New WWI memorial

From the (American) World War I Centennial Commission:

On Thursday Nov. 9 at 11m. (Eastern), the @WW1CC will host a small ceremonial groundbreaking event at Washington, D.C.’s Pershing Park, to thank our partners and supporters.

The event will feature distinguished leaders, well-known guest speakers, and music from the U.S. Army’s Pershing’s Own brass quintet. Our shovels will turn earth that came to us from the World War I battlefields of France.

The event will be streamed via Facebook Live at https://www.facebook.com/ww1centennial

To see the latest designs and support the construction of America’s World War I Memorial, please visit ww1cc.org/memorial. #CountdownToVeteransDay

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Upcoming conferences

The 2016 Tomlinson Prizes

The World War One Historical Association (WW1HA) annual Norman B. Tomlinson, Jr., prize for 2016 for the best work of history in English on World War One (1914-1918) has been awarded to three exceptional historians:
showalter
Dennis Showalter for his “Instrument of War: The German Army 1914-1918″ (Osprey Publishing);
neiberg
Michael S. Neiberg for “The Path to War: How the First World War Created Modern America” (Oxford University Press), and
tunstall
Graydon Tunstall for “Written in Blood: The Battle for Fortress Przemysl in WWI” (Indiana University Press).
This is the second time that multiple books won the Tomlinson prize. Three 2010 titles shared the award presented in 2011. For the books published in 2016 the editors of WW1HA’s publication, World War One Illustrated, chose the three winners since all three authors have served in the past as judges on the Tomlinson award committee and recused themselves for 2016.
The prize consists of a cash award and original bronze plaque sculpted by Andrew L. Chernak, a U.S. Army Vietnam War veteran whose sculptures are installed at Arlington Cemetery and state and private parks:
It is made possible through a grant from Norman B. Tomlinson, Jr., Director-emeritus of The Western Front Association – United States Branch. (WFA-US became the World War One Historical Association in 2011.)
Previous Tomlinson award winners, World War One centennial events and projects, and much more can be found at https://ww1ha.org/lens-bookshelf/the-tomlinson-book-prize/

Anzac news

What are your plans for Anzac Day?

From the Friends of Anzac:

Dear Friends
The Official  Commemorations for the 102 anniversary of the Gallipoli Campaign  and the ANZAC Day, will host in Lemnos island, the 20th and 21st April, 2017, presenting  once again to the world community, the participation of the island in this global historical event. The North Aegean Regional Governor, the Mayor of Lemnos island  and “The Lemnos ‘Friends of ANZAC “ Association, cordially  invite you, to these 2–days historical commemorative events, with the appropriate solemnity that the ritual itself, gives.
Below is the program of the events. It will be as well, a great chance for us to show you the preparations and the actions  we do for the  promotion of the historical memory in the beautiful island of  Lemnos. And except of all these, we ll make you communicants  for the next years’ (2018) great events for the centenary of the Sign of the Armistice of Mudros which will be the main event for the Greek State, of the participation and the finish of the WW1, at Mudros-Lemnos. (November 2018)
www.friendsofanzac.com

Stelios A. Mantzaris
President

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No. 2 Australian General Hospital / Mena House / Egypt. The first batch of wounded Australian soldiers from Gallipoli / May 1915

Detail taken from this photo: www.flickr.com/photos/thrutheselines/7665435294

 Source: Irene Victoria Read papers, pictorial material and relics, 1839-1951

acms.sl.nsw.gov.au/item/itemDetailPaged.aspx?itemID=910142

Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

 

Here come the Yanks: April 6, 1917

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The U.S. Congress declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917, bringing America into the war that had consumed Europe and dragged in countries on every continent, including Japan.

The National World War Museum and Memorial will commemorate the anniversary today with a ceremony at the museum that will tell the compelling story of the U.S decision to enter into the Great War through a unique multi-media program including significant and representative American writings of a century ago, including selections from speeches, journalism, literature and poetry, as well as performances of important music of the time. Invited participants and guests include the President of the United States, international Heads of State and diplomats, military leaders, veterans’ organizations, and national and state elected officials.

President Donald Trump will not attend as he will be hosting Chinese President Xi Jinping today.

