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WW1 Centennial News for February 23, 2018 - Episode #60

Doughboys learning the ropes on the jobDoughboys learning the ropes on the job

 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.


  • The Government's Expanding Power | @10:30
  • America Emerges: 1st Division learns tough lessons - Edward Lengel | @08:55
  • War in the Sky: First US planes get shipped to France | @13:15
  • GWP Blog: Wrapup on Tuscania - Mike Shuster | @15:30
  • A Century in the Making: A busy week for the memorial project | @20:15
  • Remembering Veterans: the 370th Infantry Regiment - Colonel Eugene Scott | @24:00
  • Education: Poppy Program in middle school - Taylor Gibbs & Lyvia bartoli | @31:35
  • Speaking WW1: Camouflage | @36:55
  • WW1 War Tech: Depth Charge | @39:00
  • WWrite Blog: This Colored Man Is No Slacker | @41:00
  • Buzz: The flu then, the flu now - Katherine Akey | @42:05

View the PDF transcript


Welcome to World War 1 centennial News - episode #60 - It’s about WW1 THEN - what was happening 100 years ago this week  - and it’s about WW1 NOW - news and updates about the centennial and the commemoration.


Today is February 23rd, 2018 and our guests for this week include:

  • Dr. Edward Lengel, with a story about the 1st Division’s early encounter with gas warfare
  • Mike Shuster, from the great war project blog with a wrap up story of the sinking of the Tuscania
  • Colonel Eugene Scott - US Army Retired - with the restoration of the 370th regiment Victory Monument in Chicago
  • Taylor Gibbs and Lyvia Bartoli sharing their experience fundraising with the Commission’s Poppy Program
  • Katherine Akey, with the centennial of WWI in social media


All now -- on WW1 Centennial News -- a weekly podcast brought to you by the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission, the Pritzker Military Museum and Library and the Starr foundation.

I’m Theo Mayer - the Chief Technologist for the Commission and your host. Welcome to the show.



In October of 1917, Wilson signs the "Trading with The enemy" act into law giving him sweeping new powers to manage and control international trade.

We covered this in some detail during episode #42 and here are the highlights:

  1.  Enemy owned property can be seized
  2.  Enemy intellectual property can be ignored
  3. The Treasury department gets extensive powers over the international movement of precious metals and securities
  4. The postmaster General gets total censorship rights over international communications including telegraph

Interestingly - “enemy” is defined as someone we have declared war on OR a nation that the President simply proclaims as an enemy OR a company engaged in commerce with an enemy OR a company incorporated or operating in enemy territory OR a company that has ties to one of the many things above.

With free reign to seize and capture foreign properties - the administration sets up the Office of the Alien Property Custodian putting a guy named A. Mitchell Palmer in charge of “appropriating” enemy held properties.

This week 100 years ago - Using the “Trading with the Enemy” and the “espionage” acts as foundations - President Wilson goes the next mile and issues a series of proclamations including taking total control of all the foreign commerce of the United States.

With that that as a setup - it's time to jump into our centennial Time Machine and roll back 100 years to the war that changed the world.

World War One THEN

100 Year Ago This Week


It is mid February 1918. From the pages of the Official Bulletin - the government war gazette published by George Creel - the nation's propaganda chief comes the following:

[radio and telegraph sound effect]

Dateline: Friday February 15, 1918

The headline in the Official Bulletin Reads:



And the story reads:

The President has today issued two proclamations which will become effective to-morrow. After February 16, 1918, no commodities may be exported from this country or imported into this country except under license.

The administration states that:

“the military situation and the tonnage situation have made increasingly apparent the necessity of Instituting a complete and thorough control of all our exports and imports.

[theo] The entire second page of the article  - all three columns -- are dedicated to the detailing of the scores of types of goods now under import and export regulation as well as the dozens of countries now under commerce restrictions.

You can read the full text of the proclamations yourself, since we re-publish every issue of the official bulletin on the Commission’s web site at ww1cc.org/bulletin - go to the February 15th issue and read the story on page 1 and 2.

In the same issue the treasury department announces that they have begun a nation-wide hunt for Alien Property to be impounded or confiscated.



