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Across the Three Pagodas Pass
The Story of the Thai-Burma Railway
Peter Davies
Amsterdam University Press, 2013
This is a translation of the only known detailed account of the building of the notorious 262-mile long Thai-Burma Railway by one of the Japanese professional engineers who was involved in its construction. The author, Yoshihiko Futamatsu, provides an invaluable new source of historical and technical reference that complements the existing large body of literature in English on this subject. Futamatsu’s memoir also includes wide-ranging reflections on the course and conduct of ‘his’ war as well as his engineering and army experiences. The Thai-Burma Railway took eighteen months to build and cost the lives of some 90,000 people (mostly British, Australian, Dutch and American POWs, as well as great numbers of local labourers) out of a total of over 200,000, including some 12-15,000 Japanese who were engaged in the enterprise. The ‘Three Pagodas Pass’ was located at the Thai-Burma frontier. Across the Three Pagodas Pass is edited and introduced by Peter N. Davies who provides the back story to the publication of this book and the key people involved. This is followed by translator Ewart Escritt’s original Introduction to his translation of Futamatsu’s memoir which also includes a detailed account of his own POW experiences as well as his reflections on the war and its outcomes. Many contemporary original drawings, maps and photographs appear in the plate section.
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Admiral Bill Halsey
A Naval Life
Thomas Alexander Hughes
Harvard University Press, 2016

William Halsey was the most famous naval officer of World War II. His fearlessness in carrier raids against Japan, his steely resolve at Guadalcanal, and his impulsive blunder at the Battle of Leyte Gulf made him the “Patton of the Pacific” and solidified his reputation as a decisive, aggressive fighter prone to impetuous errors of judgment in the heat of battle. In this definitive biography, Thomas Hughes punctures the popular caricature of the “fighting admiral” to reveal the truth of Halsey’s personal and professional life as it was lived in times of war and peace.

Halsey, the son of a Navy officer whose alcoholism scuttled a promising career, committed himself wholeheartedly to naval life at an early age. An audacious and inspiring commander to his men, he met the operational challenges of the battle at sea against Japan with dramatically effective carrier strikes early in the war. Yet his greatest contribution to the Allied victory was as commander of the combined sea, air, and land forces in the South Pacific during the long slog up the Solomon Islands chain, one of the war’s most daunting battlegrounds. Halsey turned a bruising slugfest with the Japanese navy into a rout. Skillfully mediating the constant strategy disputes between the Army and the Navy—as well as the clashes of ego between General Douglas MacArthur and Admiral Chester Nimitz—Halsey was the linchpin of America’s Pacific war effort when its outcome was far from certain.

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After the Holodomor
The Enduring Impact of the Great Famine on Ukraine
Andrea Graziosi
Harvard University Press

Over the last twenty years, a concerted effort has been made to uncover the history of the Holodomor, the Great Famine of 1932–1933 in Ukraine. Now, with the archives opened and the essential story told, it becomes possible to explore in detail what happened after the Holodomor and to examine its impact on Ukraine and its people.

In 2008 the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University hosted an international conference entitled “The Great Famine in Ukraine: The Holodomor and Its Consequences, 1933 to the Present.” The papers, most of which are contained in this volume, concern a wide range of topics, such as the immediate aftermath of the Holodomor and its subsequent effect on Ukraine’s people and communities; World War II, with its wartime and postwar famines; and the impact of the Holodomor on subsequent generations of Ukrainians and present-day Ukrainian culture. Through the efforts of the historians, archivists, and demographers represented here, a fuller history of the Holodomor continues to emerge.

