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Photo pack of U.S. Soldiers during Operation Just Cause in Panama, with captions.
Short Vignettes for your Classroom
From 1979 through 1985, the Military History Institute (USAMHI) of the USAHEC drew submissions from students and scholars from within the MHI and from throughout the country to publish as Military History Vignettes. Each of these short stories is a well-researched look at a specific topic in military history and is perfect for small group readings and critical thinking discussion in the classroom.
To find additional Military History Vignettes that do not pertain to a specific era, click here.
Description: An Estonian officer gives his thoughts on Soviet “deep tactics”: combat involving aerial warfare, armor (tanks), and ground combat.
Notable Persons/Locations: Major J. Tomson
Scholars have characterized the early decades of the Cold War as an era of rising militarism in the United States, but most Americans continued to identify themselves as fundamentally anti-militaristic. Much of the popular culture in the decades following World War II reflected and reinforced a more nuanced anti-militarist perception of America. This study explores military images in television, film and comic books from 1945 to 1970 to understand how popular culture made it possible for the public to embrace more militaristic national security policies yet continue to perceive themselves as deeply anti-militaristic.
Lisa Mundey received her doctoral degree from Kansas State University and is currently an assistant professor of history at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, TX. She is interested in modern American military history, particularly during the Cold War, and in the military's relationship with the American people. In addition to her book, American Militarism and Anti-Militarism in Popular Media, she has published "Citizen-Soldiers or Warriors: Language for a Democracy," in Semiotics 2008, and "The Civilianization of a Nuclear Weapon Effects Test: Operation ARGUS" is forthcoming in the Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences. She has served on the editorial advisory board for ABC-Clio's The Encyclopedia of Middle East Wars: A Social, Political, and Military History . As a historian with the U.S. Army's Center for Military History, she has researched the U.S. Army's recent history in Afghanistan.(2010).
While most historians of the Vietnam War focus on the origins of U.S. involvement and the Americanization of the conflict, Lien-Hang T. Nguyen examines the international context in which North Vietnamese leaders pursued the war and American intervention ended. This riveting narrative takes the reader from the marshy swamps of the Mekong Delta to the bomb-saturated Red River Delta, from the corridors of power in Hanoi and Saigon to the Nixon White House, and from the peace negotiations in Paris to high-level meetings in Beijing and Moscow, all to reveal that peace never had a chance in Vietnam. Hanoi's War renders transparent the internal workings of America's most elusive enemy during the Cold War and shows that the war fought during the peace negotiations was bloodier and much more wide ranging than it had been previously. Using never-before-seen archival materials from the Vietnam Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as materials from other archives around the world, Nguyen explores the politics of war-making and peace-making not only from the North Vietnamese perspective but also from that of South Vietnam, the Soviet Union, China, and the United States, presenting a uniquely international portrait. Lien-Hang T. Nguyen is an associate professor of history at the University of Kentucky. She received her BA from the University of Pennsylvania and her PhD from Yale University, and has held fellowships from Stanford, Harvard and Yale universities. Her book, Hanoi's War: An International History of the War for Peace, was recently published by the University of North Carolina Press.
As Ronald Reagan traveled across the United States campaigning for the highest office in the land, the Governor of California possessed an ace in his hand unmatched by his opponents: the ear and advice of former president Dwight D. Eisenhower. Reagan was in constant contact with Ike, following his advice at every turn and going so far as to base his entire 1966 campaign on his mentor's own successful run years before. Eisenhower's astute view of internal Washington politics, foreign affairs, military matters, and the swirling pool of primary rivals, provided his protégé the fuel he needed to learn, and eventually win, the war of words. In his latest book, Reagan's 1968 Dress Rehearsal: Ike, RFK, and Reagan's Emergence as a World Statesman, Dr. Gene Kopelson outlines the story of Reagan's first presidential bid with an in-depth look behind the scenes. On Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Dr. Kopelson will give a lecture titled, "Ike and Dutch: Mentor, Protégé, and Common Sense," to delve deeper into the relationship between Reagan and his mentor and how it not only shaped Reagan's future campaigns, but his presidency, as well.
In his lecture at the USAHEC, Dr. Kopelson will use never-before-tapped audio clips, interviews with the original 1968 campaign staff, Eisenhower's personal diary, and material straight from personal correspondence to show how Eisenhower influenced Reagan's politics and eventually, his far-reaching presidential policies. From Reagan's hawkish views on Vietnam to his perspective on the Arab-Israeli situation, his groundbreaking steps with Gorbachev and the Soviets to nuclear defense, Eisenhower and Reagan had a close and personal relationship which changed America's future.
