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20th Century Articles
South Africa in WWI
Imperialistic Wars
MacArthur and Baseball
Khrushchev’s Last Bluff
Al Asad Air Base, Iraq During Desert Storm
Into the Special Forces: Rudi Horvath
The Fulda Gap
T.E. Lawrence and Asymmetric Warfare
Second Lebanon War
Suez Canal Guerrillas
Cuban Missile Crisis
Intelligence in the Philippine Insurrection
Gulf War Press Mobilization
Mexican Revolution and US Intervention
Chinese Support for North Vietnam
Soviets Experience in Afghanistan
MacArthur - Army Chief of Staff, 1931-35
Green Berets

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20th Century Articles

Imperialistic Wars of Expansion and the Deployment of Modern Weapons
by Edward J. Langer

From the beginning of time man has been in constant conflict with his fellow man. War, death and destruction sometimes seem the norm and peace the exception. Thomas Hobbes, the 17th century English philosopher, says “that the natural state of humans is constant war with each other and that their lives are nasty, brutish and short.”[1] While we may or may not agree with Hobbes and hope that deep down inside man there is the desire for peace, from the time of Cain and Able in the bible to the present there have been many conflicts. During the 19th century into the beginning of the 20th century up to World War One, there were many wars, large and small: wars of aggression, wars of independence, civil wars, border wars and wars of imperialistic expansion. This paper will examine three conflicts caused by capitalist/imperialistic expansion and will demonstrate that in an imperialistic war that the side that maximizes the latest weapons technology won the battle and ultimately the war and that control of the sea was essential to ultimate victory. What set these conflicts apart are that they are among equal world powers and not between a European Power and a technologically primitive society.
Read more... 6,555 words
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Member Article: “Hit ‘Em Where They Ain’t,” General of the Army Douglas MacArthur and Baseball
by Bob Seals

The roar of the crowd, the crack of a wooden bat on a ball, the deep emerald green grass of the field, our national pastime of baseball has had a profound effect upon countless American youths over the years. One such youth so influenced by the sport was an Army cadet who played, advocated and remained a fan of baseball his entire life, General of the Army Douglas MacArthur. As a young man in the latter years of the nineteenth, and early years of the twentieth century, MacArthur played varsity level baseball in high school and at the United States Military Academy at West Point. However, most are relatively unfamiliar with how the sport significantly influenced him, and ultimately his thinking, in regards to warfare. General MacArthur today is remembered as a great fan of Army football, perhaps due to his gridiron enthusiasm and long friendship with legendary West Point football coach Earl "Red" Blaik, but baseball was the sport he played, coached, advocated and used, to an extent, in his thinking. Baseball was, to a degree, a paradigm for his thoughts and the operational concepts that helped guide his approach to warfare, to include his most notable campaigns of World War II. These campaigns were described by MacArthur as “leap-frogging,” or three dimensional “triphibious” land, sea and air operations used to support “the classic strategy of envelopment,” on the long path back to the Philippines.[2]
Read more... 7,950 words
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Member Article: Cuban Missile Crisis - Khrushchev’s Last Bluff
by Edward J. Langer

On a routine U-2 reconnaissance flight over Cuba, to see what sort of mischief Fidel Castro was up to, the plane’s cameras caught images of the construction of missile launch pads for offensive missiles. In October of 1962, the world held its breath as two nuclear superpowers squared off. Was this going to be the beginning of World War three and a nuclear nightmare? Did Khrushchev really have the nuclear capability that Tass claimed he had, or was it just a bluff? Fortunately, through many backdoor meetings, the issue was resolved without a missile being launched.
Read more... 2,376 words
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Member Article: A Brief History of Al Asad Air Base, Iraq During Operation Desert Storm
by Bryan Dickerson

From early 2004 until late 2011, Al Asad Air Base was one of the most important air bases used by Coalition Forces during Operation Iraqi Freedom. For most of this time, this sprawling base located in the Al Anbar Province of western Iraq was operated by the U.S. Marine Corps to conduct aerial operations and support ground operations throughout the province. The history of this base, however, dates back to the mid-1980s. During Operation Desert Storm in 1991, Al Asad Air Base was subjected to numerous air attacks, sustaining massive damage. Al Asad’s role in Operation Desert Storm is thus the subject of this paper. Al Asad Air Base is located in the central portion of Al Anbar Province, western Iraq, some 12 miles from the city of Baghdadi and the Euphrates River. Baghdad is 120 miles to the east; the Syrian border is about 110 miles to the north-west.
Read more... 4,788 words
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Member Article: Behind the Iron Curtain and into the Special Forces: Rudi Horvath
by Bob Seals

