United States Army Center of Military History

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United States Army Center of Military History
(CMH)
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United States Army Center of Military History Seal
Agency overview
FormedJuly 1943;75 years ago (July 1943)
JurisdictionFlag of the United States Army (official proportions).svg  United States Army
Headquarters Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington DC, U.S.
Agency executives
  • Charles R. Bowery, Jr., Executive Director
  • Susan K. Springman, Deputy Director
Parent agency Office of the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army
Website www.History.Army.mil

The United States Army Center of Military History (CMH) is a directorate within the Office of the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army. The center is responsible for the appropriate use of history and military records throughout the United States Army. Traditionally, this mission has meant recording the official history of the army in both peace and war, while advising the army staff on historical matters. CMH is the flagship organization leading the Army Historical Program.

Office of the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army

The Office of the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army (OAA) has a primary mission, as specified in Title 10 of the United States Code and reiterated in General Orders and Regulations, to provide direct support to the Secretary of the Army, the Under Secretary of the Army and other Army presidential appointees. In accordance with Army Regulation (AR) 25–59, OAA's office symbol is SAAA.

Military history is a humanities discipline within the scope of general historical recording of armed conflict in the history of humanity, and its impact on the societies, cultures and economies thereof, as well as the resulting changes to local and international relationships.

United States Army Land warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Army (USA) is the land warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and is designated as the Army of the United States in the United States Constitution. As the oldest and most senior branch of the U.S. military in order of precedence, the modern U.S. Army has its roots in the Continental Army, which was formed to fight the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783)—before the United States of America was established as a country. After the Revolutionary War, the Congress of the Confederation created the United States Army on 3 June 1784 to replace the disbanded Continental Army. The United States Army considers itself descended from the Continental Army, and dates its institutional inception from the origin of that armed force in 1775.

Contents

Mission

The center traces its lineage back to historians under the Secretary of War who compiled the Official Records of the Rebellion, an extensive history of the American Civil War begun in 1874. A similar work on World War I was prepared by the Historical Section of the Army War College.

American Civil War Civil war in the United States from 1861 to 1865

The American Civil War was a war fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865, between the North and the South. The Civil War is the most studied and written about episode in U.S. history. Primarily as a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of black people, war broke out in April 1861 when secessionist forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina shortly after Abraham Lincoln had been inaugurated as the President of the United States. The loyalists of the Union in the North proclaimed support for the Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States in the South, who advocated for states' rights to uphold slavery.

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

United States Army War College United States Army school located in Carlisle, Pennsylvania

The United States Army War College (USAWC) is a U.S. Army educational institution in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, on the 500-acre (2 km²) campus of the historic Carlisle Barracks. It provides graduate-level instruction to senior military officers and civilians to prepare them for senior leadership assignments and responsibilities. Each year, a number of Army colonels and lieutenant colonels are considered by a board for admission. Approximately 800 students attend at any one time, half in a two-year-long distance learning program, and the other half in an on-campus, full-time resident program lasting ten months. Upon completion, the college grants its graduates a master's degree in Strategic Studies.

The modern organization of the army's historical efforts dates from the creation of the General Staff historical branch in July 1943 and the subsequent gathering of a team of historians, translators, editors, and cartographers to record the official history of World War II. They began publication of the United States Army in World War II series, which numbers 78 volumes, in 1946. [1] Since then, the Center has produced detailed series on the Army's role in the Korean and Vietnam Wars and has begun a series on the U.S. Army in the Cold War. These works are supplemented by monographs and other publications on a mix of topics.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Vietnam War 1955–1975 conflict in Vietnam

The Vietnam War, also known as the Second Indochina War, and in Vietnam as the Resistance War Against America or simply the American War, was an undeclared war in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. It was the second of the Indochina Wars and was officially fought between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. North Vietnam was supported by the Soviet Union, China, and other communist allies; South Vietnam was supported by the United States, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia, Thailand and other anti-communist allies. The war is considered a Cold War-era proxy war from some US perspectives. It lasted some 19 years with direct U.S. involvement ending in 1973 following the Paris Peace Accords, and included the Laotian Civil War and the Cambodian Civil War, resulting in all three countries becoming communist states in 1975.

Cold War State of geopolitical tension after World War II between powers in the Eastern Bloc and the Western Bloc

The Cold War was a period of geopolitical tension between the Soviet Union with its satellite states, and the United States with its allies after World War II. A common historiography of the conflict begins between 1946, the year U.S. diplomat George F. Kennan's "Long Telegram" from Moscow cemented a U.S. foreign policy of containment of Soviet expansionism threatening strategically vital regions, and the Truman Doctrine of 1947, and ending between the Revolutions of 1989 and the 1991 collapse of the USSR, which ended communism in Eastern Europe. The term "cold" is used because there was no large-scale fighting directly between the two sides, but they each supported major regional conflicts known as proxy wars. The conflict split the temporary wartime alliance against Nazi Germany, leaving the USSR and the US as two superpowers with profound economic and political differences.

The Organizational Chart for the OAA, and its subordinate units, including the United States Army Center of Military History Oaa-org.jpg
The Organizational Chart for the OAA, and its subordinate units, including the United States Army Center of Military History

Since its formation, the center has provided historical support to the Army Secretariat and Staff, contributing background information for decision making, staff actions, command information programs, and public statements by army officials. It has expanded its role in the areas of military history education, the management of the army's museum system, and the introduction of automated data-retrieval systems. The center's work with army schools ensures that the study of history is a part of the training of officers and noncommissioned officers. Much of this educational work is performed at field historical offices and in army museums.

