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 a wide variety of topics related to World War I.
World War I and Modern Medicine
At the turn of the 20th Century, many in the West were quite confident that they were living in the most civilized era in history. Progress had at last won out over barbarism – or so it seemed. Then the battlefields of World War I quickly proved a charnel house – challenging not just the belief in man’s progress, but the limits of modern medicine. And yet, the horrors of the battlefield prompted a wave of medical innovations that form the basis of modern medicine today. To discuss this evolution in medicine, the World War I podcast interviewed Dr. Thomas Helling, a Professor of Surgery and head of General Surgery at the University of Mississippi in Jackson. He is an expert on military medicine, trauma and critical care, and the author of The Great War and the Birth of Modern Medicine.
World War I Code Talkers
WWI saw a dramatic evolution in the technical collection of intelligence. From the start, SIGINT – the interception of communication signals – played a major role in the war. As the war went on, it was clear that secure communications could mean the difference between victory or defeat. This led to the rise of code interceptors, code makers and code breakers. When the US Army arrived on the battlefields of France, it had to quickly find ways to encrypt its communications. One solution was to use Native American languages to transmit information. Today, many are familiar with the Navajo Code Talkers of WWII, but few know that Native Americans served as Code Talkers in WWI. To discuss the WWI Code Talkers, the WWI History Podcast hosted Dr. William C. Meadows, Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at Missouri State University and author of The First Code Talkers: Native American Communicators in World War I.
The Approaching Storm: Roosevelt, Wilson, Addams and Their Clash Over America's Future
America’s path to World War I was complicated. Although committed to a nominal policy of neutrality for most of the war, the pre-war years for America involved an internal battle over the nation’s future. Most could agree that America should have a more dynamic international role – but that meant different things to different people – and it wasn’t just a debate between the traditional interests or political parties. Powerful progressive forces splintered over the nation’s response to the war. To discuss America’s entry into WWI in the context of this debate – the World War I Podcast sat down with Dr. Neil Lanctot, author of The Approaching Storm: Roosevelt, Wilson, Addams and Their Clash Over America’s Future.
Maine's 103rd Infantry Regiment in the Great War
Prior to World War I, most people regarded the National Guard as the militia, not as a valuable part of the nation’s strategic reserve. The 1916 National Defense Act – a piece of legislation that a young officer named Douglas MacArthur helped the US Army lobby for – would lay the groundwork for National Guard units to be activated into Federal service. In 1917, as the United States prepared to fight in Europe, National Guard units across the country were activated into Federal service. Maine’s 103rd Infantry Regiment was one of these units and it would see service in France as part of the 26th Division. Known as the “Yankee Division,” the 26th would see considerable combat in France during the war. To discuss the experience of the 103rd Infantry Regiment during World War I, the World War I Podcast interviewed Captain Jonathan Bratten, command historian of the Maine Army National Guard and author of To the Last Man: A National Guard Regiment in the Great War.
If you'd like to read To the Last Man, a free download is available: https://www.armyupress.army.mil/Portals/7/combat-studies-institute/csi-books/to-the-last-man.pdf. You can also request a hard copy by emailing: email@example.com
The World War I Podcast is going on a brief hiatus for a month. During this short break though – feel free to keep sending in topic suggestions or if you’re an author or publisher, keep sending those review copies. If you visit the Memorial’s website, you can also fill out a suggestion form online. We can’t cover everything and the volume of requests is high – but listeners play a really important role in helping us identify unique and interesting topics – and we enjoy hearing from you.
Thanks for supporting the podcast. We will be back in June 2022!
The Environmental Impact of World War I
Throughout history, war has had a profound impact on the natural environment. It is frequently linked with famine, pollution, and other ecological disruptions that lead to disease or plagues of pests. Often however, we tend to think of the environmental impact of a conflict as limited to the area of the actual battlefield. The Western Front battlefields of WWI seem like the perfect examples of ecological disaster – and yet – the damage to rivers, fields, and forests in these areas was not the only environmental impact of the war. Radiating from the European epicenter of the conflict and making it a truly global war, was a scramble by all the warring powers for the natural resources needed to power the war effort. To discuss the global environmental impact of WWI, the World War I Podcast hosted Dr. Tait Keller, Associate Professor and Chair of History at Rhodes College and an expert on how warfare and energy extraction evolved during WWI.
Great podcast with terrible editing
The compressor they use to drown out noise sounds like someone flipping on and off a switch in some of the podcasts. Woodrow Wilson episodes are unlistenable.
Great job Amanda in presenting aspects of the event most responsible for the world we live in today.
Thoughtful and interesting!
Appreciate the diversity of topics and the audio upgrades they’ve made through the years. Something for everyone!