The commemoration will include flyovers by U.S. aircraft and Patrouille de France, the precision aerobatic demonstration team of the French Air Force, as well as the U.S. First Infantry Division Band and Color Guard, Native American Color Guard, and Army and Air Force legacy units that served during World War I.

You can livestream the ceremony at https://www.theworldwar.org/april6.

 

 

 

Pack your little kit, show your grit!

Do your bit! It’s not too late to join up  — on the 2017 trip to the battlefields in France. From Meuse-Argonne.com:

Hello, readers!  Space is still available on the World War 1 Historical Association’s June 2017 Pilgrimage to the Western Front, but the deadline for reserving your seat is December 31, 2016!  So don’t put off your decision-making too long; and please share this post with your friends who might be interested in the tour!!  Details can be found at our website:  http://ww1ha.org/2017-ww1-battlefield-pilgrimage/.

Tour Guide’s Skill Set

This tour is being led by webmaster Randal Gaulke.  Many readers know that Randal has been traveling to the American battlefields of France almost annually since 1986.  In planning the 2017 tour he has been working with Paul Guthrie and John Snow, both directors of the WW1HA, to plan the tour.  Paul has organized / overseen seven tours for the WW1HA and its predecessor organization, and John Snow has traveled to the area frequently, too.  Randal has outlined his experience in an October 8, 2016, blog post that can be accessed here:  http://meuse-argonne.com/?p=1603.)

shb-randy-on-the-map

Randal Gaulke gives a talk in 2007 on the map in the Mont Sec Memorial to U.S. troops in the St. Mihiel Salient. (Blogger’s note: That is Susan in the center of the photo with the suspiciously red hair.)

Endorsement From a 2017 Participant

Through this website, Randal also has the opportunity to help planning trips, including Valerie Young; who is booked on the 2017 tour.  She has written this endorsement:

Randy has been an invaluable resource to me this year in the planning of my personal journey to the Meuse-Argonne to bring to life the grandfather I never knew. His website was my initial introduction to his vast knowledge of the history and geography of the area. His recommendations for books, maps, other websites, and travel insights were tremendously helpful. We then had a lunch meeting where I shared my ideas about an individual journey; his great awareness and input validated my confidence and respect for him, his commitment to the Meuse-Argonne, and his desire to enable others to experience it as he has for so many years.

With Randy’s help, I was able to “follow in the footsteps” that my grandfather took nearly 100 years ago. Randy helped me find a guide/driver and accommodations, and provided important information on specific battlefield monuments and sites related to my grandfather’s infantry unit. His detailed knowledge of the area is essential to anyone planning a trip there. I am now writing about my grandfather’s military journey, and look forward to joining the tour in June 2017.

Making It Personal to the Participant

All of the organizing and presentation of history aside, there comes a time on a tour when a person is just struck by something that resonates with his / her soul–and that is why reading history or exploring Google Earth does NOT provide the same experience as a pilgrimage!

For the webmaster, one such occasion was listening to a Volksbund (German War Graves Association) employee talk about the last (annual) visit of an aging spouse to her husband’s grave at the cemetery.  She knew she would be meeting him again soon.

For two members of the 8th Kuerassier Regiment on the 2005 tour, it was touring Helly Ravine near Fort Douaumont.  Following their visit, they questioned whether reenacting was just playing cowboys and Indians; and they had a new-found understanding of the terrible conditions for the soldiers during the Verdun battle and during the Great War in general.

Additional Information on the Guide

In addition to presenting the events and their significance, the battlefield tour guide must become quite proficient in logistics:  One has to schedule visits, hotels, bus timing, etc.  To do this, one has to know the region and its people and be able to speak the language.  One also needs to be organized, to be financially savvy and to understand how to model / consider risks.

Randal has all of these qualifications.  He has arranged many details  for the second half of the 2007 Western Front Association USA Branch’s tour and other tours.  Randal was the coordinator for the WW1HA’s 2015 Symposium in Lisle, Illinois; which featured eight speakers and almost 100 participants over two days.  Randal’s profession as a high-yield bond analyst and his work as Treasurer of the Great War Association, Chairman of the Finance Committee at his previous church and Treasurer of Troop 56 BSA Millington, NJ has also helped him develop the skills necessary.

Again, it needs to be emphasized that Randal worked with the WW1HA and its directors to plan the trip.

Take Action Today!

