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Book Review of May 1940: The Battle for the Netherlands

Posted by William Young on October 4, 2012

International History

Herman Amersfoort and Piet Kamphuis, editors. May 1940: The Battle for the Netherlands. History of Warfare series. Leiden: The Netherlands, 2010. ISBN 978-90-04-18438-1. Maps. Notes. Annex. Bibliography. Index. Pp. xxviii, 463. $128.00.

There are few studies of the German military invasion of the Netherlands in May 1940.  But there are many myths about the five-day conflict.  Dr Herman Amersfoort, Professor of Military History at the Netherlands Defence Academy and the University of Amsterdam, and Piet Kamphuis, Director of the Netherlands Institute of Military History, have edited a collection of essays by six historians that aim to put the record straight.  The study was originally published in the Dutch language in 1990.

During the First World War (1914-1918), the Netherlands had declared and maintained neutrality.  The last Dutch experience in combat had been in the early nineteenth century.  As such, the Dutch hoped to remain neutral in the conflict that broke out…

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Posted in 20th Century Military History, World War II | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

For Love of Liberty: The Story of America’s Black Patriots

Posted by Daniel Sauerwein on October 14, 2010

I received information about this resource a few weeks ago and have meant to post it up here. For Love of Liberty tells the story of African-American contributions to America’s military history. The website will be closing soon, due to an apparent lack of funding, so go there soon to check out photos and other materials. I am making available chapters of the documentary and the film, including facilitator guides, so that this information is available to educators. Below is information about this program.

The website:

http://www.forloveofliberty.net/

You can download the facilitator guides at this link: (I have attached them for you)

http://www.forloveofliberty.net/educators/facilitators-guides

For Love of Liberty Documentary Links:

Chapter 1: Introduction

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=8MH2M6FT

Chapter 2: The Revolution

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=DCBNTI26

Chapter 3: The Civil War

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=91G9WPUR

Chapter 4: WWI

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=XNCBIKH9

Chapter 5: WWII

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=SJKIMAZG

Chapter 6: The Korean War

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=65YPE8LZ

Chapter 7: The Vietnam War

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=G9YJT4V2

Chapter 8: The Middle East

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=LM5DB80G

Chapter 9: Conclusion

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=BQ98URBM

Play All:

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=S6EG13VM

You can view photos here.

Please check out this information and consider showing it to students.

Posted in 20th Century Military History, 21st Century Military History, American Military History, Cold War, Conflict, General, Global War on Terror, Gulf War/Operation Desert Shield/Storm, Indian Wars, Korean War, Spanish-American War, US Air Force, US Army, US Coast Guard, US Marine Corps, US military, US Navy, Vietnam War, World War I, World War II | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Review of Radioman: An Eyewitness Account of Pearl Harbor and World War II in the Pacific

Posted by William F. Sauerwein on September 14, 2010

Radioman:  An Eyewitness Account of Pearl Harbor and World War II in the Pacific by Carol Edgemon Hipperson.  Published by Thomas Dunne Books, St. Martin’s Minotaur of New York, copyright in 2008.

Review by William F. Sauerwein, 1SG, US Army (Retired).  B.S., Historical Studies from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville (SIUE) in 2004.

This book proved truly informative and provided several experiences seldom explored in World War II history.  I thoroughly enjoyed the “oral account” of an individual sailor, without the psychoanalysis (or “psycho-babble”) of an academic with a Ph. D.  The book covers the life of a young man coming of age during a bleak time in our history, the Great Depression.  He survived that and then, like the rest of his generation, endured the sacrifices required for winning World War II.  Radioman further reveals that even during the national mobilization of World War II individual Americans still worked toward their individual goals.  It also reveals the harsh lessons and sacrifices of ignoring the threats of “rogue nations” and ignoring military readiness in the face of these threats.  An entire generation of Americans sacrificed, on the battlefields and the home front, for preserving this nation.  Today those remaining of that generation die from the infirmities of that sacrifice and “old age,” taking their experience with them.  We, the heirs of what they fought and died for, owe them the respect of learning from their experiences, and heeding their warnings.

The book covers the adult life of Ray Daves, originally from Vilonia, Arkansas, near Little Rock.  It begins a timeline in June, 1936, a time of steadily increasing tensions in the world.  Sixteen-year-old Daves typified the experiences of a generation of young Americans, who faced an uncertain future.  He embarked upon the world after quitting high school following his sophomore year, the “tenth grade.”  Describing himself as the “renegade” of the family’s seven children he expressed dissatisfaction with his future on the family farm.  As a “farm boy” myself, I fully understand the longing for life beyond the cornfields.