Nationwide Hunt for Alien Property

Is Begun by U. S. Custodian Palmer


Persons Evading Law Liable

to $10,000 Fine or Ten Years' Imprisonment

or Both.

[Theo] As an aside - $10,000 in 1918 is the equivalent of $180 grand today.

The story reads:

  1. A. Mitchell Palmer, Alien Property Custodian, authorizes the following statement:

Federal agents have begun a search of the country from coast to coast to get in alien property still outstanding. Holders of property thus uncovered who have failed to report it, may be fined or imprisoned, or both.

The law will be impartially enforced against all individuals or corporations

who fail to report the possession of enemy property.

But the Wilson administration is not stopping there - They are also going for total control of the railroads -

Dateline Feb. 22. 1918

A headline in the NY times reads

The Senate Passes Railroad Bill

[Theo] And the story reads:

With Administration forces victorious · on every contested point, the bill for Government control of railroads passes the Senate tonight without a roll call.

Determined efforts to prescribe limitations beyond which the President or the Director General might not go in managing the railroads,  failed when Senators of both parties rallied strongly behind Senator Smith of South Carolina --- the Administration spokesman on this measure.

[Theo] The story goes on to read:

So generous was the Senate that the President is to be untrammeled by any existing law that he deems will handicap or hinder effective governmental control and management of the transportation systems.

[Theo] But there are those in the government that are getting worried about the Executive branch gathering so much dictatorial power - and where this may leave the nation after the hostilities cease.


Dateline: February 19, 1918

In a New York Times headline:


Senator Watson opposes power extension for after the war ends

In the story senator Watson, a Republican is quoted:

I am willing to confer upon the President all the power necessary to Win this war: I have voted for several measures, the necessity of which I doubted, because he stated that the authority sought was essential to the successful prosecution of this conflict; but I am not yet convinced that, ln order to win this war, it is necessary to confer upon the President these tremendous powers for a period of peace after the conflict shall have ceased.

To that end let us firmly resolve that, with the proclamation of peace, the President shall surrender all the vast powers willingly conferred upon him by an aroused people, because of the exigent necessities of war: and that this nation shall return to the kind of republic founded by the revered fathers of this Union!

And so the Wilson Administration consolidates its unprecedented and overarching power across all sectors of American industry, food production, transportation, finance and trade 100 years ago this week in the war the changed the world. Follow our research links in the podcast notes.









America Emerges: Military Stories from WW1

This week on: America Emerges: Military Stories from WWI… Dr. Edward lengel recounts the story of the First Division - the Big Red One in action, as they face off a deadly gas attack. Welcome Ed.


Ed - Next week you’ll be joining Katherine and I for our March preview roundtable - looking forward to speaking with you then!

[Thanks Theo]

Dr. Edward Lengel is an American military historian, author, and our segment host for America Emerges: Military Stories from WWI.

There are links in the podcast notes to Ed’s post and his website as an author.




War in the Sky

This week for the War in the Sky we are going to look at some articles from the times and the Bulletin.


Dateline: Thursday February 21, 1918

A headline in the NY Times reads:


Enemy Airplanes View Positions and Take Observations Freely Above The Reach of Guns

Only Fighting Air Machines Can Stop Their Calm Parade Over Enemy Lines

And the story reads:

Control of the air in the American Sector belongs to the enemy. Any officer at the front will make this declaration - and all have made it.

Every time the Germans come over, their path through the sky is followed by fleecy shrapnel puffs, but the the chances of hitting an airplane with anti-aircraft shells at those high altitudes is so remote that the enemy aviators calmly fly along, as if on a pleasure tour.

The article closes with the question:

"When are some American Planes Coming Here?"

The answer is published on the same day in the Official Bulletin this week:


Dateline: Thursday February 21 1918


First American-Made Aerial Warships Now on Way to the French Battlefront,

A statement by the Secretary of War reads:

The first American-built battle planes are to-day en route to the front in France.

This first shipment, though in itself not large, marks the final overcoming of many difficulties met in building up this new and intricate industry.

These planes are equipped with the first American “Liberty motors” from machine production.

One of them in a recent test surpassed all records for speed and climbing for planes of that type. Engine production, which began a month ago, is now on a quantity basis and the peak of production will be reached in a few weeks.


