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The Citizen Soldiers

The Plattsburg Training Camp Movement, 1913-1920

John Garry Clifford

The Citizen Soldiers explores the military reform movement that took its name from the famous Business Men's Military Training Camps at Plattsburg, New York. It also illuminates the story of two exceptional men: General Leonard Wood, the rambunctious and controversial former Rough Rider who galvanized the Plattsburg Idea with his magnetic personality; and Grenville Clark, a young Wall Street lawyer.

The Plattsburg camps strove to advertise the lack of military preparation in the United States and stressed the military obligation every man owed to his country. Publicized by individuals who voluntarily underwent military training, the preparedness movement rapidly took shape in the years prior to America's entry into the First World War. Far from being war hawks, the Plattsburg men emphasized the need for a "citizen army" rather than a large professional establishment. Although they failed in their major objective -- universal military training -- their vision of a citizen army was largely realized in the National Defense Act of 1920, and their efforts helped to establish selective service as the United States' preferred recruitment method in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

Featuring a new preface by the author, this new edition of a seminal study will hit shelves just in time for the World War I Centennial.

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Civilians in a World at War, 1914-1918

Tammy Proctor, 0, 0

“A powerful and important book that turns our attention to the often understudied experiences of civilians at war. Civilians in a World at War, 1914-1918, makes a major contribution not only to the history of World War I but to the history of civilians involved in war before and since.”

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The Compensations of War

The Diary of an Ambulance Driver during the Great War

By Guy Emerson Bowerman

In 1917, shortly after the United States’ declaration of war on Germany, Guy Emerson Bowerman, Jr., enlisted in the American army’s ambulance service; this is the diary he kept for his seventeen months of service.

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Dew of Death

The Story of Lewisite, America's World War I Weapon of Mass Destruction

Joel A. Vilensky. With the assistance of Pandy R. Sinish. Foreword by Richard Butler

"Dr. Vilensky raises important concerns regarding the threats posed by lewisite and other weapons of mass destruction. As he describes, non-proliferation programs are a vital component in the War on Terror." -- Richard G. Lugar, United States Senator

"Joel Vilensky's book is a detailed and immensely useful account of the development and history of one of the major chemical weapons.... We will always know how to make lewisite, the 'Dew of Death,' but that does not mean that we should, or be compelled to accept such weapons in our lives." -- from the Foreword by Richard Butler, former head of UN Special Commission to Disarm Iraq

In 1919, when the Great War was over, the New York Times reported on a new chemical weapon with "the fragrance of geranium blossoms," a poison gas that was "the climax of this country's achievements in the lethal arts." The name of this substance was lewisite and this is its story -- the story of an American weapon of mass destruction.

Discovered by accident by a graduate student and priest in a chemistry laboratory at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., lewisite was developed into a weapon by Winford Lewis, who became its namesake, working with a team led by James Conant, later president of Harvard and head of government oversight for the U.S.'s atomic bomb program, the Manhattan Project. After a powerful German counterattack in the spring of 1918, the government began frantic production of lewisite in hopes of delivering 3,000 tons of the stuff to be ready for use in Europe the following year. The end of war came just as the first shipment was being prepared. It was dumped into the sea, but not forgotten.

Joel A. Vilensky tells the intriguing story of the discovery and development of lewisite and its curious history. During World War II, the United States produced more than 20,000 tons of lewisite, testing it on soldiers and secretly dropping it from airplanes. In the end, the substance was abandoned as a weapon because it was too unstable under most combat conditions. But a weapon once discovered never disappears. It was used by Japan in Manchuria and by Iraq in its war with Iran. The Soviet Union was once a major manufacturer. Strangely enough, although it was developed for lethal purposes, lewisite led to an effective treatment for a rare neurological disease.

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Doughboys on the Great War

How American Soldiers Viewed Their Military Experience

A compelling narrative drawn from the first-hand accounts of American soldiers who served in France during WW1.

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Einstein's Pacifism and World War I

Virginia Iris Holmes

To understand how Albert Einstein’s pacifist and internationalist thought matured from a youthful inclination to pragmatic initiatives and savvy insights, Holmes gives readers access to Einstein in his own words. Through his private writings, she shows how Einstein’s thoughts and feelings in response to the war evolved from horrified disbelief, to ironic alienation from both the war’s violence and patriotic support for it by the German people, to a kind of bleak endurance. Meanwhile, his outward responses progressed, from supporting initiatives of other pacifists, to developing his own philosophy of a postwar order, to being the impetus behind initiatives.

