Dusty Shelves

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Creation Date January 16th, 2020
Updated Date Updated May 7th, 2020
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About This List

‘Dusty Shelves’ is a recurring series in War Room. The podcasts and articles in this series will present historical artifacts, tell their stories, and relate the lessons learned to the modern environment. It will serve as a springboard for the US military to better remember parts of its past that it most risks forgetting. Dusty Shelves is presented in collaboration with the Army Heritage and Education Center, located at Carlisle Barracks. https://warroom.armywarcollege.edu/special-series/dusty-shelves/dusty-shelves-series-bringing-military-history-life/
  1. It is an example of transformational leadership at the tactical, operational, and strategic level that has a major impact on a major conflict. Lieutenant General Matthew B. Ridgway assumed command of Eighth U.S. Army after it had been driven south in the early phases of the Korean War. Faced with a broken and dispirited force, Ridgway had to turn the situation around quickly. His memorandum of January 1951, “Why We Are Here,” was a message to the troops about what was at stake, and embodied his belief in the cause and faith in the fighting spirit of the force. In six months, a rejuvenated Eighth U.S. Army had driven the Chinese north of the 38th parallel. It is one of the great stories of U.S. military history. This inaugural episode of the Dusty Shelves series, Army historian Con Crane and War Room podcast editor Jacqueline E. Whitt present the memorandum and the story of Lieutenant General Ridgway. The memorandum, displayed and transcribed below, comes from the collection of Ridgway’s papers available at the Army Heritage and Education Center.   You can also access a transcribed (PDF) version of the memorandum here. LEARN MORE ABOUT THE "DUSTY SHELVES" SERIES Con Crane is a military historian with the Army Heritage and Education Center and associated editor of War Room. Jacqueline E. Whitt is Professor of Strategy at the U.S. Army War College. The views expressed in the podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Army War College, U.S. Army, or the Department of Defense. Photo: American General Matthew Ridgway commanding the 8th Army talks to US officers before his departure to the Korean front line 05 January 1951 in Seoul. Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images   Posts in the "Dusty Shelves" series: BOOK LOVERS NEED APPLY: A DUSTY SHELVES PODCASTHOW A HOMING PIGEON SAVED THE LOST BATTALION OF WORLD WAR I (DUSTY SHELVES)COOK’S ‘MIDNIGHT DRAWINGS’ AND THEIR HAUNTING VIEWS OF WAR (DUSTY SHELVES)BUILDING THE CONTINENTAL ARMY: VON STEUBEN’S “BLUE BOOK” (DUSTY SHELVES)RECEIPT: BOMB, ATOMIC, 1 EACH (DUSTY SHELVES)NSC-68: THE POLICY DOCUMENT THAT SHAPED THE COLD WAR (DUSTY SHELVES)RIDGWAY’S MEMO: “WHY WE ARE HERE” (DUSTY SHELVES)
  2. [PRESIDENT TRUMAN] WAS INTERESTED IN TAKING A LOOK AT AMERICA'S POSITION IN THE WORLD. In 1950, competition between the U.S. and its Allies and the Soviet Union was growing in intensity. Concerned over debt and seeming fragility of post-World War II peace, President Truman felt was time to re-examine “our objectives in peace and war and the effect of these objectives on our strategic plans.” The resulting document, National Security Council Report no. 68, would become the foundation of national security policy through the Cold War. Dr. Tami Davis Biddle examines the policy and the individuals responsible for its preparation, particularly Paul Nitze and George Kennan. She also discusses NSC 68 as an example of grand strategy and why it is so difficult to craft such a powerful and broad national security policy today. War Room podcast editor Jacqueline E. Whitt moderates.   https://warroom.armywarcollege.edu/wp-content/uploads/17-105-Biddle-Whitt-NSC-68-RLS.mp3   You can also download a copy of the podcast here.   Tami Davis Biddle is Professor of National Security Affairs at the U.S. Army War College. Jacqueline E. Whitt is Professor of Strategy and the U.S. Army War College and War Room's podcast editor. The views expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Army War College, U.S. Army, or the Department of Defense. Image composed by Tom Galvin. Eagle photo from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, cover of NSC 68 from the Truman Presidential Archives. Posts in the "Dusty Shelves" series: BOOK LOVERS NEED APPLY: A DUSTY SHELVES PODCASTHOW A HOMING PIGEON SAVED THE LOST BATTALION OF WORLD WAR I (DUSTY SHELVES)COOK’S ‘MIDNIGHT DRAWINGS’ AND THEIR HAUNTING VIEWS OF WAR (DUSTY SHELVES)BUILDING THE CONTINENTAL ARMY: VON STEUBEN’S “BLUE BOOK” (DUSTY SHELVES)RECEIPT: BOMB, ATOMIC, 1 EACH (DUSTY SHELVES)NSC-68: THE POLICY DOCUMENT THAT SHAPED THE COLD WAR (DUSTY SHELVES)RIDGWAY’S MEMO: “WHY WE ARE HERE” (DUSTY SHELVES)  
