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





For English-speaking students of the First World War, personal accounts depicting the French perspective are comparatively few.  Though published in France in 1978, the new English translation of The World War 1 Notebooks of Corporal Louis Barthas, Barrelmaker 1914-1918 by Edward M. Strauss represents a major achievement in the field of World War 1 French literature in the English speaking world.

From the publisher, Yale University Press:

“Along with millions of other Frenchmen, Louis Barthas, a thirty-five-year-old barrelmaker from a small wine-growing town, was conscripted to fight the Germans in the opening days of World War I. Corporal Barthas spent the next four years in near-ceaseless combat, wherever the French army fought its fiercest battles: Artois, Flanders, Champagne, Verdun, the Somme, the Argonne. Barthas’ riveting wartime narrative, first published in France in 1978, presents the vivid, immediate experiences of a frontline soldier.

This excellent new translation brings Barthas’ wartime writings to English-language readers for the first time. His notebooks and letters represent the quintessential memoir of a “poilu,” or “hairy one,” as the untidy, unshaven French infantryman of the fighting trenches was familiarly known. Upon Barthas’ return home in 1919, he painstakingly transcribed his day-to-day writings into nineteen notebooks, preserving not only his own story but also the larger story of the unnumbered soldiers who never returned. Recounting bloody battles and endless exhaustion, the deaths of comrades, the infuriating incompetence and tyranny of his own officers, Barthas also describes spontaneous acts of camaraderie between French poilus and their German foes in trenches just a few paces apart. An eloquent witness and keen observer, Barthas takes his readers directly into the heart of the Great War. ”

For more information, visit the Yale University Press web page here.