Discussion:
American Universities Declare War on Military History
(too old to reply)
a425couple
2021-02-08 18:40:59 UTC
Permalink
from
https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2021-01-31/max-hastings-u-s-universities-declare-war-on-military-history

Politics & Policy
American Universities Declare War on Military History
Academics seem to have forgotten that the best way to avoid conflict is
to study it.

By Max Hastings
January 31, 2021, 1:00 AM PST
They’re history.
They’re history. Photographer: Dominick Reuter/AFP/Getty Images


The world applauds the scientists who have created vaccines to deliver
humanity from Covid-19. One certainty about our future: There will be no
funding shortfall for medical research into pandemics.

Now, notice a contradiction. War is also a curse, responsible for untold
deaths. Humans should do everything possible to mitigate it. And even if
scientists cannot promise a vaccine, the obvious place to start working
against future conflicts is by researching the causes and courses of
past ones.

Yet in centers of learning across North America, the study of the past
in general, and of wars in particular, is in spectacular eclipse.
History now accounts for a smaller share of undergraduate degrees than
at any time since 1950. Whereas in 1970, 6% of American male and 5% of
female students were history majors, the respective percentages are now
less than 2% and less than 1%, respectively.

Fredrik Logevall, a distinguished Harvard historian and author of
seminal works on Vietnam, along with a new biography of John F.
Kennedy, remarked to me on the strangeness of this, given that the U.S.
is overwhelmingly the most powerful, biggest-spending military nation on
earth. “How this came to be and what it has meant for America and the
world is surely of surpassing historical importance,” he said. “Yet it’s
not at the forefront of research among academic historians in this
country.”

The revulsion from war history may derive not so much from students’
unwillingness to explore the violent past, but from academics’
reluctance to teach, or even allow their universities to host, such
courses. Some dub the subject “warnography,” and the aversion can extend
to the study of international relations. Less than half of all history
departments now employ a diplomatic historian, against 85% in 1975. As
for war, as elderly scholars retire from posts in which they have
studied it, many are not replaced: the roles are redefined.

An eminent historian recently told me of a young man majoring in science
at Harvard who wanted to take humanities on history, including the U.S.
Civil War. He was offered only one course — which addressed the history
of humans and their pets.

Paul Kennedy of Yale, author of one of the best-selling history books of
all time, “The Rise and Fall of The Great Powers,” is among many
historians who deplore what is, or rather is not, going on. He observed
to me that while some public universities, such as Ohio State and Kansas
State, have strong program in the history of war, “It’s in the elite
universities that the subject has gone.”

“Can you imagine Chicago, or Berkeley, or Princeton having War Studies
departments?” he asked. “Military history is the most noxious of the
‘dead white male’ subjects, and there’s also a great falling away in the
teaching of diplomatic, colonial and European political history.”

Kennedy notes that war studies are highly popular with students, alumni
and donors, “but the sticking point is with the faculty — where perhaps
only a small group are openly hostile, but a larger group don’t think
the area is important enough.”

Harvard offers few history courses that principally address the great
wars of modern times. Many faculties are prioritizing such subjects as
culture, race and ethnicity. Margaret MacMillan, of the University of
Toronto and Oxford, observes that war is one of the great cataclysmic
events, alongside revolution, famine and financial collapse, that can
change history.

As the author of the bestseller “Peacemakers,” an epochal study of the
1919 Versailles conference, she has written about the decline in
university courses on conflict: “Our horror at the phenomenon itself has
affected the willingness to treat it as a serious subject for
scholarship. An interest in war is somehow conflated with approval for it.”

Mindless mudslingers have attacked her as a war-lover for making the
observation — commonplace among scholars of the subject — that conflicts
can bring scientific or social benefits to mankind.

Tami Davis Biddle, a professor at the U.S. Army War College, has
written, “Unfortunately, many in the academic community assume that
military history is simply about powerful men — mainly white men
—fighting each other and/or oppressing vulnerable groups.”


Universities excuse themselves for shunning history by citing the need
to address contemporary subjects such as as emotions, food and climate
change. Some also urge that students believe they can better serve their
own interests — and justify tuition costs — by choosing vocational
majors that will enhance their employability. Yet Logevall’s Vietnam is
one of the most popular history courses at Harvard.

History sells prodigiously in the world’s bookstores. I have produced a
dozen works about conflict, and my harshest critic would struggle to
claim that these reflect an enthusiasm for it. I often quote a Norwegian
World War II Resistance hero, who wrote in 1948, “Although wars bring
adventures that stir the heart, the true nature of war is composed of
innumerable personal tragedies and sacrifices, wholly evil and not
redeemed by glory.”

Those words do not represent an argument for pacifism. Our societies
must be willing, when necessary, to defend themselves in arms. But our
respective presidents and prime ministers might less readily adopt
kinetic solutions — start shooting — if they possessed a better
understanding of the implications.

Before resorting to force, governments, as well as military commanders,
should always ask: “What are our objectives? And are they attainable?”
Again and again — in recent memory, in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya
— those questions were neither properly asked nor answered, with
consequences we know. Governments succumb to what I call gesture strategy.

Part of the trouble lies with the military, sometimes over-eager to
demonstrate “the utility of force,” or rather, to justify their
stupendous budgets. More often, however, blame lies with politicians
ignorant of the difficulties of leveraging F-35s, cruise missiles, drone
aircraft and combat infantry to produce a desired political outcome.

It is extraordinary that so many major U.S. universities renounce, for
instance, study of the Indochina experience, which might assist a new
generation not to do it again. Marine General Walt Boomer, a
distinguished Vietnam vet, said to me five years ago, when I was
researching that war: “It bothers me that we didn’t learn a lot. If we
had, we wouldn’t have invaded Iraq.”

Biddle has written: “The U.S. military does not send itself to war.
Choices about war and peace are made by civilians — civilians who,
increasingly, have no historical or analytical frameworks to guide them.
They know little or nothing about the requirements of the Just War
tradition … the logistical, geographical and physical demands of modern
military operations.”

