COOK’S ‘MIDNIGHT DRAWINGS’ AND THEIR HAUNTING VIEWS OF WAR (DUSTY SHELVES)

[COOK SAID,] ‘These faces. I didn’t get to know all their names. They joined my platoon, and many of them were dead by morning.’ For forty-six years after the Korean War, veteran John A. Cook would be haunted by the memories of fighting and of his fellow soldiers being killed or wounded. What is now […]

BUILDING THE CONTINENTAL ARMY: VON STEUBEN’S “BLUE BOOK” (DUSTY SHELVES)

[VON STEUBEN] WAS THE RIGHT MAN AT THE RIGHT PLACE AND THE RIGHT TIME. In the next installment of in our Dusty Shelves series, “Building the Continental Army: Von Steuben’s ‘Blue Book’,” Jack Giblin and Jacqueline E. Whitt tell the story behind the Continental Army’s first training manual. Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben was a […]

RECEIPT: BOMB, ATOMIC, 1 EACH (DUSTY SHELVES)

This is a hand receipt unlike any other. … Imagine instead of signing for an office key or a computer, … you’ve just taken responsibility for the first atomic weapon. Military historian Con Crane tells the story behind an unusual hand receipt, showing the transfer of responsibility of the components of the ‘Little Boy’ atomic […]

NSC-68: THE POLICY DOCUMENT THAT SHAPED THE COLD WAR (DUSTY SHELVES)

[PRESIDENT TRUMAN] WAS INTERESTED IN TAKING A LOOK AT AMERICA’S POSITION IN THE WORLD. In 1950, competition between the U.S. and its Allies and the Soviet Union was growing in intensity. Concerned over debt and seeming fragility of post-World War II peace, President Truman felt was time to re-examine “our objectives in peace and war […]

RIDGWAY’S MEMO: “WHY WE ARE HERE” (DUSTY SHELVES)

Lieutenant General Matthew B. Ridgway assumed command of Eighth U.S. Army after it had been driven south in the early phases of the Korean War. Faced with a broken and dispirited force, Ridgway had to turn the situation around quickly. His memorandum of January 1951, “Why We Are Here,” was a message to the troops about what was at stake, and embodied his belief in the cause and faith in the fighting spirit of the force. In six months, a rejuvenated Eighth U.S. Army had driven the Chinese north of the 38th parallel. It is one of the great stories of U.S. military history.

This inaugural episode of the Dusty Shelves series, Army historian Con Crane and War Room podcast editor Jacqueline E. Whitt present the memorandum and the story of Lieutenant General Ridgway. The memorandum, displayed and transcribed below, comes from the collection of Ridgway’s papers available at the Army Heritage and Education Center.

THE “DUSTY SHELVES SERIES”: BRINGING MILITARY HISTORY TO LIFE

Remembering the past is hard, not just because memories fade but because capturing the past in a meaningful, relevant, and intellectually honest way is difficult, complex, and too often unrewarded. LISTEN TO THE INAUGURAL EPISODE ON RIDGWAY’S 1951 MEMO HERE. The great philosopher and writer George Santayana famously said, “Those who cannot remember the past […]