WWI DISPATCH July 2, 2019

A newsletter from the World War One Centennial Commission.


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July 2, 2019

“It is not only one generation who may forget its history, it is an entire society.”

John Heckman

The world of World War I historians has no voice more unique than John Heckman. Also known as the Tattooed Historian, John has had long experience with teaching, and creating Living History impressions for other genres, including the Civil War, before he started to really devote his maximum efforts to World War I. John is very active online, hosting a successful Podcast series, Twitter, and Facebook social media accounts. John’s take on history is very fresh — he brings modern sensibility, personal viewpoint, and soldier-level context, to his interpretation of historical topics. John has also been a great friend and partner to the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission, participating in several of our key events, including parades, commemorations, and the design rollout of the National World War I Memorial in Washington DC. Click here to read this thoughtful interview with a one-of-a-kind historian.


The New York Times: Was the Treaty of Versailles a Victory for Democracy?

Woodrow Wilson at Versailles

Ted Widmer, a distinguished lecturer at the Macaulay Honors College of the City University of New York, took to the pages of the New York Times last Friday to explore the centennial of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, and how President Woodrow Wilson’s belief in his own righteousness undermined his vision for world peace via the treaty.  Click here to read Widmer’s in-depth look at the critical events of 100 years ago.


Arkansas Great War Letters Project: “Reading such letters makes the events of the past real.”

Michael Polson

Michael Polson has a remarkable story to tell. Curator of a history museum in Northwest Arkansas, he saw a rare opportunity to do something unique to mark the World War I Centennial period, something that would be immediate, accessible, relevant, and that would have value that would last long into the future. This project was a “Letters” project, what the Arkansas Historical Association called it “one of the most valuable of the efforts marking the centennial.” Michael’s journey to success with the project is quite unique, and he took some time to tell us about it.


How WWI transformed economic warfare

Blockade

Though World War I officially ended 100 years ago with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, in its overwhelming influence on economic sanctions since 1919, the Allied blockade never really stopped. While it’s the narratives of destruction and change, from the bloodbath of the Somme to the triumph of Vladimir Lenin in Russia, that have captured the public imagination about the war, the way the war transformed economic warfare should also be seen as one of its central legacies, one that continues to shape international relations today. Click here to read the analysis by Phillip Dehne, professor of history at St. Joseph’s College, N.Y., in the Washington Post.


A country poet and World War I soldier

Ben Clifford

Vermont writer Sharon Lakey remembers “a story in North Danville that has held a warm spot in my heart for many years. Ben Clifford, an old country poet, walked the back roads of North Danville and left his handwritten poems in neighbors’ mailboxes.” But preparations for the upcoming July 4th celebration in North Danville brought to light some undiscovered writings by Clifford on World War I. Click here to read more about how “Ben gives us an inkling of the reality of that war, a stark memory that stayed with him for the rest of his life.”


Historian’s 10-year quest for WWI New York soldier’s grave ends in success

Terry Kratwurst

We previously chronicled in DISPATCH the story of Terry Krautwurst, who devoted 10 years of his life documenting the men and women of Genesee County, New York who served in World War I. But there has been a nagging loose end to the amazing historical project, one that Kratwurst had almost given up on solving. Click here to read the remarkable story about how a last-resort request uncovered the missing piece of the the puzzle that enabled Kratwurst to put the “Mission: Accomplished” label on his World War I historical project in 2019.


Minnesota family donates WWI-era artifacts to county museum

Kenneth S. McKay.

Those who serve in war have a tendency to not talk much about that experience. If they do, it is typically much later in life. That was the case with Kenneth S. McKay, who served his country in World War I as a member of Company L, the Redwood Falls, Minnesota National Guard Unit.  Click here to read the entire story of how a bequest from one part of the McKay family to another brought a collection of items from Kenneth’s time in the service to rest in the local museum, where their century-old story can now finally be told.


From the World War I Centennial News Podcast

Spotlight on the Media:
An Interview with WWrite Blog Curator Dr. Jennifer Orth-Veillon

Dr. Jennifer Orth-Veillon

In June 28th’s edition of the World War I Centennial News Podcast, Episode 129, host Theo Mayer interviewed Dr. Jennifer Orth-Veillon. Dr. Orth-Veillon is a writer, researcher, and war literature expert who has curated the Commission’s WWrite blog for the past several years. The blog is self-described as exploring WWI’s influence on contemporary writing and scholarship and has earned a loyal following of over 30,000 avid readers. Click here to find out how WWrite came to be, and to learn more about how World War I changed writing and literature forever.


WWI Centennial NEWS Podcast

Podcast Logo New

The WW1 Centennial News Podcast is about WW1 THEN: 100 years ago this week, and it’s about WW1 NOW: News and updates about the centennial and the commemoration.  Available on our web siteiTunesGoogle Play, PodbeanTuneInStitcher Radio on Demand.  Spotify  listen on Youtube. New – Comment and ask questions via twitter @TheWW1podcast

4th of July 1919

Episode# 129
4th of July, 1919

Host – Theo Mayer

4th of July, 1919 –
Host |@ 02:05

Extra Extra: The Treaty is signed – Mike Shuster |@ 08:40

The WWrite Blog –
Dr. Jennifer Orth-Veillon |@ 14:00

Bladensburg Peace Cross –
Host |@ 25:50

Articles & Posts –
Host |@ 31:15


Doughboy MIA for week of July 1

Robert McClain

A man is only missing if he is forgotten.

Monday’s MIA this week is Private Robert McClain. Born in Rome Georgia in 1898, Robert John McClain enlisted in the Georgia National Guard on 16 July, 1917 at Atlanta and was assigned to Company A, 5th Infantry, GNG, whose duty station was Camp Wheeler, at Macon, Georgia. The year before, this unit had been federalized for duty on the Mexican Border as Company A, 122ndInfantry. Following the declaration of war in 1917, the 122nd had been assigned duty to the 31st ‘Dixie Division’, which would go overseas as a replacement division in September, 1918.

By that time however, Private McClain had already sailed for France aboard the troopship Orduna on 20 June, 1918 as a member of Company #5, Camp Wheeler June Automatic Replacement Draft, which had been drawn from Camp Wheeler trainees. Ten days later he was ‘Over There’, and a week after that, having received some machine gun training while with the 122nd, McClain was assigned to Company B, 150th Machine Gun Battalion, 42nd ‘Rainbow’ Division. He was with them but a short time when, on 28 July, 1918, he was killed in action, having been in France less than a month.

Private McClain is memorialized on the Tablets to the Missing at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery at Belleau Wood. Nothing else is known about his case at this time.

Want to help shed some light on Private McClain’s case? Consider making a donation to Doughboy MIA and help us make a full accounting of the 4,423 American service personnel still listed as missing in action from WW1. Make your tax deductible donation now, with our thanks.


Official WWI Centennial Merchandise

Black Pique Polo Shirt

Navy Blue Doughboy Polo Shirt

Perfect for summer! Inspired by the iconic image of an American Doughboy, you can wear your American pride with this Made in the USA polo shirt. An informal term for a member of the U.S. Army or Marine Corps, “Doughboy” is especially used to refer to the American Expeditionary Forces in World War One. Largely comprised of young men who had dropped out of school to join the army, this poignant lone silhouette of a soldier in trench warfare serves as a reminder of those who sacrificed so much one century ago. Shirt features: Navy with white Doughboy embroidery. 100% combed cotton pique, 6.2 oz. pre-shrunk fabric. Shirt has 3 wood-tone buttons, and side seam design for shape retention. Mens’ sizes available S – 2XL. Proceeds from the sale of this item will help to fund the building of the national World War One Memorial in Washington, D.C.

This and many other items are available as Official Merchandise of the United States World War One Centennial. A Certificate of Authenticity is included.


Versailles Symposium

July 28 brought remembrance, commemoration, and education to Versailles, France, as historical organizations honored the 100th Anniversary of the Treaty of Versailles. Presenting sponsor, the Pritzker Military Museum & Library, worked with the National WWI Museum and Memorial, National History Day, and with the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission to create a series of activities that were hosted by the legendary Palace of Versailles, where the Treaty was signed a century ago. Click here to read more about the Treaty of Versailles Centennial events, and view photos of the activities.


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George William Schreader

A Story of Service from the Stories of Service section of ww1cc.org

george-william-schreader

Submitted by: George F. Schreader {Grand Nephew}

George William Schreader was born around 1894. George Schreader served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The enlistment was in 1916 and the service was completed in 1919.

Story of Service

Official U.S. Army portrait of First Sergeant George William Schreader, 28th Infantry Division, 103rd Engineer Regiment. Photograph was probably taken in France in early 1919 during the period of occupation following the Armistice.

George William Schreader served with the U.S. Army in WWI beginning with his enlistment in the Pennsylvania National Guard in 1916, continuing through the war in France with Pennsylvania’s 28th Infantry Division in 1918, and into the post-war occupation in 1919 before returning to America for discharge.

The story of my great uncle, George William Schreader, has been recounted in a book entitled, “Sergeant Doughboy – Journal of a WWI American Soldier” by G. F. Schreader. I published this book in 2015, which was my second book in a three-part series that chronicles the military connection of four successive generations of men in the Schreader family, all named George. I am the fourth George in the family. I came to write this series of books as a result of merely attempting to record some family military history beginning with the post-Civil War era (my great-grandfather), through both World Wars (my great-uncle and my father), and through the Vietnam War, in which I served.

Read George William Schreader’s entire Story of Service here.

Submit your family’s Story of Service here.


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