Who knows how many Americans realize that 100 years ago the United States was at war? After all, when about 25 people on the street in Beach Haven in the summer of 2012 were asked for a SandPaper article what war the U.S. had been involved in 200 years previously, very few could answer the War of 1812. There seems to be a flaw in the way history is taught in the U.S., and maybe math as well.
So for those who don’t remember their high school history, in 1918 the U.S. was heavily involved – with well over 4 million troops in Europe – in World War I, the “War to End All Wars,” “The Great War.”
It is easy to imagine that even a world war wouldn’t very much affect what was then a remote and rural Ocean County. But it did, in many ways. German U-boats prowled the Atlantic off the Jersey Shore; nearby Fort Dix (at first Camp Dix) was created and became one of the premier U.S. Army basic training centers in the country for decades.
Nicholas Wood of the Ocean County Cultural Heritage Commission[…]discussed two aspects of Ocean County and WWI in his 75-minute lecture/slide show at the Long Beach Island Historical Museum on Monday evening.
[…]The second half of Wood’s presentation discussed the once-famous but now mostly forgotten Tuckerton Radio Tower, built in 1912 by the German government.
[…]The tower was 820 feet high, making it, at the time, the second tallest structure in the world, behind only the Eiffel Tower. It was one of the first and most powerful transatlantic radio stations ever constructed. It survived until 1955, when it was torn down and sold for scrap metal and today lends its name to Little Egg Harbor’s Radio Road.[…]
“If one thing was vital to the the new kind of modern warfare in the First World War, it was communications. The Industrial Revolution had brought wireless transmission of signals with it and the huge armies of World War 1 needed to be in contact constantly to be successful in the field. In this special episode we introduce you to the birth hour of modern military communication and signals.”
Thanks again, Mike! I’ll subscribe to The Great War channel on YouTube.
I learned an interesting fact in this documentary: I had no idea that the BBC used the Greek radio interval signal for their Greek language service while Greece was occupied in WWII. After liberation, the BBC Director General “solemnly” handed the famous interval signal–“the sound of shepherds’ pipes mingling with the bells of their flocks”–back to Greece. Amazing.
The Greek radio interval signal is one of my all-time favorites. Indeed, my mobile phone’s ringtone is the VOG interval signal:
When America declared war on Germany in 1917, most radio stations came under government control, reserved for war efforts. On this edition of Up To Date, we learn why HAM radio operators were prevented from broadcasting during The Great War.
Jonathan Casey is the Edward Jones Research Center Manager at the National World War I Museum.
Herb Fiddick is the amateur radio voice of the National World War I Museum.
This weekend, the National WWI Museum will host special event station WW1USA. The station will be manned by amateur radio operators for 31 consecutive hours, beginning Saturday, December 12 at 10 a.m. through Sunday at 5 p.m. The event is free. For more information go to theworldwar.org.