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  • Originally published 11/05/2013

    Rethinking German Pacifism

    Has Europe’s strongest nation really chosen to become the world’s biggest Switzerland?

  • Originally published 08/20/2013

    Duke military historian I.B. Holley dies at 94

    Longtime history professor I.B. Holley, who spent more than six decades on the Duke campus, died last week.  He was 94.One of the nation's leading military historians, Holley remained active in the classroom and in research even following his retirement in 1989. He still frequented Duke University Libraries and, until recently, still taught in the freshman seminar program, according to department chair John Martin. In 2008, at age 89, he published "The Highway Revolution, 1895-1925: How the United States Got Out of the Mud."...

  • Originally published 08/08/2013

    'Uncommon Knowledge:' Victor Davis Hanson

    Military historian Victor Davis Hanson discusses his latest book "The Savior Generals" with Peter Robinson. Hanson identifies the shared characteristics of generals throughout history who saved wars deemed "lost." "Uncommon Knowledge" is produced by the Hoover Institution.

  • Originally published 07/22/2013

    H.R. McMaster: The Pipe Dream of Easy War

    H. R. McMaster is an Army major general and the commanding officer at Fort Benning, Ga., who led the Third Armored Cavalry Regiment in Iraq as a colonel in 2005 and 2006.FORT BENNING, Ga. — “A GREAT deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep,” the novelist Saul Bellow once wrote. We should keep that in mind when we consider the lessons from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — lessons of supreme importance as we plan the military of the future.Our record of learning from previous experience is poor; one reason is that we apply history simplistically, or ignore it altogether, as a result of wishful thinking that makes the future appear easier and fundamentally different from the past.We engaged in such thinking in the years before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001; many accepted the conceit that lightning victories could be achieved by small numbers of technologically sophisticated American forces capable of launching precision strikes against enemy targets from safe distances.

  • Originally published 07/16/2013

    U.S. Army says war records gap is real

    The U.S. Army has conceded a significant loss of records documenting battlefield action and other operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and has launched a global search to recover and consolidate field records from the wars.In an order to all commands and a separate letter to leaders of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Secretary of the Army John McHugh said the service also is taking immediate steps to clarify responsibility for wartime recordkeeping....

  • Originally published 06/30/2013

    MN regiment charged into history in 1863

    In the smoky twilight outside Gettysburg on July 2, 1863, several regiments from Alabama were fighting their way down a slope into a rocky creek bed. Union soldiers were fleeing in front of them. The Confederates were almost at their goal -- to completely break the Union line and take a battery of big guns a few hundred yards away at the top of another slope called Cemetery Ridge. But out of the smoke, a line of Minnesotans came running toward them, firing and charging with leveled bayonets. Two major Civil War anniversaries are coming up this week. Given the choice between visiting Vicksburg, Miss., and Gettysburg, Pa., there was never any question of where dignitaries from Minnesota would pay their respects. The fall of Vicksburg on July 4, 1863, may have been more important to defeating the South, and several thousand Minnesota soldiers were part of the siege that preceded the city's surrender.

  • Originally published 05/08/2013

    David Milne: Editing an Encyclopedia

    Dr. David Milne is a Senior Lecturer in American Political History at the University of East Anglia. A historian and analyst of US foreign policy, he is a senior editor of the Oxford Encyclopedia of American Military and Diplomatic History. View the Melbourne launch of the Encyclopedia, or attend the American Military and Diplomatic History conference at Oregon State University on 7 May 2013.When I was invited to review the second volume of Odd Arne Westad’s and Melvyn Leffler’s The Cambridge History of the Cold War in 2010, I compared the enterprise to Denis Diderot’s Encyclopédie -- which I intended both as a compliment and as a criticism.

