A call for writers

From Sergio Lugo, Editor, MPHS
I am writing to solicit articles for an upcoming issue of the Military Postal History Society Bulletin to be released in April 2017.  That Anniversary edition bulletin will commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the U.S. declaration of war in WWI and American involvement in the war.   The articles we publish always have to have a tie in to postal history.
The website of the MPHS is at www.militaryphs.org.  The website contains limited sections of MPHS Bulletins.  The Bulletins treat subjects for all wars, not just WWI.  Recent editions have included articles on tankless raining in WWI; the year 1916 and its import for the U.S. in WW I; special British mailing cards of WWI; the correspondence of a British captain KIA at Kut, Mesopotamia;  clandestine British censorship of U.S. mail,  and others.
The citation for issue # 2, 2017 lists the numerous articles we have lined up (either completed or pending) for that edition.  Attendees to the annual WW1HA seminar in October are welcome to submit articles for that issue – provided, of course, that it focuses on the U.S. and use supporting postal history.
Thank you for your time and consideration.

“100 CITIES/100 MEMORIALS”

WASHINGTON, DC:  The U.S. World War I Centennial Commission and the Pritzker Military Museum and Library have announced a new program to help people across the country restore and preserve local World War I memorials.
“100 CITIES/100 MEMORIALS” is a fund-matching program, where groups or individuals can A) identify local World War I memorials in their area, B) put together a conservation treatment proposal for a memorial in distress, C) submit their plan for consideration for matching grant funds, D) have the memorial treated by an accredited conservator, with communication help & possible matching funds.
The details of the program, including guidelines and online application form, can be found on the website www.ww1cc.org/100Memorials
The program is designed to foster a sense of heritage in local communities, to recognize local stories & people who were involved in the war, and create a way for community members to participate in the national World War I Centennial.
Kenneth Clarke, President and CEO of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library stated, “The words ‘Lest We Forget’ appear on World War I memorials across the nation. Sadly, however, many of these memorials are in need of conservation and restoration, in this, their centennial year.”
The 100 CITIES/100 MEMORIALS program is particularly well-suited for community-service projects hosted by school groups, scout troops, veteran group posts, historical/cultural organizations, faith groups, local sports teams, and others.
Dan Dayton, Executive Director of the Centennial Commission, commented
“Doughboys came from every town and village in the US. This program gives the Commission a way to say thank you in a very tangible way.”
The sponsor organizations have teamed with the World War I Memorial Inventory Project, which is assembling a crowd-sourced, online database to document and assess the condition of the thousands of World War I memorials across the country.
Some of the 100 CITIES/100 MEMORIALS program specifics include the following:
– All submitted projects will be given communication resources to help participants publicize their work, post imagery to social media, and tell their own stories.
–  Webinars & videos hosted on the Centennial Commission website will provide information about conserving memorials, researching a memorial’s history, and creating a project plan for submission.
– All World War I memorial projects are eligible to be considered for this program’s matching funds. However, the matching funds available per project is currently limited to $2,000, which is likely to be most useful for smaller projects.
– In November 2016, one hundred of the submitted projects will be selected by a jury to receive matching funds.
– To qualify for a matching grant, a project proposal needs to be submitted by November 11, 2016.  Memorials need to be located in the 50 states or US territories, and the preservation work must be completed (or have been completed) between January 1, 2014 and November 11, 2018.
This fund-matching program has been adopted by The American Legion by Resolution of the National Executive Committee. The Centennial Commission and the Pritzker Military Museum & Library welcome additional supporting organizations as well as additional sponsors to expand the funds available to the awardees.
Information on the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission can be found here
Information about the Pritzker Military Museum and Library can be found here
Information about the World War I Memorial Inventory Project can be found here

 

Do you belong to the WFA?

Here’s a list of the articles available at the Western Front Association website.

Welcome to the May 2016 issue of Trench Lines, the newsletter of The Western Front Association.

Plant a rose to remember someone who fought or served in other ways during the Battle of the Somme with ‘Tommy’s Rose’.

Create a ‘Memory Square’ of someone and it will be featured on the ‘Path of the Remembered’.

Engage with a local community event, with ‘The Living Memory Project’ – one of 141 events to emphasise that the Battle of the Somme lasted several months, not just a single day.

Go along to the study day ‘1916: The World at War’ courtesy of the First World War Research Group at the University of Wolverhampton on 28 May.

See Mike Sheil’s huge, evocative photographs of the Battlefields of the Somme in the exhibition ‘Fields of Battle, Lands of Peace 1916’ that opens in the City of London on 1 June.

