Welcome to the second Military History Carnival.
I have tried to follow Gavin Robinsons‘ excellent lead by choosing posts that are not only fascinating but also represent the broad spectrum of topics covered by the remit of ‘military history’. In compiling this Carnival I have been struck by the international nature of the many blogs and I hope my selection will go some way to proving that the internet truly extends beyond physical borders.
Blogging what is it good for?
Over the past few weeks a debate (argument!) has sprung up regarding the importance of blogging as a tool for military historians. It is best summarised by Dan Todman at Trench Fever and Dr Esther MacCallum-Stewart at Break of Day in the Trenches.
The debate revolved around the growing importance of the internet as a tool for spreading ideas and it was generally agreed that history blogging is in a pretty healthy state. In fact, it turned out that you bloggers are a creative lot. This is shown clearly at Lifeasdaddy, where Bob Meade has used his blog to showcase a series of rare photographs of a Royal Navy midget submarine taken in Subic Bay, Philippines during World War II. Whilst, at English Russia you can see a set of more modern photos examining structures scattered in the forests around St. Petersburg and Kronstadt island which were used in the World War 1 and 2.
However, some bloggers have been even more adventurous. Steamboats are Ruining Everything has used Google Maps to look more closely at the devastation caused during the Chechen Wars in Grozny, Chechnya. Blog4History has written about the importance of digitalising historical records and MyHistoryNotes is promoting his favourite blogs through a ‘H-List’.
State of Military History
Despite military history being a rapidly growing part of the history blogosphere, the role of the subject our universities is not so healthy. Professor Mark Grimsley argues that military history in US academic institutions is slowly being sidelined. Yet, for Ross Mahoney the situation in the UK is far more positive.
All around the world.
The international flavour of the blogs submitted for this months Carnival has left me feeling as though I have been on a cheap, yet fascinating trip around the world.
It all started in the UK with Elizabeth Chadwick and a re-enactment Anglo Saxon life. This was quickly followed by a trip up north to Memorabilia Antonina to learn all about Hadrian’s Wall and its link to George Bush’s planned fence along the US-Mexican border. I had time for a quick stop off with Gavin Robinson for a pleasant chat about English Civil War cavalry tactics and before meeting with George Simmers at Great War Fiction to discuss why people in 1914/15 were so eager to believe and disseminate atrocity stories?
A hop across the pond to America led me to King’s Chronicles who was talking about the Battle of Hampton Roads and the duel between the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia. Once in the US, I found that ex-presidents were all the rage with Britannica Blog discussing Ronald Reagan’s role in today’s ideas about combating terror, spreading democracy, and making the world “less nuclear”, and Thoughts on Military History was asking why President Truman decided to use the atomic bomb. I love a good battlefield trip and Behind AotW convinced me that the battlefield Visitor’s Center at Antietam was a ‘must visit.’ Whilst in that neck of the woods, I dropped in on The 48th Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry who told me of a many, many years’ long mystery that was recently solved. My packed schedule left me time to visit Brain Blogger to find out whether war is a psychosis and learn about the meaning of Jamestown from the Dougout.
From the US it was a long haul to the Far East with stops at China, Korea and Japan. Here I learned about African mercenaries fighting alongside Ming troops during the Imjin Wars and Chinese airpower from Frog in a Well. I ended my visit by viewing a bound sketchbook containing a series of 36 pencil and watercolour sketches drawn by Commander Mervyn Scott Lindslay whilst a prisoner of the Japanese, which was being displayed at BibliOdyssey.
I then had time for a quick stop off at India to discover some interesting facts about the Battle of Khajwa from Horse and Sword, before a jump to Russia to get involved in an interesting discussion between the Rhine River and Oxblog about whether Stalin and the Soviet people should get most of the laurels for victory in World War Two?
Next stop was back into Europe, with a quick visit to Switzerland with Strange Maps before moving onto to Spain to meet up with Airminded who looked closely at the bombing of Guernica on its 70th anniversary. From Spain it was a short but interesting journey to France. Here I learned of The Cannon’s Mouth’s recent trip to the WW1 battlefields. However, it was France’s more distant past that took my fancy, with You’re History guiding me through the Papal Crusade against the Languedoc Cathars and A Commonplace Book offering me an insight into the limited number of ways an edge blow can be effective against plate armor.
My trip left me feeling all Dr Who! So, a journey in time was in order.
Firstly, it was off to ancient Greece to find out how the book Watership Down reminded Tacithydra of the night attack of the Athenians on the Syracusans. Before finally returning to the future (or was it the past?) to discover Paleo-Future’s gigantic robots.
Exhausted but happy, this just leaves me to thank you for reading this issue of the Military History Carnival.
The May issue will take place on 17th June at Behind Antietam on the Web.