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Air Officer Commanding
Hugh Dowding, Architect of the Battle of Britain
John T. LaSaine
University Press of New England, 2018
Hugh Dowding may be described as the prime architect of British victory in the battle of Britain, and thus as one of a handful of officers and men most responsible for ensuring that Hitler’s planned invasion of England never occurred. Dowding was born in 1882 at the apex of British imperial power and had an early career as a gunner on the fabled North-West Frontier of the British Indian Empire. During the first year of World War I, he served with distinction as a combat pilot in France, but his real test would come in 1936, when he was assigned the critical task of reorganizing the Air Defense of Great Britain as the first air officer commanding-in-chief of the new RAF Fighter Command. In that capacity he stood up to senior staff—and Winston Churchill—by preventing the dismantling of British air defenses during the Battle of France in the spring of 1940, defying pressure from the British Army, Britain’s French allies, and His Majesty’s Government to send the bulk of the RAF’s front-line fighters to the Continent in what Dowding predicted would be a futile effort to stem the German onslaught. While holding back as many of his best fighter aircraft as he could, in June Dowding deployed 11 Group under his hand-picked lieutenant, Air Vice-Marshal Keith Park, to repulse the Luftwaffe over Dunkirk, covering the evacuation of some 338,000 British and French troops from the Continent. During the three months of fighting known as the Battle of Britain, the integrated air defense system organized and trained by Dowding fought the vaunted Luftwaffe to a standstill in daylight air-to-air combat. In October, the Germans abandoned their attempt to win a decisive battle for air superiority over England, turning instead to the protracted campaign of attrition by nighttime area bombing known as the Blitz. In building, defending, and overseeing the operations of Fighter Command, Dowding was thus not only one of the master builders of air power, but also the only airman to have been the winning commander in one of history’s decisive battles.
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Alamein
Jon Latimer
Harvard University Press, 2002

In this compelling account of the decisive World War II battle of El Alamein, Jon Latimer brings to life the harsh desert conflict in North Africa. In October 1942, after a two-year seesaw campaign across the wasteland of western Egypt and eastern Libya, the British Eighth Army not only achieved a significant military victory over the combined German-Italian Panzer Army but also provided an enormous psychological boost for the Allies.

This is the story of two of the most intriguing commanders of the war. Latimer offers remarkably balanced portraits of Bernard Law Montgomery, whose real achievement was overshadowed by his prickly ego, and Erwin Rommel, whose tactical brilliance could not overcome his disdain for the administrative side of war. Alamein, Latimer notes, was a victory for modern armaments, with concentrated artillery used on a scale not seen since 1918. Equally important were the critical contributions of naval and air forces in cutting off the German supply lines and supporting the ground troops, roles largely overlooked in standard accounts.

But Alamein is at heart the story of the infantry soldiers who fought in a scorched wilderness. Often using their own words, Latimer vividly describes the experiences of the gunners, sappers, cavalrymen, and airmen--Britons, Canadians, Australians, Indians, Germans, Italians, and others--who struggled in the heat, sand, and dust of this brutal environment.

With their success at El Alamein, the British forces would drive Rommel's army into Tunisia--and ultimate destruction in the North African Campaign of 1943.

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Alaska at War, 1941-1945
The Forgotten War Remembered
Edited by Fern Chandonnet
University of Alaska Press, 2007
Over the course of the past two hundred years, only one United States territory has experienced foreign occupation: Alaska. Available for the first time in paperback, Alaska at War brings readers face to face with the North Pacific front in World War II. Wide-ranging essays cover the war as seen by Alaskan eyes, including the Japanese invasion of the Attu and Kiska islands, the effects of the war on Aleutian Islanders, and the American campaign to recover occupied territory. Whether you’re a historian or a novice student interested in this pivotal period of American history, Alaska at War provides fascinating insight into the background, history, and cultural impact of war on the Alaskan homefront.
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Alaska's Hidden Wars
Secret Campaigns on the North Pacific Rim
Otis Hays Jr.
University of Alaska Press, 2004
On the eve of World War II, the national interests of Japan, the United States, and the Soviet Union collided in the North Pacific.

Alaska's Hidden Wars tells the story of the war in the North Pacific, a story of savage weather, isolation, and sacrifice.

Two island chains, the Aleutians and the Kuriles, became the focus of a series of major campaigns that pitted the Americans against the Japanese. Alaska's Hidden Wars chronicles the role of Japanese-American intelligence specialists and reveals a Japanese eyewitness account of the defense of Attu. Two virtually unknown aspects of the North Pacific war are also exposed: the brutal North Pacific weather and the imprisonment of American airmen in Kamchatka.

In 1942, the Japanese raided Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands and occupied the islands of Kiska and Attu. The Americans mounted a vigorous campaign, and the Japanese retreated to the Kuriles. For the next two years, the Americans launched air raids and fleet bombardments, while American soldiers maintained lonely outposts along Aleutian coasts. But in 1945, when Japan finally surrendered, the Kuriles were taken, not by the waiting Americans, but by the Soviets.