And so the first planes are shipping to France from the US with the aim of changing the dynamics of the war in the sky 100 years ago this week .

See the links in the podcast notes.

Link: www.ww1cc.org/warinthesky






Great War Project

Now on to the Great War project with Mike Shuster - former NPR correspondent and curator for the Great War project Blog…. This week Mike takes another look at the Tuscania sinking in the context of the great troop movements over the Atlantic. Our research for the podcast shows that this singular ship sinking was in news for weeks and somehow marks a psychological watershed for the US. Perhaps it was the realization that we were in a real life and death struggle. What are your headlines Mike?


Mike Shuster from the Great War Project blog.





The Great War Channel

For videos about WWI we recommend the Great War Channel on Youtube. These veteran WWI story producers are offering several new videos this week including:


  • Russian Pistols of WW1
  • No War, No Peace - Trotsky’s Gamble
  • France’s War Aims and Refugees

To see their videos about WWI follow the link in the podcast notes or search for “the great war” on youtube.


World War One NOW

It is time to fast forward into the present with WW1 Centennial News NOW -


this section is not about history, but rather - it explores what is happening NOW to commemorate the centennial of the War that changed the world!

A Century in the Making

A century in the making - the story of America’s WW1 Memorial in Washington DC.

In this segment we take you on an insider’s journey that explores this grand undertaking, and the people behind it.

It’s been an exciting week for the Memorial Team. Late last week, Maquette in hand - the maquette being the 10 foot long first draft miniature of the stunning sculpture for the memorial - the team set up for a meeting and review by the Washington Commission of Fine Arts - one of the governing bodies for what is -- and what is not built in the Nation’s Capital. Good progress was made with the CFA commissioners providing their insight and feedback to the team.

Then it was off to New York for the project’s first exposure on national networks television, as Commission Chairman Terry Hamby, Sculptor Sabin Howard and the Maquette joined host Steve Doocy for an interview recording on the set of Fox and Friends - The segment aired this past Tuesday Morning


The airing resulted in thousands of page views of the memorial webiste and most important hundreds of people making their first donations to the project.

Now the Maquette and team have set up a special showing the historic Willard Hotel in Washington DC - located directly across the street from Pershing Park - the future home of America’s WWI Memorial in Washington DC.

It’s been a big week for a wonderful project that has been A Century In The Making.

If you are not familiar with this great project, let me invite you for a direct look at ww1cc.org/memorial or follow the link in the podcast notes

Link: http://ww1cc.org/memorial

Remembering Veterans/100 Cities 100 Memorials

Today we are combining our Remembering Veterans AND our 100 Cities / 100 Memorials segments with an interview with Colonel Eugene Frederick Scott - US Army Retired --  born in the South - Raised in Chicago - and forged in the US Army with a 28 year military career included two tours of duty in Vietnam.

A man like this does not retire - and in his post military career he became the publisher of the Chicago Daily Defender Newspaper, and a very busy social activist.

Colonel Scott - along with his equally formidable wife - Beverly - who I suspect may be his secret weapon - showed up in my world during the 100 Cities / 100 Memorials project where they submitted a Chicago Monument to the 370th Infantry Regiment. Welcome Colonel Scott.

[Colonel: Let me start by talking local Chicago history - Can you give us an overview of the 370th and their role in WWI?]

[could you tell us a bit about the monument that is one of the awardees for the 100 Cities / 100 Memorials project]

[Colonel - what other WWI centennial projects are you working on or with?]

[Thank you for joining us today]

Colonel Eugene F. Scott US Army Retired and Former publisher of the Chicago Daily Defender Newspaper.

Link: get links




Poppy Packet Fundraising

Today in our Education section, we are joined not by an educator but by two very special entrepreneurial and dedicated young students. Taylor Gibbs and Lyvia Bartoli from St. John the Evangelist Middle School in Watertown, Connecticut.

They brought the Centennial Commission's Poppy Seed Fundraising Program to their school, to help raise awareness for our World War I veterans, and to help raise money for America’s World War I Memorial at Pershing Park in Washington, DC.

Welcome Lyvia and Taylor!


[How did you hear about the WW1 Poppy Program and what made it appealing to you to get involved with?]

[How did the fundraising go?]

[Did you find that the Poppy Packets increased interest in WW1 from the buyers?]

