Month: October 2019

First World War with Gary Sheffield – Part II

As the anniversary of the end of WWI nears, Professor Gary Sheffield, one of Britain’s foremost experts on WWI, returns to offer insightful analysis of the conclusion of the War to End All Wars. Mark and Professor Sheffield discuss America’s participation in the Great War, the end of hostilities, the Armistice of 11 November 1918 and the Versailles Treaty. Mark draws from Professor Sheffield’s book, The First World War, published in association with the Imperial War Museum, as well as his earlier work, Forgotten Victory: The First World War – Myths and Realities.

About The First World War

The savagery of the fighting, the appalling conditions endured by the soldiers, and the sheer scale of the carnage have seared images of World War I into the public memory. This book captures the wide sweep of the conflict, describing the development of the fighting from 1914–1918, and spotlighting obscure but important actions, major battles, and the soldiers who risked their lives. It covers such subjects as the Western and Eastern Fronts, US entry into the war in 1917, the war in Africa, the Russian Revolution, the war at sea, the role of women, and diplomacy in war. Combining a vivid narrative informed by up-to-date research with an array of original documents and memorabilia, including photographs, propaganda, newspapers, personal letters, and military orders, The First World War Remembered brings to life one of the most terrible periods of warfare the world has ever known.

Read more about The First World War on Amazon>>

First World War with Gary Sheffield – Part I

WWI ended November 11, 1918. Reflecting on this anniversary, Mark reprises his discussion with Professor Gary Sheffield, one of Britain’s foremost experts on WWI, who wrote the book, The First World War, published in association with the Imperial War Museum. Mark and Professor Sheffield review the War up until the end and American involvement in 1918. They cover the major events in the great cataclysm as well as some lesser known, yet important and intriguing aspects of the war.

About The First World War

The savagery of the fighting, the appalling conditions endured by the soldiers, and the sheer scale of the carnage have seared images of World War I into the public memory. This book captures the wide sweep of the conflict, describing the development of the fighting from 1914–1918, and spotlighting obscure but important actions, major battles, and the soldiers who risked their lives. It covers such subjects as the Western and Eastern Fronts, US entry into the war in 1917, the war in Africa, the Russian Revolution, the war at sea, the role of women, and diplomacy in war. Combining a vivid narrative informed by up-to-date research with an array of original documents and memorabilia, including photographs, propaganda, newspapers, personal letters, and military orders, The First World War Remembered brings to life one of the most terrible periods of warfare the world has ever known.

Read more about The First World War on Amazon>>

Hood’s Texas Brigade

Shortly after organizing on October 22, 1861, John Bell Hood took command of the Texas Brigade. By the end of the Civil War, this unit had fought in all the battles engaged in by the Army of Northern Virginia except Chancellorsville. Mark and Susannah J. Ural, a professor of history at the University of Southern Mississippi and co-director of the University’s Dale Center for the Study of War and Society, discuss one of the most effective units to fight on either side of the Civil War in her book, Hood’s Texas Brigade: The Soldiers and Families of the Confederacy’s Most Celebrated Unit.

About Hood’s Texas Brigade

In Hood’s Texas Brigade, Susannah J. Ural presents a nontraditional unit history that traces the experiences of these soldiers and their families to gauge the war’s effect on them and to understand their role in the white South’s struggle for independence.

The Texas Brigade Civil WarAccording to Ural, several factors contributed to the Texas Brigade’s extraordinary success: the unit’s strong self-identity as Confederates; the mutual respect among the junior officers and their men; a constant desire to maintain their reputation not just as Texans but as the top soldiers in Robert E. Lee’s army; and the fact that their families matched the men’s determination to fight and win. Using the letters, diaries, memoirs, newspaper accounts, official reports, and military records of nearly 600 brigade members, Ural argues that the average Texas Brigade volunteer possessed an unusually strong devotion to southern independence: whereas most Texans and Arkansans fought in the West or Trans- Mississippi West, members of the Texas Brigade volunteered for a unit that moved them over a thousand miles from home, believing that they would exert the greatest influence on the war’s outcome by fighting near the Confederate capital in Richmond. These volunteers also took pride in their place in, or connections to, the slave-holding class that they hoped would secure their financial futures. While Confederate ranks declined from desertion and fractured morale in the last years of the war, this belief in a better life—albeit one built through slave labor— kept the Texas Brigade more intact than other units.

Hood’s Texas Brigade challenges key historical arguments about soldier motivation, volunteerism and desertion, home-front morale, and veterans’ postwar adjustment. It provides an intimate picture of one of the war’s most effective brigades and sheds new light on the rationales that kept Confederate soldiers fighting throughout the most deadly conflict in U.S. history.

 

Beyond the Beach: The Allied War Against France

Mark’s guest is Steve Bourque, whose book, Beyond the Beach: The Allied War Against France, takes on a subject often ignored in historical accounts. Bourque explores the effects of Allied air attacks on French towns and infrastructure in 1944 as part of the D-Day Invasion and war with Nazi Germany. In discussing the book, they examine the different operations, the destruction of military and civilian targets and casualties as well as the results and aftermath of the bombings.

Vire, France, Normandy 1944

Vire, France in Normandy in 1944

Stephen A. Bourque is Professor Emeritus of military history at the School of Advanced Military Studies, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He left the US Army in 1992 after twenty years enlisted and commissioned service, with duty stations in the U.S., Germany, and the Middle East. Mark recently interviewed him in another podcast, “The Cold War in Europe with Steve Bourque,” about his experiences in the Army during the Cold War.

His other publications include Jayhawk! The VII Corps in the 1991 Persian Gulf War (2002), The Road to Safwan (2007), and Soldiers’ Lives: The Post-Cold War Era (2008). Currently, he is writing a history of the Northwest Europe Campaign as experienced by a senior officer who began the war as a corps chief of staff and ended it as an infantry regimental commander.

Dr. Bourque has taught at several colleges and universities including Georgia State University, Kennesaw State University, California State University-Northridge, the University of Kansas, and the Command and General Staff College.

Cold War: Cuban Missile Crisis

Mark returns to a discussion of the Cold War and the origins of the conflict between superpowers, the U.S. and the Soviet Union. He pays special attention to the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962. This was the two-week confrontation that kept the world on edge and in fear of escalating tensions that could lead to nuclear war. U.S. President John F. Kennedy was in a stand-off with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. Kennedy’s goal: make Moscow remove nuclear-armed missiles from the island nation of Cuba.

Above photo: CIA reference photograph of Soviet medium-range ballistic missile (SS-4 in U.S. documents, R-12 in Soviet documents) in Red Square, Moscow.

President Kennedy signs Cuba quarantine proclamation

ST-459-10-62 23 October 1962 President Kennedy signs the Proclamation for Interdiction of the Delivery of Offensive Weapons to Cuba. White House, Oval Office. Photograph by Cecil Stoughton, White House, in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.