Please reserve your space today;  Please tell your friends about this opportunity;  and please contact Randal with any questions:  lavarennes@meuse-argonne.com or 908-451-0252.

 

Visit the battlefields

What better way to remember those who fell in World War One than to book a battlefield tour!  The World War One Historical Association, working with Randal S. Gaulke of Meuse-Argonne.com, is offering an eight-day tour of the major American battlefields of WW1.  Tour dates are June 3-11, 2017.  Tour cost is $2,300 per person, assuming double occupancy.  The price includes most meals and costs, except airfare to France.  The tour will be by motor coach, and it will include two walks each day of moderate length over relatively easy terrain.

If you’ve visited these battlefields before, Randal hopes to be able to show you some new things.  If you haven’t visited the battlefields yet, be prepared for a moving experience. Our soldiers walked these roads, fields and forests. Many of them died there.

To some degree, there is flexibility to visit sites of importance to individual tour participants.  Please contact Randal regarding such requests.

You can find a full flier and terms and conditions on the http://ww1ha.org website; and you can contact Randal Gaulke with any questions at 908-451-0252 or lavarennes@meuse-argonne.com.

Sign up today to reserve your space!  Enrollment ends in late December.

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Posted at Flickr by the National Library of Scotland: This image shows a British artilleryman demonstrating to a group of American soldiers. The gun, which is mounted rather precariously on a post, appears to be a Hotchkiss machine gun. This was a light, French-manufactured gun which was useful for its easy manoeuvrability.

Rudyard Kipling, in his poem, “The Ballad of the Clampherdown,” describes the sinking of a warship by a cruiser, “that carried the dainty Hotchkiss gun.”

[Original reads: “OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. A British machine gunner explains the working of his gun to American troops.”]

A personal note from Susan:

I strongly encourage you to make this trip. I have traveled with Randal Gaulke and can attest that he is knowledgeable — his particular interest is the German army, so he can give perspective from the enemy side as well as the Americans’ — and a good tour leader. You’re in France! Yes, you want to go over hill, over dale, you want to hit the dusty trail, but you also want to enjoy yourself. Like these guys.

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Posted at Flickr by the National Library of Scotland: Six soldiers are standing looking into the camera. They are wearing American uniforms and hats but they are not armed or equipped. The background is mostly obscured by the soldiers and is also out of focus. Three soldiers stand in a line with a fourth just visible behind them. They are laughing and look relaxed. In front of this stands two more soldiers. The older of the two has bent his head round to talk to the younger, while his hand is round his mouth forcing him to smile.

Although there is no official caption with this photograph it does record a very personal and intimate moment amongst this group of friends. It also illustrates the strong sense of camaraderie experienced by soldiers in World War I across a very wide age range.

[Original reads: “BRITISH OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE WESTERN FRONT – AMERICANS AT THE FRONT.”]

Book review: “War of Attrition”

 

WAR OF ATTRITION

By William Philpott 

Overlook Press, 400 pp

 Review by Sal Compagno, WW1HA President

 

The first world war has left its permanent mark on military fighting in both small and large campaigns.  That war was to change the nature of fighting ever since.  William Philpott has demonstrated the shift in military tactics in his recent study, War of Attrition.  A British author of note, he has investigated why the first world conflict of the twentieth century was significantly different from previous wars.  His focus is on the learning curve needed to end the struggle after four years of fruitless efforts.

 Philpott covers many theaters of the war, but concentrates mostly on the Western Front as this campaign defined the crucial change in military tactics.  He emphasizes the long and painful lessons learned in the first two years of the war leading to an acknowledgement of the different character fighting had changed.  The bloody battles of Verdun and the Somme and those of the  Eastern Theater were preliminary to a conscious awareness among military minds how the war underwent a new direction.  New tactics and weapons were increasingly introduced yet  progress was both slow and costly.

Throughout the writing, Philpott demonstrates how supply, manpower reserves and will eventually turned the tide in favor of the Allies and the weakness of the Central Powers who could not match them.  It took more than two years to build and change the waring nations to adopt a total war consciousness.  He extends great praise to Ferdinand Foch and Phillipe Petain for recognizing what was needed to defeat the German army.  The French expression grignotage —gnawing — the enemy strength was to become the modus operandi for the last six months of the war literally wearing the the opposition out.  But the price was equally harsh for both sides. Yet, Foch, who was supreme commander, realized the price had to be paid.

