A Student of History

September 20, 2007

Society of the Cincinnati Fellowship

Filed under: Early America,The Academy — John Maass @ 4:36 pm

Fellowship Announcement  The Society of the Cincinnati invites applications for the Tyree-Lamb Research Fellowship.  The fellowship is named in honor of two members of the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of Virginia, Lewis Tyree, Jr., and John K. Lamont Lamb. It is intended to provide $1,000 to support the cost of travel, housing and per diem expenses for a scholar wishing to use the Society’s library for a period of at least one full week.  The fellowship is open to graduate level students and other scholars who are conducting research that may benefit from the library’s holdings. The Society of the Cincinnati library collections include contemporary books, manuscripts, maps, and works of art on paper which support the in-depth study of 18th-century naval and military history and the art of war during that period.  The library also houses books and archives related to the formation and history of the Society of the Cincinnati, as well as materials related to the life of Larz and Isabel Anderson, whose Gilded Age home now serves as a museum, and the headquarters of the Society. The fellowship recipient will be required to complete his or her week of research within a period of one year from the date of the award.  Further, the recipient will be required to submit a three-to-five-page written report and summary of research findings, which may be published in the Society’s journal, Cincinnati Fourteen.  In addition, the library requests a single copy of any subsequent publication (article, thesis, dissertation, or book) that may result. Applicants should submit the following: ¨      A curriculum vitae, including educational background, publications and professional experience¨      A brief outline of the research proposed (not to exceed 2 pages)¨      (For current graduate students only)  Two confidential, sealed letters of recommendation from faculty or colleagues familiar with the applicant and his or her research project.  Note: If letters are to be mailed independently, please include the names of recommenders when submitting the application. Applications must be received by November 15th, 2007.  Applicants will be notified by January 15th, 2008. Applications should be mailed to:Ellen McCallister Clark, Library DirectorThe Society of the Cincinnati2118 Massachusetts Ave, N.W.Washington, D.C. 20008 For further information about the collections, contact Rebecca Cooper, Manager of Reader Services, at (202) 785-2040, x411; or: rcooper@societyofthecincinnati.org 

WW3 Plans Just Uncovered

Filed under: Wars — John Maass @ 1:35 pm

A fascinating story in The Telegraph, and shows what a good researcher can still uncover from the archives!

Chilling Soviet plans to launch massive nuclear strikes in Europe followed by a ground offensive in Germany and southern France have been unearthed by a Nato historian, Petr Lunak from NATO’s information office in Brussels.  According to scenarios drafted in 1964, Warsaw Pact forces planned to use 131 tactical nuclear missiles and bombs to sideline NATO armaments and destroy Western Europe’s political and communications centres, in the event of an “imperialist” strike.

According to Mr Lunak, the plan was still an option until 1986, three years before the fall of the Berlin Wall.

No True Glory

Filed under: Great books,Wars — John Maass @ 8:35 am


I just finished reading No True Glory (2006), by Bing West.  It’s the story of the two attacks on Fallujah in 2004, the first by the Marines (which was unsuccessful) and the second one by Marines and Army units, which together crushed the resistance there in a week long attack.  The story is amazing, and West tells it very well, without glorifying the violence or the Marines.  He also does a wonderful job placing each attack in context, and pulls no punches in criticizing certain military and political leaders as he deems necessary.  (Paul Bremner does not come off too well here.)  West also brilliantly shows the reader what its like to be a young Marine, ordered to “clear out” a whole city, and go house to house and room by room, in violent, face to face combat.  I heartily recommend it.


$450,000,000,000 Price Tag and Counting

Filed under: The world today,Wars — John Maass @ 6:51 am

I came across this on the website of The Army Times, which puts the current war into perspective fiscally.

At $450 billion, the war in Iraq has already cost more than the 1991 Persian Gulf War and the Korean War. Within a year — and some $200 billion more in spending — Iraq will almost certainly exceed the cost of the Vietnam War, according to the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA).  And that’s just Iraq. The war in Afghanistan has cost $127 billion so far, according to CSBA budget studies chief Steven Kosiak.

The rest of the short, sobering story is here.  Now what if the money were used on prevention of terror attacks here at home, rather than invade Iraq, get lots of people killed, and have no end in sight?