Alaska's Hidden Wars is a fast-moving history that brings declassified archival sources to light and draws the reader into the lonely, bitter war fought in the North Pacific.
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All-Out for Victory!
Magazine Advertising and the World War II Home Front
John Bush Jones
Brandeis University Press, 2009
Following the attack on Pearl Harbor and the entry of the United States into World War II, many commercial advertisers and their Madison Avenue ad agencies instantly switched from selling products and services to selling the home front on ways to support the war. Ads by major manufacturers showcased how their factories had turned to war production, demonstrating their participation in the war and helping people understand, for instance, that they couldn’t buy a new washing machine because the company was making munitions. Other ads helped civilians cope with wartime rationing and shortages by offering advice on how to make leftovers tasty, make shoes last, and keep a car in good working order. Ads also encouraged Victory Gardens, scrap collecting, giving blood, and (most important) buying War Bonds. In this book, Jones examines hundreds of ads from ten large-circulation news and general-interest magazines of the period. He discusses motivational war ads, ads about industrial and agricultural support of the war, ads directed at uplifting the morale of civilians and GIs, and ads promoting home front efficiency, conservation, and volunteerism. Jones also includes ads praising women in war work and the armed forces and ads aimed at recruiting more women. Taken together, war ads in national magazines did their part to create the most efficient home front possible in order to support the war effort.
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The Ambiguity of Virtue
Bernard Wasserstein
Harvard University Press, 2014

In May 1941, Gertrude van Tijn arrived in Lisbon on a mission of mercy from German-occupied Amsterdam. She came with Nazi approval to the capital of neutral Portugal to negotiate the departure from Hitler’s Europe of thousands of German and Dutch Jews. Was this middle-aged Jewish woman, burdened with such a terrible responsibility, merely a pawn of the Nazis, or was her journey a genuine opportunity to save large numbers of Jews from the gas chambers? In such impossible circumstances, what is just action, and what is complicity?

A moving account of courage and of all-too-human failings in the face of extraordinary moral challenges, The Ambiguity of Virtue tells the story of Van Tijn’s work on behalf of her fellow Jews as the avenues that might save them were closed off. Between 1933 and 1940 Van Tijn helped organize Jewish emigration from Germany. After the Germans occupied Holland, she worked for the Nazi‐appointed Jewish Council in Amsterdam and enabled many Jews to escape. Some later called her a heroine for the choices she made; others denounced her as a collaborator.

Bernard Wasserstein’s haunting narrative draws readers into the twilight world of wartime Europe, to expose the wrenching dilemmas that confronted Jews under Nazi occupation. Gertrude van Tijn’s experience raises crucial questions about German policy toward the Jews, about the role of the Jewish Council, and about Dutch, American, and British responses to the persecution and mass murder of Jews on an unimaginable scale.

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American Girls, Beer, and Glenn Miller
GI Morale in World War II
James J. Cooke
University of Missouri Press, 2016
"Cooke's examination of the Special Services and PX System during World War II, a subject previously overlooked by scholars, shows that these goods and services kept the armed forces' spirits up under the alienating conditions of global war."—Dennis Showalter, author of Patton and Rommel: Men of War in the Twentieth Century

As World War II dawned in Europe, General George C. Marshall, the new Army Chief of Staff, had to acknowledge that American society—and the citizens who would soon become soldiers—had drastically changed in the previous few decades. Almost every home had a radio, movies could talk, and driving in an automobile to the neighborhood soda fountain was part of everyday life. A product of newly created mass consumerism, the soldier of 1940 had expectations of material comfort, even while at war. Historian James J. Cooke presents the first comprehensive look at how Marshall’s efforts to cheer soldiers far from home resulted in the enduring morale services that the Army provides still today.

Marshall understood that civilian soldiers provided particular challenges and wanted to improve the subpar morale services that had been provided to Great War doughboys. Frederick Osborn, a civilian intellectual, was called to head the newly formed morale branch, which quickly became the Special Services Division. Hundreds of on-post movie theaters showing first-run movies at reduced prices, service clubs where GIs could relax, and inexpensive cafeterias were constructed. The Army Exchange System took direction under Brigadier General Joseph Byron, offering comfort items at low prices; the PX sold everything from cigarettes and razor blades to low-alcohol beer in very popular beer halls.

The great civic organizations—the YMCA, the Salvation Army, the Jewish Welfare Board, and others—were brought together to form the United Service Organizations (USO). At USO Camp Shows, admired entertainers like Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, and Frances Langford brought home-style entertainment to soldiers within the war zones. As the war heightened in intensity, the Special Service Companies grew to over forty in number, each containing more than one hundred enlisted men. Trained in infantry skills, soldiers in the companies at times would have to stop showing movies, pick up their rifles, and fight.

