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Confronting Captivity

Britain and the United States and Their POWs in Nazi Germany

Arieh J. Kochavi

How was it possible that almost all of the nearly 300,000 British and American troops who fell into German hands during World War II survived captivity in German POW camps and returned home almost as soon as the war ended? In ###Confronting Captivity#, Arieh J. Kochavi offers a behind-the-scenes look at the living conditions in Nazi camps and traces the actions the British and American governments took--and didn't take--to ensure the safety of their captured soldiers. Concern in London and Washington about the safety of these POWs was mitigated by the recognition that the Nazi leadership tended to adhere to the Geneva Convention when it came to British and U.S. prisoners. Following the invasion of Normandy, however, Allied apprehension over the safety of POWs turned into anxiety for their very lives. Yet Britain and the United States took the calculated risk of counting on a swift conclusion to the war as the Soviets approached Germany from the east. Ultimately, Kochavi argues, it was more likely that the lives of British and American POWs were spared because of their race rather than any actions their governments took on their behalf. Kochavi describes how it was possible for almost all of the nearly 300,000 British and American troops who fell into German hands in WWII to survive captivity in German POW camps and go back home almost as soon as the war ended. Kochavi shows that Berlin tended to adhere to the Geneva Conventions, but when Hitler shifted responsibility for the camps to the SS and the Gestapo after D-Day and Allied bombing campaigns devastated German cities, fear set in for the captives' very lives. Nonetheless, Kochavi conludes, London and Washington took a calculated risk during the final months of the war by excluding any operative steps on behalf of their POWs. Kochavi describes how it was possible for almost all of the nearly 300,000 British and American troops who fell into German hands in WWII to survive captivity and return home soon after the war ended. How was it possible that almost all of the nearly 300,000 British and American troops who fell into German hands during World War II survived captivity in German POW camps and returned home almost as soon as the war ended? In ###Confronting Captivity#, Arieh J. Kochavi offers a behind-the-scenes look at the living conditions in Nazi camps and traces the actions the British and American governments took--and didn't take--to ensure the safety of their captured soldiers. Concern in London and Washington about the safety of these POWs was mitigated by the recognition that the Nazi leadership tended to adhere to the Geneva Convention when it came to British and U.S. prisoners. Following the invasion of Normandy, however, Allied apprehension over the safety of POWs turned into anxiety for their very lives. Yet Britain and the United States took the calculated risk of counting on a swift conclusion to the war as the Soviets approached Germany from the east. Ultimately, Kochavi argues, it was more likely that the lives of British and American POWs were spared because of their race rather than any actions their governments took on their behalf.

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Confronting Memories of World War II

European and Asian Legacies

edited by Daniel Chirot, Gi-Wook Shin, and Daniel Sneider

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Cooperation under Fire

Anglo-German Restraint during World War II

by Jeffrey W. Legro

Why do nations cooperate even as they try to destroy each other? Jeffrey Legro explores this question in the context of World War II, the "total" war that in fact wasn't. During the war, combatant states attempted to sustain agreements limiting the use of three forms of combat considered barbarous—submarine attacks against civilian ships, strategic bombing of civilian targets, and chemical warfare. Looking at how these restraints worked or failed to work between such fierce enemies as Hitler's Third Reich and Churchill's Britain, Legro offers a new understanding of the dynamics of World War II and the sources of international cooperation.

While traditional explanations of cooperation focus on the relations between actors, Cooperation under Fire examines what warring nations seek and why they seek it—the "preference formation" that undergirds international interaction. Scholars and statesmen debate whether it is the balance of power or the influence of international norms that most directly shapes foreign policy goals. Critically assessing both explanations, Legro argues that it was, rather, the organizational cultures of military bureaucracies—their beliefs and customs in waging war—that decided national priorities for limiting the use of force in World War II.

Drawing on documents from Germany, Britain, the United States, and the former Soviet Union, Legro provides a compelling account of how military cultures molded state preferences and affected the success of cooperation. In its clear and cogent analysis, this book has significant implications for the theory and practice of international relations.

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The Currents of War

A New History of American-Japanese Relations, 1899-1941

Sidney Pash

From 1899 until the American entry into World War II, U.S. presidents sought to preserve China's territorial integrity in order to guarantee American businesses access to Chinese markets -- a policy famously known as the "open door." Before the Russo-Japanese War in 1904, Americans saw Japan as the open door's champion; but by the end of 1905, Tokyo had replaced St. Petersburg as its greatest threat. For the next thirty-six years, successive U.S. administrations worked to safeguard China and contain Japanese expansion on the mainland.

The Currents of War reexamines the relationship between the United States and Japan and the casus belli in the Pacific through a fresh analysis of America's central foreign policy strategy in Asia. In this ambitious and compelling work, Sidney Pash offers a cautionary tale of oft-repeated mistakes and miscalculations. He demonstrates how continuous economic competition in the Asia-Pacific region heightened tensions between Japan and the United States for decades, eventually leading to the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

Pash's study is the first full reassessment of pre--World War II American-Japanese diplomatic relations in nearly three decades. It examines not only the ways in which U.S. policies led to war in the Pacific but also how this conflict gave rise to later confrontations, particularly in Korea and Vietnam. Wide-ranging and meticulously researched, this book offers a new perspective on a significant international relationship and its enduring consequences.

