It has been a crazy year, for everybody who supports the show on Patreon, likes the page on Facebook, follows it on Twitter, or just listens to the episodes. Thank you. This post is about both looking back at the last year and also looking forward to 2018 and what you can expect both as listeners or Patreon supporters.
Over the last year I have released about 22 hours worth of episodes, both in the normal podcast feed and on the Patreon feed. I hit most of the topics that I was hoping to this year, there were not any huge scope explosions like in 2016 when the Somme and Verdun episodes got completely out of control.
When looking at the episodes from the last year I am particularly pleased with several of the Homefront episodes that were released earlier in the year. It is always nice to have some time to jump away from the front, something I probably do not put enough emphasis on. I also really enjoyed putting together the Italian Front episodes, an area of the war that does not get enough focus and that I find very interesting.
I had big plans for the Vimy Ridge episode that just did not come together in any meaningful way. It started life as a planned 1.5 hour special episode with a whole bunch of first hand accounts and an entire section just focusing on what it meant for Canadian history. I also acquired digital scans of maps from some excellent Canadian museums I was going to work into a special web page with a kind of audio walkthrough, it was going to be great, and then it didn't happen. What did happen was (I think) an okay episode, but not quite the special one I was hoping for. In retrospect the plans were too big for the timeframe and would have required wiping out 2 months of episodes, which is why it did not happen.
It has been a long time since the podcast has visited the Middle East, over 2 years now. What I realized after the episodes got pushed into 2017, and then to late in the year, was that it was probably just better to wait and tell that story all in one go, instead of breaking it up into 5-6 episodes in 2017, then having 1-2 random episodes on the topic in 2018. Hopefully this will make for an easier to follow and more complete story. In retrospect I wish I would have taken a similar strategy into the Italian Front and Air War episodes, both of which will be getting 2 episode finales next year.
With the arrival of 2018 the podcast will move into its fourth year, and what a journey it has been. I am trying to keep my plans mostly realistic for the coming year, and I guess we will just have to wait and see if that is successful.
One of the possibly not realistic goals is around the Passchendaele episodes. After I made the decision to push them into next year these episodes have evolved greatly and now the plan is to put them all into one very lengthy episode, probably several hours in length, to see if that format works for me and the show. Hopefully what comes out the other end is enjoyable and interesting, and I hope to have that released by the end of January.
As of right now the main plan for 2018 is to clear the decks of everything other than the Western Front in the early months of the year. This will let us transition to the Western Front with the 1918 German Spring Offensives and then follow the story all the way to the armistice in November. In many ways this is appropriate, because the weight of the war would decisively shift to the Western theater in the last 6 months of the conflict and the podcast will mimic this movement in its own way.
For Patreon supporters the year will begin with a several part series on medical care during the war, this topic was actually suggested by a Patron almost a year ago and I have found the research to be fascinating. We will then finish out the year with several one-off episodes on topics like the Czech Legion, the campaigns in East Africa, and the Allied interventions in Russia. These episodes should get us right to November.
Many of you have already guessed, but in 2018 we will be reaching the end of the story that I set out to tell when I started this podcast. Not all of the episodes have been great (those first 20 are straight up hot garbage), but the story as I wanted to tell it will be done. This also means that this will almost certainly be the last year of the podcast. I have toyed with the idea of extending it through various sets of special episodes like a greater focus on Pre-1914 events, or Post-1919 events, or even just a 1914: Revisted series (to fix that hot garbage problem) but I have decided against this for a variety of reasons. I do plan to continue creating history podcasts, and there will be concrete details on those plans by the end of the year, but I think it will be time to leave the Great War behind, at least for now.