History 3900

Modern Military History

Mon-Wed-Fri, 1:25-2:15, Hardin 232
(Fall 2017)

Prof. Edwin E. Moise
Office: Hardin 102
Cell: 650-8845

Messages can be left in my mailbox in Hardin 124, or in the box on my office door.

Office Hours: I will try to be in my office at the following hours. It is possible that I may occasionally miss office hours, but on the other hand, I will be in my office, and available to you, at a lot of other times. E-mail me, or just check and see if my door is open.

    Monday                  2:30-3:20
    Tuesday    11:00-12:00, 2:00-3:15
    Wednesday  10:10-11:00, 2:30-3:20
    Thursday   (none)
    Friday     (none) 

Course Objectives

To give students an overview of the nature of modern warfare (primarily but not exclusively land warfare), including discussion of strategy, tactics, technology, and the relationship of the military to society. The main focus will be on the period from the late 19th century to the present, but there will be some background on earlier periods.

Learning Objectives

What goes into your grade

Your grade in the course will be based mainly on the written work I have assigned. You cannot do extra papers for extra credit. You can improve your grade a bit by participating in class discussion. The best way to pick up extra points is to argue against me in class; If you can point out to me that I have made a mistake you get two points extra in the gradebook. If you present a good clear argument that I am wrong about something, with evidence, then your grade may be boosted even if you do not succeed in convincing me.

I do not emphasize trivial factual details in this course. On tests and quizzes I will NOT ask you to tell me the dates of the battle of Arnhem, or the names of the commanders in it. There are some facts you need to know, but they are more important things than dates and names. On the other hand, I will expect you to get an idea of the sequence of events, what came first and what came later.

The most important single part of your grade will be the course paper. You can write it on whatever topic you please, within the limit of the subject matter of this course. The papers should be at least eight pages long typed double spaced for the actual text (not including title page, maps, illustrations, or Works Cited page). Longer papers are acceptable.

For more detailed guidelines on the term paper, see Writing a Term Paper in Military History.

The paper is due Wednesday, December 6. I request that you turn it in electronically through Canvas. If you get it in by midnight, it will be considered on time. There will be a five point penalty if the paper is submitted on December 7 or 8. The penalty will be fifteen points if it is not in by midnight December 8.

You can have a pretty free choice of topics for this paper, within the limits of the subject matter of this course. You must come in and talk to me about your paper, and discuss the sources you will be using. It is not enough to say to me as we are walking out of the classroom one morning "Professor Moise, is it OK if I write about the Battle of Chancellorsville?" You will need to talk things over with me for ten or fifteen minutes, not just a few seconds. After we have talked, I will give you a topic sheet, which you will then fill out and return to me. The sheet should describe your topic, with a list of the main sources you plan to use. There will be a five point penalty if you have not given this to me by November 1, an additional five points if it is not in by November 8, and an additional 5 points if it is not in by November 15.

If you give me a preliminary draft of your paper (preferably as an e-mail attachment) by November 27, I will look it over and give you suggestions about how you could improve it.

The paper is worth 150 points. The other written work will be:
    --Two newspaper research exercises, worth 40 points each.
    --One essay quiz (20 points).
    --The midterm test (70 points) and the final exam (120 points), which will be mostly essay questions.
This adds up to 440 points for the course. The basic grade scale is that 90% (396 points) is the bottom of the A range, 80% (352 points) is the bottom of the B range, and so on. Sometimes I alter the scale in the students' favor, never against them. Thus 396 points is a guaranteed A; 392 or even 388 points might be an A, if the average for the class is low.

Academic Integrity Policy

Academic integrity requires that we not try to pass off other people's work as our own. The ways students have gotten into problems of academic dishonesty in this course, in past years, have been:

    Large portions of a term paper copied from a book or web site, without any indication that the material was copied. Typically this involves both large amounts of material quoted word-for-word, without quotation marks, and also a serious shortage of source notes pointing to the book from which the material came. Often there are misleading source notes claiming the material came from some source other than the one from which it was actually copied word-for-word. These false source notes are especially strong evidence that the copying was dishonesty and not just carelessness.

    Whole term paper obtained from some source (a commercial term paper service, or the Internet, or the collection of term papers that one of the fraternities used to have, and may still have).

