World War I Centennial

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ducktape
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World War I Centennial

#1

Post by ducktape » Sun Oct 26, 2014 3:44 pm

As y'all know, I run a website/community for online seniors, and this is the Centennial of World War I, which actually has some meaning for many of them. For some, their fathers and even older brothers fought, while for others (like me), their grandfathers served during the conflict.



The US didn't get involved until 1917, but we have Canadian and a few British members also, and their war started a lot earlier. I've been mining YouTube especially for the documentaries and other content created by the BBC and other sources. And despite having read a lot of the history of The Great War, I keep finding information that is totally new to me.



And one find is this. You all know the story of the Navajo Codetalkers in World War II. There was a movie about them not too long ago, and the last of them died fairly recently. But the Navajo were not the first, and WW2 was not when the idea originated. The first were the Choctaw codetalkers of World War I.











In the autumn of 1918, US troops were involved in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive on the Western Front. It was one of the largest frontline commitments of American soldiers in WW1, but communications in the field were compromised. The Germans had successfully tapped telephone lines, were deciphering codes and repeatedly capturing runners sent out to deliver messages directly.



"It was a huge problem and they couldn't figure out a way around it," says Matt Reed, curator of American Indian Collections at the Oklahoma History Center, the headquarters of the Oklahoma Historical Society.



The solution was stumbled upon by chance, an overheard conversation between two Choctaw soldiers in the 142nd Infantry Regiment. The pair were chatting in camp when a captain walked by and asked what language they were speaking. Realising the potential for communication, he then asked if there were other speakers among the troops. The men knew of Choctaw soldiers at company headquarters. Using a field telephone the captain got the men to deliver a message in their native tongue which their colleagues quickly translated back into English. The Choctaw Telephone Squad was born and so was code talking.



Read the rest at the BBC Magazine



Just wanted to share what I learned yesterday.





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TollandRCR
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World War I Centennial

#2

Post by TollandRCR » Sun Oct 26, 2014 7:20 pm

The Economist Oct. 25, 2014 A toxic monarch:How the Kaiser led to Hitler. A review of

Kaiser Wilhelm II: A Concise Life. By John Röhl. Cambridge University Press;









Most historians have tended to attribute to the Kaiser less of the blame for what happened in July 1914 than does Mr Röhl. That is partly because Wilhelm cut such a buffoonish figure, childishly coarse one moment, ridiculously pompous the next and constantly changing his mind (while always expressing his views, often in scribbled marginalia on state documents, with violent certainty). And partly because during the July crisis Wilhelm appeared to procrastinate to the frustration of his chancellor, the fatalistic Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg, and his impatient chief of the general staff, Helmut von Moltke, neither of whom always kept him fully informed.







“The truth is, we know so little about life, we don’t really know what the good news is and what the bad news is.” Kurt Vonnegut

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magdalen77
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World War I Centennial

#3

Post by magdalen77 » Sun Oct 26, 2014 9:30 pm

Believe it or not but my grandfather was too old for WWI. He would have been 32 in 1917.



Scratch
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World War I Centennial

#4

Post by Scratch » Sun Oct 26, 2014 9:41 pm

My paternal grandfather fought in Europe (Army), came home, and became a mobster during Prohibition. He died before I was born, but by all accounts he was not a nice guy.



ducktape
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World War I Centennial

#5

Post by ducktape » Sun Oct 26, 2014 10:17 pm

Believe it or not but my grandfather was too old for WWI. He would have been 32 in 1917.

My maternal grandfather was only a year younger than yours and did not serve.



My paternal grandfather was younger and so eager to go that when he flunked the physical because of a punctured ear drum, he hired a civilian doctor to give him a pass. He was immensely proud to have been a first sergeant (as his grandfather, whom he adored, had been during the Civil War), and never had anything nice to say about officers. He had been working for the railroad before he enlisted, and served in a special engineering regiment that ran the supply trains.



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Foggy
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World War I Centennial

#6

Post by Foggy » Mon Oct 27, 2014 5:30 am

My maternal grandfather flew a plane in WWI, but not in Europe. I think he flew a mail route from one side of Panama to the other.



Whatever he did, he refused to set foot on an airplane for the rest of his life. He and my grandma traveled all over the world by cruise ship. He used to drive his Cadillac from their home near Scranton, PA to Key West, where they had a vacation home. My grandma had never flown before. He died in Key West when she was in her 70's, and she jumped right on a plane to fly him home and flew all over the world after that until she was in her mid-80's.



He never talked about WWI when we were kids. He was a student of the Civil War, and had a whole library about that one.


In my defense, I was left unsupervised.

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Whatever4
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World War I Centennial

#7

Post by Whatever4 » Mon Oct 27, 2014 3:24 pm

My father's uncle in WWI.


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ducktape
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World War I Centennial

#8

Post by ducktape » Mon Oct 27, 2014 3:57 pm

My grandfather on his return from France in 1919. This was part of a big photo that had all of the 250+ members of the 73rd Company, RR Transportation Corps



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Roboe
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World War I Centennial

#9

Post by Roboe » Tue Oct 28, 2014 6:47 pm

Looking at the family tree, I see a single possibility that an ancestor of mine might've fought in the war - on the Kaiser's side! Unfortunately the records from Northern Schleswig (which was returned to Denmark after the post-war plebiscites) weren't well kept, so I'm missing some data on him. What I do know is that his wife was born in 1880 and that they had a child in 1907. So he could well have been in his late 20's or mid 30's at the outbreak of war, and thus a prime candidate to be called up to the Kaiser's army.



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Chilidog
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World War I Centennial

#10

Post by Chilidog » Tue Oct 28, 2014 11:20 pm

My Grandfather was drafted in the army, was sent to camp in Georgia, and the war ended.



I have a picture of him around somewhere in his uniform.



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Lani
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World War I Centennial

#11

Post by Lani » Wed Oct 29, 2014 5:20 am

I found my grandad's registration, but he was sent to a location for people with TB. When he contracted it, the local bar paid to send him to a better place for treatment and recovery. Unfortunately, he died there. Still trying to find the actual grave. It's a promise I made to my mom.


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magdalen77
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World War I Centennial

#12

Post by magdalen77 » Wed Oct 29, 2014 9:39 am

I found my granddad's registration for both WWI and WWII. Apparently he had to register but he was never called up. Heck for WWII and considering when he registered for the draft (1942) he would have been 57 years old. Two of his younger brothers (in their early or mid-40s) were drafted for WWII. One of them died not too long after WWII from wounds that he got in the war.



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