Poser Art 1: P-51 Mustang

One of the things that has distracted me from the blog over the recent months is learning how to use poser type models and create poser art.  This is one of my first efforts. 

Clicking on the image will take you to the deviant art page I have set up to display this and a few other art items.

Published in: on November 29, 2011 at 11:18 am  Comments (1)  
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Restoring Order: The US Army Experience in Occupation Operations, 1865 – 1952

Abstract of my dissertation on US Army occupation operations:

This dissertation examines the influence of the US Army experience in military government and occupation missions on occupations conducted during and immediately after World War II. The study concludes that army occupation experiences between the end of the Civil War and World War II positively influenced the occupations that occurred during and after World War II. The study specifically examines occupation and government operations in the post-Civil War American South, Cuba, the Philippines, Mexico, post-World War I Germany, and the major occupations associated with World War II in Italy, Germany, and Japan. Though historians have examined individual occupations, none has studied the entirety of the American army‘s experience with these operations. This dissertation finds that significant elements of continuity exist between the occupations, so much so that by the World War II period it discerns a unique American way of conducting occupation operations. Army doctrine was one of the major facilitators of continuity. An additional and perhaps more important factor affecting the continuity between occupations was the army‘s institutional culture, which accepted occupation missions as both important and necessary. An institutional understanding of occupation operations developed over time as the army repeatedly performed the mission or similar nontraditional military tasks. Institutional culture ensured an understanding of the occupation mission passed informally from generation to generation of army officers through a complex network of formal and informal, professional and personal relationships. That network of relationships was so complete that the World War II generation of leaders including Generals Marshall, Eisenhower, Clay and MacArthur, and Secretary of War Stimson, all had direct personal ties to individuals who served in key positions in previous occupations in the Philippines, Cuba, Mexico, or the Rhineland. Doctrine and the cultural understanding of the occupation mission influenced the army to devote major resources and command attention to occupation operations during and after World War II. Robust resourcing and the focus of leaders were key to overcoming the inevitable shortfalls in policy and planning that occurred during the war. These efforts contributed significantly to the success of the military occupations of Japan and Germany after World War II.

For more information on this subject and access to the complete dissertation contact me at dimarcol@aol.com.

British Army Horses Traveling

The Army have decided to reward their loyal horses with an off-duty trip to Blackpool.

Read Complete Article Here.

Another article Here.

Household Cavalry arrives in the Middle East.  Read Article Here.

The General, Horses, and Leadership

enhs1019majoreisenhower1935General and President Dwight David Eisenhower is one of the famous leaders in American military history.  He is known for his compassion and calm in the face of adversity.  Eisenhower was an infantry officer but made his reputation as an exceptional staff officer and planner.  Few people know that “Ike” was also an more than average horseman.  Eisenhower, like all officers of his generation, had to learn to ride as part of his professional requirements, but he had a more than average affinity for animals.  Eisenhower’s abilities as a horseman and his ability to relate to the animal is described in his memoir At Ease:  Stories I tell Friends.  In this very readable autobiography of his personal and professional life Ike describes his military mount “Blackie” who he rode during his two year assignment in Panama.  Eisenhower trained the horse in what today would be called basic dressage movements as well as “tricks” such as following him on command whenever he dismounted.  Eisenhower believed that working with animals could teach leadership skills important to army officers.  He stated in his memoir that “in teaching skills, in developing self-confidence, the same sort of patience and kindness is needed with horses as with people.”  Some biographers believe that the horse “Blackie” taught Eisenhower as much as the officer taught the horse.  One author goes so far to assert that the horse was instrumental to helping Eisenhower to get over the death of his son the previous year and may have saved his marriage.  It is certain the horse “Blackie” was an exceptional part of Eisenhower’s life.  In his memoirs he writes about “Blackie” over six pages –more pages than he devotes to any single human, including all the heads of states and famous generals, he met in his long career.

Published in: on March 2, 2009 at 4:03 am  Comments (2)  
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Ending Phase IV Operations

The new Administration will likely oversee the end of U.S. operations in Iraq.  The end has already been set-up by the Bush Administration’s agreement with the Iraqi government to end the U.S. troop presence by 2011.  The only real questions are if the Obama Administration will move the time table up, and exactly what the U.S. presence will be, if any, after the agreed upon withdrawal.  While contemplating the nature of the post-withdrawal presence, DOD planners and policy makers should consider the examples of history.  History shows us that although hasty withdrawal from occupation operations is politically attractive, it is often improperly conceived and fatal to the objectives of the occupation.