Dr. Gene Kopelson is a cancer physician and former director of one of Yale University's cancer centers. He is a prominent speaker on radiation oncology and an accomplished scholar and historian. Dr. Kopelson is the president of the New England Chapter of the Theodore Roosevelt Association and a Holocaust educator. His book has received rave reviews from former Secretary of State George Shultz, former Attorney General Edwin Meese, numerous Reagan and Eisenhower historians, The Washington Times, The Weekly Standard, the New York Post, The Daily Caller, The Daily Wire, and Newsmax. Kopelson has spoken at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene, the Stanford University Hoover Institution's combined lecture with The Heritage Foundation, The Institute for World Politics, and the Discovery Institute.
Since the Vietnam War, the U.S. Army has seen numerous African American Generals rise through the ranks and take the fore in leading our fighting men and women. The U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center is proud to present a lecture from Dr. Jimmie Jones, former U.S. Army officer and author of the new book, Shock and Awe: An Introduction to African American Army Generals (1968-1992), as part of the Perspectives in Military History Lecture Series. The lecture, studded with names such as Major General Frederic E. Davison, General Roscoe Robinson Jr., and General Colin L. Powell, will include a detailed discussion of prominent contributions African American general officers have made to the Army. These officers forged the way towards a truly professional fighting force by combining unmatched leadership with a steady progression of race equality and equal rights in the Post-Vietnam War Army.
The officers Dr. Jones will discuss developed their leadership styles in the 1960's and 70's when turbulent and violent racial tensions in the United States were a very real threat to the stability of the U.S. Army. These officers' leadership practices demonstrated their resolve to accomplish their mission, while simultaneously advancing racial equality in the service. Failure was never an option; these Soldiers steadfastly believed they had to be the best in order to be considered successful.
Dr. Jimmie Jones is a retired U.S. Army colonel and author of the recently published book Shock and Awe: An Introduction to African American Army Generals (1968-1992). His 26 years as an Air Defense Artillery officer led to his command of an Air Defense Artillery Patriot Missile Battalion, after which he continued his career as an assignment and professional development officer in the Army Military Personnel Center. Dr. Jones was the Personnel Director for the Army National Guard, followed by a career in education, including positions as a college professor and a school principal. Dr. Jones earned the NCAACP's Wilkins Meritorious Service Award in 2003, after which the City of Las Vegas proclaimed April 6, 2006 be recognized as "Dr. Jimmie Jones Day." Dr. Jones earned degrees from several institutions, which include a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics, Master's degree in Counseling, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership.
Did you know there was a second War in Vietnam, after cessation of hostilities with America in 1975? Despite a long history of alliance against France and the United States, China launched a so-called "punitive war" against Vietnam on February 17, 1979. As a result, the two countries remained hostile, fighting along their borders for over a decade. The history of the conflict is seldom studied due to the lack of access to official records in both countries. At 7:15 PM on Wednesday, June 15, 2016, Dr. Xiaoming Zhang of the Department of Strategy at the Air War College will give a lecture entitled, "What Can We Learn from the China-Vietnam War?" at the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center (USAHEC) in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
Drawing upon newly available Chinese sources, the lecture will be based on Dr. Zhang's new book, Deng Xiaoping's Long War: The Military Conflict between China and Vietnam, 1979-1991. The text attempts to address the question of why these two countries went to war against each other after many years of "brother plus comrade" relations. It retraces the thirteen years of hostility between China and Vietnam, arguing that the intimate, two-decade relationship was far more fragile than it appeared. Dr. Zhang's talk will cover how China made the decision to go to war against Vietnam, and how their decision affects security in the region today.
Dr. Xiaoming Zhang is professor in the Department of Strategy at the Air War College, teaching strategy and subjects on China and East Asia. He earned his Doctorate of Philosophy in history from the University of Iowa in 1994, and taught at Texas Tech University and Texas A&M International University, prior to joining the Air War College. Dr. Zhang is the author of over twenty articles and chapters on Chinese military involvement in the Korean and Vietnam Wars, and Sino-Soviet relations during these conflicts. His writings have appeared in China Quarterly, Journal of Cold War Studies, The Journal of Conflict Studies, Security Studies, and The Journal of Military History. The Society for Military History has twice selected him to receive the Moncado Prize for excellence in the writing of military history. His current research focuses on America's and China’s South China Sea policy from a historical perspective.