The Special Services Division, PX, and USO were crucial elements in maintaining GI morale, and Cooke’s work makes clear the lasting legacy of these efforts to boost the average soldier’s spirits almost a century ago. The idea that as American soldiers serve abroad, they should have access to at least some of the comforts of home has become a cultural standard.
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An American in Hitler's Berlin
Abraham Plotkin's Diary, 1932-33
Abraham Plotkin; Edited & with an introduction by Catherine Collomp & Bruno Grop
University of Illinois Press, 2007
This is the first published edition of the diary of Abraham Plotkin, an American labor leader of immigrant Jewish origin who lived in Berlin between November 1932 and May 1933. A firsthand account of the Weimar Republic's final months and the early rise of Nazi power in Germany, Plotkin's diary focuses on the German working class, the labor movement, and the plight of German Jews. Plotkin investigated Berlin's social conditions with the help of German Social-Democratic leaders whose analyses of the situation he records alongside his own.

Compared to the writings of other American observers of the Third Reich, Plotkin's diary is unique in style, scope, themes, and time span. Most accounts of Hitler's rise to power emphasize political institutions by focusing on the Nazi party's clashes with other political forces. In contrast, Plotkin is especially attentive to socioeconomic factors, providing an alternative view from the left that stems from his access to key German labor and socialist leaders. Chronologically, the diary reports on the moment when Hitler's seizure of power was not yet inevitable and when leaders on the left still believed in a different outcome of the crisis, but it also includes Plotkin's account of the complete destruction of German labor in May 1933.

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American Sutra
A Story of Faith and Freedom in the Second World War
Duncan Ryūken Williams
Harvard University Press, 2020

Winner of the Grawemeyer Award in Religion
A Los Angeles Times Bestseller


“Raises timely and important questions about what religious freedom in America truly means.”
—Ruth Ozeki

“A must-read for anyone interested in the implacable quest for civil liberties, social and racial justice, religious freedom, and American belonging.”
—George Takei

On December 7, 1941, as the bombs fell on Pearl Harbor, the first person detained was the leader of the Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist sect in Hawai‘i. Nearly all Japanese Americans were subject to accusations of disloyalty, but Buddhists aroused particular suspicion. From the White House to the local town council, many believed that Buddhism was incompatible with American values. Intelligence agencies targeted the Buddhist community, and Buddhist priests were deemed a threat to national security.

In this pathbreaking account, based on personal accounts and extensive research in untapped archives, Duncan Ryūken Williams reveals how, even as they were stripped of their homes and imprisoned in camps, Japanese American Buddhists launched one of the most inspiring defenses of religious freedom in our nation’s history, insisting that they could be both Buddhist and American.

“A searingly instructive story…from which all Americans might learn.”
Smithsonian

“Williams’ moving account shows how Japanese Americans transformed Buddhism into an American religion, and, through that struggle, changed the United States for the better.”
—Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of The Sympathizer

“Reading this book, one cannot help but think of the current racial and religious tensions that have gripped this nation—and shudder.”
—Reza Aslan, author of Zealot

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Americans All
Good Neighbor Cultural Diplomacy in World War II
By Darlene J. Sadlier
University of Texas Press, 2012

Cultural diplomacy—“winning hearts and minds” through positive portrayals of the American way of life—is a key element in U.S. foreign policy, although it often takes a backseat to displays of military might. Americans All provides an in-depth, fine-grained study of a particularly successful instance of cultural diplomacy—the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs (CIAA), a government agency established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940 and headed by Nelson A. Rockefeller that worked to promote hemispheric solidarity and combat Axis infiltration and domination by bolstering inter-American cultural ties.

Darlene J. Sadlier explores how the CIAA used film, radio, the press, and various educational and high-art activities to convince people in the United States of the importance of good neighbor relations with Latin America, while also persuading Latin Americans that the United States recognized and appreciated the importance of our southern neighbors. She examines the CIAA’s working relationship with Hollywood’s Motion Picture Society of the Americas; its network and radio productions in North and South America; its sponsoring of Walt Disney, Orson Welles, John Ford, Gregg Toland, and many others who traveled between the United States and Latin America; and its close ties to the newly created Museum of Modern Art, which organized traveling art and photographic exhibits and produced hundreds of 16mm educational films for inter-American audiences; and its influence on the work of scores of artists, libraries, book publishers, and newspapers, as well as public schools, universities, and private organizations.

