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Society & Culture
History

World War I Podcast

Updated 4 days ago

Society & Culture
History
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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.

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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.

iTunes Ratings

81 Ratings
Average Ratings
53
13
8
4
3

Super insightful

By Sanswhis - Apr 21 2017
Read more
Really interesting source material and insightful history about the first Great War

Perfect name

By Ted from Tx - Apr 11 2015
Read more
World war 1 podcast... That is what it is

iTunes Ratings

81 Ratings
Average Ratings
53
13
8
4
3

Super insightful

By Sanswhis - Apr 21 2017
Read more
Really interesting source material and insightful history about the first Great War

Perfect name

By Ted from Tx - Apr 11 2015
Read more
World war 1 podcast... That is what it is

Listen to:

Cover image of World War I Podcast

World War I Podcast

Updated 4 days ago

Read more

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.

Rank #1: The USS Olympia in World War I

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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 Dewey’s 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.

Oct 02 2012

15mins

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Rank #2: The Miracle on the Marne

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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 Tsar’s 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 German’s 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.

Dec 03 2012

15mins

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Rank #3: The Battle of Chateau Thierry

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The Battle of Chateau Thierry (July 18, 1918) marked an important turning point in World War I. In this podcast, TRADOC Deputy Chief Historian Stephen C. McGeorge places the Battle of Chateau Thierry in the wider context of the war and discusses the cooperation between U.S. and French forces during the battle.

Jul 17 2018

49mins

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Rank #4: Kaiser Wilhelm II: Part I

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Kaiser Wilhelm II: Part One
When the World War I ended, King George V of England wrote of his cousin Kaiser Wilhelm II: “…I look upon him as the greatest criminal known for having plunged the world into this ghastly war.” But who was Kaiser Wilhelm II? Was he criminal bent on world domination? Or was he a bumbling fool in a picklehaub? Throughout the war, Allied propaganda seemed to suggest either identity was a possibility. Ironically, it wasn’t just his enemies who were confused about his identity. Throughout his life, the Kaiser also struggled to come to terms with his own identity. As the grandson of Queen Victoria, the half English Kaiser was supposed to be the champion of Anglo-German unity. Instead, he would spend a lifetime torn between the two identities. To explain these contradictions, Kaiser Wilhelm II’s life will be examined over the course of two podcast episodes. Part one will discuss his early life and years as emperor.

Jul 18 2016

15mins

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Rank #5: Verdun After 100 Years: An Iconic or Exceptional Battle

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"Verdun After 100 Years: An Iconic or Exceptional Battle”
In October 2016, the World War One Historical Association hosted a World War I Centennial Symposium at the MacArthur Memorial. Dr. Paul Jankowski, the Ray Ginger Professor of History at Brandeis University and the author of Verdun: The Largest Battle of the Great War, presented on the topic “Verdun After 100 Years: An Iconic or Exceptional Battle.” Dr. Jankowski explored French and German perspectives of Verdun and compared the battle to the other great battles of the Western Front.
To learn more about the World War One Historical Association, visit https://ww1ha.org/.

Nov 28 2016

30mins

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Rank #6: America Prepares for War

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In April 2017, the MacArthur Memorial and the Hampton Roads Naval Museum hosted a World War I symposium. Al Barnes, the Virginia National Guard Command Historian, gave a presentation entitled: "To Hell with the Kaiser: America Prepares for War." This presentation focused on the formation and training of U.S. Army units during World War I.

May 18 2017

41mins

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Rank #7: The Fighting 69th in the Great War - A Lecture by Author Stephen L. Harris

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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.

Dec 26 2012

24mins

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Rank #8: The Zimmerman Telegram

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On January 16, 1917, a coded German dispatch was intercepted by British Naval Intelligence. Over the next weeks, cryptographers in the innocuous sounding Room 40 began deciphering the message. What they found was shocking. Germany was proposing to bankroll Mexico in a war that would serve two purposes: 1. Keep the U.S. from aiding the Allies, 2. Allow Mexico to recover its lost territories of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. The message also asked Mexico to lure Japan, one of the Allied nations in World War I, into the alliance. Desperate to add the fresh strength of neutral America to their cause, the British shared the telegram with the U.S. Government. The public release of the Zimmerman Telegram convinced many Americans that neutrality had failed. Few wanted war, but as Barbara Tuchman concluded in her study of the affair, the Zimmerman Telegram “killed the American illusion that we could go about our business happily separate from other nations.”

