A German Soldier’s View of the Opening Days of World War I

Stefan Westmann Photo: Imperial War Museum

Stefan Westmann
Photo: Imperial War Museum

The Telegraph has an interesting account of the opening days of World War I. It is written by Stefan Westmann, a German soldier drafted in August, 1914. He initially served on the Western Front and was then moved to the Eastern Front. He finished his World War I service on the Western Front. Westmann’s background can be viewed here.

The Weight of George H.W. Bush’s War Decision

President Bush in Saudi Arabia

President Bush in Saudi Arabia

In most instances, the personal deliberations of presidents making the decision to send Americans to war are outside public knowledge. While there may be public speeches outlining the case for war, those public deliberations can differ widely from the president’s personal deliberations.

Through a series of diary entries and letters to family, however, the internal deliberations of President George H. W. Bush in the lead up to the first Gulf War can be explored. Not only do these documents illustrate the difficult decision Bush faced, they demonstrate a keen sense of humanity.

This Week in History 005

Our next episode of This Week in History is now live. This week’s episode touches on the Louisiana Purchase, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hildago, Lend-lease, Coca-Cola, the Miranda Warning, Pancho Villa, and Hitler’s renounciation of the Treaty of Versailles.

 

Friday Facts: Higgins Boats

A Higgins Boat was a shallow-draft boat used to land infantry troops during amphibious landings in World War II. Over 20,000 examples were constructed. Their creater, Andrew Higgins, was described by Dwight Eisenhower as “the man who wond the war.”

Lincoln’s Assassination From the Front Row

President Abraham Lincoln

President Abraham Lincoln

History is full of emotion. From the anger present in American households after the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor to the elation at hand when Apollo 11 touched down on the moon, emotion walks hand-in-hand with history.

The assassination of President Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theater is no different. Journeying through the diary of Horatio Nelson Taft provides a front row seat to the emotion experienced as a nation’s hero fell under an enemy’s gun.

Lewis and Clark’s Camp Dubois Detachment Orders

Meriwether Lewis

Meriwether Lewis

When Meriwether Lewis and William Clark set off up the Missouri River on May 14, 1804, they led an exploring party with sights set on the Pacific Ocean. However, while Lewis and Clark planned to enter territory unseen by American eyes, they did not allow the unknown to displace military order and the expectation that chains of command be followed. In other words, the Corps of Discovery was a military operation.

Multiple instances throughout the journey illustrate this point, including the Corps of Discovery’s time at their first winter camp, Camp Dubois. For example, five “Detachment Orders” were issued to govern daily life as Lewis and Clark readied the men for the journey west.

Churchill’s Unneeded Wartime Letter

Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill

Throughout time, it has been common for soldiers deployed to war zones to write a letter to loved ones in the event they are killed in combat. Deployed to the Western Front in World War I, this practice was followed by Winston Churchill in the aftermath of his resignation from the Admiralty.

The Inspiration of the American Flag: Fremont and California

The Star Spangled Banner

The Star Spangled Banner

Memorialized best in Francis Scott Key’s “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the American flag invokes a rallying cry among those witnessing its fluttering in the wind. Through the words “What so proudly we hailed,” Key instantly described the effect of seeing the American flag waiving over Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. Renewed by this sight, Key and others forgot the uncertainly of the previous battle.

Throughout history and throughout the world, this scene has been repeated countless times. For John C. Fremont, increasing tensions between his explorers and the Mexican government of California caused such an event in March, 1846.