Military History Weblog Digest #3

1. What If the Marines Had Bypassed Iwo Jima? by Mark Grimsley at Blog Them Out of the Stone Age (

Reprinted with permission of World War II Magazine
In late September 1944, three of the U.S. Navy’s top admirals met in San Francisco to discuss the next phase of operations in the Central Pacific theater. Adm. Chester W. Nimitz recommended the capture of Okinawa in Ryukyu Islands. It had both the land area and […]

2. Restless Conqueror, part one There’s something about… by dw at of Battlefields and Bibliophiles (

Restless Conqueror, part one There’s something about Civil War veterans who go on to make their mark as explorers that really piques my interest. Two that have been the subject of modern biographies are worthy of mention here. I’m readying a more detailed post on John Wesley Powell, about whom much has been written, he who lost an arm at Shiloh, and who went on to navigate the Colorado River.And now comes a brand new biography of Henry Morton Stanley, The Restless Conqueror. (photo at top). Holy Johosaphat, what a fascinating story. …

3. Oh Lord, Stuck in . . . by Ethan Rafuse at Civil Warriors (

.. . . the Wilderness and Spotsylvania again (with apologies to CCR)?
You know you must have done something right if it is nearly 70 degrees on a December staff ride in Virginia. That was the case when I traveled again to Virginia a week or so ago to help out the good folks at Fort […]

4. Tokugawa Shogunate: Shimabara Rebellion Begins at Military History (

December 17, 1637 – After several weeks of plotting, the Shimabara Rebellion erupts in Japan. Focused on the Shimabara Peninsula and Amakusa Island, the rebellion began as a peasant…

5. An Open Post to Keith Poulter by Kevin Levin at Civil War Memory (

In a recent issue of North and South magazine (Vol. 10, No. 2) which featured an article by Bruce Levine on so-called black Confederates, editor Keith Poulter issued a challenge. If there is anyone out there who still believes in legions of black Confederates, writes Poulter, I invite them to write in, spelling out their grounds for that belief, and their grounds for dismissing the statements of Confederate leaders to the contrary. The last two issues of the magazine have included a number of letters-to-the-editor and this one in particular takes the cake.

6. Sealion 1918 by Brett Holman at Airminded (

Recently, I read Alan Kramer’s Dynamic of Destruction: Culture and Mass Killing in the First World War. It’s an excellent book, both illuminating and informative (being airminded, I found the section on the Austrian and German bombing of Italy to be especially fascinating), and I highly recommend it.1
But there was one section which brought me up short. In a section on Britain’s entry into the war, Kramer says that the breach of Belgian neutrality by Germany was a gift to Asquith and Grey, because it meant that the war could be framed as a just war. Absolutely. Then he goes on to say:
At the time, British decision-makers could only sense intuitively what we know today — this was far more than a conservative defence of the status quo: had Germany succeeded at the Marne in September 1914, which it almost did, the defeat of France and a separate peace would have been followed by a defeat of Russia and, after a pause to build up the German navy, the invasion of Britain from a position of towering strength on the Continent.2
Which is where I went ‘Huh?’ Do we really know that? Because I didn’t know we knew that….

7. A Great Day in Richmond by Kevin Levin at Civil War Memory (

We had a great time in Richmond today and I couldn’t be prouder of the way my students conducted themselves while at the American Civil War Museum at Tredegar. A few of my students came dressed as tourists which you can see in the photos I took. We spent about 90 minutes walking through the exhibit and discussing its key interpretive points….

9. The Malayan defence of Singapore by Brett Holman at Airminded (

The 9th Military History Carnival is up, over at the Official Osprey Publishing Blog. This month, the post I found the most interesting is at Citizen Historian, about the part played by the Malayan Regiment in the Battle of Pasir Panjang, 13 February 1942. I certainly didn’t know that Malayans had been involved; it changes the story, somewhat, from the usual ‘imperial battleground’ narrative to one where the locals were not just bystanders in the great events happening all around them. I would like to know something about motivations though — why did Malayan men join up, what (or who) did they believe they were fighting for?…