A TALE OF TWO HILLS: THE MYTH AND REALITY OF THE BATTLE OF BAYONET HILL

Units have ignored clear evidence that Bayonet Hill actually took place more than a dozen miles away On February 8th, 2019, the Eighth U.S. Army Facebook page celebrated the previous day’s anniversary of the Battle of Bayonet Hill. Every year, army units stationed at Osan Air Base (AB) celebrate what historian S.L.A. Marshall called in […]

HOW A HOMING PIGEON SAVED THE LOST BATTALION OF WORLD WAR I (DUSTY SHELVES)

Pigeons were treated with very high regard in the military … much like working dogs are today Technological innovation has always been central to warfighting, and the advances made over the 20th century were especially important. During the First World War, battlefield communications were limited, and armies employed means–old and new–to communicate. They used old […]

BEYOND THUCYDIDES: HERODOTUS, XENOPHON & UNDERSTANDING WAR (GREAT STRATEGISTS)

What if we spent one day on Herodotus, one day on Thucydides, and one day on Xenophon [at the War College]? Students with a basic foundation of ancient military history are likely to know about Thucydides and his accounts of the Peloponnesian War from both strategic and operational perspectives. But it would be an oversight […]

REFLECTIONS ON THE HUE CITY MASSACRE

It was the largest battle in the [Vietnam] war in terms of numbers of casualties, and politically it was the most important On the Anniversary of the start of the Tet Offensive of 1968, A BETTER PEACE welcomes retired U.S. Ambassador Jim Bullington to recount the story of the Battle of Huế in Vietnam which […]

DOCUMENTS CAN LIE, TOO: THE “LESSONS” OF HISTORY (PART 3)

You cannot help but approach your sources from your own experiences and backgrounds Our three-part roundtable on the “Lessons” of History concludes as Con Crane, Jacqueline E. Whitt, and Andrew A. Hill discuss the importance of critical thinking for developing historical mindedness. From the subjectivity of first-person accounts to the modern phenomenon of so-called “fake […]

JUDGES, NOT LAWYERS: THE “LESSONS” OF HISTORY (PART 2)

You cannot help but approach your sources from your own experiences and backgrounds Our three-part roundtable on the “Lessons” of History continues as Con Crane, Jacqueline E. Whitt, and Andrew A. Hill discuss the roles of military historians in professional military education and the practical uses of military history in general. If history doesn’t teach […]

“HISTORY TEACHES US” NOTHING: THE “LESSONS” OF HISTORY (PART 1)

HISTORY IS NOT A BOX OF FACTS, IT IS A STATE OF MIND History teaches us ____________.” Many listeners have probably heard that opening a few times, usually followed by a claim that is apparently profound and timely, but also probably poorly supported and problematic. Why does this construction persist, then? Is it because of […]

HALLOWEEN WHITEBOARD: THE UNDEAD GENERALS, PART 2

there are individuals and events in history so far outside the ordinary that a mere record of the facts, however detailed, cannot convey the worth of the man to the times he graced   Halloween is over, the Day of the Dead is here, and the debate continues…  Given the opportunity to lead your horrifying hordes […]

HALLOWEEN WHITEBOARD: THE UNDEAD GENERALS, PART 1

she laid her hand upon this nation, this corpse, and it rose and followed her. Thanks to all who participated in our Halloween Whiteboard! We received so many great entries that we will run two releases, with second coming tomorrow, fittingly, on the Day of the Dead. In this case, the sequel will be just […]

DEATH OF A GENERAL: EDWARD SIGERFOOS & LEADERS IN WAR

Is it necessary for Generals to be on the modern battlefield? Is it worth the risk? Stars, I have seen them fall, but when they drop and die No star is lost at all From all the star-sown sky. A.E. Housman, Untitled, More Poems Only in command of a brigade for an hour, Edward Sigerfoos […]

THE ART OF WRITING HISTORY (ON WRITING)

When military historians study battles or campaigns, what purpose does it serve? To immerse oneself deeply in the period and master the details, or to connect events of the past to the present? These and other questions are addressed in this conversation between two renowned military historians–Robert Citino of the World War II Museum and Michael Neiberg of the U.S. Army War College. They also address questions of what constitutes good historical writing and why it is especially important to develop such writing skills today.

FROM THE DEAD OF WINTER: WASHINGTON AND VALLEY FORGE

[Washington] believes that if the Army is forced to disperse in order to feed itself, he will lose this part of the war. The harsh winter of 1777-1778 saw the American Revolution at a crossroads. Despite growing popular support among colonists for independence, the Continental Army was in a difficult state. Battle weary and low […]

WHY DO WE CELEBRATE ANNIVERSARIES?

Sadly, historical events seem to require a round number of years to draw attention from the public, especially as first-hand memories of the event fade. Isn’t it funny how a birthday, anniversary, or other milestone can make you reflect? On the 1st of May, WAR ROOM turns one year old. Hard to believe how we […]

WHY IS THE VIETNAM WAR EXPERIENCE STILL RELEVANT?

The 2017 release of a television series on Vietnam War from director Ken Burns has renewed interest and controversy surrounding the purpose of the war and its effects. In this podcast, military historian, retired U.S. Army War College professor, and Vietnam veteran Len Fullenkamp presents his perspective on why the U.S. became involved. He also discusses the social and political change that happened at the same time, and how institutions such as education and political structures changed as a result. What does the Vietnam experience teach us about matters of national security policy today? What should military leaders learn from Vietnam so they may better render best military advice to their civilian overseers?

LEARNING STRATEGY BY WALKING THE GROUND

In this podcast, military historian Len Fullenkamp reflects on the importance of immersing oneself in the minds of strategic leaders facing dynamic and complex situations. One tool is the staff ride, an opportunity to walk a battlefield and understand the strategic perspective of the leaders prosecuting a campaign. What was the decision made then and what can it teach us about strategic decisions now?

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 […]