Apr 04 2016

17mins

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Rank #9: Mustard Gas

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Chemical weapons were one of the great horrors of the World War I battlefield. While different types of gases were used throughout the war, Mustard Gas was the most prominent and most effective chemical weapon in use by 1917. In this interview, Dr. Marble Sanders, Senior Historian of the U.S. Army Medical Department Office of Medical History, provides an overview of Mustard Gas and discusses the U.S. Army’s efforts to counter this weapon.

Aug 14 2018

18mins

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Rank #10: Eastern Front 1916: Russian Victory to Revolution

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In October 2016, the World War One Historical Association hosted a World War I Centennial Symposium at the MacArthur Memorial. Dr. Graydon Tunstall, a senior lecturer in history at the University of South Florida, presented on the topic: "Eastern Front 1916: Russian Victory to Revolution." Dr. Tunstall explores the major Russian offensive at Lake Naroch, the Romanian campaign, as well as the Brusilov Offensive. Through military failure and victory, Dr. Tunstall sets the stage for the Russian Revolution.
To learn more about the World War One Historical Association, visit https://ww1ha.org/.

Nov 26 2016

33mins

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Rank #11: Into The Trenches: Luneville Baccarat Sector, Feb-March 1918

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In February 1918, General John J. Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Force had only five divisions in France. One of those divisions, the 42nd “Rainbow” Division, had just arrived and had not yet experienced trench warfare. Along with the other American divisions, the 42nd was partnered with French units in order to learn to operate and survive at the front. Under French tutelage, the men and officers of the 42nd Division absorbed the combat tactics and other common sense survival skills while serving in the Luneville Baccarat Sector between February and March 1918. Typically a quiet sector, the arrival of the 42nd Division combined with the movement of German troops from the Eastern Front to the Western Front meant that the sector was soon alive with trench raids, poison gas, and shelling. (32:47)

Jan 04 2017

32mins

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Rank #12: The Red Baron

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Some of the great heroes of World War I were the “aces” – pilots who were credited with bringing down large numbers of enemy planes. These dashing young pilots captured the imagination of the public and imbued the war with a sense of romanticism. Their celebrity came from the fact that they fought a war of individual heroism in the blue skies – far from the anonymity of the muddy trenches. In terms of casualty rates however, they were just as doomed as the troops in the trenches.

One of the most legendary “aces” of the war was Germany’s Baron Manfred von Richthofen – a man more commonly known as “The Red Baron.” Flying a plane painted bright red, Richthofen stood out to friend and foe alike. Killed at the age of 25, he left behind a record of 80 kills.

Apr 24 2014

22mins

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Rank #13: The Champagne Defensive, July 1918

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In July 1918, Germany embarked on its final offensive of the war. This offensive called for a massive push across the old battlefields of the Champagne to the east and west of Reims in order to seize the rail center of Chalons sur Marne and cut off the French armies defending Paris and Verdun. French General Henri Gouraud's IV Army was responsible for the Allied defense of Reims. During this critical period, the 42nd "Rainbow" Division was under his command. As Chief of Staff of the 42nd Division, Douglas MacArthur took part in this battle and was cited for bravery by General Gouraud and Major General Charles Menoher, commander of the 42nd Division. The Champagne Defensive would prove to be a critical moment in World War I – as well as a turning point in the life of Douglas MacArthur.

Mar 28 2018

40mins

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Rank #14: The Occupation of Germany

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When World War I ended, parts of the American Expeditionary Force were sent into Germany to serve as an occupation force. The Occupation of Germany (1918-1923) would be regarded as the most successful U.S. military occupation in history until the Occupation of Japan after World War II.
In this podcast, Al Barnes, the Virginia National Guard Command Historian and author of the book In a Strange Land: The American Occupation of Germany, sat down with a member of the Memorial's staff to discuss the politics behind the occupation, fears of the "Germanization" of the U.S. Army, and some of the future American leaders who served in the occupation. As with any occupation, fear, fraternization, and justice played out in unique ways.

