World War I Podcast



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.


  • From Venice to London: Aerial Bombing in 1916

    21/11/2016 Duración: 35min

    In October 2016, the World War One Historical Association hosted a World War I Centennial Symposium at the MacArthur Memorial. The focus of the Symposium was 1916, and that was an interesting year in terms of military aviation. During 1916, Austrian flying boats attacked Venice sixteen times, London was bombed by German Zeppleins, the British adopted strategic bombing, the French launched an air reprisal raid, and the Italians and the Russians began to have success with the largest airplanes built to that date. Steve Suddaby, an author and retired CIA analyst, explored all of these topics in his presentation: "From Venice to London: Aerial Bombing in 1916." To learn more about the World War One Historical Association, visit

  • Big Navies, Big Innovations, Big Battle...then Fizzle. Why?

    21/11/2016 Duración: 31min

    In October 2016, the World War One Historical Association hosted a World War I Centennial Symposium at the MacArthur Memorial. William MacMullen, a member of the U.S. Navy League, the U.S. Naval Institute, and past Executive Director of the U.S. Naval Ship Building Museum, gave a presentation entitled: "Big Navies, Big Innovations, Big Battle...then Fizzle. Why?" MacMullen discussed ship design and construct-ability, the Dreadnought Race, and the evolution of technology versus tradition. To learn more about the World War One Historical Association, visit

  • Kaiser WIlhelm II: Part II

    12/10/2016 Duración: 23min

    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

  • Kaiser Wilhelm II: Part I

    18/07/2016 Duración: 15min

    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.

  • The Zimmerman Telegram

    04/04/2016 Duración: 17min

    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.”

  • African American Doctors of World War I

    02/02/2016 Duración: 24min

    In this podcast, W. Douglas Fisher and Joann H. Buckley, authors of the book: African American Doctors of World War I, shed light on the little known story of African American doctors who served during World War I. Fisher and Buckley discuss the difficulties these men faced in obtaining medical degrees, their service in a segregated military, and their ultimate return to life in the United States. Why did they serve? What is their legacy? Fisher and Buckley answer these questions and more! (24:05)

  • The Occupation of Germany

    14/01/2016 Duración: 37min

    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.

  • Allenby Captures Jerusalem

    11/12/2015 Duración: 20min

    While sometimes considered a “sideshow” in histories of World War I, the Middle East was a region of considerable value to both the Allied and Central powers. As stalemate mired the Western front, both sides expended vast amounts of men and treasure in the Middle East in an attempt to outflank each other, but also with an eye to expanding influence in the region in the post-war period. In 1917 General Edmund Allenby was given leadership of the Palestine Campaign with a personal instruction from Lloyd George to capture Jerusalem before Christmas 1917. This podcast gives an outline of the Palestine Campaign to the capture of Jerusalem. (20:32)

  • The Road to Armistice

    11/11/2015 Duración: 20min

    By late September 1918, Germany’s military leaders were aware that victory was completely out of reach. General Erich Ludendorff and Field Marshall Paul von Hindenburg began to call for an immediate armistice, arguing that it was in Germany’s best interests to try to negotiate a peace before Allied boots crossed into Germany. Their willingness to seek an armistice was not just about gaining advantage for Germany in the post-war period however. They were also driven by two other motivations: the desire to neutralize a potential communist revolution in Germany and the desire to shift responsibility for Germany’s defeat to a civilian government. As Germany moved towards an armistice in October and November 1918, the seeds of World War II were being planted. (20:40)

  • Pope Benedict XV and the Great War

    22/09/2015 Duración: 11min

    Just weeks into the Great War, Pope Pius X died. A cardinal for all of three months, Giacomo Paolo Giovanni Battista della Chiesa joined the resulting conclave to elect a new Pope. The cardinals assembled debated whether to elect an experienced diplomat as pope in order to cope with the war, or to elect a more theologically minded leader. The debate was short. On September 3, 1914, della Chiesa, a proven diplomat, was elected pope by the College of Cardinals. Taking the name Benedict XV, the new Pope immediately began looking for ways to intervene in the conflict. His seven year papacy would be defined by World War I – a war he later referred to “The suicide of civilized Europe.”

