History 3900, section 001, Fall 2020

Modern Military History

Mon-Wed-Fri, 1:25-2:15
Life Sciences Building, room 26, if and when we go to in-classroom teaching

Prof. Edwin E. Moise
Office: Hardin 102
Cell: 650-8845
e-mail: use THIS ONE if you want to Zoom me.

When the university reopens in September, if it does so, it will become possible to leave written messages for me in my mailbox in Hardin 124, or in the box on the door of my office, Hardin 102.

Office Hours: The address for the laptop on which I do Zoom is NOT I will try to have my laptop turned on, and put it into Zoom through Canvas, at the listed hours. It is possible that I may occasionally miss office hours, but on the other hand, I will be available to you at a lot of other times (including evenings, if hours in the middle of the day are not convenient for you), if you get in touch with me and ask me to turn on my laptop.

    Monday                  2:30-3:20
    Tuesday    11:00-12:00, 2:00-3:15
    Wednesday               2:30-3:20
    Thursday   11:00-12:00, 2:00-3:15
    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, all of which will be turned in through Canvas. 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 four 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.

Daily Assignments. There will be 44 class days this semester. On most of those days--38 of them unless something goes wrong--I will require you to turn in something on Canvas worth ten points. The question will be up on Canvas more than 24 hours before the answer is due. Answers will be due at 1:10 pm on the day of the class, which is fifteen minutes before the class starts. If you don't get it in on time, but turn it in before 1:25 (the time class starts), there will be a one point late penalty. It will not be accepted after 1:25. But your four lowest grades on such assignments will not count toward your final grade.

The next most important part of your grade, after the daily assignments, will be the term 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. If footnotes take up a lot of each page, make it at least nine pages.

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

The paper is due Wednesday, December 2. I request that you turn it in electronically through Canvas, which records the date you submitted it. If Canvas says it was turned in on December 2 (in other words, if it got in before midnight), it will be considered on time. There will be a five point penalty if the paper is submitted on December 3 or 4. The penalty will be fifteen points if it is not in by midnight December 4.

You can have a pretty free choice of topics for this paper, within the limits of the subject matter of this course. Your daily assignment for October 21 will be to tell me what topic you plan to do, and what sources you plan to use. I STRONGLY URGE YOU to discuss this with me before you turn that in on October 21. If you are even halfway serious about this (saying you are going to find documents on web sites, without saying what web sites, is not acceptable as a listing of sources) you will get ten points out of ten on that daily assignment. I will give you feedback on what you have turned in.

Your daily assignment for October 28 will be to give me a revised version of your description of your topic and sources, taking account of my feedback on your first try. If I tell you that the topic in your first version was too broad, and you need to narrow it down, you really do need to narrow it down. Your daily assignment for November 4 will be to give me a revised version of your description of your topic and sources, taking account of my feedback on your second try. You are not completely locked into the topic and sources you described to me, but if you change your mind later, plese consult me.

If you give me a preliminary draft of your paper as an e-mail attachment by November 20 (preferably before that), I will look it over and give you suggestions about how you could improve it.

The daily assignments are worth 340 points toward your final grade. The term paper is worth 200 points. The other written work will be:
    --Two newspaper research exercises, worth 50 points each.
    --One essay quiz (20 points).
    --The midterm test (80 points) and the final exam (120 points), which will be essay questions.
    --Participation in class discussions, mostly on Canvas but to some extent during class meetings, will be 50 points.

This adds up to 910 points for the course. The basic grade scale is that 90% (819 points) is the bottom of the A range, 80% (728 points) is the bottom of the B range, and so on. Sometimes I alter the scale in the students' favor, but never against them. In other words, 819 points (90% of 910) is guaranteed to be an A, 728 points is guaranteed to be a B, 637 points is guaranteed to be a C. But 817 or 815 points will probably become an A, and 800 points might become 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. You will have the right to refuse to do this, if you wish. 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.

Policy on late work

Under normal circumstances, my policy for assignments worth 20 points or more 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. Ten point daily assignments will not be accepted if they are more than 15 minutes late, but your four worst grades for those will not count, so if you miss up to four, the zeroes for those will be the ones that do not count.

Attendance policy

University policy says there will not be a penalty for absences from class meetings this semester, but if you skip class a lot, you will probably do badly on written work and end up with a bad grade.

If I am Late

If I have not joined the class by eight minutes after it 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.

