WFA East Coast to Hold Spring 2017 Symposium

The Western Front Association East Coast Branch (USA) will hold its Spring 2017 Symposium in World War I History at the historic Maryland War Memorial Building on Saturday June 17, 2017.

This exciting day-long event will feature speakers presenting on a variety of WW1 history topics including:

  • American journalists and World War I
  • French WWI Battlefields of the Chemin Des Dames
  • American Nurses of Johns Hopkins Base Hospital 18
  • British Commonwealth WW1 War Graves in the US
  • The Belgian Armored Expeditionary Corps on the Eastern Front 1916-18


The Symposium will also feature displays of WW1 memorabilia, organizational networking, refreshments, door prizes and a sale of new and used/rare WW1 history books

For full details see the flyer and registration form: Spring 2017 Flyer

WFA East Coast to Hold Spring 2016 WW1 History Symposium in Baltimore


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On Saturday June 11, 2016, the Western Front Association East Coast Branch (USA) will gather at the historic Maryland War Memorial Building in Baltimore for an exciting day-long program featuring authors and speakers on First World War history topics, displays of WW1 artifacts, door prizes and networking among WW1 history organizations, museums, historic sites and individuals.  The event is open to the public and new attendees are always welcome.

Among the formal presentations at the symposium will be Dr. Nicole Hudgins of the University of Baltimore who will discuss her recent study “Hold Still, Madame – Wartime Gender and the Photography of Women in France” published by the University of St. Andrews.  Authors Douglas Fisher and JoAnn Buckley will present highlights from their new book AFRICAN-AMERICAN DOCTORS OF WORLD WAR 1THE LIVES OF 104 VOLUNTEERS.  Historian and author William T. Walker will present a new critical re-evaluation of the American Expeditionary Forces attack on Montfaucon in September 1918 based on his new book BETRAYAL AT LITTLE GIBRALTAR.  Dr. Peter Lubrecht will reveal a rarely-seen glimpse of the life of a German infantryman in the West during 1914-15 based on his book LIEBE KÜCK – A GERMAN SOLDIER’S STORY THE GREAT WAR.  Finally WFA East Coast Branch Chairman Paul Cora will recount the July 1916 voyage to Baltimore of the German commercial U-boat DEUTSCHLAND in the context of the public opinion debate it inspired and the challenges experienced by German-Americans both before and after America’s entry into WW1.

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The event will also feature a Branch-sponsored WW1 new, used and out-of-print book sale, as well as refreshments, discussions, displays, and as always, lots of camaraderie.

See the announcement flyer and registration materials here:  WFA East Coast Spring 2016 Flyer


PAFA Plans for Major WW1 Art Exhibiton in 2016

PAFA Logo Low Res

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) will open a substantial new exhibition in 2016 which examines the effect of World War I on American art.  According to Dr. Robert Cozzolino, lead Curator for the project, “World War I and American Art” will seek to dispel a long-held notion in art history that the First World War had little impact on the work of artists in the United States.

The exhibition will consist of some 115 art objects including sculpture and photographs as well as paintings and drawings by noted artists such as Frederick Childe Hassam, Hugh Henry Breckenridge, Marsden Hartley, Georgia O’Keefe, Horace Pippin, Charles Burchfield, the brothers Ivan and Melvin Albright, and Claggett Wilson.

Hugh Henry Breckenridge "The Pestilence" 1918

Hugh Henry Breckenridge “The Pestilence” 1918

The three major themes of “World War I and American Art” will consist of American reactions to the war prior to 1917, America’s entry and participation, and finally the Armistice and the war’s aftermath.  Reactions to the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915, an examination of Hassam and Hartley’s flag paintings, and the concept of outrage as reflected in illustrations from “The Masses” magazine will be featured in the pre-entry portion of the exhibit, while some works by Georgia O’Keefe and Charles Burchfield, as well as American examples of Dadaism will be used to examine private reactions to the war by American artists.  Within the mobilization and participation section, works by official war artists will be featured, as well as portrayals of women in both traditional and non-traditional roles.  The works of soldier-artists Horace Pippin and Claggett Wilson will be exhibited among paintings depicting the American experience in the war, and Ivan Albright’s work drawing wounds and medical procedures at an American hospital near Nantes will be used examine their impact on the artist’s later works.  Posters produced during the war for recruitment and mobilization will also be prominently featured.