Daves recounts his life in an America that the majority of Americans today do not understand, even given today’s situation.  He states that Americans then did not call it the Great Depression, instead labeling it “hard times.”  During these times everyone focused on their families and sacrificed their individual dreams for helping their family survive.  While today’s youth put off adult responsibilities as long as possible, Daves’ generation lacked that luxury.  Older children, like Daves, quit school and took whatever jobs available, even if it took them far from home.  The phrase “jobs that Americans won’t do” did not exist at that time, something today’s “entitlement mentality” cannot comprehend.  As Daves reveals, married men also journeyed far from home for any job and sent their families the money.

The first stop in Daves’ journey took him into a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camp in Idaho.  He describes the CCC as one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s (FDR) “New Deal” programs.  The historical notes identify the CCC as FDR’s first and most popular program and the first organized attempt at preserving the environment.  Daves explains the hard work they performed in the parks and forests, building irrigation ditches for farmers and work on the infrastructure.  When a Baptist youth group from Spokane, Washington conducted a church service at the camp Daves met his future wife, Adeline.

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Posted in 20th Century Military History, American Military History, Conflict, US military, US Navy, World War II | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Legion documentary now available on DVD | The American Legion | Veterans Serving Veterans

Posted by Daniel Sauerwein on July 30, 2010

Legion documentary now available on DVD | The American Legion | Veterans Serving Veterans.

Posted in 20th Century Military History, American Military History, Cold War, Global War on Terror, Gulf War/Operation Desert Shield/Storm, Korean War, US Air Force, US Army, US Coast Guard, US Marine Corps, US military, US Navy, Vietnam War, World War I, World War II | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Review of “Everyman’s War”

Posted by Daniel Sauerwein on June 29, 2010

This evening, I watched the independent film “Everyman’s War”, which deals with World War II. This film, put out by Virgil Films, Inc. and One Eighty Films, Inc. tells the story of several soldiers in the 94th Infantry Division, including Don Smith, who fought in the Battle of the Bulge. It received the award for Best Narrative Feature at the 2009 GI Film Festival, which lends great credibility to director Thad Smith’s project.

The film begins with a stirring, but jolting scene from the 94th’s participation in the Battle of the Bulge, near Nennig, Germany, in January, 1945. It shows Don Smith attempting to evade German forces, while seeking to reach headquarters and make them aware of the dire situation for his men, who are facing down the 11th Panzer Division. It then fades to a now elderly Smith reflecting upon his service, while reading a letter informing him that one of his comrades recently passed.

It proceeds to 1943 in Kansas, where a Robert Fuller leaves his family farm for the Army. Other characters that will later interact with Smith are introduced at home, including colorful Angelo Benedetto, who was forced into the Army to avoid prison, and carried his criminal ways to the service, much to the chagrin of Corporal Starks, who became a mentor to Don Smith. German-American Karl Heinrick, faces down bigotry and suspicion to prove himself a loyal and proud American. The impression is given that Smith and most others in his squad are drafted.

The focus on the film is on Don Smith, who was working in a mill in Oregon, while seeming to attend college (he mentioned studying when not working), before the war. He begins a love interest with Dorine, but has to report before he can solidify a relationship. Fuller, Smith, and Benedetto all meet Corporal Starks, a married man from New York, who will become a father while overseas.

The combat for these men begin in northern France in late 1944, protecting coastal batteries in the wake of the D-Day invasion. Benedetto continues criminal activity, which eventually lands him in trouble. Smith and Starks create a strong bond of friendship, which is shattered when Starks is killed, thrusting Smith into leadership, which he proves himself adept at. As the men enter the winter of 1944 and the eventual Battle of the Bulge, the squad is joined by Heinrick, who is brought in as a replacement.

The men enter the town of Nennig to relieve comrades. Smith and his squad in M Company soon face attack from the 11th Panzer “Ghost’ Division, which inflicts casualties, forcing Smith to seek the command post to save his men. In the process his is wounded, but returns to duty several weeks later, only to find most of his buddies are not there, either dead, wounded, or captured. Smith encounters some of the horrors of post-war Germany, including a prisoner taking his life in front of Smith. Smith attempts to piece together what he experienced and saw when he returns home as well as in old age.

This is a story that will touch veterans’ hearts, as they may be able to relate to Smith. Viewers will appreciate the sacrifice of those who fought in World War II. The battle scenes were well-done, and the back-stories on each character exemplified the diverse nature of the American army during the war, ranging from the average men in Smith and Fuller, to those using the military to escape punishment (Benedetto), to those seeking to serve to prove themselves in a time of tribulation (Heinrick). You appreciate the bonds formed by the men, and the heartbreak they suffer, as they lose friends and witness the horrors of war. Based on the true actions of the 94th Infantry Division in Europe, I strongly recommend Everyman’s War for your viewing and give it my seal of approval.

Click here to order Everyman’s War

Posted in 20th Century Military History, American Military History, Conflict, US Army, US military, World War II | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

 
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