Field-Marshal Sir Douglas Haig is the best-known (if popularly reviled) British commander of the First World War. But several important periods of his career remain poorly understood. This article aims to refocus attention on one such period: his command of First Army during 1915. After looking at the creation of armies within the British Expeditionary Force in December 1914, the article examines the relationship between Haig and the Commander-in-Chief, Sir John French, and highlights the unprecedented degree of independence that Haig was allowed during that year. This had a number of important implications for the offensives the British conducted during 1915, which were fought according to Haig's unrealistic prewar ideas of the "decisive" battle and the "human-battlefield."
This article investigates how the U.S. military occupation of the German Rhineland after the First World War helped to reconstruct patriarchy in the occupied zone through the control of doughboys' and Frauleins' sexuality. The relative stability enjoyed in the American zone in turn enabled the United States to mediate conflicts and operate as a reconciling influence among the other, more quarrelsome occupying powers. The two systems of power and privilege—patriarchy and international relations—operated simultaneously to produce the desired result of maintaining the American international advantage in the postwar world.
Between 1985 and 2006, public debates raged in Germany and Britain about overturning courts-martial sentences from the First and Second World Wars. These debates provide a window for understanding how military-historical topics become mainstream contemporary debates. Long a peripheral matter, by the 1990s military justice during the World Wars had vaulted from the field of grassroots activism to the legislative, executive, and judicial arenas of government. The pardon campaigns followed their own trajectories as preexisting narratives, nation-specific actors, and contemporary agendas interacted with historical research and new scholarship. The campaigns culminated in the overturning of Wehrmacht convictions from the Second World War (Germany, 1997) and a blanket pardon for soldiers executed for cowardice and desertion during the First World War (Britain, 2006).
Following the Berlin crisis of 1948, U.S. strategic bombers—supposed "atomic capable"—were based in Britain, but with no agreement on the terms of their operation. Using British and U.S. archival sources, this article examines the discussions about the conditions under which U.S. bombers would have operated from British soil in a nuclear strike upon the Soviet Union, a key issue in the emergence of Britain's postwar "special relationship" with the United States. It focuses on the political and military concerns on both sides of the Atlantic about agreements limiting the use of the airbases during the crucial period 1948–58.
The most fundamental principle in American civil-military relationships is the subordination of the military to civilian control; consequently, senior military officers serve as advisors to the President and his cabinet. In 1953, Dwight D. Eisenhower brought to the presidency a great deal of military expertise and strong convictions regarding national security, which his New Look proposed to guarantee by relying on atomic weapons, the Strategic Air Command, and a robust economy. Army officers believed the New Look's drastic reductions in conventional ground forces challenged the very existence of their service. Tired of their dissension, the President steadily isolated himself from opposing views voiced by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, particularly those of the Army.