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Anthropological Intelligence
The Deployment and Neglect of American Anthropology in the Second World War
David H. Price
Duke University Press, 2008
By the time the United States officially entered World War II, more than half of American anthropologists were using their professional knowledge and skills to advance the war effort. The range of their war-related work was extraordinary. They helped gather military intelligence, pinpointed possible social weaknesses in enemy nations, and contributed to the army’s regional Pocket Guide booklets. They worked for dozens of government agencies, including the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and the Office of War Information. At a moment when social scientists are once again being asked to assist in military and intelligence work, David H. Price examines anthropologists’ little-known contributions to the Second World War.

Anthropological Intelligence is based on interviews with anthropologists as well as extensive archival research involving many Freedom of Information Act requests. Price looks at the role played by the two primary U.S. anthropological organizations, the American Anthropological Association and the Society for Applied Anthropology (which was formed in 1941), in facilitating the application of anthropological methods to the problems of war. He chronicles specific projects undertaken on behalf of government agencies, including an analysis of the social effects of postwar migration, the design and implementation of OSS counterinsurgency campaigns, and the study of Japanese social structures to help tailor American propaganda efforts. Price discusses anthropologists’ work in internment camps, their collection of intelligence in Central and South America for the FBI’s Special Intelligence Service, and their help forming foreign language programs to assist soldiers and intelligence agents. Evaluating the ethical implications of anthropological contributions to World War II, Price suggests that by the time the Cold War began, the profession had set a dangerous precedent regarding what it would be willing to do on behalf of the U.S. government.

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Antisubmarine Warrior in the Pacific
Six Subs Sunk in Twelve Days
John A. Williamson
University of Alabama Press, 2005

A first-hand account of the USS England's accomplishments, written by its commanding officer

The USS England was a 1200-ton, 306-foot, long-hull destroyer escort. Commissioned into service in late 1943 and dispatched to the Pacific the following February, the England and its crew, in one 12-day period in 1944, sank more submarines than any other ship in U.S. naval history: of the six targets attacked, all six were destroyed. For this distinction, legendary in the annals of antisubmarine warfare, the ship and her crew were honored with the Presidential Unit Citation.
 
After convoying in the Atlantic, John A. Williamson was assigned to the England—first as its executive officer, then as its commanding officer—from the time of her commissioning until she was dry-docked for battle damage repairs in the Philadelphia Naval Yard fifteen months later. Besides being a key participant in the remarkable antisubmarine actions, Williamson commanded the England in the battle of Okinawa, where she was attacked by kamikaze planes.
 
Williamson narrates his memoir with authority and authenticity, describes naval tactics and weaponry precisely, and provides information gleaned from translations of the orders from the Japanese high command to Submarine Squadron 7. The author details the challenges of communal life aboard ship and explains the intense loyalty that bonds crew members for life. Ultimately, Williamson offers a compelling portrait of himself, an inexperienced naval officer who, having come of age in Alabama during the Depression, rose to become the most successful World War II antisubmarine warfare officer in the Pacific.
*

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The Anti-Warrior
A Memoir
Milt Felsen
University of Iowa Press, 1989

In 1937 thirty-six nervous young men dressed in ill-fitting blue suits, wearing berets, and carrying identical black valises, were given tickets for an American Export Lines ship. They were told to conduct themselves as ordinary tourists, to be "inconspicuous." They were volunteers for the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, traveling the French underground to join in the fight against Franco. Among them was Milt Felsen, a young New Yorker and radical antiwar activist on the University of Iowa campus who had decided that fascism had to be opposed. Some of these young men never made it to their destination. But Milt Felsen did, beginning a march across the Pyrenees which was only the first of his many battles and adventures.

Told with uncommon wit and verve, this memoir of war and resistance is a stirring account of Felsen's involvement in two decades of battle. Surprisingly, this is a spirited and even funny book, infused with Felsen's unbeatable personality. After the Spanish Civil War, Felsen helped form the O.S.S. in World War II. Taken prisoner of war, he escaped in his inimitable style during a 1,200-mile prisoner-of-war march and drove out of Nazi Germany in a Mercedes-Benz. He returned to the United States more convinced than ever of war's insanity and its extreme human cost.

