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Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

World War I Centennial

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Apr 6, 2017 4:41 AM
WWI solder in trench 600 x 340.jpg

What to look for on Smart Talk Thursday, April 6, 2017:

On April 6, 1917, the United States Houses of Representatives concurred with the Senate, at the request of President Woodrow Wilson and declared war on Germany.  It marked the beginning of American involvement in World War I.  War had already been raging in Europe since 1914 and the U.S. was commited to staying neutral, but when German submarines began sinking merchant ships that killed Americans, Wilson had to act.

However, on this date 100 years ago, America was not prepared for war.  The Army had only about 220,000 men -- a smaller force than Belguim.  Troops hadn't been trained and equipment was scarce.  But the nation came together and the U.S. entry into the war may have saved Europe from Germany.


Thursday's Smart Talk features a discussion with Col. Douglas Mastriano, PhD, who teaches at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle and has written extensively about World War I.  His last book was Alvin York: A New Biography of the Hero of the Argonnes.


Col. Douglas Mastriano, PhD - Instructor, U.S. Army War College in Carlisle

Also, Pennsylvania At War: World War I Posters from the Pennsylvania State Archives is an exhibit on display at the State Museum in Harrisburg.  These posters can tell us a lot about America at the time and the messages the posters were conveying to Americans.

wwi posters.png

Beth Hager - Director, State Museum / Richard Saylor - Archivist, Pennsylvania State Archives

Joining us on Smart Talk are Beth Hager, Director of the State Museum and Richard Saylor, Archivist at the Pennsylvania State Archives and curator of the WWI poster exhibit.



- Could your guest comment on Americans that served outside of the European theater? My grandfather served in Santo Domingo with the Marines during a truly modern & worldwide conflict.                                                                                                          - Gil, York

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