Former British Prime Minister David Cameron is not a stupid man. But he
might have made less of a mess of U.K. foreign policy had he accepted
the advice of some people who understood both war and the Muslim world
better than his ill-informed Downing Street clique.


In 2011, the chief of the British defense staff, General Sir David
Richards, begged Cameron not to drag the North Atlantic Treaty
Organization into Libya. But the prime minister, in the spirit of a boy
scout, wished to do a good deed in a wicked world by promoting the
overthrow of President Moammar Al Qaddafi. The rest — the Western
intervention and the murderous chaos that has persisted ever since —
are, alas, matters of record.

It would be absurd to pretend that study of the past is a guarantee
against repeating its mistakes. But the world has cause to be grateful
that in 1962, JFK read Barbara Tuchman’s “The Guns of August,” about the
outbreak of World War I. Kennedy thus went into the Cuban Missile Crisis
conscious of the peril that a local flare-up — as in the Balkans in 1914
— could precipitate a global catastrophe.

The Oxford professor Sir Michael Howard, who died in 2019, was my close
friend and mentor over 50 years, the wisest human being I have ever
known. In the 1950s, he created the Department of War Studies at King’s
College, London, which prospers to this day.

Even more important, he was among the founders in 1958 of the
International Institute of Strategic Studies. The IISS came about
because some brilliant intellectuals, on both sides of the Atlantic,
were fearful of the peril of war. They dismissed the feasibility or even
desirability of unilateral abandonment of nuclear weapons.

Rather, they sought to promote understanding, among NATO and Warsaw Pact
members alike, that nuclear conflict must be ruled out, because its
consequences could not conceivably advantage even a supposed victor.

Howard describes in his memoirs his own first visit to the U.S. in the
spring of 1960, “as a missionary on behalf of the Institute.” He found
Washington “a military capital” with “almost more uniforms on the street
than I remembered in wartime London”:

There was an electric excitement in the air that I found terrifying.
This, I thought, was what Europe must have been like before 1914 … This
seemed a people who, in spite of the Second World War and Korea, had not
really experienced war, and who found the prospect an invigorating
challenge. It was in just such an atmosphere, I thought, that wars began.”

Howard became even more alarmed after attending a lecture on nuclear
warfighting given by Herman Kahn at the RAND Corporation in Santa
Monica, California. Some RANDSmen whom he met were debating how long it
might take Los Angeles to get back to “normal” after a nuclear attack.

It was in this climate that Howard and like-minded academics promoted
debate, in Europe and America, about responsible strategy and defense.
Today, almost everyone who knows Cold War history recognizes that all
the talking — international conferences, seminars, formal dialogues —
played a significant role in averting a nuclear showdown. Not for
nothing is the IISS Journal, then as now, entitled Survival.


To those who knew Michael Howard or read his writing, it would be
fantastic to suggest that because he devoted his life to the study of
conflict and international relations, he thus spread the pollution of
war, or advanced a doctrine of force. By implication, however, such is
now the conviction of many great North American institutions of learning.

A few years ago, a history department in the Canadian Maritime provinces
was offered a fully funded chair in naval history — and rejected it.
Paul Kennedy told me recently that he is amazed by the lack of interest
in naval affairs at U.S. universities, “since we are by far the greatest
naval power in the world, and the global naval scene is heating up
enormously.”

Many, indeed most, academic institutions across the continent are
infected with an intellectual virus that causes them to reject study of
subjects that seem to some faculty members distasteful. This represents
a betrayal of the principles of curiosity, rigor and courage that must
underpin all worthwhile scholarship.

MacMillan demands: “Do we really want citizens who have no knowledge of
how our values, political and economic structures came into being? Do we
ever want another president at the head of the most powerful country in
the world, such as Donald Trump, who asserted that the Soviet Union
invaded Afghanistan in response to terrorist attacks, and was right to
be there?”

In Britain, by comparison, history continues to thrive. About the same
number of students embark on first degrees in the subject as take law.
Post-graduate studies are especially popular. Some 30 institutions offer
War Studies programs. On the European continent, those at Stockholm and
Leiden Universities are particularly respected. The problem — we might
even call it the repugnance — appears an explicitly North American
phenomenon.

North America’s great universities should be ashamed of their
pusillanimity. War is no more likely to quit our planet than are
pandemics. The academics who spurn its study are playing ostriches.
Their heads look no more elegant, buried in the sand.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial
board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

To contact the author of this story:
Max Hastings at ***@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Tobin Harshaw at ***@bloomberg.net
Jim Wilkins
2021-02-08 19:19:22 UTC
Permalink
"a425couple" wrote in message news:***@news4.newsguy.com...

from
https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2021-01-31/max-hastings-u-s-universities-declare-war-on-military-history

-----------------------

Socialists avoid or rewrite history because its lessons are too embarrassing
to them.
https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/01/21/vladimir-putin-wants-to-rewrite-the-history-of-world-war-ii/
Geoffrey Sinclair
2021-02-09 16:56:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by a425couple
from
https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2021-01-31/max-hastings-u-s-universities-declare-war-on-military-history
-----------------------
Socialists avoid or rewrite history because its lessons are too
embarrassing to them.
https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/01/21/vladimir-putin-wants-to-rewrite-the-history-of-world-war-ii/
Who are the socialists, the members of the European Parliament
or Putin or both and what is the definition of socialist being used?
Given the world notes the word has become a US political swear word.

And is the idea fascists or democracies never avoid or rewrite
history to avoid embarrassment?

WWII was primarily driven by Hitler and hindsight history has its
ideas of how the war could have been avoided by actions of
other leaders. How surprising it was someone else who had the
best chance but did not take it.

