News from the WW1HA seminar: The presentations

Presentation Abstracts

World War One Historical Association and League of WWI Aviation Historians

2015 Collaboration Symposium

Jack Tunstall – Eastern Front 1915 (With an Eye on Aerial Ops)

Kelley Szany – In the Shadow of War: Armenian Genocide 1915-1918

The genocide of the Armenians by the Turkish government during World War I represented one of the first genocides of the 20th century; almost an entire nation was destroyed.  The Armenian people were effectively eliminated from the homeland they had occupied for nearly 3000 years.  This annihilation was premeditated and planned and to be carried out under the cover of war.  Over one million Armenians died (estimated at 1.5 million) and their traditional homeland was depopulated.  A homogenous Turkish state- one people, one language, one religion, was created by the extermination of the original Armenian inhabitants.

Jon Guttman – Through, Above, and Around: Arming the First Allied Fighters in 1915

Before the end of 1914, all combatants in World War I were taking the airplane seriously enough to seek control of the sky. After numerous encounters and experiments, 1915 saw the establishment of what became the definitive formula for an aerial weapon: a single-seater with a machine gun that could be aimed wherever the pilot pointed his plane. The problem of the year was how to do that without shooting off propeller off, which the Germans ultimately solved with mechanical interrupter gear and the Allies by several additional means, from wedge-shaped deflectors, raised gun mountings and repositioning the propeller behind the pilot.

Dick Church – The Kaiser’s U-Boats: Unrestricted Submarine Warfare, the Lusitania, and Will They Bring America into the War?

This presentation will cover U-Boat types and their missions in the War.  The topics will include: the major attacks by U-boats; the Lusitania sinking and ramifications in 1915; prominent commanders of the Great War; anti-submarine efforts by the Allies; unrestricted submarine warfare; and the final defeat of the U-boats and their return in WWII.

Steve Suddaby – Aerial Bombing 1914-1915: Crossing the Rubicon with Baby Steps

Pre-WWI attitudes against the bombing of civilians had been completely discarded by the time of WW2, which featured the near-eradication of enemies’ cities from the air. This presentation shows, through the events of 1914-1915, how the European powers “crossed the Rubicon” from one set of attitudes to the other. Other themes that will be explored include:

  • Immaturity of aviation technology;
  • Experimental nature of bombing aviation in WWI;
  • Evolution of air forces from general purpose to specialized units;
  • Role of naval aviation in advancing aerial bombing.

John Mosier – Western Front 1915

Lance Bronnenkant – Early German Aces & the Interrupter Mechanism

“Early German Aces and the Interruptor Mechanism” presents the story of how the development of a practical method of allowing machine-gun bullets to be fired through the arc of a spinning propeller changed the face of aerial warfare forever. A certain group of German airmen helped this nascent technology evolve into such a lethal and effective weapon that the period that followed its debut became known as ‘The Fokker Scourge,’ which in turn caused a chain reaction that led to the birth of fighter aviation as we know it today. The stories of those pioneer aviators, supplemented by numerous period photographs, are told as well.

Paul Grasmehr – The Naval and Aviation Aspects of the Gallipoli Campaign: Expeditionary Warfare in a Time of Emerging Doctrine

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World War One Historical Association 2015 Seminar

Anzac Day

Anzac Day 2015 at Gallipoli. Taken by David Pedler

2015 League of WWI Aviation Historians and World War One Historical Association Collaboration Symposium
Lisle, Illinois, Oct. 2-3
1915: Warfare Evolution; New Tactics and Strategies

In conjunction with the WWI Centennial Commission; the League of World War One Aviation Historians and the World War One Historical Association will present their Collaboration Symposium at the Hilton Lisle/Naperville.

The symposium’s 1915 focus covers a broad range of topics including aviation and significant battles and events of the second year of the First World War. For a
list of the featured speakers, some of the best historians, writers and researchers in the world, go to ww1ha.org/2015-annual-conference.

The Hilton Lisle/Naperville provides easy access to the 1st Infantry Division Museum at Cantigny Park, Wheaton, IL where we will spend Friday afternoon touring
the museum and grounds.

The registration fee of $210 (US) per person includes luncheon, dinner and transportation to and from the hotel to the museum on Friday, Oct. 2; lunch on Saturday; admission to all presentations, reenactor and model displays, and much more. The cost to add a guest for the Friday night dinner is $40 (US).

Symposium registration fees will increase to $250 (US) per person starting Sept. 10,
so act now for the lower rate.

Accommodations are at the Hilton Lisle/Naperville, 3003 Corporate West Drive in Lisle, Ill. Call 630-505-0900 and ask for the favorable “WW1 Seminar” rate of $99 per night (with free parking) to reserve a room for Oct. 1-3. A limited number of rooms have been secured, but the cut-off date to reserve rooms at this rate is Sept. 10.

Consult the WW1HA website at www.ww1ha.org for details and a registration form, or email our Symposium Chairman, Randy Gaulke, at lavarennes@meuseargonne.
com. All registrations will be handled through WW1HA.

Centennial Countdown to the Great War

Battle on the Prussian-Russian border 1914/15 in present-day Lithuania. From the Flickr collection of

Battle on the Prussian-Russian border 1914/15 in present-day Lithuania. Jens-Olaf Walter photo

Are you following this blog by Dennis Cross? This is the clearest explanation of how the dominoes fell in July 1914.

http://centennialcountdown.blogspot.com

He said, then I said, then he said, then I said, etc.

Dennis tells a lot of stories that you might not have connected to the march toward war, including a famous murder trial in France that delayed the country’s attention to the approaching disaster.

