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History > Military History
Fighting the War of the Pacific, 1879-1884
A Documentary Reader
American Intellectuals and the Vietnam War, 1954-1975
Prior to the Vietnam war, American intellectual life rested comfortably on shared assumptions and often common ideals. Intellectuals largely supported the social and economic reforms of the 1930s, the war against Hitler's Germany, and U.S. conduct during the Cold War. By the early 1960s, a liberal intellectual consensus existed.
The war in Southeast Asia shattered this fragile coalition, which promptly dissolved into numerous camps, each of which questioned American institutions, values, and ideals. Robert R. Tomes sheds new light on the demise of Cold War liberalism and the development of the New Left, and the steady growth of a conservatism that used Vietnam, and anti-war sentiment, as a rallying point. Importantly, Tomes provides new evidence that neoconservatism retreated from internationalism due largely to Vietnam, only to regroup later with substantially diminished goals and expectations.
Covering vast archival terrain, Apocalypse Then stands as the definitive account of the impact of the Vietnam war on American intellectual life.
America's Wars in Asia from the Philippines to Vietnam
Although conventionally treated as separate, America's four wars in Asia were actually phases in a sustained U.S. bid for regional dominance, according to Michael H. Hunt and Steven I. Levine. This effort unfolded as an imperial project in which military power and the imposition of America's political will were crucial. Devoting equal attention to Asian and American perspectives, the authors follow the long arc of conflict across seventy-five years from the Philippines through Japan and Korea to Vietnam, tracing along the way American ambition, ascendance, and ultimate defeat. They show how these wars are etched deeply in eastern Asia's politics and culture.
The authors encourage readers to confront the imperial pattern in U.S. history with implications for today's Middle Eastern conflicts. They also offer a deeper understanding of China's rise and Asia's place in today's world.
For instructors: An Online Instructor's Manual is available, with teaching tips for using Arc of Empire in graduate and undergraduate courses on America's wars in Asia. It includes lecture topics, chronologies, and sample discussion questions.
Conflict and Revolution in the United States
In The Archaeology of Engagement: Conflict and Revolution in the United States, Dana L. Pertermann and Holly K. Norton have assembled a collection of studies that includes sites of conflicts between groups of widely divergent cultures, such as Robert E. Lee's mid-1850s campaign along the Concho River and the battles of the River Raisin during the War of 1812. Notably, the second half of the book applies the editors’ principles of conflict event theory to the San Jacinto Battlefield in Texas, forming a case study of one of America's most storied—and heavily trafficked—battle sites.
A Soldier Recalls World War II
"Tell me about the war" -- these words launched a ten-year project in oral history by a husband-and-wife team. Howard Hoffman fought in World War II from Cassino to the Elbe as a mortar crewman and a forward observer. His war experiences are of intrinsic interest to readers who seek a foot soldier's view of those historic events. But the principal purpose of this study was to explore the bounds of memory, to gauge its accuracy and its stability over time, and to determine the effects of various efforts to enhance it. Alice Hoffman, a historian, initiated the study because she recognized the critical role of memory in gathering oral history; Howard Hoffman, the subject, is an experimental psychologist. Alice's tape-recorded interviews with her husband over a period of ten years are the basic material of the study, which compares the events as recounted in the first phase of the interviews with later accounts of the same experiences and with the written records of his company as well as the memories of fellow soldiers and the evidence of photographs and other documents. This engrossing story of World War II breaks new ground for practitioners of oral history. The Hoffmans' findings indicate that a subset of human memory exists that is so permanent and resistant to change that it can properly be labeled "archival". In addition to describing some of the circumstances under which archival memories are formed, the Hoffmans describe the conditions that were found to influence their storage and retrieval.
Consumerism and Soldiering in the Vietnam War
Popular representations of the Vietnam War tend to emphasize violence, deprivation, and trauma. By contrast, in Armed with Abundance, Meredith Lair focuses on the noncombat experiences of U.S. soldiers in Vietnam, redrawing the landscape of the war so that swimming pools, ice cream, visits from celebrities, and other "comforts" share the frame with combat.
