102: They Showed Us the Way

British Army illustration depicting Sikh soldiers assaulting a German trench during the Battle of Neuve Chapelle.

 
By the end of 1914, the Western Front had degenerated into hundreds of miles of stalemate. Nothing like it had ever been seen before, and 1915 promised to be more of the same. Allied commanders tested new tactics in the hope of breaking the deadlock.

Listen:

Download.

Transcript.

 


Playlist:

Fanfare

Opening War Theme

“Jimbo’s Lullaby,” from Children’s Corner
Composed in 1908 by Claude Debussy. (Arranged for wind ensemble.)
Performed by the Riverside Wind Consort, and used pursuant to a Creative Commons CC BY-ND 3.0 license. Source.

Closing War Theme

 

Except when otherwise indicated, the contents of this podcast are © and ℗ 2016, 2017, 2018 by Mark Painter, all rights reserved. Some music and sound effects used by arrangement with Pond 5.

101: Strike a Blow Somewhere

Italian Alpine soldiers in 1915.

 
At the beginning of 1915, the Central Powers had to confront the fact that they were under what amounted to the biggest siege in the history of warfare. To hunker down behind barbed wire was to guarantee defeat. They needed to strike a blow somewhere.

Listen:

Download.

Transcript.

 


Playlist:

Fanfare

Opening War Theme

Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18
Composed in 1901 by Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninoff
Performed by the Skidmore College Orchestra. Public domain recording. Source.

Closing War Theme

 

Except when otherwise indicated, the contents of this podcast are © and ℗ 2016, 2017, 2018 by Mark Painter, all rights reserved. Some music and sound effects used by arrangement with Pond 5.

100: These Desert Places of the Earth

Map of Africa in 1913, colored according to colonial control: (British [pink], French [blue], German [green], Belgian [yellow], Portuguese [purple], Spanish [magenta], Italian [chartreuse], and independent states [gray]). Map is overlaid with modern borders.

 
The Great War was not limited to Europe. Many of the European nations involved in the war had colonial territories in Africa, and when war began in Europe, it inevitably spilled over.

Listen:

Download.

Transcript.

 


Playlist:

Fanfare

Opening War Theme

African Drum Jam
Recorded in Shanghai, China by RTB45 and used pursuant to a Creative Commons CC BY 3.0 license. Source.

Street Music
Traditional. 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. Map of Africa created by Wikimedia Commons user Sting and used pursuant to a Creative Commons CC BY-SA 3.0 license. Source.

099: Jihad

Great War-era German postcard depicting Enver Pasha.

 
The Ottoman War Minister, Ismail Enver Pasha, contrived to bring the Empire into the Great War as a German ally. This opened up interesting strategic possibilities against Britain in Egypt and Russia in the Caucasus. The Grand Mufti of Constantinople declared jihad against the Allied powers.

Listen:

Download.

Transcript.

 


Playlist:

Fanfare

Opening War Theme

“Leylim Ley”
Traditional. Public domain.
Performed by EKVelika. Public domain recording. Source.

Adagio in G minor
Attributed to Tomaso Albinoni, but probably composed by Remo Giazotto in 1958. Public domain.
Performed by Markus Staab 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.

098: Shackled to a Corpse

Ethnic Ukrainian Austrian soldiers in an entrenched position in the Carpathian mountains in 1915.

 
Once it became clear that the Great War was not going to end in a matter of weeks, as most observers expected, Germany found itself in an unenviable position: surrounded by numerically superior enemies and stuck in an alliance with Austria, a nation whose military contribution to the war effort might charitably be described as “disappointing.”

Listen:

Download.

Transcript.

 


Playlist:

Fanfare

Opening War Theme

Mazurka
Composed c. 1860 by Henri Wieniawski. Public domain.
Performed by Jean-Claude Féret and used pursuant to a Creative Commons CC BY-NC 3.0 license. Source.

Mazurka
Composed c. 1820 by Frédéric Chopin. Public domain.
Performed by Edward Neeman. 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.

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.”

Listen:

Download.

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:

Download.

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:

Download.

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:

 

Download.

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….