097: The Banana Wars I

1904 political cartoon mocking the “Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine.” Note US warships puckishly named “Receiver” and “Sheriff” and “Debt Collector.”

 
By the early twentieth century, the United States had substantial economic interests in Central America, notably in banana cultivation, most of which was intended for export to the US. American companies owned or controlled the plantations, the railways, the ports, and sometimes the local governments, derisively termed “banana republics.”

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Transcript.

 


Playlist:

Fanfare

Opening War Theme

Carnaval – Latin Rhythms
Recorded at the 2015 Carnaval Grand Parade in San Francisco by RTB45, and used pursuant to a Creative Commons CC BY 3.0 license. Source.

Closing War Theme

 

Except when otherwise indicated, the contents of this podcast are © and ℗ 2016, 2017 by Mark Painter, all rights reserved. Some music and sound effects used by arrangement with Pond 5.

096: The Rape of Belgium

1915 political cartoon from the New York Tribune. Columbia, the personification of the USA, is shown mourning Lusitania, while a grieving Belgium comments, “At least they only DROWN your women.”

 

During the initial offensive in the West, the German Army committed numerous war crimes in Belgium, including rape, firing on civilians, arbitrary executions, and property destruction, including the burning of the library at the Catholic University of Leuven. The Allies would take maximum propaganda advantage of these crimes, sometimes exaggerating them.

Listen:

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Transcript.

 


Playlist:

Fanfare

Opening War Theme

Poème élégiaque
Composed in 1893 by Eugène Ysaÿe. Public domain.
Performed by Jean-Claude Féret, violin, and Christine Féret, piano, and used pursuant to a Creative Commons CC BY-SA 3.0 license. Source.

Closing War Theme

 

Except when otherwise indicated, the contents of this podcast are © and ℗ 2016, 2017 by Mark Painter, all rights reserved. Some music and sound effects used by arrangement with Pond 5.

095: The Far Seas

SMS Emden, shown here in Qingdao harbor just a few weeks before the Great War began.

 

At the moment the Great War began, there were a number of German cruisers stationed all over the world. Though they were outnumbered by the Royal Navy, they attempted to interfere with British shipping, causing the Allies a lot of grief in the opening weeks of the war.

Listen:

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Transcript.

 


Playlist:

Fanfare

Opening War Theme

On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring
Composed in 1912 by Frederick Delius. Public domain.
Performed by Jeff Manookian, and used pursuant to a Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 license. Source.

Closing War Theme

 

Except when otherwise indicated, the contents of this podcast are © and ℗ 2016, 2017 by Mark Painter, all rights reserved. Some music and sound effects used by arrangement with Pond 5. Photograph of Emden used pursuant to a Creative Commons CC BY-SA 3.0 DE license.

094: The Puritan of the North

Venustiano Carranza, the 37th President of Mexico.

 

After the murder of Francisco Madero and the accession of Victoriano Huerta, the revolutionaries Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata returned to the field to fight against the new regime, joined now by the governor of Coahuila, Venustiano Carranza, and Woodrow Wilson, who ordered the US military to seize the Mexican port of Veracruz.

Listen:

 

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Transcript.

 


Playlist:

Fanfare

Opening War Theme

“Morenita”
Written and performed by Ed Kliman, and used pursuant to a Creative Commons CC BY-NC 3.0 license. Source.

“La Cucaracha”
Traditional. Public domain.

Performed by Kenmayer (mix), Sean Buss (Guitar), Elisa (vocals), and created as a supplement to the Educational Options Spanish course (edoptions.com). Used pursuant to a Creative Commons CC BY-SA 3.0 license. Source.

Closing War Theme

 

Except when otherwise indicated, the contents of this podcast are © and ℗ 2016, 2017 by Mark Painter, all rights reserved. Some music and sound effects used by arrangement with Pond 5.

The Great War in Modern Film

Interesting article using Wonder Woman as the point of departure for an examination of why so few American films are set during the Great War:

And yet, Wonder Woman is something of an anomaly at the box office: Hollywood rarely supplies Great War stories. Of the top 25 highest-grossing films from 2011 to 2016, just 14 percent were set during a clearly defined historical period, according to data from the Motion Pictures Association of America. Of those, two (The King’s Speech and Captain America: The First Avenger) were set during WWII; none were set during WWI.

Period war films remain prestige projects in Hollywood, and they still see fairly regular releases. But so far in the 2010s, several WWII-set films including Hacksaw Ridge (2016), The Imitation Game (2014), and The Book Thief (2013) have been nominated for Academy Awards, while Stephen Spielberg’s War Horse (2011) was the only nominee to take place during the Great War. WWI’s share of acclaimed films most often come from outside the U.S.—think of Australia’s Gallipoli (1981), the United Kingdom’s Regeneration (1997), or the 2016 French-German release Frantz. Iconic American contributions to the genre, such as Lawrence of Arabia (1962) or All Quiet on the Western Front (1930, 1979), tend to be older.