Lusitania poster

“World War I and American Art” will open at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts on November 11, 2016, and run through April 9, 2017 after which it will travel to other venues.  Working with lead Curator Robert Cozzolino, will be independent art curator Anne C. Knutson, and Professor David Lubin of Wake Forest University.

For more information on the exhibition, visit PAFA here.


Fall 2015 Symposium in WW1 History To Be Held in York, PA


The Western Front Association East Coast Branch (USA) will gather in York, PA on Saturday October 24 for the Fall 2015 Symposium in World War 1 History.  Join WFA East Coast at the York County Heritage Trust for an exciting day of WW1 history presentations, displays, discussions, door prizes, book signings and more !

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Presentations at the symposium include:

  • “The Life of General ‘Blackjack’ Pershing –Meet America’s most celebrated personality of WW1   as living history presenter Dane Coffman portrays General John J. Pershing while recounting his life story. From his early days on the American frontier and later the Spanish –American War, learn how Pershing faced trials in his Army career and tragedy in his personal life before taking on the monumental task of forging and leading an American Army in the “War to End All Wars.”
  • First Over There –The Attack on Cantigny”- Facing veteran German troops, the largely untried US 1st Infantry Division carried out the first American offensive action of World War 1 capturing and holding the front-line village of Cantigny. Author Matthew J. Davenport tells the stories of the men of “The Big Red 1” who fought and died in this May 1918 battle – based on his new book from St. Martin’s Press. Copies will be available for sale.
  • The Germans of Hampton Roads –  Beginning in April 1915, two German surface raiders , the Prinz Eitel Friedrich and   the Kronprinz Wilhelm , were interned in Hampton Roads, Virginia. In a unique study of war and society, Gregory Hansard of the Virginia Historical Society explores the internment of more than 500 of their crew from April 1915 to September 1916 and the relationships they formed with the Norfolk community and U.S. officials.
  • A Yank in the RAF – Too young to fly with the US Air Service, Baltimore native Francis Warrington Gillett made his way into Britain’s Royal Air Force (formerly RFC) in 1918 where he flew Sopwith Dolphin fighters with No. 79 Squadron. Credited with 20 victories by the time of the Armistice, Gillett is second on the list of American flying aces of World War I. WFA East Coast’s Paul Cora recounts his story and also outlines plans for the Branch to memorialize this little known aviator.
  • “Alvin York- A New Biography of the Hero of the Argonne –  Historian COL Douglas V. Mastriano of the US Army War College presents a fresh look at the unlikely hero who became an American icon of “The War to End All Wars” – based on his book from the University of Kentucky Press. Copies will be available for sale.


For full details and event registration information, view the flyer here: WFA East Coast Fall 2015



WFA East Coast Announces 2015 WW1 History Symposium


The Western Front Association East Coast Branch (USA) has finalized its program for the  Spring 2015 Symposium in World War 1 History which will take place on Saturday June 20 in Baltimore, MD.  The venue for the symposium is the historic Maryland War Memorial Building which was dedicated in 1925 to honor the memory of the more than 1,700 citizens of Maryland who perished in “the War to end all wars”.

The day-long program will include displays of WW1 memorabilia, door prizes, refreshments, discussions and a used/out of print book sale.  Presentations at the symposium will include:

  • “Gallipoli – A German Perspective”
  • “The Lost Sketchbooks: A Young Artist in the Great War”
  • “American U-Boats – Terror Trophies of World War 1”
  • “Quantity AND Quality ? Your Edwardian Naval Race”
  • “Unfulfilled Nightmares of WW1 Aerial Bombing”

Since its establishment in the early 1990s, WFA East Coast has been bringing together authors, historians and scholars in all aspects World War 1 history for public programs aimed at fostering a greater understanding the conflict and its aftermath.  Attendees at these events range in background and interests from battlefield travelers and tour guides, to researchers, genealogists, collectors and those simply interested in learning more about the watershed event of modern times.

For full details on the symposium, see the announcement flyer/registration form here:  WFA East Coast Spring 2015 Symposium


MacArthur Memorial Honors US 42nd “Rainbow” Division in WW1 With Exhibition

The I.D. Disc belonging to poet Joyce Kilmer who was killed in action serving with the 42nd "Rainbow Division" in 1918.

The I.D. Disc belonging to poet Joyce Kilmer who was killed in action serving with the 42nd “Rainbow Division” in 1918.