    One student copies another student's 40-point newspaper research exercise, maybe changing a few words and substituting synonyms, but leaving the two papers still so similar that it is obvious the resemblance could not be coincidence. I would be likely to bring charges both against the student who copied and the student who allowed his or her paper to be copied.

If a student copied a paper from someplace without citing that source, but rephrased it, substituting synonyms for enough words so that the copied paper was not identical, word for word, to the original, this would still be academic dishonesty, but would be more difficult for me to prove.

There are some ways in which it is all right for students to help each other. If two students want to study together getting ready for a test, that is perfectly OK. Only after I have handed out the questions does help on a test become improper. But if two people work together on a newspaper research exercise, and turn in papers that are very similar because each has been getting a lot of help from the other in writing it, both will be in deep trouble. If one of your fellow students asks to look at your paper, to get a better idea of how the assignment was to be done, please say no. They should come to me to ask for further explanations of the assignment, rather than looking at a completed paper to give them their clues. If two papers are so similar it is obvious the author of one must have seen the other, I will file charges.

In furtherance of its Academic Integrity policy, Clemson University has a license agreement with, a service that helps prevent plagiarism in student assignments. I will request that you submit your research papers, at the end of the semester, to Turnitin through Canvas. Turnitin will provide me with an originality rating and notation of possible text or contextual matches with other source documents. Turnitin does not make any determination of plagiarism. Rather, it identifies parts of an assignment that may have significant matches with other source documents found on the Internet, in the Turnitin database, or from other sources. If matches are identified and indicate the possibility of inclusion of material that is not properly cited, I will discuss this information with you before reaching any judgment or decision.

Do not turn in a paper in this course that you have also submitted in some other course, in this semester or a previous one, without consulting me first.

Disability Access

Students with disabilities requesting accommodations should make an appointment with Student Accessibility Serivces as soon as possible.

Title IX (Sexual Harassment) Statement

Clemson University is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, pregnancy, national origin, age, disability, veteran's status, genetic information or protected activity in employment, educational programs and activities, admissions and financial aid. This includes a prohibition against sexual harassment and sexual violence as mandated by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. This policy is located at Mr. Jerry Knighton is the Clemson University Title IX Coordinator. He also is the Director of Access and Equity. His office is located at 110 Holtzendorff Hall, 864.656.3181 (voice) or 864.565.0899 (TDD).

Policy on late work

Under normal circumstances, my policy is: If you do not do written work on time, then with any reasonable excuse you will be able to make it up. However, you will be marked off for lateness. You will be marked off even if your excuse is very, very good. You can avoid a penalty only if I have told you before the work was due that you would be able to do it late without penalty. 40-point short papers will not usually be accepted at all (you just get an F) if they are more than seven days late.

Attendance policy

You are allowed up to six cuts INCLUDING EXCUSED ABSENCES. You lose two points for every unexcused absense after that. I would advise you not to take even five. I am going to be saying quite a few things in lectures that are not in the reading. Even if you are very careful about doing all the assigned reading, you will have trouble answering the questions on my tests if you have not been at the lectures.

If I am Late

If I have not gotten to class by five minutes after it was supposed to begin, I would be grateful if a student would go bang on my office door and see whether I am there. If I still have not arrived by ten minutes after the time the class was supposed to begin, you can give up on me and leave.

If Class Is Cancelled Due To Weather

If class is cancelled due to weather, on a day when an assignment was due or a test or quiz was scheduled, the date of the assignment, test, or quiz will simply be postponed to the next class, unless I inform you otherwise by e-mail.

Assigned reading

There are three books you should buy:
    The Face of Battle, by John Keegan
    Warfare in the Western World, volume II, by Doughty, Gruber, et al.
    Grunts, by John C. McManus

There will also be reading assignments that I will make available online.

Course Outline

August 23: Introduction to the course.

August 25: The Battle of Agincourt, 1415: One of the last important battles in which gunpowder weapons played no significant role.
    >>> Read the chapter on Agincourt in Keegan, The Face of Battle

August 28: Gunpowder weapons change the nature of battle.