[What advice would you give to anyone else using the Poppy Packets to raise funds?]

[Have you been surprised at how much recognition you’re getting for this effort?]


Taylor Gibbs and Lyvia Bartoli are students at St. John the Evangelist Middle School, and are Poppy Seed Fundraising pros! Learn more about their efforts, and the Poppy Program, by visiting ww1cc.org/poppy or at the links in the podcast notes.

Links: http://www.worldwar1centennial.org/index.php/communicate/press-media/wwi-centennial-news/4038-watertown-ct-students-support-memorial-with-poppy-seed-sales.html


Education Newsletter

To wrap up Education this week -- The latest WW1 education newsletter just came out!

Issue 11 is “Women in War!” and focuses on the diverse roles women

took on to support the war, both abroad and at home.

This issue includes resources for teaching about The Hello Girls, Female Yeoman, Women Warriors in Russia, Women’s Rights in Turkey -- and the legacy of the Women’s Suffrage movement.

The newsletter is published by the National WW1 Museum and Memorial in partnership with the WW1 Centennial Commission.  Go to our new education website at ww1cc.org/ e d u  where you can sign up for the education newsletters and connect with the commission education program - or  follow the link in the podcast notes.

Link: ww1cc.org/edu

Updates from the States

This week for our updates from the States - we are actually going to look at something from 100 years ago.

In our research this week for our THEN history section - we found this very interesting map that was published in the February 21 issue of the Official Bulletin on page 8. The headline reads: COST PER MAN DRAFTED FOR SERVICE AS INDICATED, BY STATES

It’s worth a look with Delaware recruitment the most costly per soldier at $19 and Oklahoma the least at a dollar fifty-seven. The average draftee inducted cost the government $4.93 each.

Check out the article and the map to see what it cost in your state - see Page 8 of the February 21st issue of the Official Bulletin at ww1cc.org/bulletin or follow the link in the podcast notes.



Speaking WW1

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

In 1914, the French army still used the same military uniform they had for decades, with vibrant red pantaloons and bright white gloves. The “see me - shoot me” uniforms were one of the factors that led to their route by the German army in the first few months of the war.

In response, the French launched a special unit in 1915, whose members, mostly artists, were known as camoufleurs. The french term “se, camoufler” means to hide oneself. This led to this week’s “speaking WWI “ word camouflage. Quite popular as a clothing style most often used as the slang - Camo

In the military sense, the word denotes “the disguising of military personnel, equipment, and installations by painting or covering them to make them blend in with their surroundings.”

With planes scouting every mile of active front for troop movements, ammunition stores and other valuable information -- hiding in plain sight became increasingly important. So armies looked to nature for ideas on how to hide tanks, hospitals, snipers, bridges and even ships from the enemy’s prying eyes.

Camouflage-- this week’s speaking ww1 word -- See the podcast notes to learn more!

link: http://content.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1906083,00.html    https://www.iwm.org.uk/history/5-facts-about-camouflage-in-the-first-world-war

Stars and Stripes

While we talking about words - in this week’s Stars and Stripes issue from their on-going feature “ A Doughboy’s Dictionary”--- Our favorite definition this week is: Socks

Socks are defined as: Foot coverings composed of substance represented to the Government or the Red Cross as being wool, and possessed of the same capacity for contracting holes as is a machine gun target at fifty yards.

Read this all of  this week’s stars and Stripes newspaper from 1918 -  by following the link in the podcast notes.



WW1 War Tech

Depth Charge

For WW1 War Tech -- we are going to talk about the Depth Charge.

U-boats were the scourge of the seas -- taking out almost five thousand ships over the course of the war.

German U-boats especially focused their attacks on British shipping, both military and commercial, the Royal Navy considered many possible strategies to defeat this threat, but none seemed viable until the summer of 1916, when naval engineer Herbert Taylor perfected the hydrostatic trigger, allowing for a weapon that could be detonated when it experienced certain levels of water pressure -- in other words -  at certain depths.The underwater pressure explosions were devastating to submarine hulls while not damaging surface ships.

Though only 2 U-Boats were sunk by depth charges in 1916, production was increased as the conflict went on, and by the end of the war, the Royal Navy had used depth charges to sink 20 submarines, limiting the ability of the German Navy to halt Allied shipping.

