Military

He was a lieutenant in the Army of the United States: he saw no reason to sit in the back of the bus

ON JULY 6, 1944, Jackie Robinson, a twenty-five-year-old lieutenant, boarded an Army bus at Fort Hood, Texas. Read more >>

After living through America’s worst defeat in World War II and the infamous death march, Army Private Ben Steele started drawing pictures of the images that haunted him.

He is 91 years old now, among the handful of last men surviving from America’s worst military defeat, the fall of the Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines during that desperate winter and early spring of 1942. Read more >>

The Women Airforce Service Pilots seemed strange and exotic to World War II America. In fact, not even the military could quite fiqure out what to do with them.

Though it appears to have sprung up overnight, the inspiration of free-spirited hackers, it in fact was born in Defense Department Cold War projects of the 1950s

The Internet seems so now, so happening, so information age, that its Gen-X devotees might find the uncool circumstances of its birth hard to grasp. Read more >>

After every war in the nation’s history, the military has faced not only calls for demobilization but new challenges and new opportunities. It is happening again.

Not many people appreciate a military base closing. Like the shutting of a factory, it can devastate nearby towns, throwing thousands of people out of work. Merchants face losses and even bankruptcy as sales fall off. Read more >>

The old Regular Army, part fairy tale and part dirty joke, was generally either ignored or disdained. But its people went about their work with a dogged humdrum gallantry—and when the storm broke, they helped save the world.

After more than 130 years, the fundamental dispute between the American media and the American military has changed hardly at all. The essential argument is still about access. How much should the press be allowed to know and see of the conduct of battle? Read more >>
Let’s call him Frank. “He was in the war” is how adults explained Frank’s odd behavior a generation ago. As he walked through the small town then, his gait was clumsy, his clothes disheveled, and he seemed to go nowhere in particular. Read more >>

Slam Marshall, who is regarded as one of our great military historians, looked into the heart of combat and discovered a mystery there that raised doubts about the fighting quality of U.S. troops. But one GI thought he was a liar…

When Col. Samuel Lyman Marshall came home in 1945, he was one of millions of Americans who had served in the Second World War. Read more >>

A lifelong student of military history and affairs says that nuclear weapons have made the idea of war absurd. And it is precisely when everyone agrees that war is absurd that one gets started.

Edward Luttwak is the author of nine books on the art of war, and he pronounces with startling confidence on a great array of events, as the titles of his works suggest. Read more >>

You Asked for It

When American Heritage suggested last year that I put together the article that became “101 Things Every College Graduate Should Know about American History,” I accepted the assignment eagerly. Read more >>

Chaos and farce and catastrophe played a big part. But so did a few men of vision.

A former Department of Defense adviser—one of Robert S. McNamara’s Whiz Kids—explains why we tend to overestimate Russian strength, and why we underestimate what it will cost to defend ourselves

Twenty years ago Alain C. Enthoven was one of America’s most controversial intellectuals in the field of military affairs. He had gone to the Pentagon in 1961 to act as a civilian adviser to Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. Read more >>

Fifty years ago these rough-and-ready tin soldiers were sold from bins cheap and by the handful. Today collectors are seeking them for their bright, simple vitality.

Commercially made metal toy soldiers date back to the late eighteenth century, when German tinsmiths began casting two-dimensional or “flat” figures of the sort immortalized by Hans Christian Andersen in “The Steadfast Tin Soldier.” European firms went on to Read more >>

Westmoreland and Sharon embarked on costly lawsuits to justify their battlefield judgments. They might have done much better to listen to Mrs. William Tecumseh Sherman.

War is hell—and so is the coverage of war. Gen. William Westmoreland and former Israeli Defense Minister Ariel Sharon, claiming injury as a result of press reports, retaliated with batteries of lawyers armed with videotapes, classified documents, and loaded depositions. Read more >>

A veteran reporter looks back to a time when the stakes were really high—and vet military men actually trusted newsmen.

One week in August 1942 several stories on the British war effort appeared on the wires of the Associated Press, written by an AP reporter based in London named Drew Middleton. Read more >>

The Civil War ignited the basic conflict between a free press and the need for military security. By war’s end, the hard-won compromises between soldiers and newspapermen may not have provided all the answers, but they had raised all the modern questions.

Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman was a good hater, and he hated few things more than newspapermen. His encounter with the correspondent Floras B. Plympton of the Cincinnati Commercial in September 1861, five months into the Civil War, was typical. Read more >>

How our wartime experience conquered a wide range of problems from hemorrhagic shock to yellow fever

WHEN HIPPOCRATES wrote in the fifth century B.C. that “he who would learn surgery should join an army and follow it,” he illuminated the central irony of military medicine. Read more >>

… is more comfortable and safer than World War II’s “steel pot. ” The problem is that it looks just like the One Hitlers troops wore.

THE NEWS PHOTOGRAPHS that appeared following the lightning invasion of Grenada by United States troops last November were almost as surprising as the invasion itself. Read more >>

When the President fired the general, civilian control of the military faced its severest test in our history

AT 1:00 A.M. ON THE morning of April 11, 1951, a tense band of Washington reporters filed into the White House newsroom for an emergency press conference. Read more >>

An Interview With Gen. Albert C. Wedemeyer

He was Irish, but with neither the proverbial charm nor the luck. Generals are not much known for the former quality, but the latter, as Napoleon suggested, is one no successful commander can be without. And John Sullivan was an officer whom luck simply passed by.

He was Irish, but with neither the proverbial charm nor the luck. Generals are not much known for the former quality, but the latter, as Napoleon suggested, is one no successful commander can be without. And John Sullivan was an officer whom luck simply passed by. Read more >>

An American Success Story

A dreadful prospect opened up for mankind when Napoleon’s Grande Armée won the battle of Austerlitz and swept on to conquer all of Europe. Read more >>
Back around the beginning of the twentieth century, when royalty was royalty and Imperial Pomp expressed the ultimate in human strutting, the czar of Russia one day held a grand review of his imperial guard and invited all and sundry to come and see. Read more >>

IMAGES OF SWEETHEARTS, WIVES, AND MOTHERS HAVE OFTER BEEN USED TO INSPIRE PATRIOTIC FERVOR

“O thus be it ever when free-men shall stand Between their lov’d homes and the war’s desolation…” Read more >>
Of the British officers who served in America during the Revolution, the names Howe and Clinton, Burgoyne and Cornwallis, are the ones that echo across the years. Read more >>
In a sense, the museum of the United States Military Academy was in existence years before the academy itself was founded. Read more >>

The Navy and contractor Smith accused each other of fraud. The Navy won—until the President took a hand

The way of the reformer is hard. The way ofthat idealistic David who slings his polished stones at the Goliath of military bureaucracy is trebly hard. He needs a firm heart and strong friends. Franklin W. Read more >>

A PORTFOLIO OF AMERICAN FIGHTING MEN

T he American provincials looked ridiculous. They had no military bearing. Their formations were ragged, and they argued with their officers. Read more >>