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The Roots of World War I and the Risk of U.S.-China Conflict
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.
A New History of America’s Entry into World War I
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.
The German Conquest of the Baltic Islands
In October 1917, an invasion force of some 25,000 German soldiers, accompanied by a flotilla of 10 dreadnoughts, 350 other vessels, a half-dozen zeppelins, and 80 aircraft, attacked the Baltic islands of Dago, Osel, and Moon at the head of the Gulf of Riga. It proved to be the most successful amphibious operation of World War I. The three islands fell, the Gulf was opened to German warships and was now a threat to Russian naval bases in the Gulf of Finland, and 20,000 Russians were captured. The invasion proved to be the last major operation in the East. Although the invasion had achieved its objectives and placed the Germans in an excellent position for the resumption of warfare in the spring, within three weeks of the operation, the Bolsheviks took power in Russia (November 7, 1917) and Albion faded into obscurity as the war in the East came to a slow end.
Verdun to Vichy
Few figures in modern French history have aroused more controversy than Marshal Philippe PTtain, who rose from obscurity to great fame in the First World War only to fall into infamy during the dark days of Nazi occupation in World War II. PTtainÆs brilliant theories of firepower and flexible defense, as well as his deep empathy for the soldiers of France and the horrific trials they endured on a daily basis, mark him as one of the greatest Allied generals of World War I. Yet today he is best remembered as the nearly senile marshal who was handed the reins of power in France in the midst of the disastrous 1940 campaign and tasked with seeking terms from Nazi Germany. His leadership of Vichy France from 1940 to 1944 and his postwar conviction of treason and lifetime exile to the Ile d'Yeu made him a scapegoat for the nation.
This later perception forever tainted PTtainÆs military reputation as a soldier who served France his entire life and led the French Army through the crucible of Verdun, the morale crisis of 1917, and on to final victory in the Great War. He was despised for his actions as an octogenarian in June 1940. With the bulk of the French Army already destroyed and Paris itself wide-open to attack, PTtain, then eighty-four, immediately sought an armistice with Germany to halt further bloodshed. While others fled, PTtain took what he considered the braver course by staying and doing what he could to safeguard the remnants of his army and his nation. So began his descent into collaboration, treason, and the destruction of all that he had accomplished and stood for throughout his life.
World War I Posters and Visual Culture
The 1916 Austro-German Campaign in Romania
In contrast to the trench-war deadlock on the Western Front, combat in Romania and Transylvania in 1916 foreshadowed the lightning warfare of WWII. When Romania joined the Allies and invaded Transylvania without warning, the Germans responded by unleashing a campaign of bold, rapid infantry movements, with cavalry providing cover or pursuing the crushed foe. Hitting where least expected and advancing before the Romanians could react—even bombing their capital from a Zeppelin soon after war was declared—the Germans and Austrians poured over the formidable Transylvanian Alps onto the plains of Walachia, rolling up the Romanian army from west to east, and driving the shattered remnants into Russia. Prelude to Blitzkrieg tells the story of this largely ignored campaign to determine why it did not devolve into the mud and misery of trench warfare, so ubiquitous elsewhere.
Black Women's Activism from World War I to the New Deal
This political history of middle-class African American women during World War I focuses on their patriotic activity and social work. Nearly 200,000 African American men joined the Allied forces in France. At home, black clubwomen raised more than $125 million in wartime donations and assembled "comfort kits" for black soldiers, with chocolate, cigarettes, socks, a bible, and writing materials. Given the hostile racial climate of the day, why did black women make considerable financial contributions to the American and Allied war effort? Brown argues that black women approached the war from the nexus of the private sphere of home and family and the public sphere of community and labor activism. Their activism supported their communities and was fueled by a personal attachment to black soldiers and black families. Private Politics and Public Voices follows their lives after the war, when they carried their debates about race relations into public political activism.
African Americans and the United States Government during World War I
In April 1917, black Americans reacted in various ways to the entry of the United States into World War I in the name of "Democracy." Some expressed loud support, many were indifferent, and others voiced outright opposition. All were agreed, however, that the best place to start guaranteeing freedom was at home.
Almost immediately, rumors spread across the nation that German agents were engaged in "Negro Subversion" and that African Americans were potentially disloyal. Despite mounting a constant watch on black civilians, their newspapers, and their organizations, the domestic intelligence agents of the federal government failed to detect any black traitors or saboteurs. They did, however, find vigorous demands for equal rights to be granted and for the 30-year epidemic of lynching in the South to be eradicated. In Race, War, and Surveillance, Mark Ellis examines the interaction between the deep-seated fears of many white Americans about a possible race war and their profound ignorance about the black population. The result was a "black scare" that lasted well beyond the war years.
Mark Ellis is Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland.
256 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4, index, append.
cloth 0-253-33923-5 $39.95 s /
Stalin's Purge of the Soviet Military
This book is an entirely new reassessment of Stalin’s purge of the Red Army in 1937-1938 shedding new light on the nature of power, state violence, and civil-military relations under the Stalinist regime.