Dr. Deborah S. Cornelius, a noted east-central European historian, has described the Kingdom of Hungary in World War II as being "caught in the cauldron." The nation faced a geographical dilemma between two implacable ideological opponents leading to widespread misery and destruction during the war. Unfortunately, after the fighting ended in May of 1945 Hungarians remained "caught in the cauldron," now, a postwar communist one. For some, remaining in a communist Hungary was not an option. One young Hungarian, Rudi Horvath, inspired by the prospect of service in the Cold War United States Army, went to elaborate and highly dangerous lengths to escape from behind the Iron Curtain, embarking upon a dangerous and fascinating journey leading to service in the nascent Army Special Forces of 1952. As an original 10th Special Forces Group member, Horvath helped to establish that superb force of unconventional warriors prepared to conduct guerrilla warfare if the Cold War in Europe during the 1950's suddenly turned red hot.
Read more... 4,088 words
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Member Article: The Fulda Gap
by Bill Wilson

Lariat Advance. This terse and odd phrase, typically delivered via telephone in the early hours of the morning, served over years of the Cold War as an unmistakable notice to U.S. soldiers in Germany that a unit alert had been declared and that henceforth every second counted until such time as the unit’s response to alert had been assessed, and hopefully found satisfactory. Soldiers who lived outside the unit’s base reported in, vehicles and personal equipment were made ready, and finally, the unit deployed to its designated alert location in the countryside. For those NATO soldiers whose units were deployed in the vicinity of the Iron Curtain, these alerts were laden with additional tension because the nearby presence of the Soviet forces was palpable. As one responded to the alert and approached the Kaserne, thoughts inevitably assessed how “real” the alert might be. For the U.S. Army in Germany in general, and its V (Fifth) Corps in particular, the geographical focus of this concern was known as the Fulda Gap. Although VII Corps in Bavaria had another terrain corridor, the Hof Gap, as its focus, when it came to anticipated operations in Europe, the U.S. Army firmly expected the first battle of the next war to be a major clash of armored forces in the Fulda Gap. “The Gap”, like the Demilitarized Zone between the two Koreas, came to represent an assignment of special responsibility for those U.S. soldiers destined for promotion to high rank. The standards for performance of duty in such assignments were uncompromising, and those who met the requirements were considered to have performed well in the closest thing to war during times of peace.
Read more... 5,777 words
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Member Article: "Forgotten Master": T.E. Lawrence and Asymmetric Warfare?
by Evan Pilling

There have been few leaders in military history that have caught the popular imagination more than T.E. Lawrence, or "Lawrence of Arabia." Books, movies, and recollections of this enigmatic figure have served to cloud the reality of the man and surround him with exaggerations and legends. Lawrence, an odd and eccentric figure by any measure, himself did much to add to the air of mystery about his leadership ability and what he actually accomplished during the First World War. These uncertainties aside, what Lawrence did accomplish while serving as British liaison to the Arab forces involved in the Arab Revolt (1916-18) against the Ottoman Turks was to conduct an effective military campaign that is a dramatic example of asymmetric warfare, one form of which is guerrilla or irregular warfare. He used his cultural understanding of the Arabs and knowledge of the region, along with significant leadership skills, to guide the Arabs in the conduct of an irregular campaign. Although at best a sideshow in the overall conduct of the First World War, the operations that Lawrence led produced effects disproportionate to the number of irregular troops that participated and served as a supporting operation to the ultimate British victory in Palestine. Lawrence's campaign demonstrated the potential effectiveness of irregular forces against conventional troops and the difficulties that conventional armies face in combating these forces.
Read more... 4,621 words
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Member Article: Who Won the Second Lebanon War of 2006?
by Robert Werdine