Geoffrey Sinclair
Remove the nb for email.
Daryl
2021-02-09 17:11:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Geoffrey Sinclair
Post by a425couple
from
https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2021-01-31/max-hastings-u-s-universities-declare-war-on-military-history
-----------------------
Socialists avoid or rewrite history because its lessons are too
embarrassing to them.
https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/01/21/vladimir-putin-wants-to-rewrite-the-history-of-world-war-ii/
Who are the socialists, the members of the European Parliament
or Putin or both and what is the definition of socialist being used?
Given the world notes the word has become a US political swear word.
And is the idea fascists or democracies never avoid or rewrite
history to avoid embarrassment?
WWII was primarily driven by Hitler and hindsight history has its
ideas of how the war could have been avoided by actions of
other leaders.  How surprising it was someone else who had the
best chance but did not take it.
Geoffrey Sinclair
Remove the nb for email.
Very true. Everyone seems to be looking for someone else to blame after
the last fiasco. It's easier to placate than to confront early on.
Then when that "Leader" get sto the point where war becomes the only
avenue to stop them, it's always some else's fault.
--
This email has been checked for viruses by AVG.
https://www.avg.com
Byker
2021-02-09 22:02:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by Daryl
Very true. Everyone seems to be looking for someone else to blame after
the last fiasco. It's easier to placate than to confront early on. Then
when that "Leader" get sto the point where war becomes the only avenue to
stop them, it's always some else's fault.
After Pearl Harbor was bombed, people were asking why we didn't "intervene"
in Manchuria ten years earlier. In his "Why We Fight" series, film director
Frank Capra said flat-out: "No one wanted to die over a Manchurian mud
hut..."
Jim Wilkins
2021-02-09 22:43:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Daryl
Very true. Everyone seems to be looking for someone else to blame after
the last fiasco. It's easier to placate than to confront early on. Then
when that "Leader" get sto the point where war becomes the only avenue to
stop them, it's always some else's fault.
After Pearl Harbor was bombed, people were asking why we didn't "intervene"
in Manchuria ten years earlier. In his "Why We Fight" series, film director
Frank Capra said flat-out: "No one wanted to die over a Manchurian mud
hut..."

----------------------

https://history.state.gov/milestones/1937-1945/american-isolationism
Byker
2021-02-09 22:02:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jim Wilkins
Socialists avoid or rewrite history because its lessons are too
embarrassing to them.
Something that Wikipedia should take note of...
Post by Jim Wilkins
https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/01/21/vladimir-putin-wants-to-rewrite-the-history-of-world-war-ii/
Geoffrey Sinclair
2021-02-09 16:53:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by a425couple
from
https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2021-01-31/max-hastings-u-s-universities-declare-war-on-military-history
Politics & Policy
American Universities Declare War on Military History
Academics seem to have forgotten that the best way to avoid conflict is to
study it.
By Max Hastings
January 31, 2021, 1:00 AM PST
They’re history.
They’re history. Photographer: Dominick Reuter/AFP/Getty Images
I like the title, given the obvious point, trying to fight a war without
knowledge
of military history should result in a loss. And the progress through the
article from seem to, ending with definitely doing.
Post by a425couple
The world applauds the scientists who have created vaccines to deliver
humanity from Covid-19. One certainty about our future: There will be no
funding shortfall for medical research into pandemics.
Yes there will, along with lapses in pandemic planning and practice. The
usual results of how humans live and organise.

Checked when various governments around the world last ran practices?
Or the size of relevant medical equipment stockpiles, investigated supply
chains and local manufacture capacity of relevant supplies? Say before
end 2019?
Post by a425couple
Now, notice a contradiction. War is also a curse, responsible for untold
deaths. Humans should do everything possible to mitigate it. And even if
scientists cannot promise a vaccine, the obvious place to start working
against future conflicts is by researching the causes and courses of past
ones.
Yet in centers of learning across North America, the study of the past in
general, and of wars in particular, is in spectacular eclipse. History now
accounts for a smaller share of undergraduate degrees than at any time
since 1950. Whereas in 1970, 6% of American male and 5% of female students
were history majors, the respective percentages are now less than 2% and
less than 1%, respectively.
In 1970 maybe 10% of US citizens had degrees, now around 36%. So
where is the correction for student population? Next is where is the
correction for the much more diverse subjects available these days?

In 1970 around 7.5 million students, in 2018 19.6 million, multiply that
ratio and number of males doing history majors is 6 to 5.2 and females
is 5 to 2.6. Of course the subjects considered suitable or allowed for
females has changed quite a lot in 50 years. So in absolute terms a
decline of 11 to 7.6. No idea of any effects from mature age students
or the concept of double degrees.

