One of the most consequential years in world history, highlighted by the Communist revolution in Russia and the United States’ entry into the World War, has come to an end. In December 1917 the Bolsheviks, having driven the Provisional Government from power, occupy Russian Army headquarters and murder the Army’s former commander-in-chief. An armistice is declared on the Eastern Front and negotiations begin for a permanent peace treaty between the new Russian government and the Central Powers. The announced goal of the talks is a peace on the basis of no annexations and a withdrawal of occupying forces, but the difficulty of achieving that goal in practice becomes apparent when the two sides present their proposals. In Palestine, a British Army commanded by General Edmund Allenby occupies Jerusalem. On the Western Front the British stall German counterattacks at Cambrai and dig into defensive positions for the winter; Italian forces, aided by British reinforcements, turn back the Austrians on the Asiago Plateau. Ships collide in Halifax harbor, causing a fire and a massive explosion that kills thousands. An American destroyer is torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine. The United States declares war on Austria-Hungary. Colonel House returns from Paris where he has been meeting with the Allies. President Wilson, using his war powers, takes control of the nation’s railroads. The House of Representatives joins the Senate in approving a prohibition amendment to the Constitution.
The Fokker D-VII fighter plane appeared in the skies of the Western Front in May 1918, and immediately became dominant when flown by experienced pilots. Unfortunately for the German war effort, Fokker couldn’t make the planes fast enough and there were never enough veteran pilots.
Turner Classic Movies will get off to a slow start the first seven days of 2018 as far as World War I-themed movies are concerned. Only one film makes an appearance.
That film is Mata Hari (1931), starring Greta Garbo, Ramon Novarro, Lionel Barrymore, and Lewis Stone. We’re hoping we don’t need an explanation of who Mata Hari was. The film airs at 5:15 a.m. Central Time on January 2nd.
The US Centennial coins will be available for purchase on January 17th, 2018. The .900 fine silver dollars are priced at $48.95 (uncirculated) or $53.95 (proof). These prices will rise by $5.00 after February 17th. A portion of the purchase price goes to help fund the National WW1 Memorial at Pershing Park in DC.
We’re ringing in the New Year this time–100 years ago in Kansas, 1918.
January 1, 1918
No new World War I programs, only repeats. All times are Central, and all can be seen any time on the C-SPAN website.
Today the program, African Americans and World War I with Professor Saje Mathieu is being repeated several times. In fact, at the time of this posting, it’s already aired twice. Repeat airings are at 4:44 p.m., 9:35 p.m., and early Thursday morning the 28th at 1:10 a.m. and 4:45 a.m.
The Council of National Defense was formed on August 24th, 1916 by President Woodrow Wilson under powers granted to the President in the National Defense Act of 1916 (PL 64-85 39 Stat. 166). Among the Council’s regulatory functions was the authority to tell American industry what they could or couldn’t make.
It’s always worth listening to John McCutcheon’s “Christmas in the Trenches,” his song about the 1914 Christmas Truce. Here’s the link to a video when he performed at the National World War I Museum and Memorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIxqJlnH2m8
The 100th anniversary of the World War I Armistice is drawing closer, and it’s time to consider how it should and could be observed. November 11, 2018 is less than eleven months away!
A reminder that the anniversary falls on a Sunday in 2018. Anyone who has an idea of ringing church bells at 11:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning, well, they may already be ringing for a reason that has nothing to do with World War I.