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History > Military History > World War I

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A Journalist's Diplomatic Mission Cover

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A Journalist's Diplomatic Mission

Ray Stannard Baker's World War I Diary

At the height of World War I, in the winter of 1917–1918, one of the Progressive era’s most successful muckracking journalists, Ray Stannard Baker (1870–1946), set out on a special mission to Europe on behalf of the Wilson administration. While posing as a foreign correspondent for the New Republic and the New York World, Baker assessed public opinion in Europe about the war and postwar settlement. American officials in the White House and State Department held Baker’s wide-ranging, trenchant reports in high regard. After the war, Baker remained in government service as the president’s press secretary at the Paris Peace Conference, where the Allied victors dictated the peace terms to the defeated Central Powers. Baker’s position gave him an extraordinary vantage point from which to view history in the making. He kept a voluminous diary of his service to the president, beginning with his voyage to Europe and lasting through his time as press secretary. Unlike Baker’s published books about Wilson, leavened by much reflection, his diary allows modern readers unfiltered impressions of key moments in history by a thoughtful inside observer. Published here for the first time, this long-neglected source includes an introduction by John Maxwell Hamilton and Robert Mann that places Baker and his diary into historical context.

Kentucky Marine Cover

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Kentucky Marine

Major General Logan Feland and the Making of the Modern USMC

David J. Bettez

A native of Hopkinsville, Kentucky, Major General Logan Feland (1869--1936) played a major role in the development of the modern Marine Corps. Highly decorated for his heroic actions during the battle of Belleau Wood in World War I, Feland led the hunt for rebel leader Augusto C�sar Sandino during the Nicaraguan revolution from 1927 to 1929 -- an operation that helped to establish the Marines' reputation in guerrilla warfare and search-and-capture missions. Yet, despite rising to become one of the USMC's most highly ranked and regarded officers, Feland has been largely ignored in the historical record.

In Kentucky Marine, David J. Bettez uncovers the forgotten story of this influential soldier of the sea. During Feland's tenure as an officer, the Corps expanded exponentially in power and prestige. Not only did his command in Nicaragua set the stage for similar twenty-first-century operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, but Feland was one of the first instructors in the USMC's Advanced Base Force, which served as the forerunner of the amphibious assault force mission the Marines adopted in World War II.

Kentucky Marine also illuminates Feland's private life, including his marriage to successful soprano singer and socialite Katherine Cordner Feland, and details his disappointment at being twice passed over for the position of commandant. Drawing from personal letters, contemporary news articles, official communications, and confidential correspondence, this long-overdue biography fills a significant gap in twentieth-century American military history.

The Last Century of Sea Power, Volume 1 Cover

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The Last Century of Sea Power, Volume 1

From Port Arthur to Chanak, 1894--1922

H. P. Willmott

The transition to modern war at sea began during the period of the Sino-Japanese War (1894--1895) and the Spanish-American War (1898) and was propelled forward rapidly by the advent of the dreadnought and the nearly continuous state of war that culminated in World War I. By 1922, most of the elements that would define sea power in the 20th century were in place. Written by one of our foremost military historians, this volume acknowledges the complex nature of this transformation, focusing on imperialism, the growth of fleets, changes in shipbuilding and armament technology, and doctrines about the deployment and use of force at sea, among other factors. There is careful attention to the many battles fought at sea during this period and their impact on the future of sea power. The narrative is supplemented by a wide range of reference materials, including a detailed census of capital ships built during this period and a remarkable chronology of actions at sea during World War I.

Legacy of the Great War Cover

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Legacy of the Great War

Ninety Years On

Edited by Jay Winter

 

In late 2007 and early 2008, world-renowned historians gathered in Kansas City for a series of public forums on World War I. Each of the five events focused on a particular topic and featured spirited dialogue between its prominent participants.
In spontaneous exchanges, the eminent scholars probed each other’s arguments, learned from each other, and provided insights not just into history but also into the way scholars think about their subject alongside and at times in conflict with their colleagues.
            Representing a fourth generation of writers on the Great War and a transnational rather than an international approach, prominent historians Niall Ferguson and Paul Kennedy, Holger Afflerbach and Gary Sheffield, John Horne and Len Smith, John Milton Cooper and Margaret Macmillan, and Jay Winter and Robert Wohl brought to the proceedings an exciting clash of ideas.
The forums addressed topics about the Great War that have long fascinated both scholars and the educated public: the origins of the war and the question of who was responsible for the escalation of the July Crisis; the nature of generalship and military command, seen here from the perspectives of a German and a British scholar; the private soldiers’ experiences of combat, revealing their strategies of survival and negotiation; the peace-making process and the overwhelming pressures under which statesmen worked; and the long-term cultural consequences of the war—showing that the Great War was “great” not merely because of its magnitude but also because of its revolutionary effects. These topics continue to reverberate, and in addition to shedding new light on the subjects, these forums constitute a glimpse at how historical writing happens.
            American society did not suffer the consequences of the Great War that virtually all European countries knew—a lack of perspective that the National World War I Museum seeks to correct. This book celebrates that effort, helping readers feel the excitement and the moral seriousness of historical scholarship in this field and drawing more Americans into considering how their own history is part of this story.