August 30, September 1: The American Revolution, the French Revolution, and Napoleon
    >>> Keegan, The Face of Battle, pp. 117-203
Europe in 1810
Map: Waterloo

September 4: The War of 1812, the Mexican War, and the runup to the Civil War.
    >>> Matloff, American Military History, pp. 178-189 on the Mexican War, and pp. 197-207 on the runup to the Civil War.
Map: The American Civil War

September 6: The Civil War Begins;       QUIZ
    >>> Matloff, American Military History, pp. 207-213, on the Battle of Bull Run and its aftermath.
Map: The Battle of Bull Run

September 8: The serious fighting begins
    >>> Attack and Die, by Grady McWhiney and Perry D. Jamieson (University of Alabama Press, 1982), Chapter One. I will place this on Canvas.
Map: The Shiloh Campaign

September 11: The battles of 1863.
    >>>Matloff, American Military History, pp. 249-263, on the Battles of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, in the Eastern Theater, in 1863.
Map: The Chancellorsville Campaign, up to April 30, 1863
Map: The Gettysburg Campaign: Lee Moves North
Map: The Gettysburg Campaign: July 1 a.m.
Map: The Gettysburg Campaign: July 1 p.m.
Map: The Gettysburg Campaign: July 2 p.m.
Map: Pickett's Charge, July 3, 1863

September 13: The Civil War, 1864-65; the Franco-Prussian War
    >>>Matloff, American Military History, pp. 279-300
Map: Sherman Advances Toward Atlanta, May-July 1864
Map: Sherman's March
Map: Grant against Lee at Petersburg, July-August 1864

September 15: Making War More Lethal, 1871-1914
    >>> Doughty, Warfare in the Western World, chapter 16

September 18: The Beginning of World War I
    >>> Doughty, Warfare in the Western World, chapter 17

The Western Front: The Plans
Allied Retreat, August 26-30
Allied Retreat, August 30-September 5
The Battle of the Marne
The Front Extends to the North, and Stabilizes

September 20: World War I, 1914-1916
    >>> Doughty, Warfare in the Western World, chapter 18

September 22: The Battle of the Somme, 1916
    >>> Keegan, the chapter on the Battle of the Somme

September 25: World War I: Air and Naval

September 27: 1917
    >>> Doughty, Warfare in the Western World, chapter 19

September 29: The End of World War I
    >>> Doughty, Warfare in the Western World, chapter 20

October 2: The Interwar Period and the Beginning of World war II
    >>> Doughty, Warfare in the Western World, chapter 21

October 4: Germany's War Spreads more Widely
    >>> Doughty, Warfare in the Western World, chapter 22
Map: North Africa
Map: The Eastern Front, June-August 1941
Map: The German Advance toward Moscow, August to December 1941
Map: The Soviet Winter Counteroffensive, December 1941 to May 1942

October 6: TEST

October 9: Air and Naval War; The Pacific Theater
    >>> Doughty, Warfare in the Western World, chapter 23
Map: The Pacific Theater

October 11: The Mediterranean Theater; the Eastern Front
    >>> Doughty, Warfare in the Western World, pp. 741-64.

October 13: The Eastern Front; the Air War
    >>> Doughty, Warfare in the Western World, pp. 764-780

                  NO CLASS OCTOBER 16

October 18, Germany in Retreat
    >>> Doughty, Warfare in the Western World, pp. 780-796
Map: The Plan for Overlord (the Normandy Invasion)
Map: The Normandy Invasion, June 6-12, 1944
Map: Expansion of the Normandy Beachhead up to July 24
Map: After the Breakout: August 1-13
Map: The Drive across France, August 26 to September 14
Map: 21st Army Group Operations September 15 to December 15

October 20:

October 23: The Battle of Aachen
    >>> McManus, chapter 3

October 25: The Defeat of Germany
    >>> Doughty, Warfare in the Western World, pp. 797-808
    >>> McManus, chapter 4
Map: Battle of the Bulge, December 16-25

October 27: Japan in Retreat
    >>> Doughty, Warfare in the Western World, pp. 809-823
    >>> McManus, chapter 1

October 30: The Defeat of Japan
    >>> Doughty, Warfare in the Western World, pp. 824-42
    >>> McManus, chapter 2

Due date for term paper topic sheets: November 1

November 1: The Nuclear Era
    >>> Doughty, Warfare in the Western World, chapter 27