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D-Day in History and Memory

The Normandy Landings in International Remembrance and Commemoration

Edited by Michael Dolski, Sam Edwards, and John Buckley

Over the past sixty-five years, the Allied invasion of Northwestern France in June 1944, known as D-Day, has come to stand as something more than a major battle. The assault itself formed a vital component of Allied victory in the Second World War. D-Day developed into a sign and symbol; as a word it carries with it a series of ideas and associations that have come to symbolize different things to different people and nations. As such, the commemorative activities linked to the battle offer a window for viewing the various belligerents in their postwar years. This book examines the commonalities and differences in national collective memories of D-Day. Chapters cover the main forces on the day of battle, including the United States, Great Britain, Canada, France and Germany. In addition, a chapter on Russian memory of the invasion explores other views of the battle. The overall thrust of the book shows that memories of the past vary over time, link to present-day needs, and also still have a clear national and cultural specificity. These memories arise in a multitude of locations such as film, books, monuments, anniversary celebrations, and news media representations.

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D-Day in the Pacific

The Battle of Saipan

Harold J. Goldberg

In June 1944 the attention of the nation was riveted on events unfolding in France. But in the Pacific, the Battle of Saipan was of extreme strategic importance. This is a gripping account of one of the most dramatic engagements of World War II. The conquest of Saipan and the neighboring island of Tinian was a turning point in the war in the Pacific as it made the American victory against Japan inevitable. Until this battle, the Japanese continued to believe that success in the war remained possible. While Japan had suffered serious setbacks as early as the Battle of Midway in 1942, Saipan was part of her inner defense line, so victory was essential. The American victory at Saipan forced Japan to begin considering the reality of defeat. For the Americans, the capture of Saipan meant secure air bases for the new B-29s that were now within striking distance of all Japanese cities, including Tokyo.

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D-Day Remembered

The Normandy Landings in American Collective Memory

by Michael R. Dolksi

D-Day, the Allied invasion of northwestern France in June 1944, has remained in the forefront of American memories of the Second World War to this day. Depictions in books, news stories, documentaries, museums, monuments, memorial celebrations, speeches, games, and Hollywood spectaculars have overwhelmingly romanticized the assault as an event in which citizen-soldiers— the everyday heroes of democracy—engaged evil foes in a decisive clash fought for liberty, national redemption, and world salvation. In D-Day Remembered, Michael R. Dolski explores the evolution of American D-Day tales over the course of the past seven decades. He shows the ways in which that particular episode came to overshadow so many others in portraying the twentieth century’s most devastating cataclysm as “the Good War.” With depth and insight, he analyzes how depictions in various media, such as the popular histories of Stephen Ambrose and films like The Longest Day and Saving Private Ryan, have time and again reaffirmed cherished American notions of democracy, fair play, moral order, and the militant, yet non-militaristic, use of power for divinely sanctioned purposes. Only during the Vietnam era, when Americans had to confront an especially stark challenge to their pietistic sense of nationhood, did memories of D-Day momentarily fade. They soon reemerged, however, as the country sought to move beyond the lamentable conflict in Southeast Asia. Even as portrayals of D-Day have gone from sanitized early versions to more realistic acknowledgments of tactical mistakes and the horrific costs of the battle, the overarching story con¬tinues to be, for many, a powerful reminder of moral rectitude, military skill, and world mission. While the time to historicize this morality tale more fully and honestly has long since come, Dolski observes, the lingering positive connotations of D-Day indicate that the story is not yet finished.

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Dearest Letty

The World War II Love Letters of Sgt. Leland Duvall

Leland Duvall

Leland Duvall was a now-and-again farm worker with a grade-school education when he received his World War II draft notice at his father’s farm near Moreland, Arkansas, in March 1942. He departed for training in California, where he began to write to Letty Jones, a Pottsville girl he’d had a crush on for several years. From the first correspondence through the end of the war, Leland sent Letty a torrent of letters, hundreds of careful and undeniably heartfelt missives—utterly tender but never sentimental, reliably charming and gently humorous—written daily from desert sands, pup tents, hospital beds, armored cars, and bombed-out buildings. That Duvall’s writing is a tour de force of wit, elegance, and erudition is all the more poignant because he was a man who was almost entirely self-taught. The letters, discovered by Duvall’s daughter after his death, are here enriched by his longtime friend and colleague Ernie Dumas, who provides facts about where Duvall was and the perils he endured while penning his epistles, information that was often missing in dispatches that were necessarily censored and always guided by Duvall’s effort not to bore or worry his “dearest Letty.” Duvall’s lively intelligence and obvious joy in writing come through on every page, joining the patina of the era and the bright shine of a timeless love affai.

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Defending Whose Country?

Indigenous Soldiers in the Pacific War

Noah Riseman

In the campaign against Japan in the Pacific during the Second World War, the armed forces of the United States, Australia, and the Australian colonies of Papua and New Guinea made use of indigenous peoples in new capacities. The United States had long used American Indians as soldiers and scouts in frontier conflicts and in wars with other nations. With the advent of the Navajo Code Talkers in the Pacific theater, Native servicemen were now being employed for contributions that were unique to their Native cultures. In contrast, Australia, Papua, and New Guinea had long attempted to keep indigenous peoples out of the armed forces altogether. With the threat of Japanese invasion, however, they began to bring indigenous peoples into the military as guerilla patrollers, coastwatchers, and regular soldiers.


Defending Whose Country? is a comparative study of the military participation of Papua New Guineans, Yolngu, and Navajos in the Pacific War. In examining the decisions of state and military leaders to bring indigenous peoples into military service, as well as the decisions of indigenous individuals to serve in the armed forces, Noah Riseman reconsiders the impact of the largely forgotten contributions of indigenous soldiers in the Second World War.
 

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