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The Origins of Fascism and Contemporary Implications.

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Silent Below: A Cursory Review of Histories of U.S. Submarine Warfare in World War Two

Few subjects in history have garnered as much scholarly attention as the events of the second World War. Of these events, few are more fascinating than the subject of submarine warfare. At the outset, when writing about submarine warfare, there are many questions which might be addressed by historians. How did these awesome vessels come into service, and how did they develop in design and capability in the years leading up to the war? What role did submarines play in shaping the events of that war? How did the lessons of war contribute to the evolution of submarine warfare? How does service aboard a submarine differ from traditional naval service? This brief historiography will attempt to evaluate how these questions were answered by five different historians. Edward Beach tells his story of service on several ships, including the USS Trigger, the USS Seawolf, and the USS Wahoo. James DeRose explains how submarines changed the naval officer corps. Hughston Lowder chronicles the servi…

Review: Operation Mincemeat

MacIntyre, Ben. Operation Mincemeat. New York: Harmony Books, 2010. 400. Reviewed by Steven Harkness

Nazis are dumb. Like flat-earthers, anti-vaxxers, and people who think chemtrails are a thing, there are just some people in this world who will stubbornly believe whatever they want to believe. Fortunately for the British, and for all of mankind, the Nazis proved just as gullible as pliable as any group of ethnic-supremacists hellbent on destroying and dominating the world order as any group that ever came before. Maybe the Nazis lost the war because German commanders were too scared of their petulant fuhrer to be honest with him when the chips were down. Maybe they lost because a virtually land-locked and blockaded nation full of fanatics couldn’t possibly defeat thirty million Russian soldiers while living on poverty rations. Or maybe, just maybe, they lost the war because of a handful of clever British spooks who realized early on that the biggest weakness in the Nazi regime was h…

Review: Battle of Britain

Overy, Richard. The Battle of Britain: The Myth and The Reality. New York: Penguin Books, 2000. 177. Reviewed by Steven Harkness

The Battle of Britain was a contest between Germany and Britain for control of the skies over the English Channel in 1940. Adolph Hitler believed that Britain could be made to surrender swiftly, but his air campaign ultimately accomplished very little in terms of German success, and perhaps accomplished a great deal with respect to the ultimate defeat of the sprawling Nazi empire. Richard Overy says that this battle is still celebrated, though its actual impact on the war has been either overstated, or simply poorly understood in general. The battle did not end in a decisive defeat, but it did keep Britain in the war. Likewise, it is widely held, according to Overy, that the battle itself prevented a German invasion on the southern coasts. This also seems to be a historical misrepresentation of the consequences of the battle. These myths and misunderstandin…

Review: Ghost Army

Kneece, Jack. Ghost Army of World War II. Gretna: Pelican Publishing Co., 2001. 280. Reviewed by Steven Harkness



World War II famously glorified a certain kind of man. The leather-skinned, square-jawed, barrel-chested, all-American athlete, farmboy, or factory worker, as represented by the fatigued Gregory Pecks of the era to American audiences on stage and screen-- those caricatures became stock imagery, and a model of American manhood for the generation to come. Reflecting on the period, one does not as often conjure images of actors, fashion designers, and artists. However, one of the most courageous, clever, (and classified!) Army divisions of all time may well have been just such a group of men. To this reviewer’s knowledge, there still hasn’t been a movie made about them yet, so it is highly likely that general audiences will be wholly unfamiliar with the fighting twenty-third, the Ghost Army. By itself, that alone makes Jack Kneece’s 2001 history of one of America’s best kept s…

Review: Japan, 1941

Hotta, Eri. Japan 1941: Countdown to Infamy. New York: Vintage Books, 2013. 323. Reviewed by Steven Harkness.
In the due course of educating the successions of generations, western historians tend to focus more emphatically on their own backyards, neglecting, as a consequence, the nuance and intricacy of other nations’ roles in those histories, especially in the evolving narratives surrounding a major conflict. Students, by way of this tendency, often arrive after many years of extensive and deliberative effort, at skewed, distorted, and asymmetrical understandings of their various studies. America’s point of view in the great scheme of things was only a small part of a much bigger puzzle. To unmuddy these waters, one must try to grasp at the many concurrent histories of other participating nations. It is useful, when evaluating the wisdom and motivates of the American government during the period, to also understand the rise and fall of French and British colonialism, of…

Review: In the Garden of Beasts

Larson, Erik. In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin. New York: Broadway Books, 2011, 448. Reviewed by Steven Harkness

In the 1930s, Adolph Hitler succeeded in eliminating political opposition, consolidating power under a violent regime, extracting Germany from the hated Treaty of Versailles, rearming the military, acquiring control of the press and other cultural institutions, annexing Austria, occupying Czechoslovakia, and invading Poland. While the west looked in mixed disbelief through most of these developments, it was the last move that catalysed the worst military struggle in all of human history. Due to Hitler’s stranglehold on the German press, and a general unwillingness on the part of American leadership to take seriously the occasional reports of brutal violence against Jews being directed from Berlin, American’s luxuriated in their own isolationist ignorance and tended to their own domestic crises accompanying the Great Depressio…

Cyber Bully: the Self-Perpetuating Cycle

The internet has evolved into a cradle-to-grave platform for social abuse. From the exploitation of small children by sexual deviants, to the pervasive bullying of students, to the radicalization and recruitment of young adults, to the global networks of hate groups and terrorist organizations which receive them, the digital age has failed to achieve the utopian ideals of enlightenment, social justice, and civility. Bullies, of all ages, races, and creeds, flock to the web to find easy targets to victimize, and to locate organizations of like-minded individuals to lend legitimacy and validity to their toxic worldviews. The net also provides them anonymity, and the tools to protect their identities from their victims, from the communities where they live, and from law enforcement agencies who would hold them accountable. And for many groups, the internet offers opportunities to finance those malevolent agendas. What all of these hate groups and bullies have in common is the desire to …