Kansas WW1

Commemorating the First World War Centennial in Kansas

The Bullitt Mission

In March of 1919, President Wilson’s top advisor ‘Col.’ Edward House authorized William C. Bullitt (1891 – 1967), who was a minor U.S. diplomat attached to the American delegation to the Paris Peace Conference, to lead an eclectic committee to make a clandestine visit to Russia. Their charge was to attempt to negotiate a treaty between the U.S. and the Bolshevik government, end Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War, lift the Allied blockade of that country, and allow the Allies to withdraw their troops from Russia. Bullitt received a proposal from the Bolshevik government that would have realized all these goals (and more, if the Bolsheviks could be trusted to repay war debt), but the Allied leaders at the Paris Peace Conference were unwilling to accept the offer. The British, in particular, were not inclined to strike any deals with Communists. ...read more

The Location of the Sgt. York site still in dispute

The ‘battle’ over the site of Sgt. Alvin York’s heroic deeds on October 8th, 1918 continues. Recently the research of ret. Col. Douglas Mastriano, Ph. D, has been called into question, with at least one critic accusing him of academic fraud. Mastriano, the driving force behind The Sgt. York Discovery Project, is an historian who frequently appears on CSPAN and has lectured at the U.S. World War One Museum in Kansas City as recently as 2018.  If you don’t know much about Sgt. York you can read his story by clicking here, and if you’re not familiar with the saga of the searches for the site you can read more about that by clicking here. To read more about the latest news, including the accusation of academic fraud, you can click here. ...read more

The Plight of the Volga Germans

Catherine II (1729-1796), Empress of Russia, who is popularly remembered as “Catherine the Great”, undertook a large settlement program where Germans wishing to flee from the shifting borders, petty wars and religious disputes of the 18th century in Central Europe would be welcomed to set up colonies in the lower Volga River valley. These settlers were allowed to keep their language, religion, culture and communal associations. Religious-based groups, such as the Mennonites and the Moravians, took advantage of this. ...read more

Keynes Was At Versailles

John Maynard Keynes, the great Cambridge University economist who revolutionized macroeconomic theory, was Prime Minister David Lloyd George’s economic advisor at the Versailles Peace Conference in 1919. Keynes repeatedly urged that all war debts be reduced or eliminated, but he didn’t succeed in swaying anyone to his point of view, not even Woodrow Wilson. Keynes was disgusted with the final treaty as he felt it was morally and economically unsound. He returned home and promptly wrote a book called The Economic Consequences of the Peace. You can read an excellent article about Keynes and his Versailles experience by clicking here. ...read more

Modeling of WW1 Trenches

Over fifty years ago, when I was training at the U.S. Army Engineer center, we actually had a section of training, as I recall known as “Field Forts”, where we were exposed to the principles of constructing trenches and dugouts, as if the army was going to fight another war like the Western Front, which at the time was fifty years (and three subsequent wars) in the past. This isn’t as surprising as it sounds, though; in Basic Training we were instructed in the “art” of bayonet fighting, even though the little bayonet for the M-16 rifle was mostly good for opening C-Ration cans. ...read more

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