On August 8th, 1914 two infantry divisions and a cavalry brigade of the Indian Army were ordered to prepare for overseas service, following a plan devised by then-Maj. Gen. Sir Douglas Haig in 1910. Units of this ‘Indian Expeditionary Force’ began arriving in France in September and at the end of October they were rushed up to stop a German advance during the First Battle of Ypres in Belgium. It was here that Sepoy Khudadad Khan (1888 – 1971), of the 129th Duke of Connaught’s Own Baluchis, performed the act of gallantry for which he later received the Victoria Cross, becoming the first Indian-born soldier and the first Muslim to be so honored.
This weekend on C-SPAN 3, we have one program scheduled that will air twice. Time as usual, is Central.
A book on the Spanish Influenza of 1918 will be reviewed on History Bookshelf: John Barry, “The Great Influenza.” First airing is Saturday at 3:00 p.m. ; second airing is early Sunday morning at 1:10 a.m.
At the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum and Boyhood Home. The closing date has to be coming up–check the Library’s website before going!
March 2017 – March 2018
War erupted in Europe in 1914 and soon involved nations around the globe. The Great War as it became known shocked the world with its massive scope and the industrial-like slaughter created by advances in military technology. The United States reluctantly joined the conflict in 1917 and began to build a large professional army from the ground up. One of the young officers who helped in this endeavor was a lieutenant by the name of Dwight Eisenhower. Eisenhower showed remarkable talent for organization and leadership during the years of American involvement in the war. Tasked with training thousands of inexperienced troops in the new and untested art of armored warfare, Eisenhower quickly built a strong and motivated group of soldiers while overcoming severe obstacles and setbacks. This exhibit tells the story of the Great War and its influence on Eisenhower’s budding leadership abilities. World War I, as it would become known later in the century, proved critical to the making of this American Icon.
100 years ago in Kansas, March 14 – 22, 1918:
March 14, 1918
- Articles by Henry J. Allen about Y.M.C.A. work in France appeared in the Wichita Beacon.
March 15, 1918
Opening March 10 at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum in Independence, Missouri:
Harry Truman was the only American President to serve in combat in World War I. As the captain of an artillery battery of about 200 men, he took fire from German forces in eastern France during the closing months of the war. This exhibition follows Truman’s personal journey through months of training and combat. The story is told largely in his own words penned in letters to his fiancee Bess Wallace, in diary entries, and in later recollections.
‘Sgt. Stubby’ was the name given to a dog brought to the Western Front by a soldier who found him while training in New Haven, CT. Stubby was adopted as the ‘mascot’ of the 102nd Infantry regiment (Connecticut National Guard) and later of the entire 26th ‘Yankee” Division. He was reported to be able to smell gas before the soldiers could, to hear subsonic artillery noise, to locate wounded men in No-Man’s Land and he also ferreted out a German spy. All of his awards and his rank were honorary. After his death in 1926 he was preserved by taxidermy and today is in the collections of the Smithsonian.
Catching up on what happened one hundred years ago in Kansas, February – March, 1918:
February 4, 1918
- Registration of German aliens began. Names and addresses were to be published. Chiefs of police and postmasters were in charge. Failure to register meant internment during the war.
February 7, 1918
- The State Fuel Administrator lifted the state-wide restriction on the use of coal, imposed a week previously.
February 15, 1918
- Women students at K.U. collected tinfoil, toothpaste tubes, cold cream jars and other scrap materials as part of the war effort.
- Winfield made hoarding or failure to observe meatless or wheatless days a misdemeanor; penalty, $50.
- War Savings societies were organized in Kansas schools.
February 22, 1918
- Ness City held a county-wide Red Cross fair. Poultry, livestock, fruit, vegetables, wearing apparel, works off art, farm implements , farm and garden seeds, gold coins, and other articles of value were sold at big premiums for a total of $3,000.
February 23, 1918
- Miss Johanna Pirscher, a native German, resigned at Ottawa University after being accused of making unpatriotic statements. She had been a language teacher there for 11 years
February 25, 1918
- Mrs. George Philip of Hays had knitted 37 sweaters for the Navy since the declaration of war.
- All bakers were required to use 20 percent substitutes for wheat in bread and rolls.
February 26, 1918
- The War Department warned Topeka that unless steps were taken to “eradicate the vice evil,” it would order soldiers at Camp Funston to stay away. Dr. S.J. Crumbine said Topeka had become a “dumping ground for women of the underworld.”
February 28, 1918
- Governor Capper asked the federal government for cars to move the broomcorn crop, which had been classified as “unessential.”
- At Topeka military police from Camp Funston picked up 14 women who arrived on a train from Kansas City and sent them home.
March 1, 1918
- Sixty-three towns had contributed 18, 763 books and $6,845.56 to the soldiers’ book fund.
March 2, 1918
- Mayor Jay House denied that immoral houses existed in Topeka. He said that the police were arresting immoral women when they came to town, but that the Topeka jail and the detention home at Lansing were crowded, limiting the number of arrests. He threatened to bar soldiers from Topeka.
March 5, 1918
The British called it ‘the coal scuttle’, because it resembled that ornate bucket that servants in the posh houses used to carry small amounts of coal to the bedrooms. It soon became a recognized symbol of evil, as such more iconic in British propaganda posters than even the Pickelhaube, and it has continued to represent the dark side to the present day. It became a ubiquitous symbol of the Nazis, then later the Imperial Storm Troopers, plus the ventilation holes/face guard lugs on either side make the wearer resemble Frankenstein’s Monster in silhouette. Of course, we’re talking about the Stahlhelm, the steel protective helmet designed for the German Army in 1915 by Dr. Friederich Schwerd.
One is never certain that we find all the World War I-themed movies that Turner Classics show within a month, but we have found three for March.
-TCM always loads up on Irish-themed movies on St. Patrick’s Day, so it’s appropriate that they will show the story about the Irish-American unit, The Fighting 69th (1940). It airs at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 17th, and stars James Cagney, Pat O’Brien, and many other Irish-American actors. If you don’t know who Joyce Kilmer is, you will after watching this movie.