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History > Military History > World War I

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Send the Alabamians Cover

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Send the Alabamians

World War I Fighters in the Rainbow Division

Send the Alabamians recounts the story of the 167th Infantry Regiment of the WWI Rainbow Division from their recruitment to their valiant service on the bloody fields of eastern France in the climactic final months of World War I.

To mark the centenary of World War I, Send the Alabamians tells the remarkable story of a division of Alabama recruits whose service Douglas MacArthur observed had not “ been surpassed in military history.” The book borrows its title from a quip by American General Edward H. Plummer who commanded the young men during the inauspicious early days of their service. Impressed with their ferocity and esprit de corps but exasperated by their rambunctiousness, Plummer reportedly exclaimed:

In time of war, send me all the Alabamians you can get, but in
time of peace, for Lord’ s sake, send them to somebody else!

The ferocity of the Alabamians, so apt to get them in trouble at home, proved invaluable in the field. At the climactic Battle of Croix Rouge, the hot-blooded 167th exhibited unflinching valor and, in the face of machine guns, artillery shells, and poison gas, sustained casualty rates over 50 percent to dislodge and repel the deeply entrenched and heavily armed enemy.

Relying on extensive primary sources such as journals, letters, and military reports, Frazer draws a vivid picture of the individual soldiers who served in this division, so often overlooked but critical to the war’ s success. After Gettysburg, the Battle of Croix Rouge is the most
significant military engagement to involve Alabama soldiers in the state’ s history. Families and geneologists will value the full roster of the 167th that accompanies the text.

Richly researched yet grippingly readable, Nimrod T. Frazer’ s Send the Alabamians will delight those interested in WWI, the World Wars, Alabama history, or southern military history in general. Historians of the war, regimental historians, military history aficionados, and those interested in previously unexplored facets of Alabama history will prize this unique volume as well.

The Shadow of the Past Cover

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The Shadow of the Past

Reputation and Military Alliances before the First World War

by Gregory D. Miller

In The Shadow of the Past, Gregory D. Miller examines the role that reputation plays in international politics, emphasizing the importance of reliability-confidence that, based on past political actions, a country will make good on its promises-in the formation of military alliances. Challenging recent scholarship that focuses on the importance of credibility-a state's reputation for following through on its threats-Miller finds that reliable states have much greater freedom in forming alliances than those that invest resources in building military force but then use it inconsistently.

To explore the formation and maintenance of alliances based on reputation, Miller draws on insights from both political science and business theory to track the evolution of great power relations before the First World War. He starts with the British decision to abandon "splendid isolation" in 1900 and examines three crises--the First Moroccan Crisis (1905-6), the Bosnia-Herzegovina Crisis (1908-9), and the Agadir Crisis (1911)-leading up to the war. He determines that states with a reputation for being a reliable ally have an easier time finding other reliable allies, and have greater autonomy within their alliances, than do states with a reputation for unreliability. Further, a history of reliability carries long-term benefits, as states tend not to lose allies even when their reputation declines.

Sky Pilots Cover

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Sky Pilots

The Yankee Division Chaplains in World War I

Michael E. Shay

In August 1917, the U.S. 26th “Yankee” Division was formally activated for service in World War I. When the soldiers arrived in France, they were accompanied by more than three dozen volunteer chaplains. These clergymen experienced all the horrors of war, shared all the privations of the common soldier, and earned the love and affection of their “boys.” Two died, several were gassed or wounded, and many were decorated by France and the United States for their heroism, yet their stories have been lost to history. Through extensive research in published and archival sources, as well as firsthand materials obtained from the families of several chaplains, Michael E. Shay brings to life the story of these valiant men—a story of courage in the face of the horrors of war and of extreme devotion to the men they served.

Just as important, Sky Pilots follows the chaplains home and on to their subsequent careers. For many, their war experiences shaped their ministries, particularly in the area of ecumenism and the Social Gospel. Others left the ministry altogether. To fill in the chaplains’ stories, Shay also examines the evolution of the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps, the education of the newly appointed chaplains, and the birth of the Yankee Division.

This exploration of the noncombatants who earned the love and respect of the doughboys should appeal to armchair historians and scholars alike. Enhanced with photographs and an appendix summarizing the biographical information for each man, Sky Pilots is the first comprehensive look at the role of the Army chaplaincy at the divisional level.

Sovereignty at Sea Cover

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Sovereignty at Sea

U.S. Merchant Ships and American Entry into World War I

Rodney Carlisle

While numerous studies have examined Woodrow Wilson's policy of neutrality prior to U.S. entry into World War I, none has focused on the actual merchant ship losses that created the final casus belli. This work focuses on what the president knew and when he knew it concerning the loss of ten ships between February 3 and April 4, 1917. By looking at the specifics, Rodney Carlisle offers new explanations for the reasons that led the president, the cabinet, the public, and Congress to decide for war.

Sovereignty at Sea not only adds much to our understanding of maritime and diplomatic history during the First World War period but also speaks to contemporary concerns with issues surrounding the U.S. justification for wars.

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Stalking the U-Boat

U.S. Naval Aviation in Europe during World War I

Geoffrey L. Rossano

Stalking the U-Boat is the first and only comprehensive study of U.S. naval aviation operations in Europe during WWI. The navy's experiences in this conflict laid the foundations for the later emergence of aviation as a crucial--sometimes dominant--element of fleet operations, yet those origins have been previously poorly understood and documented.

Begun as antisubmarine operations, naval aviation posed enormous logistical, administrative, personnel, and operational problems. How the USN developed this capability--on foreign soil in the midst of desperate conflict--makes a fascinating tale sure to appeal to all military and naval historians.

