Articles in the Journal of Military History, Vol. 77, No. 1

The latest edition of the Journal of Military History has the following articles that will be of interest to historians of era of the Second World War.

Thomas Hughes, ‘Learning to Fight: Bill Halsey and the Early American Destroyer Force’

Admiral William Halsey gained both fame and scorn for his direction of fleet forces in World War II. Most historians have attributed his command performance to personality traits; Halsey was aggressive, bold, and impetuous. But his command of naval forces in World War II was as much the product of nearly four decades in uniform as it was any innate trait. From 1914 to 1922, Halsey learned much about naval warfare and fighting from his service with destroyers, which took place largely under the direction of Admiral William Sims, one of the Navy’s greatest reformers.

Jacqueline Woodfork, “It Is a Crime To Be a Tirailleur in the Army’: The Impact of Senegalese Civilian Status in the French Colonial Army during the Second World War’

Uniquely among European colonies, some indigenous inhabitants of the French West African colony of Senegal were made citizens of the metropole in the nineteenth century. This originaire status, as it was known, allowed them to, among other things, elect a member of the French parliament in Paris. But, the civil status of the colonial population of Senegal also influenced how its members who served in France’s West African colonial army, the Tirailleurs sénégalais, were fed, clothed, housed, and paid. Using oral and archival sources, this article looks at how this cleavage between citizens and subjects influenced the relationship of Senegalese soldiers to the colonial state, the military, their officers, and each other.

Franco David Macri, ‘C Force to Hong Kong: The Price of Collective Security in China, 1941′

In November 1941 two Canadian infantry battalions arrived in the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong as reinforcements for the garrison. This deployment is considered an element of Britain’s effort to deter Japanese aggression south against areas more vital, but this paper will demonstrate how other significant geopolitical issues led to this event. Canadian troops were sent to Hong Kong largely because of U.S. influence. Aimed at bolstering Chinese morale, Hong Kong’s reinforcement was meant to sustain the Sino-Japanese war in order to provide indirect support to the Soviet Far East when the Red Army faced destruction in Europe.

Bryan Gibby, ‘The Best Little Army’

Historians have generally assumed that the poor showing made by the South Korean military in the opening stages of the Korean War was inevitable and have attributed much of the blame for this to the U.S. Army advisory group in Korea, known colloquially as “KMAG.” However, a closer look at the documentary evidence shows that KMAG was keenly aware of the South Korean military’s shortcomings and was doing its best to correct them as war came. Although KMAG’s program to improve the equipment and leadership of the South Korean military and to focus its efforts on conventional defense, as opposed to counterinsurgency activities, proved insufficient to stop the North Korean invasion, U.S. advisors did succeed in forging an infrastructure that allowed the South Korean army to survive and eventually to grow into a potent military force during the war.

S. P. MacKenzie, ‘Progressives and Reactionaries among British Prisoners of War at Pyoktong and Chongson, North Korea, 1951–1953′

It has often been claimed that British prisoners behaved better than American prisoners during the Korean War (1950–1953). This assertion has tended to be the result of speculative assumption rather than detailed analysis, however, and does not hold up well when examined closely. As a very broad generalization, furthermore, it masks significant variations in the conduct of British prisoners of war themselves. The primary aim of this article is to test various hypotheses to explain why, from the Chinese perspective, the captive British contingent at Chongson (Camp 1) was much more troublesome than its counterpart at Pyoktong (Camp 5).


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