For over a third of a century, the U.S. Army has tried in a systematic way to inculcate in its officers and soldiers an awareness of our nation's military past and to demonstrate to them that the study of military history is an essential ingredient in leadership development. Military history education, as this effort is called, has been a principal mission of the Center of Military History. Of all the many studies and special projects published by the Center in pursuit of this mission, none is more directly related to the education of young officers than American Military History, a volume first published in 1956 as a textbook for the senior ROTC courses.
The present book borrows heavily from earlier editions, but with significant exceptions. It contains a completely new survey of the Vietnam War that brings the story down to the advent of the All-Volunteer Army and incorporates much of the significant recent scholarship on that still-debated chapter in our nation's military past. It also includes a new bibliography and a list of suggested readings for the young student officer. In effect, this revised edition of the textbook represents a blending of the work of some of the Army's best historians over three decades.
The proper scope and format for a modern ROTC textbook have been the subject of some debate. For every teacher and scholar who pleads for a broader approach in a brief, popular format, we have heard from another who demands that we merely continue to update this volume, but leave the text essentially unchanged. It is interesting to note that the Government Printing Office, which makes the Center's volumes available for sale to the public through its bookstores, counts American Military History among the Center's most popular publications. Our next task will be to issue a further revised edition that will include the many significant events that have occurred since Vietnam. In so doing, I will have to decide on any changes in scope and format to make this textbook a more effective teaching tool. I solicit the ideas of teachers and scholars who use this volume to assist me in that task.
15 August 1988
WILLIAM A. STOFFT
BELL, WILLIAM GARDNER (Chapter 14), a graduate of the Cavalry School and a former editor of the Cavalry Journal and Armor Magazine, has written frequently on the frontier Army and the American West.
COAKLEY, ROBERT W. (Chapters 2, 3, 4, and 23), Ph.D. (Virginia), is coauthor of the two Global Logistics and Strategy volumes in the U.S. Army in World War II series and author of the The Role of Federal Military Forces in Domestic Disorders in the Historical Studies series.
CONN, STETSON (Chapter 19), Ph.D. (Yale), was coauthor of The Framework of Hemisphere Defense and Guarding the United States and Its Outposts, both in the U.S. Army in World War II series.
COOLING, BENJAMIN F., III (Chapters 10 and 11), Ph.D. (Pennsylvania), is author of, among others, Forts Henry and Donelson: The Key to the Confederate Heartland and editor of New American State Papers - Military Affairs.
DEMMA, VINCENT H. (Chapter 28), M.A. (Wisconsin), is a CMH historian specializing in the study of the role of the Army in the Vietnam conflict.
HERMES, WALTER G. (Chapters 26 and 27), Ph.D. (Georgetown), is author of Truce Tent and Fighting Front in the U.S. Army in the Korean War series.
JONES, VINCENT C. (Chapters 15 and 16), Ph.D. (Wisconsin) is author of Manhattan: The Army and the Atomic Bomb in the U.S. Army in World War II series.
MACDONALD, CHARLES B. (Chapters 17, 18, and 22), B.A., Litt.D. (Presbyterian), is author of , among others, Company Commander, and of Three Battles, The Siegfried Line Campaign, and The Last Offensive, volumes in the U.S. Army in World War II series.
MACGREGOR, MORRIS J., JR. (Chapters 5 and 6), M.A. (Catholic), is author of The Integration of the Armed Forces, 1940-1965 in the Defense Studies series and coauthor of Soldier-Statesmen of the Constitution and Blacks in the United States Armed Forces.
MATLOFF, MAURICE (Chapters 1, 20, and 21) Ph.D. (Harvard), is coauthor of Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare, 1941-1942 and author of Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare, 1943-1944 in the U.S. Army in World War II series.
MAYO, LIDA (Chapters 7 and 8), B.A. (Randolph-Macon), was author of The Ordnance Department: On Beachhead and Battlefront and coauthor of The Ordnance Department: Procurement and Supply and The Corps of Engineers: The War Against Germany, all in the U.S. Army in World War II series.
MOSSMAN, B.C. (Chapters 24 and 25), B.A. (Nebraska State), is author of Ebb and Flow, a volume in the U.S. Army in the Korean War series, and coauthor of The Last Salute: Civil and Military Funerals, 1921-1969.
ROMANUS, CHARLES F. (Chapters 9 and 12), M.A. (Illinois), was coauthor of the three volumes on the China-Burma-India Theater and The Quartermaster Corps: Operations in the War Against Germany, all in the U.S. Army in World War II series.