  3. [VON STEUBEN] WAS THE RIGHT MAN AT THE RIGHT PLACE AND THE RIGHT TIME. In the next installment of in our Dusty Shelves series, "Building the Continental Army: Von Steuben's 'Blue Book'," Jack Giblin and Jacqueline E. Whitt tell the story behind the Continental Army's first training manual. Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben was a Prussian Army officer who volunteered to come to the American colonies and serve as inspector general for the Continental Army. His book, entitled Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States would become the standard U.S. Army drill manual through 1812.   https://warroom.armywarcollege.edu/wp-content/uploads/18-003-Giblin-Whitt-DS-vonSteuben-Blue-Book-Final.mp3   You may also download a copy of the podcast here. Click here to access a full PDF version of the Blue Book (warning: 26MB!). Or, click here to access the Blue Book at the U.S. Library of Congress, which allows access to individual pages.   Jack Giblin is the Chief of Visitor and Education Services at the Army Heritage and Education Center. Jacqueline E. Whitt is Professor of Strategy at the U.S. Army War College and WAR ROOM podcast editor. The views expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Army War College, U.S. Army, or Department of Defense. Image: Portrait extracted from "Major General Friedrich Wilhelm Augustus, Baron von Steuben," by Ralph Earl 1786 (public domain) via the U.S. National Park Service. Inside cover of the Blue Book from the U.S. Army website. Composite assembled by Tom Galvin.   Posts in the "Dusty Shelves" series: BOOK LOVERS NEED APPLY: A DUSTY SHELVES PODCASTHOW A HOMING PIGEON SAVED THE LOST BATTALION OF WORLD WAR I (DUSTY SHELVES)COOK’S ‘MIDNIGHT DRAWINGS’ AND THEIR HAUNTING VIEWS OF WAR (DUSTY SHELVES)BUILDING THE CONTINENTAL ARMY: VON STEUBEN’S “BLUE BOOK” (DUSTY SHELVES)RECEIPT: BOMB, ATOMIC, 1 EACH (DUSTY SHELVES)NSC-68: THE POLICY DOCUMENT THAT SHAPED THE COLD WAR (DUSTY SHELVES)RIDGWAY’S MEMO: “WHY WE ARE HERE” (DUSTY SHELVES)  
  4. This is a hand receipt unlike any other. … Imagine instead of signing for an office key or a computer, … you’ve just taken responsibility for the first atomic weapon. Military historian Con Crane tells the story behind an unusual hand receipt, showing the transfer of responsibility of the components of the ‘Little Boy’ atomic weapon to Thomas Ferrell, Deputy Director of the Manhattan Project. Mr. Ferrell kept the receipt in his wallet for the rest of his life, and it eventually came into possession of the Army Heritage and Education Center. A fascinating story of bureaucracy at work! War Room podcast editor Jacqueline E. Whitt moderates.   https://warroom.armywarcollege.edu/wp-content/uploads/17-102-Crane-Whitt-Atomic-Bomb-Hand-Receipt-RLS.mp3   You can also download a copy of the podcast here. Below is a graphic of the hand-receipt.   Con Crane is a military historian with the Army Heritage and Education Center and associated editor of War Room. Jacqueline E. Whitt is Professor of Strategy at the U.S. Army War College. The views expressed in the podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Army War College, U.S. Army, or the Department of Defense. Photo: Photograph of a mock-up of the Little Boy nuclear weapon dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, in August 1945.  Photo Credit: U.S. National Archives. Posts in the "Dusty Shelves" series: BOOK LOVERS NEED APPLY: A DUSTY SHELVES PODCASTHOW A HOMING PIGEON SAVED THE LOST BATTALION OF WORLD WAR I (DUSTY SHELVES)COOK’S ‘MIDNIGHT DRAWINGS’ AND THEIR HAUNTING VIEWS OF WAR (DUSTY SHELVES)BUILDING THE CONTINENTAL ARMY: VON STEUBEN’S “BLUE BOOK” (DUSTY SHELVES)RECEIPT: BOMB, ATOMIC, 1 EACH (DUSTY SHELVES)NSC-68: THE POLICY DOCUMENT THAT SHAPED THE COLD WAR (DUSTY SHELVES)RIDGWAY’S MEMO: “WHY WE ARE HERE” (DUSTY SHELVES)
  5. One of the things we're trying to do is encourage people...to start talking about older books, older readings, older things that are lost or never really well known that really should have been. A BETTER PEACE welcomes WAR ROOM editors Tom Bruscino and Jon Klug to explain the drive and desire behind the DUSTY SHELVES series. Podcast editor Ron Granieri moderates the discussion as all three examine some of their favorite and not-so-favorite historical works that deserve another look with fresh eyes.     