So why is the Great War missing from the American movie theaters? The void stems in part from how the U.S. preserved the war in contemporaneous media. But a greater part, perhaps, has to do with how the conflict reflects on the U.S. as a nation….

093: The Twenty-One Demands

Japanese field gun position during the siege of Qingdao.

 

Japan was allied with Britain, and eagerly entered the Great War soon after it began. Helping out your ally is nice, but also the Germans had some colonial possessions in the western Pacific.

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Transcript.

 


Playlist:

Fanfare

Opening War Theme

“Kimigayo” (The national anthem of Japan)
Traditional. Public domain.
Performed by the United States Navy Band. Public domain recording. Source.

“Spring Blossoms on a Moonlit River”
Traditional. Public domain.

Closing War Theme

 

Except when otherwise indicated, the contents of this podcast are © and ℗ 2016, 2017 by Mark Painter, all rights reserved. Some music and sound effects used by arrangement with Pond 5.

092: Home Before the Leaves Fall

The front lines in 1914. The dotted red lines in the south show the farthest advance of the German right flank. The solid red line shows the German position after they fell back. The dotted red line running north from the right end of the German line shows the “Race to the Sea.” The Western Front will remain stable along these lines for the next three and a half years.

 

The failure of Germany’s offensive in the West leads to a static front line that will not change very much for the next three and a half years. Military leaders on both sides considered what to do next.

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Transcript.

 


Playlist:

Fanfare

Opening War Theme

Coriolan Overture
Composed in 1807 by Ludwig van Beethoven. Public domain.
Public domain recording. Source.

Closing War Theme

 

Except when otherwise indicated, the contents of this podcast are © and ℗ 2016, 2017 by Mark Painter, all rights reserved. Some music and sound effects used by arrangement with Pond 5.

091: The Luxury Navy

German illustration depicting the sinkings of HMS Aboukir, HMS Hogue, and HMS Cressy by U-9 in September 1914.

 

Germany heavily invested in its Navy in the two decades prior to the Great War. In this episode, we see what all that investment bought.

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Transcript.

 


Playlist:

Fanfare

Opening War Theme

The Hebrides
Composed in 1830 by Felix Mendelssohn. Public domain.
Performed by the Czech National Symphony Orchestra. Public domain recording. Source.

Closing War Theme

 

Except when otherwise indicated, the contents of this podcast are © and ℗ 2016, 2017 by Mark Painter, all rights reserved. Some music and sound effects used by arrangement with Pond 5.

090: I Will See It Through

This Central Powers propaganda piece from 1914 depicts the Russian Emperor in Jewish garb, ironically appealing to “my beloved Jews” to “remember the kindnesses that the House of Romanov has shown you,” as crimes against Jews are committed all around him.

 

The Great War began as a confrontation between Austria and Russia. As we have seen, it quickly developed into much more. But for the Austrians, the main dispute is still against Serbia, and against Russia for supporting her. The Austrians began this confrontation as an effort to prove Austria was still a Great Power. Ironically, 1914 would prove exactly the opposite.

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Transcript.

 


Playlist:

Fanfare

Opening War Theme

“Entrance of the Gladiators”
Composed in 1897 by Julius Fučík. Public domain.
Performed by the Eastern Wind Symphony, and used pursuant to a Creative Commons CC BY-NC 3.0 License. Source.

Closing War Theme

 

Except when otherwise indicated, the contents of this podcast are © and ℗ 2016, 2017 by Mark Painter, all rights reserved. Some music and sound effects used by arrangement with Pond 5.

089: A Good Five-Cent Cigar

The U.S. $100,000 gold certificate, issued in 1934, with a portrait of Woodrow Wilson, honoring him for his role in creating the Federal Reserve System. This is the largest denomination of currency ever issued by the United States. Only a small number were printed. They were intended to move funds between Federal Reserve Banks, and were never available to the general public. In more modern times, when funds can be shifted electronically, bills such as this one have become obsolete.

 

President Wilson pushed a variety of important reforms through the 1913-14 Congress, including the Federal Reserve Act, making this one of the busiest Congresses in US History. As the Great War breaks out, the US remains neutral, but faces a financial crisis.

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Transcript.

 


Playlist:
 
Fanfare

Opening War Theme

“Hello! My Baby”
Composed in 1899 by Joseph Howard and Ida Emerson. Public domain.

“On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away”
Composed in 1897 by Paul Dresser. Public domain.

“A Bird in a Gilded Cage”
Composed in 1899 by Arthur Lamb and Harry von Tilzer. Public domain.

Closing War Theme

 

Except when otherwise indicated, the contents of this podcast are © and ℗ 2016, 2017 by Mark Painter, all rights reserved. Some music and sound effects used by arrangement with Pond 5.