Attend the two Western Front Association day long conferences with the joint title ‘A World At War 1916’. Our first conference is on 4 June ‘The Somme and Beyond’ in Birmingham and our second conference is on 9 July ‘Perspectives on the Somme’ in York.

Read reviews of First World War books by Western Front Association members: ‘Fatal Charge at Gallipoli’ reviewed by Richard Pursehouse; ‘Trapped Behind Enemy Lines’ reviewed by Dr. Giovanni Timmermans, and ‘Lancaster in the Great War’ reviewed by Simon Phillips.

Book Review: “Wilson”

 “Wilson”  By A. Scott Berg
(G. P. Putnam & Sons) 2013     818 pp
Review by WW1HA President Sal Compagno

Books for Kids: “Flyboys”

I am a Puffin children’s author and I’d like to tell you about my new children’s series, Wings which I hope will be of interest to aviation enthusiasts and their families associated with World War One Historical Association.

 I wrote Wings with RAF Museums as their children’s writer in residence in the run-up to the RAF’s 100th anniversary in 2018.  The Wings series is about four children at a football summer camp, who find themselves propelled back in time.  If they can learn how to fly the great RAF planes – the Sopwith Camel, Spitfire and Typhoon, history will lead them on a flightpath home to the present.

 “Tom is the RAF Museum’s Writer in Residence. His close relationship with the museums and his obsessive eye for detail mean that I was not at all surprised that his Wings books are both highly authentic and hugely exciting. These are Biggles books for the 21st century.” Phil Clayton, Education Office at RAF Museum 

 Publication dates:

Wings 1 : Flyboy 15 March 2016  available from Amazon now
Wings 2 : Spitfire 15 June 2016 
Wings 3 : Typhoon 15 August 2016 

 “Flyboy is like a cross between ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Alex Rider’. I liked the book because it was spooky. The main character is Jatinder and the story is about World War One. It’s a total page turner! I think it is an amazing book. It attaches you to it straight away on the first sentence. “ Kamran Mustfa aged 8

 The Wings series feature:

·         Hardit Singh Malik – the first Sikh Indian to fly into combat with the Royal Flying Corps

·         airshows

·         flight simulators

·         military museums

·         female pilots

·         making model aircrafts.

 And each book comes with a simple model plane you can make yourself!

 Wings: Flyboy is a wonderful, warm tale. Stories highlighting the diversity of Britain’s troops during both world wars are rare and this one deserves a wide audience.  It is a cracking read.” Bali Rai

There is more information here : http://tompalmer.co.uk/wings/.

 

Winner of the Tomlinson Prize announced

We are pleased to announce that the annual Norman B. Tomlinson, Jr., prize for 2015 for the best work of history in English on World War I has been won by Dr. James Lyon, author of “Serbia and the Balkan Front, 1914: The Outbreak of the Great War” (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2015). Professor Lyon has studied the Balkans for over 34 years and currently works at the Austrian University of Graz’s Center for Southeast European Studies.
“Serbia and the Balkan Front, 1914” is the first history of the Great War to address in-depth the crucial events of 1914 as they played out on the Balkan Front. James Lyon demonstrates how blame for the war’s outbreak can be placed squarely on Austria-Hungary’s expansionist plans and internal political tensions, Serbian nationalism, South Slav aspirations, the unresolved Eastern Question, and a political assassination sponsored by renegade elements within Serbia’s security services. In doing so, he portrays the background and events of the Sarajevo assassination and the subsequent military campaigns and diplomacy on the Balkan Front during 1914.

The book details the first battle of the First World War, the first Allied victory and the massive military humiliations Austria-Hungary suffered at the hands of tiny Serbia, while discussing the oversized strategic role Serbia played for the Allies during 1914. Lyon challenges existing historiography that contends the Habsburg Army was ill-prepared for war and shows that the Dual Monarchy was in fact superior in manpower and technology to the Serbian army, thus laying blame on Austria-Hungary’s military leadership rather than on its state of readiness. 