A Strange and Formidable Weapon Cover

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A Strange and Formidable Weapon

British Responses to World War I Poison Gas

Marion Leslie Girard

The advent of poison gas in World War I shocked Britons at all levels of society, yet by the end of the conflict their nation was a leader in chemical warfare. Although never used on the home front, poison gas affected almost every segment of British society physically, mentally, or emotionally, proving to be an armament of total war. Through cartoons, military records, novels, treaties, and other sources, Marion Girard examines the varied ways different sectors of British society viewed chemical warfare, from the industrialists who promoted their toxic weapons while maintaining private control of production, to the politicians who used gas while balancing the need for victory with the risk of developing a reputation for barbarity. Although most Britons considered gas a vile weapon and a symptom of the enemy’s inhumanity, many eventually condoned its use.
 
The public debates about the future of gas extended to the interwar years, and evidence reveals that the taboo against poison gas was far from inevitable. A Strange and Formidable Weapon uncovers the complicated history of this weapon of total war and illustrates the widening involvement of society in warfare.

They Called Them Soldier Boys Cover

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They Called Them Soldier Boys

A Texas Infantry Regiment in World War I

Gregory W. Ball

They Called Them Soldier Boys offers an in-depth study of soldiers of the Texas National Guard’s Seventh Texas Infantry Regiment in World War I, through their recruitment, training, journey to France, combat, and their return home. Gregory W. Ball focuses on the fourteen counties in North, Northwest, and West Texas where officers recruited the regiment’s soldiers in the summer of 1917, and how those counties compared with the rest of the state in terms of political, social, and economic attitudes. In September 1917 the “Soldier Boys” trained at Camp Bowie, near Fort Worth, Texas, until the War Department combined the Seventh Texas with the First Oklahoma Infantry to form the 142d Infantry Regiment of the 36th Division. In early October 1918, the 142d Infantry, including more than 600 original members of the Seventh Texas, was assigned to the French Fourth Army in the Champagne region and went into combat for the first time on October 6. Ball explores the combat experiences of those Texas soldiers in detail up through the armistice of November 11, 1918. “Ball has done a fine job to describe and analyze the types of men who served—regarding their backgrounds and economic and social status—which fits well with the important trend relating military history to social history.”—Joseph G. Dawson, editor of The Texas Military Experience

Tirpitz and the Imperial German Navy Cover

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Tirpitz and the Imperial German Navy

Patrick J. Kelly

Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz (1849--1930) was the principal force behind the rise of the German Imperial Navy prior to World War I, challenging Great Britain's command of the seas. As State Secretary of the Imperial Naval Office from 1897 to 1916, Tirpitz wielded great power and influence over the national agenda during that crucial period. By the time he had risen to high office, Tirpitz was well equipped to use his position as a platform from which to dominate German defense policy. Though he was cool to the potential of the U-boat, he enthusiastically supported a torpedo boat branch of the navy and began an ambitious building program for battleships and battle cruisers. Based on exhaustive archival research, including new material from family papers, Tirpitz and the Imperial German Navy is the first extended study in English of this germinal figure in the growth of the modern navy.

To the Last Salute Cover

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To the Last Salute

Memories of an Austrian U-Boat Commander

Georg von Trapp

The Sound of Music endeared Georg von Trapp (1880–1947) and his singing family to the world, and it also showed us how desperately the Nazis wanted Captain von Trapp for their navy. In To the Last Salute we learn why. Trapp’s own story of his exploits as a submarine commander during the First World War is as exciting as it is instructive, bringing to stirring life a little-known chapter in the naval history of that war.
 
In his many guises Trapp describes life as captain of Austro-Hungarian U-boats in the Mediterranean and Adriatic seas, emerging by turn as the Imperial Austrian naval officer, the witty observer of international politics, and the indefatigable and ultimately heartbroken patriot opposing the Allied enemy. He relates deadly duels with submarine sweepers, narrow escapes and excruciatingly close calls, and the spectacular sinking of cargo and war ships—all the while maintaining a keen sense of the camaraderie of seamen from every corner of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. A picture of a lost time, a portrait of a remarkable character, a window on early submarine warfare: Trapp’s story, in English for the first time, offers a rare combination of human interest, historical insight, and true life-and-death adventure.

To the Line of Fire! Cover

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To the Line of Fire!

Mexican Texans and World War I

By José A. Ramírez

Winner of the 2009 Robert A. Calvert Prize In January 1917, German foreign minister Arthur Zimmermann sent a telegram to Germany’s Mexican ambassador, authorizing the offer of U.S. territory in exchange for Mexico’s alliance with Germany in the Great War. After the interception of this communication, U.S. intelligence intensified surveillance of the Mexican American community in Texas and elsewhere, vigilant for signs of subversive activity. Yet, even as this was transpiring, thousands of Tejanos (Mexican Texans) were serving in the American military during the war, with many other citizens of Mexican origin contributing to home front efforts. As author José A. Ramírez demonstrates in To the Line of Fire!, the events of World War I and its aftermath would decisively transform the Tejano community, as war-hardened veterans returned with new, broadened perspectives. They led their people in opposing prejudice and discrimination, founding several civil rights groups and eventually merging them into the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the largest and oldest surviving Hispanic civil rights organization in the United States. Ramírez also shows the diversity of reaction to the war on the part of the Tejano community: While some called enthusiastically for full participation in the war effort, others reacted coolly, or only out of fear of reprisal. Scholarly and general readers in Texas history, military history, and Mexican American studies will be richly rewarded by reading To the Line of Fire!  

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