this project together - what do you think is the most memorable thing that has happened to you and your team?]

Thank you joel!

That was Joel Mize, Steering Committee Chairman for the 101 Memorial project in Sheffield, Alabama.

We will continue to profile the submitting teams and their unique and amazing 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



Stories of Service

In our “Remember the veterans” section, today we wanted to feature one of the many Stories of Service collected on our website at ww1cc.org/stories where you are invited to tell us about the WW1 stories of service from your family or a just a story you have uncovered.

With us today is Chris Connelly from Dayton, Ohio who submitted the story of his grandfather Peter Alphonse Connelly who served with the United States Marine Corps 5th Regiment.

Peter was drafted into the Marine Corps, becoming a Rifle Expert during training before deploying for france in February 1918.

He returned home with a Croix de Guerre for his bravery in battle; interestingly, Peter was an avid photographer and returned home with not only medals but many wonderful photos.

Welcome, to the show Chris!

[Exchange greetings]

[Chris, we have a link in the podcast notes about Peter Connelly and the story you submitted about him - - but I wanted to learn a little more about how you went about putting the story together - Where did you find the materials? ]

[What made you decide to submit Peter’s story to our Stories of Service archive?]

What is the Marine Corps muster roll? Where can people find it?

[What is the most memorable thing for you in putting this together?]

[Have you shared your findings about Peter with the rest of your family? What was their response?]

[What advice would you give to others wanting to investigate their own family connection to WW1?]

Thank you, that was Chris Connolly - who submitted a Story of Service about his grandfather US Marine Corps WW1 veteran Peter Alphonse Connelly.

For those of you interested in your ancestors who served, we have very exciting news - We are linking up with The Roll of Honor Foundation, a nonprofit charity with the mission of honoring the military service of the men and women of America’s Armed Forces, educating the public about their legacy and encouraging public service among the next generation.

We are in the middle of integrating our Stories of Service and their database of WW1 veterans which will add your story of service to the Roll of Honor. You’ll also be able to purchase a tribute wreath for you veteran on their profile, which will go directly to funding the national WW1 Memorial in Washington DC honoring all our WW1 veterans.

We will have more details on this for you over the coming weeks.

The links Peter Connolly’s story, the stories of Service and the Roll of Honor are all in the podcast notes.





Articles and Posts

This week in our Articles and Posts segment - we are going to highlight 2 stories from our website at ww1cc.org/news

"The Americans seldom miss a shot.”

The first is about a famed skill of the doughboys. They were crack shots!

As America entered World War I in 1917, a who’s who of National Rifle Association rifle champions gathered at Camp Perry, OH for an important mission. Training Snipers!

These NRA Sharpshooters organized a national-level advanced shooting program —the Small Arms Firing School—where specially selected soldiers would learn advanced marksmanship, culminating in long-range shooting and sniper training.

Afterwards, the graduates rejoined their units bringing their new skills with them and training others.

Read the whole story about about how this public-private partnership for military marksmanship contributed to the American war effort by following the link in the podcast notes.


East Indian Americans in WW1

Finally in Articles a posts, we have a story about one of the Commission’s former interns, Tanveer Kalo, who is STILL doing great work on WW1.

Tanveer was also profiled in the May 16, 2017 issue of the WWI DISPATCH newsletter - our sister publication at ww1cc.org/dispatch for his intern work and support in creating our Vande Mataram website about a forgotten group of WW1 veterans from America’s asian Indians community (see the link in the podcast notes)...

Having become somewhat of an expert on the subject, Tanveer was recently invited to write an article on the same subject for American Bazaar Magazine, which was just published.

Tanveer talks about the process and discoveries of his work, and how he is continuing his research even after returning to college. In the article he highlights his personal favorite story of Manganlall K. Pandit, who served the US military in both World Wars.  

Check out Tanveer's great article at the link 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 - You have two photos to tell us about today - Take it away!

Mobile Museum Music

A woman shares a WW1 song her mother sang to her growing up

Get audio from this link https://www.facebook.com/WWImobilemuseum/videos/446466625543576/?hc_ref=ARQ-pHnYpr5W4lZnIYxGzT1sR9juupbVRphPPu2FkrLdBcUylXFFzt8QE-bnBY38NxQ



Thank you Katherine.


And that is WW1 Centennial News for this week.

We want to thank our guests:

  • Mike Shuster from the great war project blog filling us in on the Fire in Greece at Salonika,
  • Dr. Leander “Russ” McDonald, President of the United Tribes Technical College speaking with us about their upcoming commemorative event
  • Joel Mize from the 100 Cities / 100 Memorials project in Sheffield, Alabama
  • Chris Connelly from Dayton Ohio sharing Peter Connelly’s story of service
  • 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.

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!


Alright gentlemen… grab mops, sponges, toothbrushes and meet me in the latrine - It’s time for a bathroom field day! White glove inspection at 1700 sharp!


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