  • Originally published 03/22/2013

    The Iraq War: A Failure of Presidential Leadership

    2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division during the Battle of Fallujah in 2004. Credit: DoD.In Supreme Command: Soldiers, Statesmen, and Leadership in Wartime, Eliot Cohen argues that civilian leaders need to be deeply involved in the creation and execution of military strategy. His examination of Abraham Lincoln, Georges Clemenceau, Winston Churchill, and David Ben-Gurion shows that civilian leaders who immerse themselves in politico-military decision-making fare better than those who leave the most important decisions to their generals. Cohen published his book in 2002, just in time for President George W. Bush to read it during a vacation in Texas, about six months before U.S. forces invaded Iraq.

  • Originally published 03/03/2013

    Ceremony for Monitor sailors stirs familial ties

    A century and a half after USS Monitor sank, the interment of two unknown crewmen found in the Civil War ironclad's turret is bringing together people from across the country with distant but powerful ties to those who died aboard.The ceremony Friday at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington will include Monitor kin who believe the two sailors — whose remains were discovered in 2002 — are their ancestors, despite DNA testing that has failed to make a conclusive link. But the families stress that the interment pays homage to all 16 Union sailors who died when the ship went down, and nearly 100 people from Maine to California are expected to attend."When I learned they were going to do a memorial and have the burial at Arlington, it was like, 'I can't miss that,'" said Andy Bryan of Holden, Maine, who will travel with his daughter Margaret to the capital. He said DNA testing found a 50 percent likelihood that Monitor crewman William Bryan, his great-great-great-uncle, was one of the two found in the summer of 2002, when the 150-ton turret was raised from the ocean floor off Cape Hatteras, N.C."If it's not William Bryan, I'm OK with that," Bryan said. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing, and I feel like I should be there."...

  • Originally published 02/03/2013

    Women in Combat: Not New, but a Milestone Nonetheless

    U.S. Navy Operations Specialist 1st Class Megan Garcia, left, tactical operations watchstander for Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) Farah, provides security at a key leader engagement with the Director of Women's Affairs in Farah City, Jan. 29. Credit: Flickr/U.S. Navy.

  • Originally published 01/25/2013

    Actually, Women Have Served in Combat Before

    Lyudmila Pavlichenko, the leading female Soviet sniper of World War II.After more than a year of planning, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta overturned the ban on women's ability to serve in combat roles in the United States military. Panetta's removal of the ban followed an official recommendation by the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman General Martin E. Dempsey. This decision to allow women to occupy the front lines came yesterday as a formal gesture following the last decade of women's unofficial service in combat positions; since 2001, around 280,000 women have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.While the Senate Armed Services Committee may have an opportunity to reverse the decision through legislative means, prospects look hopeful for this shift in the military's stance, which was largely a decision made internal to the military itself. By May 15 of this year, the different branches of the armed services are expected to present specific implementation plans for their integration of women into combat roles, including requests for exceptions to the new policy.

  • Originally published 01/22/2013

    The 20 greatest battles in British history

    The Telegraph reports that the British National Army Museum has published its shortlist of the greatest battles in British history. The public will vote, either online or at the museum, on which one is the greatest.The battles, in chronological order:Battle of Blenheim, August 13, 1704, at Blenheim, Bavaria (War of the Spanish Succession)Battle of Culloden, April 16, 1746, at Drumossie Moor in Scotland (Jacobite Rebellion)Battle of Plassey, June 23, 1757, at Plassey in West Bengal, India (Seven Years WarBattle of Quebec, June 13, 1759, outside of Quebec City in Canada (Seven Years War)

  • Originally published 01/19/2013

    The French Way of War

    IN 1966, the French president, Charles de Gaulle, war hero and general nuisance in Allied eyes, wrote President Lyndon B. Johnson to announce that France was pulling out of full membership in NATO and would expel NATO headquarters from France.“France is determined to regain on her whole territory the full exercise of her sovereignty, at present diminished by the permanent presence of allied military elements or by the use which is made of her airspace; to cease her participation in the integrated commands; and no longer to place her forces at the disposal of NATO,” de Gaulle wrote.After the humiliating capitulation to the Nazis, a tremendous shock to a prideful and martial France, it was not especially surprising that de Gaulle should seek to restore France to a place at the top table of nations, capable of defending its own interests with its own means at its own pace and pleasure.