And that’s THIS Weeks, WWI War Tech.

Read more about depth charges during WW1 at the links in the podcast notes.

Links: http://online.wsj.com/ww1/depth-charges




Articles and Posts

African American Nurses in WW1

In articles and posts-- from our rapidly growing website at ww1cc.org -- this week, we are featuring an article about the African American women who served in the Army Nurse Corps during WW1.

Eighteen African American women served stateside -- and their story is not well known. Their courage in overcoming the discrimination and segregation barriers still resonates today.

The story of one of these Nurses, Frances Reed Elliott Davis of North Carolina, is particularly poignant. She was the orphaned, illegitimate daughter of a white woman and a half-Cherokee, half-black sharecropper.

She faced enormous challenges in her life, overcoming them to become the first officially registered African American Nurse in the Red Cross. Read more about her, and other African American nurses, at the link in the podcast notes.

Link: http://www.worldwar1centennial.org/index.php/communicate/press-media/wwi-centennial-news/4047-world-war-i-nurse-frances-reed-elliott-davis.html


WWrite blog

In our WWRITE blog, which explores WWI’s Influence on contemporary writing and scholarship, this week's post also helps us wrap up February’s theme as African American History month. The posts title comes from a poster that reads: This Colored Man Is No Slacker - “Slacker” was a WWI terms for those who avoided the draft.

In 1919, the slogan on this WWI-era poster inspired two young African American sisters from West Virginia to write and publish a book of poems whose intention was to “show the Negro’s loyalty to the stars and stripes in the war with Germany and to show the need of unity of all men in the fight for democracy."

Read the story about these young women’s literary work supporting the patriotism of African Americans in WW1-- at ww1cc.org/wwrite or by following the link in the podcast notes.

Link: http://www.worldwar1centennial.org/index.php/articles-posts/4058-the-colored-man-is-no-slacker-wwi-poems-by-the-peters-sisters.html

The Buzz - WW1 in Social Media Posts

And 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?

Hi Theo!

Flu Flu Flu

This week’s most popular posts on Social Media were all about one thing: the flu. With this year’s flu season proving long and deadly, it’s no surprise that people are drawing parallels to the great flu of 1918.

Against the backdrop of this year’s flu season, WWI Centennial Commissioner Dr. Libby O’Connell discussed the deadly “Spanish Flu” pandemic at the Museum of American Armor in New York. Dr O'Connell observed that 20 to 50 million people died from “The Spanish Flu” Pandemic, far more than all those who perished during World War I. An estimated 43,000 American Doughboys died of the disease out of a total of 675,000 American who would succumb. A third of all Americans would become infected with the “Spanish Flu” which would ravage the world for an entire year. You can find links to some photographs and an article from Newsday of Dr. O’Connell’s talk in the podcast links.

I’ve also included a link to an article we shared from The Wichita Eagle, a newspaper out of Kansas, outlining the spread of the so-called Spanish Flu from it’s epicenter: that’s right, it seems that Kansas, not Spain, was the ground-zero for the deadly, world-changing flu of 1918. Read more about the flu’s origins in Kansas 100 years ago, and how they tried, in vain, to stop its spread, by visiting the link in the podcast notes.

That’s it this week for the buzz.





Thank you for listening to this week’s episode of WW1 Centennial News.

We also want to thank our guests...

  • Dr. Edward Lengel, Military historian and author
  • Mike Shuster, Curator for the great war project blog
  • Colonel Eugene Scott, US Army Retired and former publisher of the Chicago Daily Defender newspaper
  • Taylor Gibbs and Lyvia Bartoli, students at St. John the Evangelist Middle School
  • Katherine Akey, the commission’s social media director and line producer for the podcast

Thanks also to our intern John Morreale for his great research assistance.

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 podcast is a part of that…. Thank you!

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 as well as the Starr foundation for their support.

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

on  iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Podbean or the other places you get your podcast and even on your smart speaker.. Just say “Play W W One Centennial News Podcast.”

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

Thank you for joining us. And don’t forget

to share the stories

you are hearing here today

about the war that changed the world!


Can you see me… I wearing my camouflage - Oh wait - this is audio only. Never mind!

So long!


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