Most of us are only spectators of the world's larger events. Milt Felsen knew the excitement and despair of being a participant. While most war books abound in details of what happened, this one also delves into why. Felsen's straightforward account is refreshingly frank and doesn't pretend to be more than it is—his own lived version of war and common truths.

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Archaeological Approaches to and Heritage Perspectives on Modern Conflict
Beyond the Battlefields
Max van der Schriek
Amsterdam University Press, 2022
From a wider disciplinary perspective, modern conflict archaeology is now a thoroughly established and mature sub-discipline. However, a significant problem conflict archaeologists in the Netherlands face is that modern eras, including both World Wars, have so far not received serious attention. Although both World Wars appeal strongly to the popular imagination, until recently Dutch researchers had not approached modern conflict from an academic archaeological perspective to any great extent. This is partly the result of problematic legislation on archaeological activity in the Netherlands. When applied and interpreted appropriately, archaeology can play an important role in the preservation, contemporary experience and historical reconstruction of recent conflicts. However, as this book argues, research methods other than excavations will be needed in order to conduct conflict archaeology in the Netherlands effectively. This study aims to develop a Dutch approach to conflict archaeology, integrating archaeology, heritage research and history at a landscape scale.
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Architects of Globalism
Building a New World Order during WWII
Patrick J. Hearden
University of Arkansas Press, 2002
Architects of Globalism provides the first comprehensive analysis of American Blueprints for the reconstruction of the world after the defeat of Hitler and his allies. Working closely with Roosevelt and Truman, State Department officials assumed primary responsibility for drafting these plans. Hearden shows that bitter rivalries frequently divided these officials, but that there was remarkable agreement among them on fundamental principles. These architects of globalism sought to create a liberal capitalist world system, in which foreign markets would absorb the surplus products of American farms and factories so that the United States would be able to maintain high levels of employment without further government intervention in the economy. Hearden shows these men contending with the vital issues of the day: decolonization and the dismantling of empires, relations with the Soviet Union, the formation of the United Nations, the economic reconstruction of war-torn countries, the forging of new relations with Germany and Japan, the twin problems of Palestine and petroleum. Based on extensive new research in primary sources — from policymakers' private letters and personal diaries to official correspondence — this exciting book documents the formation of the postwar world.
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Arky
The Saga of the USS Arkansas
Ray Hanley
Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, 2015
While little has been written about the USS Arkansas, this battleship carried the state’s name through two world wars, a Mexican invasion, and into the atomic age. The USS Arkansas, measuring almost the length of two football fields, went to sea in 1911 and sailed the world until 1946 when it served as a target for the atomic bomb tests in the South Pacific. In between, the ship participated in the invasion of Vera Cruz, Mexico; served in World War I; helped Arkansas get an official flag; and assisted in the World War II battles at Normandy, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. Highlighting the narrative with previously unpublished photos, the authors tell the facinating story of the ship and its men by referencing handwritten journals penciled in the midst of service and combat.
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Arming America through the Centuries
War, Business, and Building a National Security State
Benjamin Franklin Cooling
University of Tennessee Press, 2023

While many associate the concept commonly referred to as the “military-industrial complex” with President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s 1961 farewell address, the roots of it existed two hundred years earlier. This concept, as Benjamin Franklin Cooling writes, was “part of historical lore” as a burgeoning American nation discovered the inextricable relationship between arms and the State. In Arming America through the Centuries, Cooling examines the origins and development of the military-industrial complex (MIC) over the course of American history. He argues that the evolution of America’s military-industrial-business-political experience is the basis for a contemporary American Sparta. Cooling explores the influence of industry on security, the increasing prevalence of outsourcing, ever-present economic and political influence, and the evolving nature of modern warfare. He connects the budding military-industrial relations of the colonial era and Industrial Revolution to their formal interdependence during the Cold War down to the present-day resurrection of Great Power competition. Across eight chronological chapters, Cooling weaves together threads of industry, finance, privatization, appropriations, and technology to create a rich historical tapestry of US national defense in one comprehensive volume.

Integrating information from both recent works as well as canonical, older sources, Cooling’s ambitious single-volume synthesis is a uniquely accessible and illuminating survey not only for scholars and policymakers but for students and general readers as well.

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Arming the Nation for War
Mobilization, Supply, and the American War Effort in World War II
Robert P. Patterson
University of Tennessee Press, 2015
A decorated World War I veteran, Federal Judge Robert P. Patterson knew all too well the needs of soldiers on the battlefield. He was thus dismayed by America’s lack of military preparedness when a second great war engulfed Europe in 1939–40. With the international crisis worsening, Patterson even resumed military training—as a forty-nine-year-old private—before being named assistant secretary of war in July 1940. That appointment set the stage for Patterson’s central role in the country’s massive mobilization and supply effort which helped the Allies win World War II.