September 19, 2007

Settled in at Ft. McNair

Filed under: Employment — John Maass @ 8:46 am

At long last, it seems that I have been able to settle in to my new digs at the Army’s Center of Military History (CMH) at Ft. McNair, D.C., although I have run into typical governmental problems with regard timely reimbursements.  But all that I suppose will work out in the end and soon.  Anyway, I plan to try to increase the amount of what I post, if time permits. I had thought about quitting the blogging scene at one point a month or so ago, but will see how this goes. As usual, most of what I put on my blog falls into 2 categories:  informational postings about conferences, opportunities, new books, announcements, etc., for the most part on matters related to history; and links to news stories and websites about which I offer little comment of my own.  So I guess in a way that is not really blogging at all, since I don’t comment much myself.  This goes back to the original intent I had when I started the blog, i.e., it was supposed to be a site for my students (when I taught at Ohio State University) to get class info, etc., but it did not really work out that way.

Again, we will see how it goes.

Back to my new situation.  The job here is great, and I like Fort McNair, a lot.  In continuous use since 1791, its the closest thing to a college campus in appearance I have seen for an Army installation, and those who have been to hell-holes like Ft. Bragg know what that means.  There some details about the fort’s history here.  About 90 percent of the present buildings on the post’s 100 acres were built, reconstructed or remodeled by 1908. In 1901, with the birth of the Army War College, the post, now called Washington Barracks, became the Army’s center for the education and training of senior officers to lead and direct large numbers of troops. Its first classes were conducted in 1904. The Army Industrial College was founded at McNair in 1924 to prepare officers for high level posts in Army supply organizations, and to study industrial mobilization. It evolved into the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. The Army War College was reorganized as the Army-Navy Staff College in 1943, and became the National War College in 1946. The two colleges became the National Defense University in 1976.  The map below will show where it is exactly, at the yellow star.

I also include this photograph of the hanging of the Lincoln conspirators, which occurred here at the fort in 1865, about 50 yards from my office. 

Finally, a view of this post today:

Lafayette, he is here!

Filed under: Early America — John Maass @ 8:22 am

Symposium to Commemorate the
250th Anniversary of the Birth of the Marquis de Lafayette:
“Le Marquis de Lafayette and the Spirit of Revolution.”
Washington DC, September 26 – 27, 2007

This Symposium is organized by the Meridian International Center in association with the Embassy of France. It will be free of charge and open to the public; however guests must pre-registerby RSVP,which can be done through the email invitation, or by contacting Ms. Siobhan Tiernan,Coordinator for Public Programs, via email at stiernan@meridian.org or call (202) 292-5548(direct) well prior to the event. Valet parking available. See the detailed announcemnt at: http://www.info-france-usa.org/news/statmnts/2007/lafayette/Lafayette_Symposium.pdf

Britain: an unequal and segregated nation?

Filed under: The world today — John Maass @ 6:44 am

This should come as no surpise to us, and may be what we are headed for in the US.  From the Telegraph…..

Three decades of multi-culturalism have left Britain an unequal and segregated nation that is in danger of breaking up, race watchdogs say in a report published today.

The Commission for Racial Equality fears the country is ”fracturing” and extremism is being fostered by the retreat of different groups behind their own ethnic walls.

The bleak analysis is contained in the final report of the CRE before it is absorbed into the new Equality and Human Rights Commission at the end of this month.

Here’s proof of what this looks like.  Click here for a BBC story about Muslims in the UK demanding their own religious schools there, paid for (of course!) by public funds.

September 18, 2007

2007 Cavalry Conference in November

Filed under: Early America,Wars — John Maass @ 11:27 am

Based on the acclaim of the Banastre Tarleton, Camden Campaign, Gen. Thomas Sumter, Gen. Nathanael Greene, and Battle of Eutaw Springs Symposia Southern Campaigns of the American Revolution and the South Carolina Historical Society in cooperation with Wofford College and the Cowpens National Military Park proudly presents a conference, field demonstrations and battlefield tours on the uses of cavalry in the American Revolution. Charles B. Baxley, publisher and editor of Southern Campaigns of the American Revolution will act as your conference host and moderator. Education, fellowship and fun are the guiding principles of this gathering.


The conference will be held on the campus of Wofford College in historic Spartanburg, South Carolina on Friday, November 9th and Saturday, November 10th, 2007. Keynote presenter, Gregory J. W. Urwin, professor of history at Temple University, will present: “‘There Is No Carrying on the War without Them’: The Continental Light Dragoons, 1776 – 1783”.