In 1982, a lone admiral urged Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to deploy a military task force to counter Argentina's invasion of the Falkland Islands. The archipelago, 8,000 miles from the United Kingdom, was the source of dispute over sovereignty between the two nations for more than a century. With no forward presence other than a tiny garrison on the islands, no allies in the area or intermediate support bases en route, and not even ships to mount the British military, Thatcher nevertheless decided to order deployment to retake the Falklands. The Prime Minister’s bold move sparked an expeditionary war, surprising many of the world’s other great powers. The British deployed forces nearly half the world away to achieve a complete victory only 74 days after the Argentine invasion. In this lecture, MG (Ret) Kenneth L. Privratsky, author of the recently published book, Logistics in the Falklands War, will provide an overview of the war to include key actions leading to the victory, the aftermath, and most importantly, its relevance to the U.S. Army as it continues to focus on expeditionary warfare.
MG (Ret) Kenneth L. Privratsky served 33 years in the U.S. Army, initially as an infantry officer and then as a logistician. He commanded in airborne, airmobile, light infantry, and heavy units, and fought as an infantry platoon leader in Vietnam. As a general officer, he had responsibility for supply distribution and then, surface transportation for the Department of Defense worldwide. He is a graduate of the Airborne and Ranger Schools, the School of Advanced Military Studies, and has been a senior service college fellow at the Hoover Institution of War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University. Upon leaving the military in 2002, he became an executive in the ocean shipping industry before fully retiring in 2010, after which he completed his book, Logistics in the Falklands War. Privratsky has lectured several times on the Falklands War to international and university audiences, to include Royal Marines at the Commando Training Centre in England.
The United States Army has been under constant adaptation since its conception. Warfare waged by early 20th century armies on a grand, industrialized scale is now superseded by diverse conflicts of differing size and scope. The U.S. Army, in dealing with its role in each of the "small wars," has changed to meet the unique challenges presented by conflicts in lands governed by tribal traditions and ethnicity. Dr. Michael D. Gambone explores these changes in his book, Small Wars: Low Intensity Threats and the American Response Since Vietnam (University Of Tennessee Press). Dr. Gambone discusses not only the goals of America's involvement in these "small wars" since the Vietnam War era, but also the conduct and consequences of each military engagement.
Dr. Gambone will present a lecture based on his book, and provide analysis of the dramatic shift in all aspects of planning and logistics in American war-making from Vietnam to interventions in Central America, through the Cold War, to the Global War on Terror. Gambone will dissect each mission as an evolution toward our current hybrid of traditional and innovative military techniques. Dr. Gambone is a professor of history at Kutztown University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1993.
Dr. Gambone is the author of Capturing the Revolution: The United States, Central America, and Nicaragua (2001) and The Greatest Generation Comes Home: The Veteran in American Society (2005). Between 1985 and 1988, he served as an officer in the 82nd Airborne Division. In 2006, he deployed to Iraq as a contractor for the U.S. Army.
Robert Komer was the leading national security expert during the Cold War and proved his capabilities serving no less than three United States Presidents. While his abrasive personality and curt interactions with officials earned him the nickname, "Blowtorch," he became President Johnson's "point man" in working towards peace in Vietnam. In the first biography ever written about Komer, Blowtorch: Robert Komer, Vietnam, and American Cold War Strategy (Naval Institute Press), Professor and Scholar Frank Leith Jones highlights Komer's actions as he labored to eradicate Communism in Southeast Asia through his multi-dimensional approach which included social, economic, and military facets. Jones' lecture will focus on the American involvement in Vietnam within the wider scope of the Cold War, allowing for analysis of the conflict and Komer's impact on American policy and strategy in more recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Frank L. Jones is Professor of Security Studies at the U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, PA, where he holds the General Dwight D. Eisenhower Chair of National Security. As a retiree from the Senior Executive Service, he has more than thirty years of federal experience. During the course of his civilian career, he held a number of high-level policy and strategy positions in the Office of the Secretary of Defense including Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations Policy and Support. Professor Jones has published several book chapters and articles on national security topics. His awards and accolades are numerous and include the Department of the Army Outstanding Service Award. He attended St. Lawrence University on a four-year Army ROTC Scholarship and received a B.A. in History. He holds an M.A. in public administration from the State University of New York at Albany. Mr. Jones served the U.S. Army as a commissioned officer.