Next comes the diversification of what subjects are considered worthy of
historical research, women did not feature very much in 1970 histories
for example. Seen the article recently that suggests females were very
important in domesticating the dog for example or the social effects of
female on female rivalry? And by the way, if you then thought the rivalry
was over males, think again, but note the training to think females fight
over males first or even only instead of other issues. What is the first
reason coming to mind when you read male on male rivalry.
Post by a425couple
Fredrik Logevall, a distinguished Harvard historian and author of seminal
works on Vietnam, along with a new biography of John F. Kennedy, remarked
to me on the strangeness of this, given that the U.S. is overwhelmingly
the most powerful, biggest-spending military nation on earth. “How this
came to be and what it has meant for America and the world is surely of
surpassing historical importance,” he said. “Yet it’s not at the forefront
of research among academic historians in this country.”
The revulsion from war history may derive not so much from students’
unwillingness to explore the violent past, but from academics’ reluctance
to teach, or even allow their universities to host, such courses.
May derive? As the article progresses it keeps heading towards
certainty but the address to the jury must work up to asking for a
conviction.
Post by a425couple
Some dub the subject “warnography,” and the aversion can extend to the
study of international relations.
Warning, naughty words being used, by some anyway, please dear
reader, make the jump from some to all doing it.
Post by a425couple
Less than half of all history departments now employ a diplomatic
historian, against 85% in 1975.
So the decline is possibly, probably or definitely due to aversion,
not changes in topics covered?
Post by a425couple
As for war, as elderly scholars retire from posts in which they have
studied it, many are not replaced: the roles are redefined.
Yet that happens across all areas. Partly as the amount of human
knowledge explodes and more fields are open to study. Not to
mention if the retiring scholars did their work well then new people
can feel they can move to other study areas.
Post by a425couple
An eminent historian recently told me of a young man majoring in science
at Harvard who wanted to take humanities on history, including the U.S.
Civil War. He was offered only one course — which addressed the history of
humans and their pets.
There seem to be a number of Harvard history subjects that have war
in them. Including one that is the run up to the civil war, and presumably
not the English etc. civil war. Any chance being a science major
restricted the arts courses he could take without having a clash where
two classes were being taught at the same time?
Post by a425couple
Paul Kennedy of Yale, author of one of the best-selling history books of
all time, “The Rise and Fall of The Great Powers,” is among many
historians who deplore what is, or rather is not, going on. He observed to
me that while some public universities, such as Ohio State and Kansas
State, have strong program in the history of war, “It’s in the elite
universities that the subject has gone.”
“Can you imagine Chicago, or Berkeley, or Princeton having War Studies
departments?” he asked. “Military history is the most noxious of the ‘dead
white male’ subjects, and there’s also a great falling away in the
teaching of diplomatic, colonial and European political history.”
What is the reason such universities should consider war studies worth
a department, instead of being in departments like history, politics etc.
Which other academic institutions in the US have such departments?

Before the fall off how much study of say non European history?

Anyone for the replacing Military with Asian history units, or for that
matter of Islam, both of which are very useful these days?
Post by a425couple
Kennedy notes that war studies are highly popular with students, alumni
and donors, “but the sticking point is with the faculty — where perhaps
only a small group are openly hostile, but a larger group don’t think the
area is important enough.”
Or have decided the subject has been so covered not a lot can be
added, and with an even tighter publish or perish imperative, citations
of your work are rather important, that means finding other topics but
also encourages the herd all moving together and citing each other.

Yes, there is the anti war studies groups, along with the anti studies
movements for other subjects.

It would be good to see the actual figures for "highly popular" and
the alumni and donor proposals, numbers and money.
Post by a425couple
Harvard offers few history courses that principally address the great wars
of modern times.
All that can mean is they slot it into the history of a longer period,
the first half of the 20th century for example. Not the same as no
teaching.
Post by a425couple
Many faculties are prioritizing such subjects as culture, race and
ethnicity. Margaret MacMillan, of the University of Toronto and Oxford,
observes that war is one of the great cataclysmic events, alongside
revolution, famine and financial collapse, that can change history.
So there is a lot of history teaching of "revolution, famine and financial
collapse" now, or back in the 1970's? The Rwandan genocide was
about race and ethnicity, lots of wars have been as well.
Post by a425couple
As the author of the bestseller “Peacemakers,” an epochal study of the
1919 Versailles conference, she has written about the decline in
university courses on conflict: “Our horror at the phenomenon itself has
affected the willingness to treat it as a serious subject for scholarship.
An interest in war is somehow conflated with approval for it.”
Trouble is, like all subjects, there are those who do approve and
it is a standard tactic to claim people studying an uncomfortable
subject are trying to endorse it. How goes the US based studies of
fascism, socialism and communism these days? And the names
those doing the studying are called?
Post by a425couple
Mindless mudslingers have attacked her as a war-lover for making the
observation — commonplace among scholars of the subject — that conflicts
can bring scientific or social benefits to mankind.
Mindless mud slingers attack anything and everything. It is called
social media for short. Saying you are being attacked is really a
measure of how big your audience is as well as what you are
saying or doing.

War does bring accelerated changes, at a rather large cost.
Communism brought accelerated changes to Russia, at a rather
large cost, which helped it stay in WWII, of rather large benefit to
the world. Now to wait to see if that statement gets the mudslinger
treatment.

All of us do good and bad regularly, often at the same time,
power magnifies the effect.
Post by a425couple
Tami Davis Biddle, a professor at the U.S. Army War College, has written,
“Unfortunately, many in the academic community assume that military
history is simply about powerful men — mainly white men —fighting each
other and/or oppressing vulnerable groups.”
There have been few female war leaders we know about. The quote
as presented really needs more support. The wars of Shaka or
Jaguar Paw have some writings. Then again such events have
a habit of being called tribal conflicts, you need to be civilised, or
an advanced civilisation, to have your fighting called war. The
chimpanzees have been shown to do organised violence.

Few political entities have come into being or expanded without
conflict, and those entities tend to be run by men. The most documents
available are from white men.
Post by a425couple
Universities excuse themselves for shunning history by citing the need to
address contemporary subjects such as as emotions, food and climate
change.
Excuse is a value judgement, reasons? The way emotions are used
by people to make or influence decisions, the conflict over things like
food and the destabilisations caused by climate change, with Syria
being considered an early example.
Post by a425couple
Some also urge that students believe they can better serve their own
interests — and justify tuition costs — by choosing vocational majors that
will enhance their employability. Yet Logevall’s Vietnam is one of the
most popular history courses at Harvard.
Meantime the (conservative) Australian government has decided to change
its student funding model to double the cost of arts degrees while cutting
costs in other degrees, the ones that make students job ready, according
to the government's idea of job ready.

"On 19 October 2020, the Job-ready Graduates Package passed in
parliament" to use an official web site.

And the government has altered their pandemic support payments rules
2 or 3 times now to keep universities from being able to make claims for
support, result is of course lots of redundancies.

Yet there is still plenty of demand for arts degrees.