Telling the story of the personalities, battles, units, logistics, training and equipment of 18th century cavalry are: Lee McGee, Todd Braisted, Scott Miskimon, Mark Danley, Daniel Murphy, Mike Scoggins, John Hutchins, Robert Selig, Samuel Fore, Steven Haller, Jim Sieradzki, Eugene Hough, Charles F. Price, and Jim Piecuch.

You will also enjoy entertainment by period musician Ken Bloom and a theatrical presentation on Old Ban Tarleton by renowned actor, Howard Burnham. We will have miniaturists’ displays of important battles including Cowpens and cavalry artifacts and kits. Vendors will ply their books, maps and wares.

Saturday afternoon you will hear thundering on the battlefield, as cavalrymen at Cowpens organized by Daniel Murphy, Ron Crawley, Stuart Lillie and a troop of mounted reenactors will demonstrate 18th century cavalry tactics. The man who wrote the definitive modern analysis of the Battle of Cowpens, Professor Lawrence Babits [Devil of a Whipping, the Battle of Cowpens] will update the participants on the current research on Cowpens and cavalry actions at Guilford Courthouse, Hobkirk Hill and Eutaw Springs.


Thursday and Sunday are devoted to pre and post conference battlefield tours. Guides will be David P. Reuwer and Charles B. Baxley; both renowned battle sites tour guides of the Tarleton, Camden Campaign, Thomas Sumter, Nathanael Greene and Eutaw Springs symposia. Assisted by military historians Mike Burgess, John Allison, Steven Rauch and Jim Piecuch, this on-the-ground tour of important Carolina backcountry battlefields will point out the battle chronology, tactical deployments and topography This battlefield trip include opportunities to walk the battle sites and hear riveting presentations by on-site experts.

For more information or to register, please call Gloria Beitler at South Carolina Historical Society. Phone (843) 723-3225 ext. 11 or see the conference postings on www.southerncampaign.org.

Don’t know much about history

Filed under: The world today — John Maass @ 9:52 am

While this should come as no surprise to most folks in the field fo history and education (or both) the USA Today has an article on the fact that students typically know nothing about history.

Students don’t know much about history, and colleges aren’t adding enough to their civic literacy, says a report out today.

The study from the non-profit Intercollegiate Studies Institute shows that less than half of college seniors knew that Yorktown was the battle that ended the American Revolution or that NATO was formed to resist Soviet expansion. Overall, freshmen averaged 50.4% on a wide-ranging civic literacy test; seniors averaged 54.2%, both failing scores if translated to grades.

One can take the quiz used in the study at the site of the article as well.

Ireland must guard against a loss of faith

Filed under: Ireland,The world today — John Maass @ 6:48 am

From Catholic World News:  Ireland must guard against a loss of faith and the encroachment of secular ideology, Pope Benedict XVI, warned a new ambassador from that country to the Holy See.As he accepted the diplomatic credentials of the new envoy, Noel Fahey, the Holy Father remarked that “for over 1600 years, Christianity has shaped the cultural, moral and spiritual identity of the Irish people.” That faith remains the key to the nation’s character, he said.

The Pope said that the recent economic boom in Ireland has been a blessing blessing, since “prosperity has undoubtedly brought material comfort to many, but in its wake secularism has also begun to encroach and leave its mark.”

That’s the way it is everywhere………

September 13, 2007

The worst that civilization has to offer

Filed under: The world today — John Maass @ 9:08 pm

“Never has a people enjoyed such widespread wealth and education and responded by admiring and imitating the worst that civilization has to offer.”

These words were penned by Thomas Reeves and the rest of his column can be read here, at HNN.

Were the founders of the US Christians?

Filed under: Early America,The world today — John Maass @ 6:08 am

Were the founders of the US Christians?  This topic seems to keep coming up again and again, with most academic treatments of this subject arguing that they did not, and many right of center Christian writers going to great lengths to say “yes.”  In the past several years there have been numerous studies written to show that, for instance, George Washington was a Christian, and others too.  (Actually, I think Washington’s “religion” was Freemasonry but that is another story.)

This all is leading to this link to a USA Today on-line article on what Americans think the “real” answer is.  One thousand or so people took part in this survey.

Most Americans believe the nation’s founders wrote Christianity into the Constitution, and people are less likely to say freedom to worship covers religious groups they consider extreme, a poll out today finds.

Now, it goes without saying that polling average citizens–especially in this nation–is surely not the way to solve historical questions, but is an interesting part of the debate.

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