The MacArthur Memorial – museum, archives, and final resting place of General of the Army Douglas MacArthur – in Norfolk, VA, has created one of the first exhibits in the United States commemorating the up-coming centennial of World War I. Under the Rainbow: The 42nd “Rainbow” Division in the Great War tells the story of one of the first National Guard units to arrive on the battlefields of France. But the 42nd Division was a unique unit – unlike other National Guard divisions which hailed from one specific geographic locale, the 42nd was composed of troops from 26 different states and the District of Columbia. This caused the division’s Chief of Staff, Col. Douglas MacArthur, to remark that the 42nd covered the United States “like a rainbow;” a sentiment that gave rise to the division nickname, the “Rainbow Division.” The Rainbow Division would amass one of the finest fighting records of any division – regular, volunteer or National Guard – in the American Expeditionary Forces. From its activation in August 1917 through the Armistice in November 1918 the 42nd was in combat longer than any other American division and suffered more than 50% casualties. It also included in its ranks some very prominent figures of American history: Douglas MacArthur; William “Wild Bill” Donovan, head of the Office of Strategic Services – forerunner of the CIA – during World War II; Charles Summerall, future Army Chief of Staff; Father Francis Duffy, famed Catholic leader in New York City; and poet Joyce Kilmer.

Under the Rainbow tells the story of the officers and men of the Rainbow Division from its inception at Camp Mills, New York in the summer of 1917, across the battlefields of France, and into occupation service in Germany until the dissolution of the division in the spring of 1919. Many of the items exhibited have never before been on display at the MacArthur Memorial; among the highlights are the uniform and equipment of Lt. Col. Cooper Winn, commander of the 151st Machine Gun Battalion; dog tag of the poet Joyce Kilmer, killed at the Battle of the Marne in July 1918; and an extensive collection of Rainbow Division Veterans Association memorabilia. The exhibit runs through September 2014.

Click here for more details on “Under the Rainbow” and The MacArthur Memorial.

WFA East Coast Explores WW1 History – October 25

The Western Front Association (WFA) East Coast Branch will gather in Baltimore, MD on Saturday October 25, 2014 for an exciting day of World War 1 History.  Authors, scholars, historians , collectors, battlefield travelers, genealogists and others with an interest in The Great War 1914-1918 will gather at the historic Maryland War Memorial Building for a day of dynamic presentations, discussions and displays.

Poilu book cover

Former Military History Quarterly publisher Edward M. Strauss will speak on his newly published first ever English translation of POLIU: THE WORLD WAR 1 DIARIES OF CORPORAL LOUIS BARTHAS, BARRELMAKER 1914-1918.  Regarded as a classic WW1 personal account since its publication in France in 1978, this landmark memoir is finally available in English.  Copies of the new book will be available at the symposium.


Mr. Philip Schreier, Senior Curator at the National Firearms Museum and expert on German Naval airships of World War I will present a fascinating account of the operational rise and fall of Zeppelins in WW1.


Mr. Robert Enholm, Executive Director of the President Woodrow Wilson House in Washington DC, will present a engaging portrait  President Wilson travails with difficult issues of neutrality before American involvement in World War I.


WFA East Coast’s Ryan Szimanski will recount the fascinating odyssey of Admiral Graf von Spee and the German East Asia cruiser squadron – its remarkable exploits in the Pacific during the fall of 1914 through its demise at the Battle of the Falklands.


Finally, WFA East Coast’s Randy Gaulke will explain the transformation of the role of German cavalry troops on the static Western Front.

The symposium will include displays, discussions, door prizes and a WW1 book sale featuring new, used, and out-of-print WW1 titles.

For full details see the registration form here:  Fall 2014 Flyer



Western Front Association East Coast Announces Spring 2014 WW1 History Symposium


The Western Front Association East Coast Branch (USA) has announced that it will hold its Spring 2014 Symposium in World War I History on Saturday June 7 at the historic Maryland War Memorial Building, Baltimore, MD.  The symposium will feature discussions and presentations by noted historians and authors on various aspects of the history and impact of the First World War.  Also speaking at the symposium will be Mr. Robert J. Dalessandro, Chairman of the United States World War I Centennial Commission who will update attendees on the plans and activities of the Commission to date.

WFA East Coast Symposium in World War I History - Attendees enjoy a presentation at a recent gathering.

WFA East Coast Symposium in World War I History – Attendees enjoy a presentation at a recent gathering.