In Arming the Nation for War, a previously unpublished account long buried among the late author’s papers and originally marked confidential, Patterson describes the vast challenges the United States faced as it had to equip, in a desperately short time, a fighting force capable of confronting a formidable enemy. Brimming with data and detail, the book also abounds with deep insights into the myriad problems encountered on the domestic mobilization front—including the sometimes divergent interests of wartime planners and industrial leaders—along with the logistical difficulties of supplying far-flung theaters of war with everything from ships, planes, and tanks to food and medicine. Determined to remind his contemporaries of how narrow the Allied margin of victory was and that the war’s lessons not be forgotten, Patterson clearly intended the manuscript (which he wrote between 1945 and ’47, when he was President Truman’s secretary of war) to contribute to the postwar debates on the future of the military establishment. That passage of the National Security Act of 1947, to which Patterson was a key contributor, answered many of his concerns may explain why he never published the book during his lifetime.

A unique document offering an insider’s view of a watershed historical moment, Patterson’s text is complemented by editor Brian Waddell’s extensive introduction and notes. In addition, Robert M. Morgenthau, former Manhattan district attorney and a protégé of Patterson’s for four years prior to the latter’s death in a 1952 plane crash, offers a heartfelt remembrance of a man the New York Herald-Tribune called “an example of the public-spirited citizen.”
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Artists, Intellectuals, and World War II
The Pontigny Encounters at Mount Holyoke College, 1942-1944
Christopher E. G. Benfey
University of Massachusetts Press, 2006
Sixty years ago, at the height of World War II, an extraordinary series of gatherings took place at Mount Holyoke College in western Massachusetts. During the summers of 1942–1944, leading Europeanfigures in the arts and sciences met at the college with their American counterparts for urgent conversations about the future of human civilization in a precarious world.

Two Sorbonne professors, the distinguished medievalist Gustave Cohen and the existentialist philosopher Jean Wahl, organized these "Pontigny" sessions, named after an abbey in Burgundy where similar symposia had been held in the decades before the war. Among the participants—many of whom were Jewish or had Jewish backgrounds—were the philosophers Hannah Arendt and Rachel Bespaloff, the poets Marianne Moore and Wallace Stevens, the anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss and the linguist Roman Jakobson, and the painters Marc Chagall and Robert Motherwell.

In this collection of original essays, Stanley Cavell and Jacques Derrida lead an international group of scholars—including Jed Perl, Mary Ann Caws, Jeffrey Mehlman, and Elisabeth Young-Bruehl—in assessing the lasting impact and contemporary significance of Pontigny-en- Amérique. Rachel Bespaloff, a tragicfigure who wrote a major work on the Iliad, is restored to her rightful place beside Arendt and Simone Weil. Anyone interested in the "intellectual resistance" of Francophone intellectuals and artists, and the inspiring support from such Americanfigures as Stevens and Moore, will want to read this pioneering work of scholarship and historical re-creation.
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At Grandma's House
The World War II Homefront in Havana, Illinois
H. Byron Earhart with Illustrations by John Michael Downs
Southern Illinois University Press, 2020
Illinois State Historical Society Certificate of Excellence Winner, 2021

When H. Byron Earhart’s father enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1942, young Byron and his family moved into his grandparents' old-fashioned home with a coal-fired range and potbelly stove, and his mother took charge of the family business, a frozen food locker. Grandma was the undisputed head of the family. While his father served on the battleship USS Missouri, his grandparents and mother held the family and the business together. At Grandma’s House is a tribute to everyday Americans who provided the social glue for a country at war as they balanced fear and anxiety for loved ones with the challenges and pleasures of daily life. The experiences of the Earhart family and this Midwestern community, supplemented by contemporary documents, family photos, and professional illustrations, recount with vivid local color the drama that played out on the national and international stage.
 