SCHEIPS, PAUL J. (Chapter 13), Ph.D. (American), is coauthor of Bayonets in the Streets and author of Hold the Fort and numerous other works, principally on the frontier Army and the use of troops in domestic disturbances.
Preface to the 1969 Edition
The Office of the Chief of Military History has prepared this historical survey of the organization and accomplishments of the United States Army primarily for use in the American Military History course usually given in the sophomore year of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps program in civilian colleges and universities. The aim has been to present a balanced history of the Army from its beginnings through the year 1967, with appropriate attention to peacetime as well as wartime achievements.
In describing military operations through the Civil War the contributors have pointed out, more that in later chapters, the application (or violation) of the principles of war that are discussed in the introductory chapter. In the interest of getting on with the narrative, they necessarily omitted many other illustrations that will undoubtedly occur to the thoughtful reader. The century since the Civil War receives greater attention in this text than in its predecessor, both through chronological extension and by the inclusion of additional chapters on the post-Civil War period and World War I. Inevitably the story from World War II onward has a broader perspective than the record of the Army's earlier experiences, since in recent decades the Army's history has become increasingly intermingled with that of the other armed services and with that of the higher echelons of government directing the national defense.
In preparing this work, the contributors used as a point of departure the earlier ROTC text, American Military History, 1607-1958; but in the present volume half of the chapters are new or completely rewritten, and the remainder have been extensively revised. It is nevertheless only proper to acknowledge the work of previous contributors who wrote some of the basic texts of chapters used in the revision: Dr. Byron Fairchild, now with the Department of State Historical Office; the late Dr. Kent Roberts Greenfield, former Chief Historian; Dr. Richard M. Leighton, now with the faculty of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces; Dr. Leo J. Meyer, now retired; the late Dr. John Miller, jr., former Deputy Chief Historian; Professor Louis Morton of Dartmouth College; Brig. Gen. Paul McD. Robinett, USA (Ret.); and Mr. Robert R. Smith, recently returned to the OCMH staff. A major change has been the inclusion in the
present work of an annotated general bibliography and detailed chapter bibliographies.
Quotations have been used more generously than before, but it is hoped with
sufficient identification in the text to justify the decision against documentation.
The planning for this work and the preparation of its preliminary draft were carried out under the supervision of Dr. Matloff. The draft was then reviewed by a panel with the undersigned as chairman, and consisting otherwise, in addition to four other contributors, of Professor Stephen E. Ambrose of The Johns Hopkins University; Mr. Detmar Finke, Chief, Reference Branch, OCMH; Maj. James A. Garnett, Assistant Professor of Military Science at the University of Virginia; Mr. Ralph W. Hampton of the United States Continental Army Command; Dr. Leighton; and Col. Wolfred K. White, Chief, Histories Division, OCMH. Additionally, the Continental Army Command circulated a number of copies of the draft to the ROTC departments of representative colleges and universities. Both panel and outside review comments aided materially in the final revision of the volume for publication. The Editor in Chief, Mr. Friedman, worked continuously with the contributors throughout the period of preparation and supervised the final editing of the manuscript by staff members of OCMH's Editorial Branch, including its Chief Mr. David Jaffe, and senior editor, Mrs. Loretto C. Stevens.
The forty-seven maps in this volume include five newly prepared by Mr. Mossman and one by Mr. Bell plus forty-one retained from those prepared by Maj. James P. Holly for the 1959 version. The photographs were selected by Miss Ruth A. Phillips, and the index was prepared by Mr. Nicholas J. Anthony.
Although the United States Continental Army Command is charged with setting up the guidelines for the ROTC American Military History course, its officials have gladly accepted the suggestions and comments presented by the historians of this office insofar as preparation of the present work is concerned. The contributors assume full responsibility for what appears in the following pages, including any errors of omission or commission.
2 December 1968
Preface to the Revised Edition
This new edition continues the history of the U.S. Army through the post-Vietnam era. Chapter 28 and the Suggested Readings are entirely new. The Index has been partially revised. The Contributors list (p. vi) indicates the authorship of all parts of this textbook. Howell C. Brewer, Jr., and Linda M. Cajka prepared three new maps for the chapter on Vietnam.
15 August 1988
Morris J. MacGregor
page updated 27 April 2001
Return to the Table of Contents
Return to CMH Online