Historical activities

Under the direction of the chief of military history and his principal adviser, the army's chief historian, CMH's staff is involved in some 50 major writing projects. Many of these efforts involve new research that ranges from traditional studies in operational and administrative history to the examination of such areas as procurement, peacekeeping, and the global war on terror. Those works under way and projected are described in the Army Historical Program, an annual report to the Chief of Staff on the Army's historical activities. All center publications are listed in the catalog Publications of the United States Army Center of Military History, which explains how to access them.

In addition, army historians maintain the organizational history of army units, allowing the center to provide units of the Regular Army, the Army National Guard, and the Army Reserve with certificates of their lineage and honors and other historical material concerning their organizations. The center also determines the official designations for army units and works with the army staff during force reorganizations to preserve units with significant histories, as well as unit properties and related historical artifacts.

The lineage and honors certificate is a legal document, which contains certain words and phrases, that have a specific meaning. it is the official "birth, graduation, wedding, and death certificate" of a unit. As a U.S. Government generated document it cannot be copyrighted and is in the public domain. It is also used to keep track of a units awards, and battle honors. It is not a "unit history/combat chronicle", although many historians have used them for outlines. Note that when two units are consolidated both units bring their honors with them. This can confuse the layman in that a unit that served in Europe can have South Seas honors from another unit with which it combined.

CMH also serves as a clearinghouse for the oral history programs in the army at all levels of command. It also conducts and preserves its own oral history collections, including those from the Vietnam War, Desert Storm, and the many recent contingency operations. In addition, the center's end-of-tour interviews within the Army Secretariat and Staff provide a basis for its annual histories of the Department of the Army.

As tangible representations of the service's mission, military artifacts and art enhance the soldier's understanding of the profession of arms. CMH manages a system of more than 120 army museums and their holdings, encompassing some 450,000 artifacts and 15,000 works of military art. [2] The Center also provides professional museum training, staff assistance visits, teams of combat artists such as those deployed under the Vietnam Combat Artists Program, and general museum support throughout the army. Current projects include the establishment of a National Museum of the United States Army at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and a complementary Army Heritage and Educational Center at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania.

Vietnam Combat Artists Program

In June 1966, the Army Vietnam Combat Artists Program was established as part of the United States Army Art Program, utilizing teams of soldier-artists to make pictorial records of U.S. Army activities in the course of the Vietnam War for the annals of military history. The concept of the Vietnam Combat Art Program had its roots in WW II when the U.S. Congress authorized the Army to use soldier-artists to record military operations in 1944.

National Museum of the United States Army planned official museum for the history of the United States Army at Fort Belvoir, Virginia

The National Museum of the United States Army (NMUSA) is planned as the official museum for the history of the United States Army and is under construction just outside Washington, DC. The objectives of the museum are to honor America's soldiers, preserve army history, and educate the public about the army's role in American history.

Paintings by Adolf Hitler stored at the Center. The paintings were cited in Price v. United States . Preserving and protecting Army history 120530-A-AJ780-005.jpg
Paintings by Adolf Hitler stored at the Center. The paintings were cited in Price v. United States .

The Chief of Military History is responsible for ensuring the appropriate use of military history in the teaching of strategy, tactics, logistics, and administration. This mission includes a requirement that military leaders at all levels be aware of the value of history in advancing military professionalism. To that end, the center holds a biennial history conference and workshop; publishes Army History, a professional bulletin devoted to informing the larger military history education community; and supplies readings for the army school system, including the ROTC community, and texts and other support for the army's staff ride program. In this effort, the chief of military history is assisted by a historical advisory committee that includes leading academic historians and representatives of the army school system. [3]

Staff rides enable military leaders to retrace the course of a battle on the ground, deepening their understanding of the recurring fundamentals of military operations. As one of the army's major teaching devices, staff rides are particularly dependent on a careful knowledge of military history. Center historians lead rides directed by the Secretary of the Army and the Chief of Staff and attended by senior members of the army Staff.

It administers the army's Command History Program, to provide historical support to army organizations worldwide. In addition, since the first Persian Gulf War, the center has coordinated the deployment of military history detachments and the collection of historical data during peacekeeping and wartime operations, including those in northern Iraq, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

Fellowships and publications

To stimulate interest in military history in the army and the nation, CMH sponsors professional programs.

Historical services to the public

CMH's art and documents collections, library, and reference services are available to private researchers. [7] Official priorities permitting, its historians, curators, and archivists advise researchers on military history and stand ready to share their expertise concerning the location of sources. The Collections Branch of the Museum Division arranges temporary loans of paintings and drawings from the Army Art Collection to private organizations that agree to display the art publicly in accordance with Army regulations. The army's museums and historical holdings throughout the country and abroad are generally open to the public, and their curators are available to answer reference questions. As a secured facility, as of 2016 requests for an appointment at Fort Lesley J. McNair must be made at least a week in advance. [7]

See also

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References

  1. Adamczyk, Richard D. (1992). United States Army in World War II: Reader's Guide (PDF). Washington, DC: Center of Military History. p. 173. ISBN   978-0160378171. OCLC   813914147. CMH Pub 11-9
  2. Directory of Active Army and National Guard Museums
  3. 1 2 "CMH Dissertation Fellowships: General Information". www.history.army.mil. Retrieved 2016-01-12.
  4. "U.S. Army Center of Military History Publications Catalog". www.history.army.mil. Retrieved 2017-08-04.
  5. "The Army Historian on JSTOR". JSTOR . Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  6. "Army History Complete Collection". www.history.army.mil. Retrieved 2017-08-04.
  7. 1 2 "Inquiries to CMH". CMH. April 1, 2016. Retrieved September 30, 2016.

Further reading

The following publications provide additional information about the activities, services, and products of the Center of Military History: