World War I created many of the political, cultural, and economic fault lines of the world today. Produced by the MacArthur Memorial, this podcast explores the causes, the major players, the battles, the technology, and the popular culture of World War I.
1. Terror_in_Sarajevo.mp3 (played 35 times)
2. The_Schlieffen_Plan.mp3 (played 35 times)
3. USS_Olympia_inthe_Great_War.mp3 (played 7 times)
4. USS_Olympia_inthe_Great_War.mp3 (played 7 times)
5. The_Miracle_at_the_Marne.mp3 (played 6 times)
6. AEF.mp3 (played 22 times)
7. The_Fighting_69th_Infantry.mp3 (played 21 times)
8. Formation_of_the_Rainbow_Division.mp3 (played 0 times)
9. USS_Olympia_inthe_Great_War.mp3 (played 2 times)
10. CampMills.mp3 (played 1 times)
Situated on Hempstead Plain in Long Island, New York, Camp Mills was the primary training ground of the 42nd Rainbow Division. The camp was swiftly constructed in the summer of 1917 and soon 27,000 men and 991 officers of the Rainbow Division began arriving at the camp to begin preparing for the war in Europe.
General John J. Pershing was already leading the American Expeditionary Force in France, and the war was not going well. It was clear that the only thing that would turn the tide of the war was more men and fast. Pershing informed the war department that places like Camp Mills should focus on turning out physically fit men who could shoot. As a result, Colonel Douglas MacArthur, Chief of Staff of the 42nd Division, later noted that no frills and fancy gadgets were employed at Camp Mills. The training was difficult and often boring for many of the men, but in the end, Camp Mills was the anvil on which the 42nd Rainbow Division was forged.
Formation of the 42nd "Rainbow" Division
When the United States declared war on Germany in 1917, it had an absolutely miniscule standing army. As the US Army General Staff began frantically preparing to mobilize an American Expeditionary Force, an internal debate arouse about the type of army the United States should send to France. Should they wait for enlistment to swell the ranks of the regular army? Or should the National Guard be used?
At the time, Major Douglas MacArthur was working in Washington, D.C. as part of the General Staff. He had a deep belief in the value of the National Guard and believed that federalizing Guard units would be the best way to put large numbers of American troops in the field quickly. He had the backing of Secretary of War Newton Baker, and in the early months of American participation in the war, Major MacArthur helped to create the 42nd Rainbow Division out of National Guard troops from around the nation. His involvement with the Rainbow Division would go on to shape his experience of World War I.
The Organization and Insignia of the AEF - A Lecture by Robert Dalessandro
Robert Dalessandro, Executive Director of the U.S. Army Center of Military History, visited the Memorial in October 2012 and lectured on the topic of the organization and insignia of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF). World War I marked a watershed moment in the organization of the United States military. The incredible scale of the war, as well as the changing nature of warfare made many of these changes necessary. From the size of an army to the composition of smaller units like platoons and companies, the American military underwent a reorganization on many levels. In addition to these changes, Dalessandro also traces the development of the insignia of the AEF and discusses a few of the stories behind the adoption of certain insignia by different AEF divisions.
The Fighting 69th in the Great War - A Lecture by Author Stephen L. Harris
Author Stephen L. Harris visited the Memorial in October 2012 and gave a presentation on The Fighting 69th in World War I. As part of the New York National Guard, elements of the 69th Infantry Regiment have participated in five wars to date: the American Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Iraq War, and Afghanistan. The regiment earned its nickname The Fighting 69th during the Civil War, and lived up to this nickname in World War I. In 1917, the 69th Infantry was added to the 42nd Rainbow Division and renumbered the 165th Infantry Regiment. The Rainbow Division was then sent to France as part of the American Expeditionary Force. Col. Douglas MacArthur served as Chief of Staff of the Rainbow Division, and within the ranks of the 165th Infantry were legendary men like Father Francis Duffy, Wild Bill Donovan, and Joyce Kilmer.
The Miracle on the Marne
On September 4, 1914, Kaiser Wilhelm II exulted: It is the 35th day! The 35th day of the war had a very significant meaning to the German General Staff. The Schlieffen Plan anticipated a victory over France within 35-40 days of combat. This would allow Germany to avoid a damaging two front war and would leave the Germany army with plenty of time to turn and crush the Tsars newly mobilized forces in the East. With the Allied armies in retreat and the French government abandoning Paris, on day 35 the Kaiser and his staff were confidently looking forward to the decisive battle that would end the war in the West. By day 40 however, far from menacing Paris or completing the envelopment of British and French forces, the German forces were in retreat. In what was later referred to as the Miracle of the Marne, the beleaguered British and French forces pushed the German armies back ultimately saving France and denying the Germans the quick victory they needed to win the war. This 1st Battle of the Marne would prove a strategic victory for the Allies but would also usher in trench warfare and the deadly stalemate that would forever characterize the nature of World War I.
The USS Olympia in World War I
This podcast features an interview with Megan Good, the director of the J. Welles Henderson Archives and Library at the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia. The Independence Seaport Museum is currently the home of the U.S.S. Olympia a vessel that served as Commodore George Deweys flagship during the Battle of Manila Bay in the Spanish American War. By World War I the Olympia was no longer a match for the larger, faster ships born of the early 20th Century naval arms race, but she still had some important roles left to play. Whether her mission was diplomacy, humanitarian aid, or peacekeeping, the Olympia was kept busy during the war. Much beloved by the American public, after the war the Olympia would also be selected to carry the body of the Unknown Soldier of World War I back to the United States. In many respects, the Olympia has become a forgotten story of World War I.
Terror in Sarajevo
Otto von Bismarck once predicted that some foolish thing in the Balkans would start a major war in Europe and he would prove correct in this belief. In an age of entangling alliances between nations, unrest in the Balkans would be enough to disrupt and twist the relationships between the major European powers and lead to a world war. The spark that would ignite this awful cataclysm would be a single act of terrorism in the Balkans the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie. In different environment, the assassination would have been viewed as merely a tragic event not a casus belli. But in the perfect storm that was Europe in the early 20th century, and in an atmosphere of saber rattling, the assassination changed the world.
The Schlieffen Plan
In the decades before World War I, all the European powers had secret plans to defend against invasion or to make preemptive strikes against their enemies. In Germany, the main war plan was the Schlieffen Plan. This plan grew out of a German fear of encirclement. Increasingly cut off from the rest of Europe by French, Russian, and British alliances, by the early 1900s Germany was geographically and politically isolated. The Schlieffen Plan developed as a military solution to this predicament. This plan anticipated a future war in which Germany would be surrounded by France and Russia. It was designed to enable Germany to fight both nations, but to avoid doing so simultaneously. When World War I began, a version of the Schlieffen Plan was implemented, but in the stalemate that ultimately developed, a victory meticulously planned on paper would be impossible to achieve.