  • Lettow-Vorbeck and German East Africa

    24/08/2015 Duración: 15min

    During World War I, German Major General Paul Emil von Lettow-Vorbeck led the British Army on a four year cat and mouse chase through German East Africa and its surroundings in what was called the “Little War.” Over the course of this “Little War,” his tiny force of about 14,000 troops kept approximately 300,000 British troops occupied. Lettow-Vorbeck’s troops were still fighting when the war ended on November 11, 1918. Today, this “Little War” provides proof that a small but highly motivated guerilla force can hold a modern army hostage even in an age of advancing military technology.

  • Hoover the Humanitarian

    10/08/2015 Duración: 22min

    Today Herbert Hoover is remembered for being president when the Great Depression started. As a result, he is often blamed for not doing enough to relieve the distress caused by that economic crisis. But was Hoover really disinterested in the sufferings of those in need? Was he a terrible administrator? Before the Great Depression, no one would have thought so. Hoover was internationally regarded as a talented administrator and as America’s great humanitarian – and it was World War I that gave him these credentials.

  • Animals in World War I

    30/07/2015 Duración: 17min

    From transportation, to communication, security, comfort and morale, animals have been indispensable human partners throughout history. It is therefore not surprising that animals have played important roles in military conflicts. During World War I, millions of animals were put into service on each side. This war is often remembered for the great human suffering, but millions of animals also experienced the horrors of the war, while bringing their own unique skill sets to the business of war.

  • RMS Lusitania

    07/05/2015 Duración: 23min

    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.

  • Gallipoli: Crucible of Nations

    22/04/2015 Duración: 35min

    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.

  • Albert I: King of the Belgians

    11/02/2015 Duración: 22min

    Since the days of Julius Caesar, the territory of what is now Belgium has been a thoroughfare and battleground for foreign armies. Hoping to avoid being ravaged by future wars, modern Belgium committed itself to a policy of neutrality. This neutrality was violated in World War I when Belgium was invaded by Germany. While this violation of Belgium’s neutrality is most commonly linked to the entry of Great Britain into the war on the side of the Allies, it also set the stage for one of the most successful Allied leaders to emerge. Even as the Germans occupied 95% of his country, King Albert I of Belgium personally commanded his troops during the war and managed to hold on to a tiny sliver of his country throughout the war. Never leaving or sending his government into exile, Albert inspired his nation while his nation inspired the Allies and drew sympathy for the Allied cause. When the war was over, Albert was one of the few monarchs who emerged safer on this throne than he was before the war started. King

  • Battle of the Atlantic: The East Coast of the United States during World War I

    10/12/2014 Duración: 40min

    In November 2014, the MacArthur Memorial hosted a World War I Centennial Symposium. Joseph Hoyt, a maritime archeologist with NOAA and a specialist in the archaeological recording of deep water shipwrecks, presented on the topic of World War I and the underwater battlefields within U.S. territorial waters.

  • Josephus Daniels

    09/12/2014 Duración: 34min

    In November 2014, the MacArthur Memorial hosted a World War I Centennial Symposium. Dr. Lee Craig was one of the presenters. Dr. Craig is the author of Josephus Daniels, the story of the Secretary of the Navy, who helped to prepare the U.S. Navy for eventual involvement in World War I.

  • The Archaeology of the Western Front

    05/12/2014 Duración: 36min

    In November 2014, the MacArthur Memorial hosted a World War I Centennial Symposium. Andrew Robertshaw, author of the book Digging the Trenches, was one of the Symposium presenters. Over the last 25 years, Mr. Robertshaw has directed numerous archaeological projects on the Western Front. His lecture focused on using historical research and archaeology to identify the remains of soldiers killed on the Western Front.

  • World War I as Global War: Japan and the Dawn of the Asia/Pacific World

    04/12/2014 Duración: 28min

    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.

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