Henriette Caillaux, the second wife of former French Premier Joseph Caillaux, was tried this month for the murder of Le Figaro editor Gaston Calmette following the magazine’s publication of private letters between herself and her husband written when both of them were married to others.  She claimed that she had not planned to kill Calmette, only to teach him a lesson, but had been overwhelmed by passion.  She told the court the shooting was an accident: “It is terrible how these revolvers go off when they begin shooting — one can’t stop them!”

 

No kidding, lady.

My thanks to Dennis for this blog post.

WW1HA 2013 Symposium speakers: Michael Reynolds

Michael Reynolds is associate professor of Near Eastern studies at Princeton University.  His 2011 book “Shattering Empires: The Clash and Collapse of the Ottoman and Russian Empires 1908-1918” received the American Historical Association’s George Louis Beer Prize for international history.  

The Times Literary Supplement wrote of the book: “‘Shattering Empires’ is a fine book … it makes a valuable contribution not only to the history of Russian-Ottoman relations but also to our understanding of the intersection of nationalism and geopolitics in the age of imperial downfall.”

Here’s the ink to his page at the WW1HA website:

http://ww1ha.org/2013symposium/michael-reynolds.html

 

WW1HA 2013 Symposium speakers: Richard F. Hamilton

Richard Hamilton is a professor emeritus in sociology and political science at the Ohio State University. An Army veteran, he has written more than a dozen books, including three WWI books with fellow WW1HA 2013 Symposium speaker Holger Herwig.

“The Origins of World War I,” published by Cambridge University Press, was praised by the Journal of Military History:

Richard F. Hamilton, Holger H. Herwig, and their distinguished team of nine additional contributors prove triumphantly that indeed there is (more to say about the war). Building on a carefully crafted conference held at Ohio State University in 1999, their book focuses on precisely who, within both the major and several of the minor belligerent states of World War I, took the decisions to go to war, and how and why they reached those decisions.”

Here’s the link to his Symposium page:

http://ww1ha.org/2013symposium/richard-hamilton.html

WW1HA 2013 Symposium speakers: Holger H. Herwig

Holger Herwig is a history professor at the University of Calgary in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He has written more than a dozen books, including “The First World War: Germany and Austria-Hungary” (Bloomsbury Academic), part of the Modern War series.

He also wrote “The Outbreak Of World War I (Problems in European Civilization Series),” published by Wadsworth Publishing.

Here’s his link:

http://ww1ha.org/2013symposium/holger-herwig.html

WW1HA 2013 Symposium speakers: Michael S. Neiberg

Michael Neiberg is a history professor at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Penn. He is a dynamic and lively speaker as well as an expert. His books include “The Second Battle of the Marne” (Indiana University Press), part of the Twentieth Century Battles series. This battle took place from July 15 to August 9, 1918 —   Ludendorff called Aug. 8, 1918, “the black day of the German Army.” 

Mike Neiberg also wrote “The Eastern Front 1914-1920” and “The Western Front 1914-1916.” His pre-war book, “Dance of the Furies: Europe and the Outbreak of World War I (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press), was reviewed by Jay Winter for the Times Literary Press in these words:

“Neiberg’s story is a sober and chastening one, since it shows how wars take on a life of their own, in that the moral pollution they trigger lingers long after the diplomats have finished with the peace treaties supposedly ending hostilities…”

Here’s the link to his WW1HA Symposium page:

ww1ha.org/2013symposium/michael-neiberg.html

 

 

Book: “The Star of Istanbul”

“The Star of Istanbul,” to be published in October, is the second in a series by Robert Olen Butler recounting the adventures of Christopher (Kit) Marlowe Cobb, a Chicago newspaper reporter. Cobb got himself mixed up with some bandits, some Germans, some weapons and Woodrow Wilson in last fall’s “The Hot Country,” set in 1914.

Now it’s 1915, and he’s more a spy for the U.S. government who masquerades as a reporter than the other way around. His assignment is to follow a German citizen working in the U.S. who is suspected of carrying information that could affect the outcome of the war.

Butler writes his action in slow motion: He pulled his knife, and I drew my pistol, and he threw the knife, and I ducked, and he was running, and I was running, firing as I ran, and he fell, and as I got close to him, he sat up and whipped out another knife, and so on, and so on.

I prefer my action short and snappy: I shot him. He dropped to the floor. I stepped over his body and ran down the stairs. The maid would find him in the morning. Now I needed a drink.

But that would be a different book. If you aren’t troubled by his breathless thrills, Butler is great fun. There’s a mysterious dark-haired beauty (there was another in “The Hot Country,” and for several pages here, I thought they were the same person), and there are disguises, and taxis that arrive out of nowhere with fervently loyal drivers. These are the adventures you’d want to have yourself if you were that kind of guy. And a very good shot.

Also, on the very first page Cobb follows his German right up the gangplank onto the Lusitania.

The story falters once the characters arrive in Instanbul, but altogether there are thrills aplenty. You know Butler will send Cobb to Russia (where he will meet a mysterious dark-haired beauty) in 1917. I look forward to finding out where he goes in 1916.

If you like a little noir in your novel, Didier  Daenincke’s “A Very Profitable War” might suit you. Translated from the French, it’s set in 1920 and involves a veteran turned detective scraping along in Paris on cheating wives and unfaithful husbands who uncovers a scandal that goes back to the war. The ending will make your eyes pop.

Memorial Day 2013

More than any other modern war ’14-’18 lives in the memory as the ultimate example of a mismatch between what was at stake and the price that was paid. It is the war of the ‘lost generation’, sacrificed for a cause which, in hindsight, is difficult to pinpoint.”

Sophie De Schaepdrijver, Belgian historian and Associate Professor of History at Pennsylvania State University, quoted on http://messines1917.blogspot.be

ruins

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