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Athene Palace
Hitler's "New Order" Comes to Rumania
R. G. Waldeck
University of Chicago Press, 2013
On the day that Paris fell to the Nazis, R. G. Waldeck was checking into the swankiest hotel in Bucharest, the Athene Palace. A cosmopolitan center during the war, the hotel was populated by Italian and German oilmen hoping to secure new business opportunities in Romania, international spies cloaked in fake identities, and Nazi officers whom Waldeck discovered to be intelligent but utterly bloodless. A German Jew and a reporter for Newsweek, Waldeck became a close observer of the Nazi invasion. As King Carol first tried to placate the Nazis, then abdicated the throne in favor of his son, Waldeck was dressing for dinners with diplomats and cozying up to Nazi officers to get insight and information. From her unique vantage, she watched as Romania, a country with a pro-totalitarian elite and a deep strain of anti-Semitism, suffered civil unrest, a German invasion, and an earthquake, before turning against the Nazis.
 
A striking combination of social intimacy and disinterest political analysis, Athene Palace evokes the elegance and excitement of the dynamic international community in Bucharest before the world had comes to grips with the horrors of war and genocide. Waldeck’s account strikingly presents the finely wrought surface of dinner parties, polite discourse, and charisma, while recognizing the undercurrents of violence and greed that ran through the denizens of Athene Palace.
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Atomic Doctors
Conscience and Complicity at the Dawn of the Nuclear Age
James L. Nolan, Jr.
Harvard University Press, 2020

An unflinching examination of the moral and professional dilemmas faced by physicians who took part in the Manhattan Project.

After his father died, James L. Nolan, Jr., took possession of a box of private family materials. To his surprise, the small secret archive contained a treasure trove of information about his grandfather’s role as a doctor in the Manhattan Project. Dr. Nolan, it turned out, had been a significant figure. A talented ob-gyn radiologist, he cared for the scientists on the project, organized safety and evacuation plans for the Trinity test at Alamogordo, escorted the “Little Boy” bomb from Los Alamos to the Pacific Islands, and was one of the first Americans to enter the irradiated ruins of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Participation on the project challenged Dr. Nolan’s instincts as a healer. He and his medical colleagues were often conflicted, torn between their duty and desire to win the war and their oaths to protect life. Atomic Doctors follows these physicians as they sought to maximize the health and safety of those exposed to nuclear radiation, all the while serving leaders determined to minimize delays and maintain secrecy. Called upon both to guard against the harmful effects of radiation and to downplay its hazards, doctors struggled with the ethics of ending the deadliest of all wars using the most lethal of all weapons. Their work became a very human drama of ideals, co-optation, and complicity.

A vital and vivid account of a largely unknown chapter in atomic history, Atomic Doctors is a profound meditation on the moral dilemmas that ordinary people face in extraordinary times.

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Atrocity, Deviance, and Submarine Warfare
Norms and Practices during the World Wars
Nachman Ben-Yehuda
University of Michigan Press, 2013

In the early 20th century, the diesel-electric submarine made possible a new type of unrestricted naval warfare. Such brutal practices as targeting passenger, cargo, and hospital ships not only violated previous international agreements; they were targeted explicitly at civilians. A deviant form of warfare quickly became the norm.

In Atrocity, Deviance, and Submarine Warfare, Nachman Ben-Yehuda recounts the evolution of submarine warfare, explains the nature of its deviance, documents its atrocities, and places these developments in the context of changing national identities and definitions of the ethical, at both social and individual levels. Introducing the concept of cultural cores, he traces the changes in cultural myths, collective memory, and the understanding of unconventionality and deviance prior to the outbreak of World War I. Significant changes in cultural cores, Ben-Yehuda concludes, permitted the rise of wartime atrocities at sea.

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Attu Boy
A Young Alaskan's WWII Memoir
Nick Golodoff
University of Alaska Press, 2015
In the quiet of morning, exactly six months after Pearl Harbor, the Japanese touched down on American soil. Landing on the remote Alaska island of Attu, they assailed an entire village, holding the Alaskan villagers for two months and eventually corralling all survivors into a freighter bound for Japan.
One of those survivors, Nick Golodoff, became a prisoner of war at just six years old. He was among the dozens of Unangan Attu residents swept away to Hokkaido, and one of only twenty-five to survive. Attu Boy tells Golodoff’s story of these harrowing years as he found both friendship and cruelty at the hands of the Japanese. It offers a rare look at the lives of civilian prisoners and their captors in WWII-era Japan. It also tells of Golodoff’s bittersweet return to a homeland torn apart by occupation and forced internments. Interwoven with other voices from Attu, this richly illustrated memoir is a testament to the struggles, triumphs, and heartbreak of lives disrupted by war.
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