Based on archival sources from Belgrade, Sarajevo and Vienna and using never-before-seen material to discuss secret negotiations between Turkey and Belgrade to carve up Albania, Serbia’s desertion epidemic, its near-surrender to Austria-Hungary in November 1914, and how Serbia became the first belligerent to openly proclaim its war aims, “Serbia and the Balkan Front, 1914” enriches our understanding of the outbreak of the war and Serbia’s role in modern Europe. It is of great importance to students and scholars of the history of the First World War as well as military, diplomatic and modern European history. 
James Lyon received a Ph.D. in Modern Balkan History at the University of California, Los Angeles (dissertation: The Forgotten Ally: Serbia and the Balkan Front, 1914), an M.A. in International Relations from Brigham Young University (thesis: Yugoslavia’s Post-World War Two Economic Development), and a B.A. in Russian Language and Literature from Brigham Young University. 
Dr. Lyon directed Balkan projects for the International Crisis Group for ten years: an accomplished analyst, he has written three books, many scholarly articles, dozens of published reports, numerous Op/Eds, and has testified before the U.S. Congress and parliamentary panels of EU member states. He has twenty years’ experience in conflict/post-conflict areas of the Balkans, worked on EU and USAID projects and with the Office of the High Representative, as well as in the private sector.

He is the founder of the Foundation for the Preservation of Historical Heritage, which is working with the National Library of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Historical Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina to digitize their endangered collections.  www.fphh.org He is also an associate researcher with the University of Graz in Austria. 

Learn more about the winning book:

http://bloomsburyhistory.typepad.com/bloomsbury-history/2016/01/dr-james-lyon-wins-2015-tomlinson-prize-for-his-book-serbia-and-the-balkan-front-1914.html

The Tomlinson award winner is chosen by a panel chaired by Professor Dennis Showalter of Colorado College, a past president of the Society for Military History. Other panel members are Dr. Michael Neiberg, Professor at the US Army War College, and Graydon A. Tunstall, senior lecturer at the University of South Florida. The prize is made possible through a grant from Norman B. Tomlinson, Jr., director-emeritus of the Western Front Association – US Branch. (WFA-US became the World War One Historical Association in 2011.)
The panel chose this book because it takes a new look at the critical Balkan front using the latest archival evidence. Panel members were impressed that Lyon takes a transnational approach to the subject, setting the Serbian front into an international context. Serbia and the Balkan Front, 1914 analyzes diplomatic, political, and military arenas to give the fullest picture yet of events on the Balkans, the true fulcrum of 1914.

Book review: “A Mad Catastrophe”

A Mad Catastrophe  by  Geoffrey Wawro  (2014)

Reviewed by WW1HA President Sal Compagno

Geoffrey Wawro is professor of history in Texas and has written a painful study of the role
of the Austro-Hungarian military in the first six months of World War 1.  He relates how in
these first months the empire of the Hapsburgs was doomed to extinction.  Most emphatically, he emphasizes the deliberate intention of the Austrian government and military in starting
the war.  Revenge for the killing of the heir apparent, Austria knew attacking Serbia, whom
they believed instigated the assassination, would draw Russia in.  Blatantly unprepared for
war, her infantry had little or no training, she attacked Serbia, only to be thoroughly defeated
three times by an inferior but determined enemy.  Conrad von Hotzendorf, a palace General,
enjoyed the reputation as the most incompetent supreme military leader.  Gen. Potiorek,
whose military experience was minimal, led the disastrous Serbian ventures.

The Hungarians were described by Wawro as continually undermining all the Austrian efforts
before and during the war.  They refused to fund or modernize their joint armies nor were
they willing to cooperate in battle!  When both faced the Russian army in the east, they were
unable to achieve even the the most modicum of victory.  Exhausted by heat, long marches,
little food, they died or surrendered in thousands.  Losing enormous territory, they begged
assistance from the Germans, who reluctantly complied.  The first winter in the Carpathian
mountains saw their Austrian-Hungarian troops frozen.  Gross incompetence by their leadership led to over 800,000 casualties in six months!  The end of the empire was guaranteed.  Wawro has painted a sorrowful & agonizing portrait of a mad reckless nation.

Book review: “Ring of Steel”

Ring of Steel  by Alexander Watson  (2014)

Reviewed by WW1HA President Sal Compagno

British historian Alexander Watson has written a voluminous book on the history of Imperial Germany and the Empire of Austria-Hungary in the First World War.  He offer no excuse for their culpability in  starting the conflict and places clear blame on Austria-Hungary more than
Germany, whose backing sparked the war. His judgement is clear, both created and
convinced themselves the war was necessary and just.  Nevertheless, the war was one
of total illusions.  Austria-Hungary was totally unprepared for a modern war and her
reverses on the battlefield in the first six months devastated her martial ability through
unbelievable incompetence.  The result was a decent into the collapse of her empire.
Germany, as he states, bit off more than it could chew.  Even its military prowess was
incapable of confronting a two-theater war.  Brilliant in tactics, her strategy guaranteed
defeat.