Two Cases in point:

In 1877 the U.S. army ended occupation operations in the former Confederate States.  That same year all of the Confederate states reestablished conservative Democratic governments, in large part operated by former Confederates –the same leadership that attempted to secede from the Union and plunged the country into the deadliest war in its history.  For the next 80 years the South was ruled at the local level by the white population which actively governed to keep the former slave population subjugated.

In 1902 the U.S. army ended its post Spanish-American War occupation of Cuba and withdrew all American troops from the new Republic of Cuba.  Four years later the U.S. army returned as the  government in Cuba fell into corruption and was about to be overthrown by a popular revolt.  In 1909 the army left again and the Cubans were left to their own devices.  Republican government was never firmly established in the country which eventually came under the control of the autocratic Batista regime which fell to the Castro revolution.

In both cases the army was withdrawn not because it had completed its mission, but in response to domestic U.S. politics.  What was the army’s mission in occupation?  In the South and in Cuba the mission was achieving the U.S. strategic objective of stable democratic government.  In both cases the army withdrew after putting in place the structure of democratic government.  However, structure was not enough and was quickly  subverted.

 

U.S. Troops in Cuba circa 1902

U.S. Troops in Cuba circa 1902

In the case of the South and of Cuba, the failure of democracy  resulted in long-term adverse effects for the United States.  The Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s ultimately rectified problems in the South.  Cuba remains a problem to this day.

So, as the new administration considers policy in Iraq, it must realize that a premature withdrawal from Iraq will likely result in a failed policy and future problems.  The U.S. has built the structure of democracy in Iraq.  However, Iraq as a society has no experience or tradition of democracy.  For democracy to succeed will require U.S. mentorship, active support, and most importantly, large scale engagement with the Iraqi government.  This can only happen with a long-term U.S. military presence in the country.  Even after hostilities have ceased.  Without time and continued U.S. support to ensure the viability of democracy, Iraq will follow the history of previous occupations, and previous attempts at democracy in the Middle East, and revert to chaos. 

For further reading on the subject of failed U.S. occupations see my paper on the U.S. army in Reconstruction or the following books:

 

 

Title Page       Title Page      Title Page

German Cavalry and the 20 July Plot to Kill Hitler

bundesarchiv_bild_183-c0716-0046-003__claus_schenk_graf_v__stauffenbergWanted to crosspost this picture from the militaryhorse discussion forum showing Von Stauffenberg mounted.  He was an excellent rider and one of the best in the German army.  See this short biography which has some interesting tidbits on his career.  The intersting thing that is pointed out in the discussion of the movie Valkyrie in the forum that at least 5 of the plotters were from the same cavalry regiment, Reiter Regiment 17, in Bamberg.  Anyway…I love the picture.  Beautiful example of the classic German trakenier cavalry mount.  Also, there are some other interesting pictures of Stauffenberg in a tribute online at the German Stern Magaine.

boeslager     philipp-boeselager-_667558e

Two other very important plotters who were also cavalry officers were the brother Georg (left) and Philipp (right) von Boeselager.  Georg von Boeselager, in addition to being a player in the anti-Hitler army movement, was one of the leaders who reintroduced horse cavalry into the German army after it was abondoned in 1942.  Georg was a highly decorated colonel, winner of the knights cross with oak leaf and swords, who was killed in action on the Russian front in 1944.  Philipp did not have as much front experience as his brother but was one of the few plotters who was not found out.  He survived the war and helped organized the Bundeswehr after the war.  I had the honor of meeting Philipp Boeslager at the 1985 NATO reconnaissance competition named for his brother Georg.  Philipp passed away in May 2008. 

An intersting note is that one of Philipp’s daughters Maria-Felicitas Baronin von Boeselager, married into the Stauffenberg family, marrying Patrick von Stauffenberg.  Though I haven’t figured out the exact connection, I suspect Patrick is a son of  Claus’s brother Alexander.  Thus bringing two very prominent anti-Hitler cavalry families full circle.