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Liberty Is Dead

A Canadian in Germany, 1938

Militarism in a Global Age Cover

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Militarism in a Global Age

Naval Ambitions in Germany and the United States before World War I

by Dirk Bönker

At the turn of the twentieth century, the United States and Germany emerged as the two most rapidly developing industrial nation-states of the Atlantic world. The elites and intelligentsias of both countries staked out claims to dominance in the twentieth century. In Militarism in a Global Age, Dirk Bönker explores the far-reaching ambitions of naval officers before World War I as they advanced navalism, a particular brand of modern militarism that stressed the paramount importance of sea power as a historical determinant. Aspiring to make their own countries into self-reliant world powers in an age of global empire and commerce, officers viewed the causes of the industrial nation, global influence, elite rule, and naval power as inseparable. Characterized by both transnational exchanges and national competition, the new maritime militarism was technocratic in its impulses; its makers cast themselves as members of a professional elite that served the nation with its expert knowledge of maritime and global affairs.

American and German navalist projects differed less in their principal features than in their eventual trajectories. Over time, the pursuits of these projects channeled the two naval elites in different directions as they developed contrasting outlooks on their bids for world power and maritime force. Combining comparative history with transnational and global history, Militarism in a Global Age challenges traditional, exceptionalist assumptions about militarism and national identity in Germany and the United States in its exploration of empire and geopolitics, warfare and military-operational imaginations, state formation and national governance, and expertise and professionalism.

Miss Undine's Living Room Cover

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Miss Undine's Living Room

A Novel

Edited by John Maxwell Hamilton

The Next Great War? Cover

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The Next Great War?

The Roots of World War I and the Risk of U.S.-China Conflict

Richard N. Rosecrance

A century ago, Europe's diplomats mismanaged the crisis triggered by the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and the continent plunged into World War I, which killed millions, toppled dynasties, and destroyed empires. Today, as the hundredth anniversary of the Great War prompts renewed debate about the war's causes, scholars and policy experts are also considering the parallels between the present international system and the world of 1914. Are China and the United States fated to follow in the footsteps of previous great power rivals? Will today's alliances drag countries into tomorrow's wars? Can leaders manage power relationships peacefully? Or will East Asia's territorial and maritime disputes trigger a larger conflict, just as rivalries in the Balkans did in 1914?In The Next Great War?, experts reconsider the causes of World War I and explore whether the great powers of the twenty-first century can avoid the mistakes of Europe's statesmen in 1914 and prevent another catastrophic conflict. They find differences as well as similarities between today's world and the world of 1914 -- but conclude that only a deep understanding of those differences and early action to bring great powers together will likely enable the United States and China to avoid a great war.ContributorsAlan Alexandroff, Graham Allison, Richard N. Cooper, Charles S. Maier, Steven E. Miller, Joseph S. Nye Jr., T. G. Otte, David K. Richards, Richard N. Rosecrance, Kevin Rudd, Jack Snyder, Etel Solingen, Arthur A. Stein, Stephen Van Evera

No Insignificant Part Cover

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No Insignificant Part

The Rhodesia Native Regiment and the East Africa Campaign of the First World War

No Insignificant Part: The Rhodesia Native Regiment and the East Africa Campaign of the First World War is the first history of the only primarily African military unit from Zimbabwe to fight in the First World War. Recruited from the migrant labour network, most African soldiers in the RNR were originally miners or farm workers from what are now Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, and Malawi. Like others across the world, they joined the army for a variety of reason, chief among them a desire to escape low pay and horrible working conditions.

The RNR participated in some of the key engagements of the German East Africa campaign’s later phase, subsisting on extremely meager rations and suffering from tropical diseases and exhaustion. Because they were commanded by a small group of European officers, most of whom were seconded from the Native Affairs Department and the British South Africa Police, the regiment was dominated by racism. It was not unusual for black soldiers, but never white ones, to be publicly flogged for alleged theft or insubordination. Although it remained in the field longer than all-white units and some of its members received some of Britain’s highest decorations, the Rhodesia Native Regiment was quickly disbanded after the war and conveniently forgotten by the colonial establishment. Southern Rhodesias white settler minority, partly on the strength of its wartime sacrifice, was given political control of the territory through a racially exclusive form of self-government, but black RNR veterans received little support or recognition.

No Insignificant Part takes a new look at an old campaign and will appeal to scholars of African or military history interested in the First World War.

Nothing Less Than War Cover

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Nothing Less Than War

A New History of America’s Entry into World War I

Justus Doenecke

When war broke out in Europe in 1914, political leaders in the United States were swayed by popular opinion to remain neutral; yet less than three years later, the nation declared war on Germany. In Nothing Less Than War: A New History of America’s Entry into World War I, Justus D. Doenecke examines the clash of opinions over the war during this transformative period and offers a fresh perspective on America’s decision to enter World War I. Doenecke reappraises the public and private diplomacy of President Woodrow Wilson and his closest advisors and explores in great depth the response of Congress to the war. He also investigates the debates that raged in the popular media and among citizen groups that sprang up across the country as the U.S. economy was threatened by European blockades and as Americans died on ships sunk by German U-boats. The decision to engage in battle ultimately belonged to Wilson, but as Doenecke demonstrates, Wilson’s choice was not made in isolation. Nothing Less Than War provides a comprehensive examination of America’s internal political climate and its changing international role during the seminal period of 1914–1917.

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