On the morning of July 12, 2006, members of the Reserve Battalion of the IDF’s 300 Brigade, 91 Division were en route to a routine border patrol on the Israel-Lebanon border around milepost 105. At about 9:00am, one of their two HUMVEE utility vehicles struck an IED, and a hailstorm of ATGMs (Anti-Tank Guided Missiles) blanketed both vehicles, killing three and wounding four. Hezbollah militants at once pulled two of the wounded Israeli soldiers from the wrecked vehicles, and made off with them across the border. As a diversion, Hezbollah militants elsewhere then launched a salvo of rockets, mortars, and sniper fire at several Israeli villages and IDF outposts in the vicinity of milepost 105 to sow confusion and cover the kidnapper’s escape. A few Israeli Merkeva tanks sent across the border in pursuit yielded nothing, and one of the tanks hit an IED and was blown to bits, killing the crew. A rescue attempt to retrieve the dead crew encountered a firefight with Hezbollah, killing two IDF, and a stream of airstrikes hitting some 69 bridges in S. Lebanon failed to cut off the kidnappers escape. The Hezbollah cross-border raid/kidnapping was a complete success.[1]
Read more... 5,292 words
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Member Article: Zone Guerrillas: The "Liberation Battalions" and Auxiliary Police, 1951-1954
by Christopher Weeks

At the end of the Second World War, Britain faced the increasingly difficult prospect of maintaining control over the Suez Canal in the face of rising Egyptian opposition and the economic realities of the post-war world. In attempting to exert its authority over the Canal Zone, Britain came up against a guerrilla movement fed both by nationalist and religious sentiment, and facilitated by a weak monarchy and a confrontational opposition government. The 1950-54 battle over the Canal Zone set the stage for the creation of an independent Egypt and the 1956 Suez crisis.
Read more... 3,584 words
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Member Article: Cuban Missile Crisis
by Christopher Weeks

The Cuban Missile Crisis, the October 1962 showdown between the United States and the Soviet Union over the Soviets placing nuclear missiles in Cuba and the American reaction, is justly considered the most serious incident of the Cold War. Primary among the lessons of the Cuban Missile crisis is trying to answer the question of whether the crisis was solved because of John F. Kennedy’s presidential leadership, or whether it was solved because Kennedy, and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, were able to successful hold back their forces and restraint their hawks. Was the danger leadership miscalculation, or just “some sonofabitch who did not get the word?” as Kennedy eloquently put it at one point, about a change in policy or a pending crisis settlement.
Read more... 2,133 words
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Member Article: Intelligence in the Philippine Insurrection
by James G. Starron

The Philippine-American War, also referred to as the Philippine Insurrection, is one of America’s forgotten wars (Ablett, 2004). It is also, according to Linn (2000) one of America’s most successful counterinsurgency campaigns. By 1902, when President Theodore Roosevelt declared an end to the insurrection on July 4, 1902, more than 125,000 troops had served in the Philippines. The financial cost was estimated at 400 million dollars. The human cost was estimated at 4,200 American service members dead and another 2,900 wounded (Plante, 2000). Estimates on the number of Filipinos dead range from 200,000 to 600,000.
Read more... 4,617 words
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Member Article: The Gulf War: The Bush Administration and Pentagon’s Mobilization of the Press to Achieve Favorable American Public Opinion
by Bryan Hayes

Since World War II wars have been defined by a definitive image. The raising of the American flag by U.S. Marines on Iwo Jima or children running from an American assault in Vietnam has left memorable images in the minds of Americans for seven decades. In the Gulf War of 1991 the image of Iraqi soldiers falling to their knees to kiss the hands of their U.S. Marine captors was the defining image of that war. The photo signified the finest qualities of American character; control, restraint, and a confidence in the rightness of the American cause. For the men and women who served the cause, it was a celebrated rebuttal to those who predicted tragedy for the Americans and the coalition forces at the hand of the world’s fourth largest Army.
Read more... 5,005 words
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Member Article: The Mexican Revolution and US Intervention 1910-1917
by Timothy Neeno