With the advent of the Cold War in the late 1940s, and the specter of monolithic Communism and growing Soviet military strength, the US sought to counter Soviet expansionism and hegemony with a series of treaties, both multilateral and bilateral, the most important being the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, signed in 1949. Additional treaties such as SEATO and CENTO would over time, fall by the wayside. It is the endurance of the NATO treaty and America's presence in Europe that has over the past six decades contributed to the peace and stability of that continent. The American military in Germany in the immediate post-war years, went from an Army of Occupation, to that of a forward deployed force, trained to meet a Soviet attack on Western Europe. The American forces needed basing and through a series of negotiations with the various host nations, American troops found homes in practically every Western European nation. From Keflavik NAS, Iceland, to Incirlik AB, Turkey, and points in between, the US military has stood as a guardian, along with its NATO allies, against Soviet Communism and helped to win the Cold War.
From its inception in 1947 until the late 1970s the primary missions of the United States Military Liaison Mission (USMLM) involved maintaining a presence in East Germany for confidence building measures and reporting on items related to indicators and warnings of hostilities initiated by the Soviet Army. There are some who believe that USMLM was responsible for the United States and Russia not waging a nuclear war. Stephen V. Hoyt served two tours at USMLM. His Ph.D. dissertation involved analyzing the intersection of ideology and literature in East Germany. He has written more than 60 articles on a variety of topics and is currently an assistant professor of English at Eastern Washington University.
Forty years ago, Buzz Aldrin became the second human, minutes after Neil Armstrong, to set foot on a celestial body other than the Earth. The event remains one of mankind's greatest achievements and was witnessed by the largest worldwide television audience in history. In the years since, millions more have had their Earth-centric perspective unalterably changed by the iconic photograph of Aldrin standing on the surface of the moon, the blackness of space behind him and his fellow explorer and the Eagle reflected in his visor. Describing the alien world he was walking upon, he uttered the words "magnificent desolation." And as the astronauts later sat in the Eagle, waiting to begin their journey back home, knowing that they were doomed unless every system and part on board worked flawlessly, it was Aldrin who responded to Mission Control's clearance to take off with the quip, "Roger. Understand. We're number one on the runway."
At the conclusion of the Second World War, the leaders of the victorious powers convened to negotiate the necessary protocols, territorial occupancy agreements, rites of passage, and myriad other details as to how Germany was to be governed. Generally, the powers agreed that Germany would be treated as an entity and not as a partitioned state. As time passed, however, it became apparent that the occupation of Germany was not only costly to the victors but also was increasingly harmful to the prospects for a recovered, democratic state as a member of the European community once again. The Soviets were unalterably opposed to a revitalization of the economy because such recovery would render the German and western European populations less vulnerable to the expansion of communism, which fed vigorously on poverty. The Soviets opposed cooperation on any of the four-power coordinating committees, and shut down access to Berlin in the early summer of 1948. The U.S. Air Force reallocated transport aircraft to Europe and recalled reserve officers and airmen with scarce personnel skills, and built an unequalled task force, while the world looked on-- in disbelief. In a twelve-month period the Berlin Airlift fed people and maintained industry, while averting an armed confrontation.
Elvis's Army: Cold War GIs and the Atomic Battlefield
Brian McAllister Linn, Ralph R. Thomas Professor in Liberal Arts at Texas A&M University
Lecture Date: May 17, 2017
By the late 1950s, the Cold War threatened every American with world-ending thermonuclear annihilation. To help stem the bone-chilling fear gripping the country in the wake of fears over Soviet aggression, the U.S. Army pushed a radically new method of warfare into the public consciousness. The Army claimed it could, and would, limit the atomic warfare to the battlefield by revolutionizing its equipment, organization, and training practices. The Army showed the world their new face, placing large parts of the Army in buffer zones like Germany and Korea, testing portable nuclear weapons, and recruiting young, motivated, professional Soldiers. The Army accented its effort by recruiting none other than Elvis Presley, demonstrating that even this icon of youth culture was not too cool to wear the Army's uniform. On Wednesday, May 17, 2017, the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center will present a lecture from Dr. Brian M. Linn to tell the story of Elvis and the Cold War's Soldiers.