Plenty of support across politics for students to study useful and
appropriate subjects.
Post by a425couple
History sells prodigiously in the world’s bookstores. I have produced a
dozen works about conflict, and my harshest critic would struggle to claim
that these reflect an enthusiasm for it. I often quote a Norwegian World
War II Resistance hero, who wrote in 1948, “Although wars bring adventures
that stir the heart, the true nature of war is composed of innumerable
personal tragedies and sacrifices, wholly evil and not redeemed by glory.”
Those words do not represent an argument for pacifism. Our societies must
be willing, when necessary, to defend themselves in arms. But our
respective presidents and prime ministers might less readily adopt kinetic
solutions — start shooting — if they possessed a better understanding of
the implications.
They are sure they do, in any case this time will be different.
Post by a425couple
Before resorting to force, governments, as well as military commanders,
should always ask: “What are our objectives? And are they attainable?”
Again and again — in recent memory, in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya —
those questions were neither properly asked nor answered, with
consequences we know. Governments succumb to what I call gesture strategy.
How about before resorting to changes in domestic policy they do
the same thing? And have the expertise to evaluate the chances?

And how does anyone know before hand what the proper questions
and answers are and attainability?

The Munich agreement had as an objective to avoid another large
scale European war, it seemed attainable at the time.
Post by a425couple
Part of the trouble lies with the military, sometimes over-eager to
demonstrate “the utility of force,” or rather, to justify their stupendous
budgets. More often, however, blame lies with politicians ignorant of the
difficulties of leveraging F-35s, cruise missiles, drone aircraft and
combat infantry to produce a desired political outcome.
The fundamental problem is once you have something the tendency
is to use it.
Post by a425couple
It is extraordinary that so many major U.S. universities renounce, for
instance, study of the Indochina experience, which might assist a new
generation not to do it again. Marine General Walt Boomer, a distinguished
“It bothers me that we didn’t learn a lot. If we had, we wouldn’t have
invaded Iraq.”
An interesting statement, given how much evidence was in the public
arena about the gaps between the claims being made and what Iraq
was doing. And how much of that evidence was dismissed often
by the usual tactic of attacking the person, you know being an Iraqi
supporter, or unpatriotic. Freedom fries with your burger? The
respectful way the Dixie Chicks were treated when they disagreed?
Yes, I know, by some, not all, but note the tone of Hastings' writing
when it comes to describing opposition to war history study.

There was no build up to the second Iraq war compared with the
way the US became involved in Vietnam.
Post by a425couple
Biddle has written: “The U.S. military does not send itself to war.
Choices about war and peace are made by civilians — civilians who,
increasingly, have no historical or analytical frameworks to guide them.
They know little or nothing about the requirements of the Just War
tradition … the logistical, geographical and physical demands of modern
military operations.”
Agreed the US military has generally been far more sensible about
the initial use of military force than the rest of the system at least,
after
that things have a momentum, again often driven by the civilians looking
for supportive commanders.
Post by a425couple
Former British Prime Minister David Cameron is not a stupid man. But he
might have made less of a mess of U.K. foreign policy had he accepted the
advice of some people who understood both war and the Muslim world better
than his ill-informed Downing Street clique.
In 2011, the chief of the British defense staff, General Sir David
Richards, begged Cameron not to drag the North Atlantic Treaty
Organization into Libya. But the prime minister, in the spirit of a boy
scout, wished to do a good deed in a wicked world by promoting the
overthrow of President Moammar Al Qaddafi. The rest — the Western
intervention and the murderous chaos that has persisted ever since — are,
alas, matters of record.
Across the Middle East in the time of the invasion of Iraq and the Arab
Spring the outside world has done an invasion (Iraq), used force to
probably stop a dictator engaging in mass murder to keep power (Libya),
used diplomacy to help push a leader out (Egypt), helped and hindered
another dictator (Syria) and largely stayed out (Tunisia). Plus there are
the quickly snuffed out Arab Spring moments in other Middle Eastern
states which have largely been ignored.

Want to rate any of them a success? The west, mostly US, can clearly,
easily, remove a current government almost anywhere, putting the
country back together again is another matter. Pre WWII Japan and
Germany had elections and party politics, Japan in theory all through
WWII, and their post war populations could see the choice between
the offers of the western side and Stalin.

Meantime the Middle East remains a bunch of states whose boundaries
were drawn up by people with little understanding of the populations
living there, boundaries cutting through different groups. See Belgium
and its current ethnicity problems to show it is not just Middle East.

So what is translated as tribe, overlaid by religion, are the primary
focus of group loyalty in the Middle East. Makes it hard to put a
country together, even more so when the only record of that country
is of repression and worse.