The author spares no one for mistakes and errors in judgment.  He notes how Ludendorff never grasped the full extent of collapsing morale of the German soldier even with the spectacular victory in the Eastern Theater.  It was the declining morale and the lack of men and the desperate shortness of supplies which Germany could not replace forcing their submission.  Men, supply and determination were the key to victory. 

 War of Attrition is a study not to be ignored by serious students of military history and is highly recommended for the average reader.  Phillpott investigation of the nature of fighting in the first global conflict will enlighten both the historian and for those who appreciate the importance of the war.

 

 

 

 

WW1HA annual symposium

The World War One Historical Association 
Annual Symposium Details & Registration
 
October 21-22, 2016 
MacArthur Memorial
Norfolk, VA
                                           1916: Sex, Planes, and Disasters!
                                        
Our 2016 Annual Symposium in Norfolk, VA is fast approaching! The full registration package at $255 includes all presentations, the Friday dinner banquet and the must-see Friday afternoon tour of the Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach including
transportation/snacks/beverages, docent-led tours, & a pilot talk.  (http://www.militaryaviationmuseum.org)

                                       World War One Aircraft at the Museum
 
Raffle Prize: Autographed Chicago Blackhawks Hockey Stick!
 

We are also offering an amazing raffle prize: a hockey stick autographed by members of the 2015 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks, along with a Certificate of Authenticity. The 86th Infantry Division of the American Expeditionary Force, known as the Blackhawks, was established in August 1917 at Camp Grant in Rockford IL and was composed of men from Illinois and Wisconsin. Frederick McLaughlin served as a commander in the 86th Infantry Division. In 1926 he was granted a franchise by the National Hockey League, which he named the Chicago Blackhawks for his unit and his home town.

Raffle tickets will be $10 each or 3 for $25, sold only at the symposium. The drawing will be during the luncheon on Saturday – you must be present to win! As a reference price, a stick signed by the 2012 team for a charity auction is currently for sale online for $1200. 
Registration Information
Can’t attend the full symposium?  We are offering one day options, both with and without the dinner, and just the tour of the Military Aviation Museum. 
Register online at http://ww1ha.org/2016-symposium-registration/or download the mail-in registration form at http://ww1ha.org/downloads/Symposium2016Flyer.pdf
Our main 2016 symposium page is http://ww1ha.org/2016-annual-conference/.
Want more details? The full Symposium Program book with all registration options and all program details and speaker information is available now at http://ww1ha.org/downloads/2016SymposiumProgram.pdf
All presentations will be held at the MacArthur Memorial. There is lots of information about about the museum and its programs at http://www.macarthurmemorial.org/.
For hotel reservations at the Sheraton Norfolk please call 757-640-2752 ask for Christine or Chelsea or send an email to Christine.Palmer@norfolksheraton.comBe sure to ask for the WW1HA room block and special rate. Our symposium daily rate of $129.68 per night includes all taxes and free WiFi.  Hotel parking is $8 per day.Norfolk has many wonderful attractions to visit beyond the MacArthur Memorial – Plan your additional activities at http://www.visitnorfolktoday.com/

 

Questions? Contact Dana Lombardy at dana.lombardy@gmail.com or at 510-301-0753 during Pacific Time business hours.  

‘COUNTDOWN TO VETERANS DAY’

From Chris Isleib of the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission
OUR ‘COUNTDOWN TO VETERANS DAY’ HAS BEGUN!
Today is Wednesday, September 21, fifty days away from Veterans Day. 
We feel that one day per year is not enough to talk about veterans, veterans contributions, and veterans needs. So, for the next fifty days, we will join others in posting about veterans, using the #CountdownToVeteransDayhas htag.
We also feel that we can help people to have a more meaningful experience for their Veterans Day, by collecting an easy list of opportunities to volunteer, donate, or participate in local events. We have posted our list here – www.CountdownToVeteransDay. org
We invite you to join us in this Countdown To Veterans Day. Please feel free to repost or retweet any of the #CountdownToVeteransDay social media posts, or create your own, to help us get the word out.
Veterans needs, and veterans issues, will always need our help.

 

Chris Isleib

U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

Director of Public Affairs
301 641 4060
www.ww1cc.org/design
https://www.facebook.com/ww1centennial

 

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