To address a tenuous morale situation, military authorities, Lair reveals, wielded abundance to insulate soldiers--and, by extension, the American public--from boredom and deprivation, making the project of war perhaps easier and certainly more palatable. The result was dozens of overbuilt bases in South Vietnam that grew more elaborate as the war dragged on. Relying on memoirs, military documents, and G.I. newspapers, Lair finds that consumption and satiety, rather than privation and sacrifice, defined most soldiers' Vietnam deployments. Abundance quarantined the U.S. occupation force from the impoverished people it ostensibly had come to liberate, undermining efforts to win Vietnamese "hearts and minds" and burdening veterans with disappointment that their wartime service did not measure up to public expectations. With an epilogue that finds a similar paradigm at work in Iraq, Armed with Abundance offers a unique and provocative perspective on modern American warfare.
Niger's political history has lacked a synthesis on the army's involvement in politics since independence. The country is a fertile ground for such analysis. Between 1964 and 1999, the country witnessed three successful military coups during the democratisation process (April 1974, January 1996, and April 1999) and at least four military coup attempts (1964, 1975, 1976, 1983). In its forty years of independence, Niger has been under military rule for twenty-one years. It has also experienced seven different institutional regimes while four out of the six presidents who headed the country were soldiers. Niger evolved from the Second to the Fifth Republic in less than ten years - from the national conference (November 1991) to the last military coup (April 1999). In statistical terms, Niger has been witnessing a military coup or a military coup attempt every five-years since 1974. In addition to that, the country recorded seven mutinies and various other forms of troop rebellion between December 1963 and August 2000. In terms of institutional instability, Niger's record is unparalleled in Africa. A study on the army is therefore more needed than ever before. The recurrence with which the military appears on the political scene imposes another way of looking at Niger's army. A critical analysis of the military phenomenon, if not an assessment, would help envisage new prospects for Niger's future. This work, which was undertaken by a multi disciplinary team, suggests an analysis, from a historical and sociological perspective, of the long-standing involvement of the army in politics (the apparition of war leaders in the 19th century, the transition from colonial army to national army, the politicisation of the army and the emergence of 'military-politicians', the army sociology.). It aims at providing an answer to a key question: Why is the army so deeply involved in politics in Niger? It reveals how a significant military component has been gradually built up in Niger's political arena to become a highly dynamic political entrepreneur, able to compete with civilian politicians. The work shows, on the one hand, the significance of socio-political and economic contexts that promote the propensity for military interventionism, and on the other hand the transformations within the army that explain its propensity to intervene. It relates two decades of 'military rule', analyses their modes of legitimating, organising and managing power, gives an assessment of their economic policies and sheds light on women's role in that institution, which was thus far a men's business.
The Western Armaments Trade in Warlord China, 1920-28, Second Edition
First published in 1982, this book remains the classic account of the arms trade in warlord China. The second edition includes a new preface that reframes the argument within the paradigm of critical militarism and state criminality. Arming the Chinese tells the story of the Western and Japanese merchants and governments who provided weapons to warlords for their expanding armies. Although the warlords were hearty individualists who retained control over domestic affairs and rarely relied on single foreign suppliers, the armaments trade, Chan argues, was a new form of imperialism, which perpetrated the continued Western and Japanese domination of China.
British Soldiers on the American Frontier, 1758-1775
Going beyond the war experience, Army and Empire examines the lives and experiences of British soldiers in the complex, evolving cultural frontiers of the West in British America. From the first appearance of the redcoats in the West until the outbreak of the American Revolution, Michael N. McConnell explores all aspects of peacetime service, including the soldiers’ diet and health, mental well-being, social life, transportation, clothing, and the built environments within which they lived and worked. McConnell looks at the army on the frontier for what it was: a collection of small communities of men, women, and children faced with the challenges of surviving on the far western edge of empire.