None of the actions worked if you define work as enabled the
country to evolve stable, peaceful democratic government by now.
Post by a425couple
It would be absurd to pretend that study of the past is a guarantee
against repeating its mistakes. But the world has cause to be grateful
that in 1962, JFK read Barbara Tuchman’s “The Guns of August,” about the
outbreak of World War I. Kennedy thus went into the Cuban Missile Crisis
conscious of the peril that a local flare-up — as in the Balkans in 1914 —
could precipitate a global catastrophe.
Assuming of course the work actually did have the impact. Given the
expansion of the US involvement in Vietnam.
Post by a425couple
The Oxford professor Sir Michael Howard, who died in 2019, was my close
friend and mentor over 50 years, the wisest human being I have ever known.
In the 1950s, he created the Department of War Studies at King’s College,
London, which prospers to this day.
Even more important, he was among the founders in 1958 of the
International Institute of Strategic Studies. The IISS came about because
some brilliant intellectuals, on both sides of the Atlantic, were fearful
of the peril of war. They dismissed the feasibility or even desirability
of unilateral abandonment of nuclear weapons.
Rather, they sought to promote understanding, among NATO and Warsaw Pact
members alike, that nuclear conflict must be ruled out, because its
consequences could not conceivably advantage even a supposed victor.
Howard describes in his memoirs his own first visit to the U.S. in the
spring of 1960, “as a missionary on behalf of the Institute.” He found
Washington “a military capital” with “almost more uniforms on the street
There was an electric excitement in the air that I found terrifying. This,
I thought, was what Europe must have been like before 1914 … This seemed a
people who, in spite of the Second World War and Korea, had not really
experienced war, and who found the prospect an invigorating challenge. It
was in just such an atmosphere, I thought, that wars began.”
Howard became even more alarmed after attending a lecture on nuclear
warfighting given by Herman Kahn at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica,
California. Some RANDSmen whom he met were debating how long it might
take Los Angeles to get back to “normal” after a nuclear attack.
It was in this climate that Howard and like-minded academics promoted
debate, in Europe and America, about responsible strategy and defense.
Today, almost everyone who knows Cold War history recognizes that all the
talking — international conferences, seminars, formal dialogues — played a
significant role in averting a nuclear showdown. Not for nothing is the
IISS Journal, then as now, entitled Survival.
To those who knew Michael Howard or read his writing, it would be
fantastic to suggest that because he devoted his life to the study of
conflict and international relations, he thus spread the pollution of war,
or advanced a doctrine of force. By implication, however, such is now the
conviction of many great North American institutions of learning.
By implication is another way for that is the way I feel it to be.
Post by a425couple
A few years ago, a history department in the Canadian Maritime provinces
was offered a fully funded chair in naval history — and rejected it.
Could the institution be named and their reasons for not taking the
offer be explained?
Post by a425couple
Paul Kennedy told me recently that he is amazed by the lack of interest in
naval affairs at U.S. universities, “since we are by far the greatest
naval power in the world, and the global naval scene is heating up
enormously.”
Many, indeed most, academic institutions across the continent are infected
with an intellectual virus that causes them to reject study of subjects
that seem to some faculty members distasteful. This represents a betrayal
of the principles of curiosity, rigor and courage that must underpin all
worthwhile scholarship.
Welcome to academic fashion, try studying astronomy in the middle
ages, medicine, progress through the ages, the early 20th century and
its ideas about inherent human characteristics.

Go through the ages and see how much academic work is about
showing the superiority of the current system and the people running
it.

The Australian capital Canberra is where it currently is for 3 reasons,
the politics of federation, safe from battleship bombardment and the
sure knowledge the vigorous races came from cooler climates, very
much a focus of academic studies at the time.
Post by a425couple
MacMillan demands: “Do we really want citizens who have no knowledge of
how our values, political and economic structures came into being? Do we
ever want another president at the head of the most powerful country in
the world, such as Donald Trump, who asserted that the Soviet Union
invaded Afghanistan in response to terrorist attacks, and was right to be
there?”
No one does, but lots have different ideas of values etc., how they came
about and the very real gaps between the values and reality.
Post by a425couple
In Britain, by comparison, history continues to thrive. About the same
number of students embark on first degrees in the subject as take law.
Post-graduate studies are especially popular. Some 30 institutions offer
War Studies programs. On the European continent, those at Stockholm and
Leiden Universities are particularly respected. The problem — we might
even call it the repugnance — appears an explicitly North American
phenomenon.
So a step up to repugnance as the readership has been exposed
to more of the text, so the gradual raising of the conclusion from
possibility to certainty.

So Canada has the same downgrading of military history? Is Mexico
considered North American here?
Post by a425couple
North America’s great universities should be ashamed of their
pusillanimity. War is no more likely to quit our planet than are
pandemics. The academics who spurn its study are playing ostriches. Their
heads look no more elegant, buried in the sand.
Definitely certainty now across a number of undefined great
universities, though it is hard to be great when lacking courage or
determination, being timid.

Ostriches do not bury their head in the sand to avoid danger. Rather
negates the insult.

So yes, fairly standard stuff, start of with a declaration how the current
medical situation will never be forgotten, move to the preferred subject
and equate it to the current bad events/crisis so the audience is primed
to merge the two. Throw in some supporting statistics, then identify the
bad guys, throw in how "some of them" use derogatory language, the
horror, toss in a single case example of studies being denied, more
horror, then a dream for those who think more of the subject should be
taught, dedicated departments in major academic institutions, and how
the bad guys are blocking teaching more. Even shunning an undefined
but popular amount of money in doing so. Move to Harvard offers few
courses that "principally" address the great wars, so the history is being
taught, despite the reports of opposition, but not enough of the course
concentrates on the war, for an undefined enough. Should have the
audience gong along, so now go to topics being taught that are in strong
dispute in society and so the readership, "culture, race and ethnicity",
button pushing 101. Yet if people are to handle the current hot topics
they need to know about them but of course those bad guys will be
teaching it wrong.

Next example, a reasonable statement presented and how the bad guys
attack the speaker for making points declared reasonable. Not sure
how the Biddle quote works, beyond the word many, as a rallying cry
for we need your help, lots of bad guys to stop.

On we move to how universities excuse, not reason, the word excuse
linked bad behaviour, reason to good behaviour. Then comes the
tension of how vocational study should be, but not to worry, a course
on the Vietnam war is one of the most popular, showing the students
are shunning the advice of the academics perhaps?

To history sells prodigiously, not military history. Time to announce
the writer is pure of heart, and how, if used correctly, the subject can
really help the world, of course what a WWII military could do versus
a modern one, and so what options are available are rather different.
The bad guys return, renouncing study, presumably abandon courses,
yet understanding the Vietnam war would have been much more
important a generation or so ago, then a quote how a lack of learning
meant Iraq happened. Learning by who? Anyway case proved,
move on. Note the military is not the ones starting the mess, another
nod to an audience that has good opinions of the military while most
people have bad opinions of at least some politicians. I wonder
how many academic institutions actually teach "logistical, geographical
and physical demands" of military operations. Few as far as I can
tell but anyway it is those ignorant civilians, not the ones in uniform,
so time for an example, good military bad politician, bad outcome.
Then in 1962 comes good history gives good outcome.