November 3: The Korean War
    >>> Doughty, Warfare in the Western World, chapter 28
Map: The Korean War

November 6: The Vietnam War: Background and Early Stages
    >>> Doughty, Warfare in the Western World, pp. 901-921

Map of Indochina

Photos of Vietnam

November 8: The Vietnam War: Large American combat forces
    >>> McManus, Chapter 5

November 10: The Vietnam War: Marine Corps Counterinsurgency
    >>> McManus, Chapter 6

November 13: The Vietnam War: Combat intensifies further, and American will cracks
    >>> McManus, Chapter 7
    >>> Doughty, Warfare in the Western World, pp. 922-928

November 15: The end of the Vietnam War; assorted small conflicts
    >>> Doughty, Warfare in the Western World, pp. 929-933, 965-979, 994-1003.
    Map of South America
    Map of Central America and the Caribbean

November 17: Wars in the Middle East
    >>> Doughty, Warfare in the Western World, chapter 30
    >>> Moise, "Limited War"
    Map of Israel
    Map: The Eastern Mediterranean Area
    Map: The Iran-Iraq War
    Map: Asia

November 20: The First US-Iraq War: Triumph achieved largely by air power
    >>> Doughty, Warfare in the Western World, pp. 980-994


November 27: The First US-Iraq War: Ground Combat
    >>> McManus, Chapter 8

November 29: Terrorism and the U.S. war in Afghanistan.
    >>> James Dao and Thom Shanker, "Special Forces, On the Ground, Aid the Rebels", in The New York Times, October 31, 2001. I suggest you go to ProQuest through the Clemson Library's Databases Page.
    >>> Jon Lee Anderson, "The Surrender: Double agents, defectors, disaffected Taliban, and a motley army battle for Kunduz." The New Yorker, December 10, 2001.
    >>> Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker, "Afghans' Retreat Forced Americans to Lead a Battle", in The New York Times, March 10, 2002. I suggest you go to ProQuest through the Clemson Library's Databases Page.

December 1: The United States invaded Iraq in 2003, and seemed at first to have won a quick, easy victory. But soon, heavy fighting broke out against insurgents.
    >>> McManus, Chapter 9

December 4: The insurgency in Iraq became extremely messy.
    >>> McManus, Chapter 10

December 6: Partial success and the relapse in Iraq
    >>> Dexter Filkins, "Back in Iraq, Jarred by the Calm." The New York Times, September 21, 2008, on ProQuest.

Iraq Index: Tracking Variables of Reconstruction & Security in Post-Saddam Iraq, October 31, 2010. Table showing numbers of US troops in Iraq, by month since May 2003, is on p. 19. Graph of US fatalities in Iraq, by month since May 2003, is on p. 12.

December 6: Submit term papers online through Canvas

December 8: Continued problems in Afghanistan
    >>> Lt. Col. Thomas Brouns, "Exploiting Insurgent Violence in Afghanistan" Military Review, LXXXIX:4 (July-August 2009), pp. 10-20.
    >>> Alissa J. Rubin, "U.S. Forces Close Post in Afghan 'Valley of Death'" New York Times, April 15, 2010.
    Some useful information can be found in the Afghanistan Index but you are not required to look at this.

Afghanistan Index, Decemberber 31, 2012. Graph of US strenght in Afghanistan, since November 2001, is on p. 3.


Final exam: Friday, December 15, 3:00 p.m.


Other Links

Web site of the Perry-Castaneda Library Map Collection at the University of Texas

Military History Atlases (U.S. Military Academy, West Point)

Selected Statistics on the Vietnam War, With a Few from Iraq

French Cavalry on the Western Front, October 1916

"Progres of War Told Officially," Washington Post, April 9, 1915, p. 5.

"France Has New Explosive," Washington Post, April 5, 1915, p. 10.

"Siege, Not a Battle, in Western War Zone," Washington Post, April 22, 1915, p. 1.

"Great War Move by Allies Begun," Washington Post, April 12, 1915, p. 1.

Roscoe Drummond, "War In Viet-Nam: Signs of Success," Washington Post, June 3, 1963, p. 17.

Edwin Moïse's homepage

Revised August 23, 2017.