In the beginning of the postwar period, Einstein’s writing reflected an optimism about Germany’s new Weimar Republic and trust in the laudatory effects of military defeat and economic hardship on the German people. He clearly supported the principles in US President Woodrow Wilson’s "Fourteen Points" speech. Yet Einstein’s enthusiasm diminished as he became disappointed in the early Weimar Republic’s leaders and as his aversion to the culture of violence developing in Germany grew. He also felt offended at the betrayal of Wilson’s principles in the Treaty of Versailles. Drawing upon personal correspondence and public proclamations, Holmes offers an intimate and nuanced exploration of the pacifist thought of one of our greatest intellectuals.

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The Embattled Self

French Soldiers' Testimony of the Great War

by Leonard V. Smith

How did the soldiers in the trenches of the Great War understand and explain battlefield experience, and themselves through that experience? Situated at the intersection of military history and cultural history, The Embattled Self draws on the testimony of French combatants to explore how combatants came to terms with the war. In order to do so, they used a variety of narrative tools at hand—rites of passage, mastery, a character of the soldier as a consenting citizen of the Republic. None of the resulting versions of the story provided a completely consistent narrative, and all raised more questions about the "truth" of experience than they answered. Eventually, a story revolving around tragedy and the soldier as victim came to dominate—even to silence—other types of accounts. In thematic chapters, Leonard V. Smith explains why the novel structured by a specific notion of trauma prevailed by the 1930s.

Smith canvasses the vast literature of nonfictional and fictional testimony from French soldiers to understand how and why the "embattled self" changed over time. In the process, he undermines the conventional understanding of the war as tragedy and its soldiers as victims, a view that has dominated both scholarly and popular opinion since the interwar period. The book is important reading not only for traditional historians of warfare but also for scholars in a variety of fields who think critically about trauma and the use of personal testimony in literary and historical studies.

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Faith in the Fight

Religion and the American Soldier in the Great War

Jonathan H. Ebel

Faith in the Fight tells a story of religion, soldiering, suffering, and death in the Great War. Recovering the thoughts and experiences of American troops, nurses, and aid workers through their letters, diaries, and memoirs, Jonathan Ebel describes how religion--primarily Christianity--encouraged these young men and women to fight and die, sustained them through war's chaos, and shaped their responses to the war's aftermath. The book reveals the surprising frequency with which Americans who fought viewed the war as a religious challenge that could lead to individual and national redemption. Believing in a "Christianity of the sword," these Americans responded to the war by reasserting their religious faith and proclaiming America God-chosen and righteous in its mission. And while the war sometimes challenged these beliefs, it did not fundamentally alter them.

Revising the conventional view that the war was universally disillusioning, Faith in the Fight argues that the war in fact strengthened the religious beliefs of the Americans who fought, and that it helped spark a religiously charged revival of many prewar orthodoxies during a postwar period marked by race riots, labor wars, communist witch hunts, and gender struggles. For many Americans, Ebel argues, the postwar period was actually one of "reillusionment."

Demonstrating the deep connections between Christianity and Americans' experience of the First World War, Faith in the Fight encourages us to examine the religious dimensions of America's wars, past and present, and to work toward a deeper understanding of religion and violence in American history.

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Fall of the Double Eagle

The Battle for Galicia and the Demise of Austria-Hungary

John R. Schindler

Although southern Poland and western Ukraine are not often thought of in terms of decisive battles in World War I, the impulses that precipitated the Battle for Galicia in August 1914—and the unprecedented carnage that resulted—effectively doomed the Austro-Hungarian Empire just six weeks into the war.

In Fall of the Double Eagle, John R. Schindler explains how Austria-Hungary, despite military weakness and the foreseeable ill consequences, consciously chose war in that fateful summer of 1914. Through close examination of the Austro-Hungarian military, especially its elite general staff, Schindler shows how even a war that Vienna would likely lose appeared preferable to the “foul peace” the senior generals loathed. After Serbia outgunned the polyglot empire in a humiliating defeat, and the offensive into Russian Poland ended in the massacre of more than four hundred thousand Austro-Hungarians in just three weeks, the empire never recovered. While Austria-Hungary’s ultimate defeat and dissolution were postponed until the autumn of 1918, the late summer of 1914 on the plains and hills of Galicia sealed its fate.

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