A mini speech on the benefits of military history, and one of its
most decent advocates, whom the bad guys would attack (not did,
but would). Like rejecting funding for naval history followed by
how the US has a lack of interest in the subject, so what is a good
level of interest, but skip on by that. Announce the academic
disease, Covid-history perhaps?, primed in the opening paragraph,
now detonated right under the bad guy's noses.

Apparently military history is needed to tech "how our values, political
and economic structures came into being". Now jump to the utopia
where the good guys rule, the vision splendid. Now the solid conclusion
on how bad the bad guys are, as the intended audience smiles I wonder
how many recall the articles protests about calling people names.

Standard structure really.

There are a number of areas studying human behaviours and the
associated results, with advocates claiming we ignore the results
at our peril.

No institution can teach everything, teaching and research is also
regularly a dedicated follower of intellectual fashion and ideas
prevailing in society. Sure research will show new ways or
discredit old ones, just note the time gap between the research
and adoption by society and the resistance encountered on the way.

If we are supposed to devote/offer similar level of resources now as
back in the day, think of what a 19th century curriculum looked like,
who gets to decide how far way back when we are supposed to
use as the baseline.

Geoffrey Sinclair
Remove the nb for email.
Byker
2021-02-09 22:02:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by a425couple
from
https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2021-01-31/max-hastings-u-s-universities-declare-war-on-military-history
Politics & Policy
American Universities Declare War on Military History
And when the U.S. falls under martial law, these "academics" will be running
for their lives...
Jonathan
2021-02-09 22:52:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by a425couple
from
https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2021-01-31/max-hastings-u-s-universities-declare-war-on-military-history
Politics & Policy
American Universities Declare War on Military History
Academics seem to have forgotten that the best way to avoid conflict is
to study it.
By Max Hastings
January 31, 2021, 1:00 AM PST
They’re history.
They’re history. Photographer: Dominick Reuter/AFP/Getty Images
The world applauds the scientists who have created vaccines to deliver
humanity from Covid-19. One certainty about our future: There will be no
funding shortfall for medical research into pandemics.
Now, notice a contradiction. War is also a curse, responsible for untold
deaths. Humans should do everything possible to mitigate it. And even if
scientists cannot promise a vaccine, the obvious place to start working
against future conflicts is by researching the causes and courses of
past ones.
War history can provide much more than just history lessons.

A few years ago I decided to look up my Dad's war history, I posted
some about it here years ago. But I have to tell you doing so
changed my life in no small way. When I read what my Dad went
through like a ton of bricks I realized how lucky I am to
have ever been born.

This picture from his war pics album speaks volumes to the
horrible casualty rates suffered by airman especially bombers.


https://rb.gy/kacf7b


I'll go ahead and repost accounts of his first 4 missions.
Realizing he flew 38...more missions I can't
tell you how lucky I feel.

His second mission was fairly historical as it was the
first time the Yamato came under attack by allied
bombers.

..............



October 1944
My Dad's First Month in Combat!


General MacArthur, in keeping his famous promise, steadily
advanced from one Pacific Island to another, so the 307th
Bombardment Group, the Long Rangers "Jungle Air Force"
moved along with him.

His base at Wadke Island Aerodrome, just off the coast
of New Guinea, was the last 'island hop' for his group
before the big invasion of the Philippines.

His unit, the 307th, was comprised of 4 B-24 Bomber Squadrons,
the 370th, 371st, 372nd and my dad's unit, the 424th.

His group the 307th was named 'The Long Rangers' due to
the fact most missions involved extremely long flights
over the Pacific. Meaning almost any battle damage would
make returning safely difficult.


307th Bomber Group Homepage
http://www.307bg.net/



OCT 3 Mission.

The 370th, 371st, 372nd and 424th squadrons attacked
the crucial Balakapapan oil fields. Source of 13% of the entire
Japanese oil and gas supplies, considered the 'Ploesti' of the
Japanese Empire, and one of the most vital targets of the
entire Pacific war. And it was defended by the Japanese
'fanatically' according to the group commander.

370th Squadron mission results;


"It is impossible to rate this mission as only one
of our planes over the target returned to base."


371st Squadron mission results.

"Fifteen minutes before the bomb run, the squadron
was attacked for an hour and a half by numerous relays of
enemy fighters of 40-50 planes in each relay. Some enemy
fighters flew above the formation and dropped several
phosphorus bombs accurately. 2 planes were lost.

A/C #599 Lt Connell, pilot, was attacked by a Zeke
from 2 o'clock high and was hit in the #1 engine which
was seen to smoke and flame. Friendly submarine reported
that it picked up 10 men of the 11-man crew.

"A/C # 955 Lt Kates, pilot, was observed to receive
a direct AA hit just prior to bombs away, and fire broke
out at the left wing root. The plane fell off in flames and
crashes, three men were seen to bail out.

A/C # 568, Lt Kendall, pilot, was attacked by a Zeke over
the target, and hit in #3 engine, the plane fell off to the left
and was immediately attacked by 3 or 4 fighters. The plane
caught fire, and 3 or 4 men were observed to parachute
just before the plane exploded in the air.

A/C # 565, Lt Wright, pilot, was attacked by enemy fighters
and lost #2 engine, just prior to bombs away; the plane
went into a steep right bank and crashed into the water.
One chute was seen to open.

A/C # 6t14, Lt. Rourie, pilot, had #3 engine on fire over
the target, and appeared to have control damage from AA.
Two parachutes were sighted a few minutes later in the
water. A Jap seaplane was also observed to be circling
this position.

A/C #101 Lt Rider, pilot, was rammed in the right wing
by an enemy fighter, during the bomb run, part of the
right wing came off, and the Liberator turned on its back
and went into a dive and crashed near the target, no
chutes were seen.

This Kamikaze attack was photographed and published
by the AP nation wide.