The young lieutenant and his squad of men advanced through the arid Chihuahuan scrub toward the adobe walled ranch house. All was quiet. There was a chance that a top Villista commander was inside. The lieutenant and two men moved up along the north end of the building. Six others took the south side. As the lieutenant came around the corner to the east side, three men on horses dashed around out of the gate, coming straight at him. The horsemen wheeled, only to find the rest of the Americans coming around the southeast corner of the house. Turning again, they charged toward the lieutenant. A crack shot with a pistol, he fired, shooting a horse in the belly and wounding its rider in the arm. The lieutenant ducked back around the corner to reload his pistol, emerging again just as a second rider swept down on him. The lieutenant fired again, shooting the horse in the hip. The rider fell, and then rose up, aiming a pistol. He was just ten yards away, when the cavalry men with the lieutenant brought him down. A third rider was galloping away, only to be picked off by the American riflemen.
Read more... 7,583 words
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Member Article: Chinese Support for North Vietnam during the Vietnam War: The Decisive Edge
by Bob Seals

So why did the powerful modern nations of France and the United States lose two wars in Vietnam to a third rate military power like North Vietnam? This is the logical question that many historians have asked and attempted to answer since the Second Vietnam War ended in April 1975 with the fall of Saigon to North Vietnamese tanks. Some historians have stressed the support of the Communist party and its leadership, others point to the support of the Vietnamese people, and still other historians explain the North Vietnamese victory as an effect of the post-colonial nationalism wave that swept through Asia after the Second World War. However, few historians, with the possible exception of Qiang Zhai, among others, attribute the victory of the Vietnamese Communists in both Vietnam Wars to the considerable support provided by the communist colossus of the north, the People’s Republic of China. [2] This Chinese military support, to include equipment, advisors and planning assistance, provided from 1949-1975, would prove in both the First and Second Indochina Wars to be decisive.
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Member Article: The Soviet Experience in Afghanistan: Lessons Learned
by Major James T. McGhee

On 24 September 1979, lead elements of the Soviet 40th Army were ordered to cross the border into Afghanistan. Three days later, Soviet Airborne forces had seized the airfields in Kabul and Bagram, and the Afghan President H. Amin had been executed. This was the beginning of a political and military disaster for the Soviet Union that lasted for nine years with a cost of almost 15,000 troops reported killed or missing in action.[1] Thousands of additional Russian soldiers were wounded or died of disease, and millions of Afghanis were either killed, wounded or became refugees. The most important lesson that the Soviets learned from their experience in Afghanistan was, according to Cordesman and Wagner, "that it never should have been fought".[2] There are however, a number of other political, strategic and tactical lessons that may be learned from the Soviet-Afghan conflict.
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Member Article: The Western Way of "Peace," General Douglas MacArthur as Army Chief of Staff, 1931-1935
by Bob Seals

"The President has just informed me that the civil government of the District of Columbia has reported to him that it is unable to maintain law and order in the District. You will have United States troops proceed immediately to the scene of the disorder. Cooperate fully with the District of Columbia police force which is now in charge. Surround the affected area and clear it without delay. Turn over all prisoners to the civil authorities. In your orders insist that any women and children who may be in the affected area be accorded every consideration and kindness. Use all humanity consistent with due execution of this order."[1] This order, given to the Army Chief of Staff, by the Secretary of War, on a sweltering July afternoon, was one, if not the, most difficult orders ever given to United States Army troops in it's 230 plus years of existence. Civilian authorities had lost control after three police officers and two demonstrators had been killed and wounded. Prescribing the use of force against American civilians, in the nation's capital city, was fraught with danger and dire political repercussions, to say the least.
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Recent 20th Century Topics
The My Lai Massacre and Attempted Cover Up
Canada's participation in the Korean War
The Falkland Islands War 1982!
Recommended Reading

Yom Kippur: No Peace, No War, October 1973

Our Year of War: Two Brothers, Vietnam, and a Nation Divided

The Dragon's Teeth: The Chinese People's Liberation Army_Its History, Traditions, and Air Sea and Land Capability in the 21st Century

Sharing the Secret: The History of the Intelligence Corps 1940-2010

Afghanistan Revealed: Beyond the Headlines

Fighting for the French Foreign Legion: Memoirs of a Scottish Legionnaire

Special Forces Sniper Skills

No True Glory: A Frontline Account of the Battle for Fallujah

House to House: An Epic Memoir of War

Charlie Battery: A Marine Artillery Unit in Iraq

Joker One: A Marine Platoon's Story of Courage, Leadership, and Brotherhood

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