As the Branch’s first gathering  of the World War I centenary period (2014-2018), the symposium has a theme largely focusing on events in Europe during the summer of 1914.  Included will be displays of WW1 artifacts and memorabilia, door prizes, refreshments, and an opportunity to tour the historic building which was dedicated in 1925 as a memorial to those Marylanders who gave their lives in the First World War.

Among the presentations featured at the symposium are:

  • “Assassination in Sarajevo” – WFA East Coast’s Stephen Miller gives  a then-and-now travelogue which examines the sites and extant artifacts related to the June 28, 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire
  • “Mons and the BEF August 1914” – Historian and author Jon Guttman, military historians Dr. Bruce Gudmundsson and Andrew Rolander of the Marine Corps University, and WFA East Coast’s Alexander Falbo examine both the British and German perspectives as they conduct an audience-interactive panel discussion of the action which set the stage for the pivotal Battle of the Marne.
  • “Death or Deliverance: Canadian Courts Martial in The Great War” – Canadian author Teresa Iacobelli discusses her recent book which draws surprising conclusions about the nature of military justice in the Canadian Expeditionary Force during World War I.
  • “The Birth of Aerial Reconnaissance”  – Historian and Author Jon Guttman examines the world’s first use of the airplane as a provider of real-time tactical and strategic intelligence at the battles of Mons and The Marne on the Western Front, as well as Tannenberg on the Eastern Front.
  • “Thinking Inside the Box: The Arms Race on Land 1905-1914” – Dr. Bruce Gudmundsson of the Marine Corps Command and Staff College recounts the pivotal changes in the nature of armies in the decade before World War I – changes which took unwary strategists and generals by surprise on the outbreak of war.


For full details  and registration instructions see the WFA East Coast Spring 2014 Flyer here



MacArthur Memorial Unveils New WW1 Education Resources


The MacArthur Memorial of Norfolk, VA, whose mission is to preserve and present of the life story of General Douglas MacArthur, has just unveiled an exciting new set of education resources on the history of the First World War.  Seeking to reach global audiences, the Memorial has just released on YouTube the first of a series of WW1 history films, “1914: The Road to War”.  This 13-minute video sets the stage for the outbreak of the war nearly 100 years ago in a package designed to easily fit the needs of classroom teachers and home school instructors alike.  “The Road to War” is augmented by additional enrichment materials available on the MacArthur Memorial’s website.  These materials feature ready-made resource handouts focusing on themes such as the geography of Europe in 1914, history through contemporary political cartoon analysis,  and the role of technology in shaping World War I.

Over the next two years, the MacArthur Memorial will release 9 more videos along with enrichment materials available on their website.  The key objective of the project is to help students answer critical questions such as : why does this war still matter, why did it start, who were the major players, and ultimately what happened?

The MacArthur Memorial in Norfolk, VA, features a museum and resource center which is free and open to the public throughout the year.

Access the video “1914: The Road to War” here.

Access the video’s enrichment materials here.



WW1HA Announces 2013 Symposium “The Coming of The Great War”

The Coming of the Great War

November 8 and 9, 2013        

The National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial, Kansas City, Missouri

A symposium on the political, social, economic, cultural, and military events between 1870 and 1913, leading to the Great War 1914-1918.

During the last quarter of the 19th and the first decade of the 20th centuries, European and American societies experienced fundamental changes. Social unrest, rising nationalism, colonial rivalries and rapid technological and industrial advances gave rise to political turmoil and increasing international tension.

Patterns in each of these areas can be identified that help us understand the causes of the outbreak of war in 1914, arguably the most significant event of the Twentieth Century.  An in-depth examination of these patterns and their evolution over time is essential to an understanding of the pre-war environment that caused a sequence of events that led to the First World War.

To examine these patterns, a two-day symposium will be given by ten distinguished authors and scholars:

  • Michael Neiberg – U.S. War College,
  • Holger Herwig – University of Calgary
  • Nicholas Murray – Command and General Staff College
  • Gary Armstrong – William Jewell College
  • Richard Hamilton – Ohio State University
  • Pierre Purseigle – Yale University
  • Ross Collins – University of North Dakota
  • John Kuehn – Command and General Staff College
  • Michael Reynolds – Princeton University
  • Martha Hanna – University of Colorado

This symposium compliments the museum’s current exhibit “The Road to War”.

Registration for the symposium is $195 per person ($245 if registered after September 15).  For more information, visit the WW1HA’s symposium web page here.