Jan 14 2016

37mins

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Rank #15: Gallipoli: Crucible of Nations

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The 1915 Gallipoli Campaign was an imaginative operation that was supposed to end the stalemate of the Western Front. It utilized a mix of troops mainly from Britain, France, Australia and New Zealand. As these troops sailed towards Gallipoli, some considered themselves the luckiest young men in the war. They believed they were not bound for the mud and filth of the trenches in Europe, but for the plains of ancient Troy. Despite this enthusiasm however, Gallipoli proved a costly Allied failure. Allied troops suffered a quarter of a million casualties in 8 months. The sacrifice of the ANZACs – the troops of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps – left a particularly deep impression on their respective nations. The Turkish defenders also endured appalling casualties. And yet, many scholars argue that out of this crucible of sacrifice emerge the modern identities of Turkey, Australia and New Zealand.

Apr 22 2015

35mins

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Rank #16: Kaiser WIlhelm II: Part II

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From 1890-1914, Kaiser Wilhelm II struggled through a series of scandals and crises. His gaffes on the international stage embarrassed his government and helped create the alliances that would be arrayed against Germany in 1914. Due to these issues, even as he struggle for personal rule, his power within Germany was on the wane. When World War I began, he assumed his role as Supreme Warlord, the leader of the German army. The German general staff believed he could not “lead three soldiers over a gutter,” and therefore conspired to keep actual power out of his hands. In the end, it did not matter. In the first weeks of the war, the Kaiser suffered a nervous collapse. As historian Miranda Carter points out, for the rest of the war, he was merely a “flimsy fig leaf” for a Germany ruled by a military dictatorship. At the end of the war there were calls to officially blame him for the war through an international trial. This would never materialize – instead he spent the next 22 years of his life in exile (23:16)

Oct 12 2016

23mins

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Rank #17: The Battle of the Marne 1914: One Hundred Years Later

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In November 2014, the MacArthur Memorial hosted a World War I Centennial Symposium. Dr. Holger Herwig was one of the Symposium presenters. Dr. Herwig is the author of numerous books, including The Marne, 1914. His presentation focused on the importance of the First Battle of the Marne, the differences in French and German command structures, and the legacy of the battle in the 20th Century.

Dec 03 2014

26mins

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Rank #18: World War I as Global War: Japan and the Dawn of the Asia/Pacific World

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In November 2014, the MacArthur Memorial hosted a World War I Centennial Symposium. Dr. Frederick Dickinson was one of the Symposium presenters. Dr. Dickinson is a Professor of Japanese History at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of War and National Reinvention: Japan and the Great War, 1914-1919. Dr. Dickinson's lecture focused on the impact of World War I on Japan.

Dec 04 2014

28mins

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Rank #19: RMS Lusitania

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The sinking of the passenger liner RMS Lusitania on May 7, 1915 was one of the great controversies of World War I. Targeted by a German U-Boat as part of a campaign of unrestricted submarine warfare, the Lusitania was carrying 1,266 passengers and 696 crew members. She was also carrying a substantial cargo of supplies for the Allies. She sank in 18 minutes after being struck by a torpedo fired by U-20. 1,191 aboard lost their lives – including 128 Americans. Although the United States remained neutral in the aftermath of the disaster, the sinking of the Lusitania helped move public opinion in favor of entering the war on side of the Allies in 1917.

May 07 2015

23mins

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Rank #20: Christmas Truce, 1914

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As dusk arrived on December 24, 1914, it was a cold night on the Western Front. It had been five months since the start of the war, and already, German, French and British Armies, slugging it out in the mud of Flanders, had experienced unimaginable casualties.

The war was supposed to be over by Christmas – or so many of the soldiers had been told. Instead, there was an unbreakable stalemate, and many soldiers on both sides were suffering from trench foot, pneumonia, and frostbite. There was little for them to celebrate as Christmas approached.

Despite the devastation and the suffering in the trenches however, there was a marked “live and let live” attitude in the days leading up to Christmas 1914. This philosophy intensified as Christmas approached, and manifested itself in what scholars today refer to as the Christmas Truce of 1914. This was not one isolated event, nor was it officially sanctioned or widespread – but across the Western Front, soldiers on both sides arranged temporary cease fires, exchanges of gifts, and even played several soccer games in No Man’s Land.

Dec 25 2013

13mins

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