Shane J. Maddock: The Case for Nuclear Zero

U.S. military dominance in both the quantity and quality of its weapons has reached a point where it has stopped increasing the nation’s security and has begun to erode it instead. Unable to match the conventional might of the United States, nations who fear American coercion can either seek nuclear weapons to deter a U.S. attack or use the threat of retaliatory terrorist attacks to make Washington pause. U.S. fear that its enemies will resort to either of these two options, in turn, leads to pressure to increase military spending to even higher levels.

Jacqueline E. Whitt: Cooperation without Compromise: Military Chaplains’ Responses to the End of DADT

As the movement for the repeal of DADT gained political momentum, dozens of retired military chaplains and civilian religious organizations expressed grave concerns that a repeal of DADT would coerce military chaplains into performing services contrary to the dictates of their religious confession or would effectively silence their protected religious speech about the sinfulness of homosexuality. There were warnings of mass resignations or a mass exodus from the military chaplaincy by evangelical chaplains (who fill most chaplain billets). Ultimately, few chaplains have actually resigned their military commissions as a result of their opposition to the repeal of DADT or the ruling of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as unconstitutional.

Michael H. Hunt and Steven I. Levine: Troubles with Empire

Empire has had a long and troubled career in U.S. politics and culture–and the old angst is still very much with us. Over the last decade or so we have heard the familiar refrain adamantly denying the existence of an American empire, even as some have insisted just as adamantly on the reality or at least the possibility of an American empire. We embarked on our study of the four U.S. wars in Asia with no intention of getting mixed up in what seemed a tired, unproductive debate. We had our hands full working out the contours of our wars and tracing the relationship of each to the others.

Jacqueline E. Whitt: Merry Chrismahanukwanzakah from Uncle Sam

The difference between the two positions is stark—but the key to understanding the divergence rests in recognizing the different assumptions and interpretations of the First Amendment. For groups such as the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, the establishment clause is at the heart of the argument. And for [Tony] Perkins and many other religious groups and individuals, the free exercise clause is central to the question. The problem, of course, is that the First Amendment doesn’t give primacy to one clause over the other. They are co-equal and held in tension.

Kathryn Shively Meier: Civil War Soldier Trauma in Unexpected Places

Soldiers on both sides pegged environmental circumstances as some of the most serious stressors of the war. Privates through non-commissioned officers, common soldiers rarely had traveled far from home before deploying. That meant the vast majority of them were transported to foreign environments that appeared extremely threatening based on popular notions of disease causation. Lacking conceptions of germ theory or insect-borne illness (theories developed in the 1870s and 80s respectively), mid-century Americans widely believed that a sudden change of location or weather and the air, water, and terrain of certain locales (particularly those of the South) caused life-threatening diseases, such as dysentery, malaria, and typhoid. It was clear to soldiers that disease claimed far more mortalities than combat; indeed, two-thirds of soldier deaths by war’s end would be from sickness rather than wounds. Nature appeared to be the soldiers’ fiercest enemy.

The Tuscarora War: A Primer

The Indians fought to right the relationship they had with the North Carolina settlers and colonial government. They had been insulted, abused, enslaved, and cheated by traders. They lost land. And their complaints fell on deaf ears.

Michael H. Hunt: Obama and the War on Terror: Toward Greater Realism

Reading the address delivered 23 May at the National Defense University surprised me not just because it went well beyond the drone issue to address the conduct of the war on terror. More than that, Obama took some significant steps toward dealing with the war in terms of classical realism.

Excerpt: Kennesaw Mountain, by Earl J. Hess

The assault of June 27 was a significant departure from Sherman’s mode of operations during the Atlanta campaign.

Rod Andrew Jr.: Wade Hampton, One of the Last Confederate Generals to Surrender

Before the war began, few would have foreseen Hampton emerging as a die-hard Confederate. After President Abraham Lincoln called for troops to suppress the Southern rebellion, however, Hampton no longer hesitated.

Southern Gateways: essential southern reading that makes a great gift

Our Holiday Sale is now underway! If you need some gift ideas for the folks on your list, our Southern Gateways catalog is a great place to start. Southern Gateways is where we collect of all our general interest books about this region we call home.

Excerpt: With a Sword in One Hand and Jomini in the Other, by Carol Reardon

Military theory is an intellectually sophisticated and complex form of cultural expression. At the start of the Civil War, the U.S. Army and the people it defended barely had begun to demonstrate an interest in developing a capacity to think about war as an element of national life. They had done little to institutionalize such study. As a consequence, when the Civil War broke out, Northerners had few resources to turn to for insights on an American way of war, and they had no choice but to look to the military classics from across a cultural divide for the intellectual authority they sought.

First African American Marines Honored with Congressional Gold Medal

Today, 70 years after those first African Americans joined the Marines, Montford Point veterans are being formally honored with the Congressional Gold Medal.

Excerpt: Battle Hymns, by Christian McWhirter

He ordered them to leave the camp as soon as possible, but they received permission to stay one more day because of bad weather “if they behave themselves properly.” They did not.

Andre M. Fleche: Why an International Perspective is Important in Understanding the Civil War

For too long, popular interpretations of the Civil War have portrayed foreign-born soldiers as hirelings and mercenaries, similar to the hated “Hessians” who had fought for the British during the American Revolution. It is high time to acknowledge that they had as many ideological reasons for fighting as their native-born counterparts.

Excerpt: The Peninsula Campaign & the Necessity of Emancipation, by Glenn David Brasher

Turning to the war, Davis confirmed reports that some slaves were armed and fighting for the South, but he assured his audience that it “was done solely on compulsion.” Having been a slave foreman, he perceptively compared their plight to that of slaves who “were often made to fill the place of whipping-master.” He maintained that the best way to prevent the South from continually taking military advantage of the enslaved community was to free the slaves so they could “go forth conquering.”