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Was The ‘Rainbow’ Division Tarnished By Its Battlefield Behavior In World War I?

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World War I began in Europe in 1914, however, the United States remained neutral until 6 April 1917 when President Woodrow Wilson signed the joint resolution declaring that a state of war now existed between the United States of America and Imperial Germany. Three months later, in August 1917, U. S. National Guard units from twenty-six states and the District of Columbia united to form the 42nd Division of the United States Army. Douglas MacArthur, serving as Chief of Staff for the Division, commented that it “would stretch over the whole country like a rainbow.” In this manner, the 42nd became known as the “Rainbow Division.” It comprised four infantry regiments from New York, Ohio, Alabama, and Iowa. Men from many other states, among them New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Indiana, Michigan, Rhode Island, Maryland, California, South Carolina, Missouri, Connecticutt, Tennessee, New Jersey, Colorado, Maine, North Carolina, Kansas, Texas, Wisconsin, Texas, Illinois, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Oregon, and Pennsylvania also joined the division and became machine gunners, ambulance drivers, worked in field hospitals, or served in the military police.

The Southeastern Department commander recommended that the 4th Alabama Infantry be assigned to the 42nd. The commander of the 4th was Colonel William P. Screws, a former regular army officer who had served from 1910 to 1915 as the inspector-instructor for the Alabama National Guard. Screws was widely regarded as one of the major assets of the Alabama National Guard, and his reputation was likely a prominent factor in the selection of the 4th to join the 42nd. To upgrade the 4th Infantry to war strength, […]

Historiography of the Peace Conference of 1919 and Surrounding Events

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The events of history have been documented as an objective form of non-fiction throughout time. The way in which historians compose these events is termed historiography. Historiography in its simplest terms is a historical form of literature. A more accurate description of historiography is that it is the principles, theories, or methodology of scholarly historical research and presentation. It is also the writing of history based on a critical analysis, evaluation, and selection of authentic source materials, as well as composition of these materials into a narrative subject. It is the study of how historians interpret the past. Historiography is a debate and argument about previous and current representations of the past. Historiography is present in all historical works big and small. The notorious Peace Conference of 1919 has received its fair share of historiography. There are many viewpoints and interpretations of the ins and outs of the peace conference by vast numbers of historians; the historical works that will be focused on in this composition are The Illusion of Peace: International Relations in Europe 1918-1933 by Sally Marks, The Peace Conference of 1919 by F.S. Marston, Great Britain, France, and the German Problem 1918-1939 by W.M. Jordan, and Paris 1919: Six Months that Changed the World by Margaret MacMillan.

The extent as to which the conference was discussed varies by historian. Sally Marks’ The Illusion of Peace, is broken down into six chapters that focus primarily on peace. These chapters are titled The Pursuit of Peace, The Effort to Enforce the Peace, The Revision of the Peace, The Years of Illusion, The […]