Honoring America's History

Returning from two weeks in Europe touring the Italian Front of World War I, I've detected an intensification of the home-based effort by some of our fellow citizens to discredit America's history. Though the recent upsurge seems mostly to be focused on the Civil War period, the conspiracy to cast shame upon our country's traditions, experience, and heritage is– in my view–almost certain to move into the 20th century, inclusive of the First World War period. I will refuse, though, to allow this onslaught to reshape my thinking or in any way influence the coverage of U.S. topics presented in my publications.

To avoid getting disheartened the next time you view a statue of one of our prominent historical figures getting vandalized on television, I hope you will remember this: the United States of America is the greatest success story in the history of the world. Our ancestors' sins and flaws were those of every people of every age since creation. Their accomplishments, however, are utterly astonishing and numerous beyond itemizing here. Every American today benefits from their sacrifices and innovations and the world is a wealthier, healthier, and freer place than it would have been absent America's existence. Despite the evidence that a vocal group of our own citizens has come to despise their patrimony–rest assured–on these pages and my other publications, I am going to ignore them and keep honoring those who served and sacrificed for us in the Great War. I pray that you will keep doing the same for all of our shared history.   MH

Presenting the 129th Issue of Our
Monthly Magazine of the First World War
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Centennial Conference:
The National Guard in World War I

   Faneuil Hall
Boston, MA
19-20 October 2017
Flyer: HERE

Quarterly Meeting
Mid-Atlantic Chapter, League of World War I Aviation Historians

   National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Dulles Airport
Sinking the Ostfriesland, September 1917, Impact of Aerial Bombing on the War
28 October 2017
Details: HERE

1917 America Joins the Fight

   National WWI Museum & Memorial
Kansas City, MO
3-4 November 2017
Details HERE

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Poster of the Month

Royal Navy Recruiting Poster
Artist: Leonard Raven-Hill (LOC Collection)

1914-1918-Online: International Encyclopedia of the First World War

Since 2011 the international joint research project, apparently initiated in Germany, 1914-1918-online–International Encyclopedia of the First World War, has been developing an English-language virtual reference work on the First World War. Over 900 contributors have provided thousands of well-written and researched major articles on the war. In my own research, I find myself–more and more–being drawn to its pages when I search on the computer. Here is a sampling of articles by individuals I've worked with over the years. This month I'm presenting a broad range of articles on the war. Next month, I'll recommend some articles on the American experience in the war.

Eric Brose: Arms Race prior to 1914

Timothy C. Dowling: Eastern Front

Richard C. Hall: War in the Balkans

Jeffrey LaMonica: Infantry (Tactics & Weapons)

Graydon A. Tunstall: Military Collapse of the Central Powers

David R. Woodward: Field Marshal William (Wully) Robertson

Can You Name This WWI Veteran?
Win a Free Issue of OVER THE TOP!

Hint: This engineering officer with the AEF became one of the 20th century's most famous businessmen.

If you can name this World War I veteran, we will send you a free issue of our monthly subscription magazine, OVER THE TOP. Email your answers

A Fading Hope

World Peace. . .Not even in deepest national bitterness have I ever ceased believing that the hate and enmity between the Europeans is, finally, a deception, a mistake–that the sides tearing at each other's throats are really no sides but working together, under God's will, in fraternal torment, for universal resurrection.

Thomas Mann, Letter, 27 December 1917

U.S. Centennial Organizations & Resources

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The Centennial Ticker

Inscriptions Needed for the new WWI Memorial
at Pershing Square, Washington, DC

Readers of the St. Mihiel Trip-Wire know that I have been a strong supporter of building a National World War I Memorial at Pershing Park in Washington, DC. You may have read that the National WWI Commission's design has been unanimously approved by both the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts and the National Capital Planning Commission, the agencies that have primary design approval authority for the memorial. With those approvals, the detailed design work is proceeding with the aim of holding a ground breaking on the site in November.

One Perspective of the Approved Design

Mr. Edwin Fountain, vice chairman of the WWI Centennial Commission, who is heading up the effort to design and build the memorial, has contacted me to ask for assistance from our readers. Mr. Fountain provided a nice summary of what is now needed for the memorial project:

"Apt quotations are often powerful elements of memorials, and we plan to include similar inscriptions at the WWI memorial. Hence, this request to you: Could you please identify what you consider to be worthy quotations for inclusion on the memorial. There are no restrictions on what might be a suitable quotation (other than probably being limited to a paragraph in length)–we are looking for:

Quotations from generals and statesmen as well as Doughboys, loved ones, and civilians
Quotes from Americans as well as allies and adversaries
Quotations not just about the accomplishments of American troops, but also about the nature of the battle, the costs and sacrifices, geopolitical aspects of the war, the socio-cultural aspects of the war in the U.S., the effects of the war on the home front, etc.
Quotations from those who experienced the war and those who served in it.
Quotations reflecting the diversity of service and contributions from all segments of American society
Quotations from speeches, press reports, official reports, and histories as well as diaries, letters, memoirs, poems, songs, etc.
There is a general preference for contemporary writings, but retrospective commentary some years after the fact might be considered as well."

Here are some examples from other American war memorials:

"Uncommon Valor Was A Common Virtue" and "Semper Fidelis"
U.S. Marine Corps Memorial

"We have met the enemy and they are ours." and "Sighted sub, sank same"
U.S. Navy Memorial

"Kilroy Was Here," and
"Here in the presence of Washington and Lincoln one the eighteenth century father and the other the nineteenth century preserver of our nation, we honor those twentieth century Americans who took up the struggle during the Second World War and made the sacrifices to perpetuate the gift of our forefathers entrusted to us: a nation conceived in liberty and justice."
U.S. World War II Memorial

Another View of the Memorial, General Pershing in Distance

Mr. Fountain and I would like you, our readers, to check your memories and your own libraries for appropriate quotes and submit them for considerations.