B-24 shot down "Over the Philippines"
http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/aviation/307th-bg-liberator-going-down-over-philipines-31642.html

Lt Wheeler's plane, a 20mm shell exploded in their
cockpit, paralyzing the right leg and arm of the pilot
and the co-pilot was bleeding so badly he became
barely conscious. With one engine out and the help
of the engineer, they managed to keep flying
for the 6 hours it took to get back, and somehow
landed safely. In the words of the group commander...

"Some crews have it, some crews don't.
This crew had it...in large quantities."

"307th gunners shot down 23 aircraft."

"On the Oct 3 raid, 21% of all personal that started out
have not returned. 29% of the airplanes that day
will never fly again. In all 12 planes were lost in
combat, one crashed on take off, and 32 were
damaged."

In conclusion, the mission report reads...

"Is is doubtful that a more dangerous, grueling and heart-breaking
mission has ever been performed in any theater of war. This report
can by no means adequately reflect the feast of individual heroism
and bravery displayed, which are too numerous to mention."

"A crippling blow was struck against Japan's fuel and lubricating
supplies when the "Long Rangers" left in shambles cracking plants
paraffin plants etc, that, it is estimated will take a year to repair."

"Letters of commendation from General Arnold and General
MacArthur have been received and distributed to the squadrons
participating in the foregoing strikes"

"Awards for September and October, 1944
307th Bombardment Group;"

Air Medals 123
Oak Leaf Clusters 19
Distinguished Flying Cross 1
Purple Hearts 8

Oct Unit Report
http://www.307bg.net/data/missionreports/1944/October44_Hist_Record-424bs.pdf


.....................................



OCT 26 Mission:

All 4 squadrons were sent out to search for enemy shipping.

"Just as the 307th formation entered the Sulu Sea, a message
was picked up from "Peggy 2" to intercept a unit of 6 vessels.
26 miles East of the formation.The group leader spotted what
he thought was a flotilla of heavy and light cruisers, so he barged
right in. Major John Neely held course for a few minutes
then "crossed the T" of the enemy task force.

But it turned out to be a fleet of battleships.

The Battleships Yamato, the largest ever built, the Nagato
with her 16 inch guns, and the Battleships Kongo and Haruna
along with several heavy cruisers.

They stumbled into the bulk of the remaining Japanese navy
as they were leaving the Battle of Leyte Gulf after the
Japanese defeat. Considered the largest naval battle
of WW2 and perhaps ever.


Battleship Yamato



The Yamato used her 18" guns at times for anti aircraft fire
using 'San Shiki' shells.

San Shiki (anti-aircraft shell)

The Sanshiki anti-aircraft shell was designed for several
gun calibers, including the 46 cm (18.1-inch) guns of the
Yamato-class battleships.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Shiki_(anti-aircraft_shell)



Oct 26th mission results;


"In as much as this is the first time heavy bombardment
squadrons have taken under attack major units of the
Japanese battle fleet, it is thought of interest to record
in detail and to diagram the actions of the two forces."

"This bombing is rated as excellent. 28 Liberators, 7 each
from the 370th, 371st, 372nd and 424th attacked the flotilla.
AA Fire; Intense, heavy and accurate. It was of the barrage
type and composed of different type bursts, being black,
yellow, orange and gold, as well as white." Major Neely
promptly began a loss of 500' of altitude and a turn to the
left into his bombing run. This proved to be extremely
effective. It is felt that the losses from AA might have been
much heavier then they were."

"The first sections of the group, consisting of the 370th and
372nd took on the Konga Class Battleships, while the
371st and 424nd attacked the Yamato two minutes later.
The Yamato continued in a tight 360 degree turn while
the Konga made a tight "S" turn."

Lt Hicks was hit by flack just as the bomb run began.
It struck midway between the bomb bay and tail, the
plane began to smoke, a few seconds later the tail
of the plane burst into flames and went into a spin.
One man was seen to have jumped out but no
parachute was seen to open.

Lt Jones was hit over the target. However this plane
was reported to drop its bombs on the target.
It later burst into flames and was last seen falling
into the sea enveloped in flames. No men were
seen bailing out.

Lt Sutphin received a burst of AA in the # 3
engine during the bomb run. The pilot was able
to keep the plane in flight for an hour and a half
It was reported this aircraft lost its # 4 engine
at this time. The plane went into a spin and crashed
into the sea. Three men were seen to bail out of
this plane. One man's chute became tangled with
the disabled aircraft, a second became enmeshed
in his chute, and the third man was dragged along
for about 500 yards through the water until the chute
collapsed.

A total of 3 of 7 B-24's from the 424th were lost
1 more crashed on take-off and 14 were damaged by
AA fire."

http://www.307bg.net/data/missionreports/1944/26oct44_Diagram_Jap_Fleet.pdf

Oct 26 Group report
http://www.307bg.net/data/missionreports/1944/27oct44_307_353D-Group.pdf



On Nov 2nd, his 3rd mission, they searched for the Yamato
flotilla for 15 hours without success. Turns out the Yamato
task force was in Brunei, for supplies. His log book for that
day read...using his grammar.

"Couldn't find battleships, would have been suiscide for us"




On his 4th mission, on Nov 6, he shot down his first fighter!

"Got one for sure" his log book reads.

He was on the right waist gun and flying a formation
of 6 B-24's at 12,500 feet in a modified box formation
with 2 P-47 escorts. And 7 hours from base his squadron
was attacked by 20 Japanese fighters.

The Zeke came in from behind, between 5 and 7 o'clock level.
After the burst, it started to smoke badly, banked right and
went into a steep vertical dive. It was last seen going into
the clouds at 4000 feet trailing thick black smoke. Because
of the cloud cover, it was credited as a 'probable'.

The enemy fighters made 15 or 20 more passes at his plane
all from behind. The P-47 escorts shot down two of them

Nov 6 Mission Report
http://www.307bg.net/data/missionreports/1944/6nov44_307_357-372sq.pdf


My dad still had 38 more missions left to go!
--
https://twitter.com/Non_Linear1
Loading...