Thomas Bruscino is an associate professor at the U.S. Army War College and the Editor of the DUSTY SHELVES series. Colonel Jon Klug, U.S. Army, is an Army Strategist and military historian and he is a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of New Brunswick as well as an Associate Editor for WAR ROOM. Ron Granieri is an Associate Professor of History at the U.S. Army War College and the Editor of A BETTER PEACE. The views expressed in this presentation are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Army War College, U.S. Army, or Department of Defense. Photo Description: Theodore Roosevelt Jr. was the 26th president of the United States from 1901 to 1909. Known to be a voracious reader and considered by many as a great thinker of the 20th century, he is seen here in his Sagamore Hill study contemplating one of the many offerings in his personal library. Photo Credit: Waldon Fawcett, Library of Congress c 16 March 1903, Public Domain Other releases in the "Dusty Shelves" series: BOOK LOVERS NEED APPLY: A DUSTY SHELVES PODCASTHOW A HOMING PIGEON SAVED THE LOST BATTALION OF WORLD WAR I (DUSTY SHELVES)COOK’S ‘MIDNIGHT DRAWINGS’ AND THEIR HAUNTING VIEWS OF WAR (DUSTY SHELVES)BUILDING THE CONTINENTAL ARMY: VON STEUBEN’S “BLUE BOOK” (DUSTY SHELVES)RECEIPT: BOMB, ATOMIC, 1 EACH (DUSTY SHELVES)NSC-68: THE POLICY DOCUMENT THAT SHAPED THE COLD WAR (DUSTY SHELVES)RIDGWAY’S MEMO: “WHY WE ARE HERE” (DUSTY SHELVES)
  6. [COOK SAID,] 'These faces. I didn't get to know all their names. They joined my platoon, and many of them were dead by morning.' For forty-six years after the Korean War, veteran John A. Cook would be haunted by the memories of fighting and of his fellow soldiers being killed or wounded. What is now recognized as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD had no name at the time, and veterans like Cook had nowhere to turn to get help. Instead, as the horrific images of war would waken him at night, he began drawing those images on paper as a way of dealing with his inner pain. The resulting collection of his "Midnight Drawings" are now in the possession of the Army Heritage and Education Center, and the subject of this podcast. Jim McNally, AHEC's Curator of Art, tells this powerful, moving story with Jacqueline E. Whitt, War Room podcast editor.   https://warroom.armywarcollege.edu/wp-content/uploads/18-004-McNally-Whitt-DS-Cook-artwork.mp3   You can also download the podcast here. Click here to access the Army Heritage and Education Center page on the Cook "Midnight Drawing" collection. Below is the drawing referenced in the podcast, titled "Mattson - Head and Back Wounds."   Jim McNally is Curator of Art at the Army Heritage and Education Center. Jacqueline E. Whitt is the WAR ROOM podcast editor. The views expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Army War College, U.S. Army, or Department of Defense. Image: Close-up of "Mattson - Head and Back Wounds" by John A. Cook. Posts in the "Dusty Shelves" series: BOOK LOVERS NEED APPLY: A DUSTY SHELVES PODCASTHOW A HOMING PIGEON SAVED THE LOST BATTALION OF WORLD WAR I (DUSTY SHELVES)COOK’S ‘MIDNIGHT DRAWINGS’ AND THEIR HAUNTING VIEWS OF WAR (DUSTY SHELVES)BUILDING THE CONTINENTAL ARMY: VON STEUBEN’S “BLUE BOOK” (DUSTY SHELVES)RECEIPT: BOMB, ATOMIC, 1 EACH (DUSTY SHELVES)NSC-68: THE POLICY DOCUMENT THAT SHAPED THE COLD WAR (DUSTY SHELVES)RIDGWAY’S MEMO: “WHY WE ARE HERE” (DUSTY SHELVES)
  7. Pigeons were treated with very high regard in the military ... much like working dogs are today Technological innovation has always been central to warfighting, and the advances made over the 20th century were especially important. During the First World War, battlefield communications were limited, and armies employed means--old and new--to communicate. They used old technologies such as semaphores and telegraphs as well as new ones such as telephones and signal lights. But they also relied on animal power, including messenger dogs and homing pigeons to transmit critical information. One such pigeon was responsible for delivering the message that saved the "Lost Battalion" -- the 77th Infantry -- from a friendly artillery barrage whilst trapped behind enemy lines. The message from commander Major Whittlesey is an important artifact and tells an important story about communications, artillery, and combat in the First World War. Homing pigeons were celebrated and hailed as war heroes. Cher Ami, one of the most famous pigeon messengers from the war is on display at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History (NMAH). Explaining the roles and importance of homing pigeons in the first World War is Dr. Frank Blazich of the NMAH. A BETTER PEACE Editor-in-Chief Jacqueline E. Whitt moderates.     Frank Blazich is Lead Curator of Modern Military History at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History. Jacqueline E. Whitt is Professor of Strategy at the U.S. Army War College and the Editor-in-Chief of A BETTER PEACE. The views expressed in this presentation are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Army War College, U.S. Army, or Department of Defense. Image: Screen shot of the original message carried by a WWI homing pigeon, with the famous pigeon, Cher Ami overlaid. Both from the National Archives, via the U.S. Army Home Page. Image Credit: Composed by Tom Galvin

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