What renders his study most fascinating is the effect of the war on the peoples in each
country.  To the Germans, Russia was the real threat with deep feelings of being overrun
by a barbaric hoard.  This fear galvanized the German people to support wholeheartedly
their military effort extending the support to the Western Front.  But the price was phenomenal. The war was not even a year old when food shortages became evident in both empires and grew progressively worse as the war dragged on.  Stubbornly, they persisted in the downward spiral to total exhaustion.  The Austro-Hungarian army, short of every valuable resource, became totally dependent on Germany.  Her internal disintegration undermined her resolve to be a competent ally.

Watson is very careful and detailed explaining how the lack of resources, especially food, became so critical in both areas. An urgent & vociferous cry to end the war became paramount and unstoppable.  He emphasizes how the last desperate and most blundering act when Germany allows unrestricted submarine activity brings in the United States & its failure ended any possibility of victory.  With over 118 pages of notes, Watson has created a formidable study how both in military and domestic areas intertwined in a catastrophic war.

News from the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission

The U.S. World War I Centennial Commission has picked ‘THE WEIGHT OF SACRIFICE” for the new national World War I Memorial project.

“THE WEIGHT OF SACRIFICE” was selected from a group of five Finalists and culminates an open, international design competition that has run since May 2015. The Commission’s decision endorses the recommendation of the design competition’s independent jury.
“We were thrilled by the quality and creativity by all the submissions in this competition,” stated Commissioner Edwin Fountain, who directed the competition. “This selected design concept reflects a high level of professional achievement.”
Imagery of “THE WEIGHT OF SACRIFICE,” and of the other four Finalists, can be found here  www.ww1cc.org/selection
The design concept was submitted by Joseph Weishaar, an architect-in-training currently located in Chicago, Ill., and collaborating artist, veteran sculptor Sabin Howard, of New York. Mr. Weishaar received his professional architecture degree at the University of Arkansas in 2013.
Mr. Weishar’s full professional team, necessary to implement the design concept, includes the Baltimore architectural firm GWWO Inc.; landscape architect Phoebe Lickwar, and engineering consultants Henry Adams LLC, Keast & Hood and VBH.
Regarding the World War I Memorial, Commission Chair Robert Dalessandro stated, “Those five million Americans who served in uniform during World War I literally changed the world. This new landmark in our nation’s capital will be a worthy expression of their great legacy.”
The location for the new World War I Memorial is Pershing Park, in downtown Washington, DC, bounded by Pennsylvania Avenue and 14th and 15th Streets NW. The park is one block from the White House, adjacent to the Willard Hotel and the District of Columbia’s Wilson Building.
This site was designated by Congress in 2014. The Centennial Commission is a Congressional Commission set up in 2013 to ensure a suitable observation in the United States of the centennial of World War I.

Book Review: “Dark Invasion”

Dark Invasion” by Howard Blum

Review by WW!HA President Sal Compagno

What reads like a novel, but  clearly rooted in historical research, is Howard Blum’s
study of German sabotage in the U.S. in 1914-15.  Germany, a prisoner of geography,
found itself cut off from access to America’s resources due to the British naval blockade.
With the war becoming clearly a war of attrition, access to resources would determine
victory or defeat.  America, as a neutral  nation, gifted with vast resources, found itself
supplying the voracious appetite for war essentials largely to the Entente (France-Britain
etc)  with Germany and her allies cut off.  Neutrality was making America rich!!

Germany was keenly aware of America’s notsoconvincing neutrality and set up a
clandestine sabotage system, financed and promoted through its consulates but
largely leaving their embassy untouched.  The east coast ports became the focus
of their actions.  Cleverly developing a vast spy network on the east coast with
assistance from disgruntled Irish stevedores, delayed bombs were placed on
allied ships with devastating results.  Their successes were crippling the Entente’s
war.

Tom Tunney, a New York policeman, trained in dealing with gang warfare, set up a
team of experts who would infiltrate some of the collateral members of the German
plan, eventually closing down their objectives. When the press divulged the role these
saboteurs were attempting, the nation was outraged and demanded government
action.  It too another two years before an Espionage Act was created.  Luck and
chance opportunities with British intelligence finally ended the first phase of German
espionage in the U.S.  Dark Invasion is a fascinating and highly engaging historical
study of desperate acts and an insight into America of the early 20th century.