There are two ways to submit your recommendations. These can be done anonymously or with your name and address or hometown included. Submittals are needed by 1 October 2017.

1. Send it with your name and email address to me via email to: (I'll aggregate them with your name and send them to Mr. Fountain.)

2. Send directly to Mr. Fountain at

This is a chance for you to make a lasting contribution to the effort to honor the service and sacrifices of all those American who served in the war.

Mike Hanlon, Editor/Publisher

P.S. Don't worry that someone else might have sent in the same quote. The commission needs to know if a quote is widely admired.

Let's Not Forget Those World War I Flyers!
Support the New Memorial at the National USAF Museum

Congratulations to the League of World War I Aviation Historians for stepping up and taking the lead on commemorating the service of all the American flyers in the Great War. Here's a rendering of the proposed memorial followed by information from the League on how you can make a contribution.

Proposed Memorial at the National Museum of the USAF

The Memorial Garden has literally hundreds of wonderful, privately funded tributes to airmen and units from 1920 to the present. The League wants to ensure the aviators of the Great War are remembered for their service.

In this Centennial year, you can help ensure the memorial to their service and sacrifice is completed.

    Donors of up to $100 will receive a letter of appreciation from the League president.

    Donors at the $100 level and above will also receive a certificate suitable for framing.

    Donors at the $500 level and above will also receive a signed lithograph by noted aviation (and frequent OTF cover) artist Michael O'Neal.

Donations may be made through the OTF Shop on the League Website, or

by check payable to:
League of WW I Aviation Historians
(with notation "NMUSAF Memorial")

and mailed to League treasurer:
David Layton
2009 Cedarmill Dr.
Chesterfield, MO 63017

The League–and our pioneering airmen–thank you for your support of this important project.

Please direct all inquiries to Michael O'Neal,

September 1917
The Kornilov Affair Sets the Stage for the October Revolution

Alexander Kerensky and General Lavr Kornilov

With the failure of the 1917 offensive of the Russian post-tsarist Provisional Government, Supreme Commander Alexei Brusilov's stock plummeted and his advocacy of executions to restore discipline in the army made him politically unpalatable to the Provisional Government. He had to go. Alexander Kerensky, now prime minister, selected heavy-handed General Lavr Georgevich Kornilov to replace him. On political matters, this would be roughly analogous to George Patton replacing Dwight Eisenhower as Supreme Allied Commander in World War II. It was an appointment doomed from the start.

Kornilov's solution for restoring discipline turned out to be even more threatening to the revolutionary cadres than Brusilov's. Kornilov believed it was imperative to repeal Order No. l, issued by the Petrograd Soviet in March 1917, which made all military orders dependent upon its consent and placed discipline at a regimental level under the discretion of soldiers’ councils rather than in the hands of officers.

Kerensky simply could never agree to such a fundamental change and an overly candid speech by Kornilov at a conference in Moscow further alarmed him. He began seeing Kornilov as a Napoleon in the making with backing from the right. Whether imagined or real, charges of a coup were levied when Kornilov sent troops to Petrograd to maintain order. Kornilov responded to the charges by calling for the overthrow of the Provisional Government, sealing his fate. He would be dismissed, jailed, and, after escaping, become a White Army commander in the Don Basin where he would be killed in April 1918.

Red Guards at a Petrograd Factory, 1917

Kornilov's fate, though, is much less interesting than the damage caused by Kerensky's handling of the episode. The Petrograd Soviet was called upon to oppose Kornilov's deployment to the capital. But the only military assets they had were controlled by the Bolsheviks, who gained the authority from the Soviet to form a Red Guard. So Lenin's followers were given an opportunity to reverse their fading fortunes. They helped suppress the "coup," rehabilitating the Bolshevik's reputation, and gained a permanent presence. Trotsky would later write, "The army that rose against Kornilov was the army-to-be of the October Revolution."

Our 2018 Centennial Battlefield Tours
Now Accepting Bookings For All Tours


Kaiser's Offensives &
the British Army's 100 Days

6 – 14 May 2018: Study of Germany's Last Effort to win the War and the British Victory offensive.

Includes: German advances in the Somme, Flanders, and the Marne Sectors, the Black Day of the German Army, the St. Quentin Canal, and the pursuit to Mons.

Reduced Price — $3,450 (dbl occupancy, sgl supp avail)

The full brochure covering the trip and registration details can now be downloaded


AEF: Pershing's Doughboys Centennial

7 – 17 August 2018: Comprehensive Study of the American Expeditionary Force

Includes: All major battles, memorials, cemeteries, and service sites of your family members.

Price — $3,750 (dbl occupancy, sgl supp avail)

The full brochure covering the trip and registration details can now be downloaded

Click on Title to Access Story
Vermont in the Great War

Remembering Distinguished Historian and Friend, Thomas Fleming

CDR. David Thompson Revisits the Influenza Pandemic (PDF File)

Col. Terry Finnegan Revisits the Western Front (YouTube Video)

82nd Airborne Division (Sgt. York's Old Outfit) Celebrates Its 100th Anniversary

More Animals at War

WWI Veteran: The USS Olympia

Sites Commemorating New Zealand Lives Lost in the Battle of Messines

10th July 1917: Operation Strandfest

Meridian Mississippi’s Doughboy Monument Gets a Makeover

Thanks to each and every one of you who has contributed material for this issue. Until our next issue, your editor, Mike Hanlon.
(Or send it to a friend)

Design by Shannon Niel
Content © Michael E. Hanlon