Title IX Policy

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 (e.g., opposition to prohibited discrimination or participation in any complaint process, etc.) 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.
The University is committed to combatting sexual harassment and sexual violence. As a result, you should know that University faculty and staff members who work directly with students are required to report any instances of sexual harassment and sexual violence, to the University's Title IX Coordinator. What this means is that as your professor, I am required to report any incidents of sexual harassment, sexual violence or misconduct, stalking, domestic and/or relationship violence that are directly reported to me, or of which I am somehow made aware.
There are two important exceptions to this requirement about which you should be aware:

This policy is located at Ms. Alesia Smith is the Executive Director for Equity Compliance and the Title IX Coordinator. Her office is located at 223 Holtzendorff Hall, phone number is 864.656.3181, and email address is

Accessibility Statement

Clemson University values the diversity of our student body as a strength and a critical component of our dynamic community. Students with disabilities or temporary injuries/conditions may require accommodations due to barriers in the structure of facilities, course design, technology used for curricular purposes, or other campus resources. Students who experience a barrier to full access to a class should let the professor know,and make an appointment to meet with a staff member in Student Accessibility Services as soon as possible.You can make an appointment by calling 864-656-6848 or by emailing Students who receive Academic Access Letters are strongly encouraged to request, obtain and present these to their professors as early in the semester as possible so that accommodations can be made in a timely manner. It is the student's responsibility to follow this process each semester.You can access further information here:

COVID-19 Precautions

While on campus, face coverings are required in all buildings and classrooms. Face coverings are also required in outdoor spaces where physical distance cannot be guaranteed. Please be familiar with the additional information on the Healthy Clemson website, such as the use of wipes for in-person classes. If an instructor does not have a face covering or refuses to wear an approved face covering without valid accommodation, students should notify the department chair. If a student does not have a face covering or refuses to wear an approved face covering without valid accommodation, the instructor will ask the student to leave the academic space and mayreport the student's actions to the Office of Community & Ethical Standards as a violation of the Student Code of Conduct. If the student's actions disrupt the class to the extent that an immediate response is needed, the instructor maycall the Clemson University Police Department at 656-2222

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 19: Introduction to the course. No assigned reading

August 21: 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 24: Gunpowder weapons change the nature of battle. No assigned reading

August 26, 28: The American Revolution, the French Revolution, and Napoleon
    >>> Keegan, The Face of Battle, pp. 117-203
Major Campaigns of the Revolutionary War
Europe in 1809
Map: Waterloo

August 31: 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 2: The Civil War Begins
    >>> Matloff, American Military History, pp. 207-213, on the Battle of Bull Run and its aftermath.
Map: The Battle of Bull Run

September 4: The serious fighting begins;       QUIZ
    >>> Attack and Die, by Grady McWhiney and Perry D. Jamieson (University of Alabama Press, 1982), Chapter One. I have placed this in Canvas. Click on "Files" and then click on attack1.html.
Map: The Shiloh Campaign (theater map including Forts Henry and Donelson)

September 7: 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, 10 a.m.
Map: The Gettysburg Campaign: July 1, 6 p.m.
Map: The Gettysburg Campaign: July 2, 3:30 p.m.
Map: Pickett's Charge, July 3, 1863

September 9: 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
Grant moves south, May 1864
Grant moves south, May-June 1864
Map: Grant against Lee at Petersburg, 1864-65

September 11: Making War More Lethal, 1871-1914
    >>> Doughty, Warfare in the Western World, chapter 16

September 14: 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
Central Europe, 1914
Central Europe, 1914

September 16: World War I, 1914-1916
    >>> Doughty, Warfare in the Western World, chapter 18

September 18: The Battle of the Somme, 1916
    >>> Keegan, the chapter on the Battle of the Somme
The Stabilized Front, 1915-1916
The Somme

September 21: 1917
    >>> Doughty, Warfare in the Western World, chapter 19

September 23: World War I: Newspaper research exercise.

September 28: The Interwar Period and the Beginning of World war II
    >>> Doughty, Warfare in the Western World, chapter 21

September 30: Germany's War Spreads more Widely
    >>> Doughty, Warfare in the Western World, chapter 22
Map: Western Europe in June 1940
Map: The Mediterranean and 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 2: Air and Naval War; The Pacific Theater
    >>> Doughty, Warfare in the Western World, chapter 23
Map: The Pacific Theater

October 5: TEST (class does not meet)

October 7, 9: The Mediterranean Theater; the Eastern Front
    >>> Doughty, Warfare in the Western World, chapter 24

October 12, 14: Germany in Retreat
    >>> Doughty, Warfare in the Western World, pp. 775-796
    >>> McManus, chapter 3
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 16: 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 19: Japan in Retreat
    >>> Doughty, Warfare in the Western World, pp. 809-823
    >>> McManus, chapter 1

October 21: The Defeat of Japan
    >>> Doughty, Warfare in the Western World, pp. 824-42
    >>> McManus, chapter 2

Due date for proposal for term paper topic and sources: October 21

October 23: The Nuclear Era
    >>> Doughty, Warfare in the Western World, chapter 27

October 26: The Korean War
    >>> Doughty, Warfare in the Western World, chapter 28
Map: The Korean War

October 28: The Vietnam War: Background and Early Stages
    >>> Doughty, Warfare in the Western World, pp. 901-921

Map of Indochina

Photos of Vietnam

October 30: The Vietnam War: Large American combat forces
    >>> McManus, Chapter 5

FALL BREAK: No class November 2

November 4: The Vietnam War: Marine Corps Counterinsurgency
    >>> McManus, Chapter 6

November 6: The Vietnam War: Combat intensifies further, and American will cracks
    >>> McManus, Chapter 7
    >>> Doughty, Warfare in the Western World, pp. 922-928

November 9: Hand in newspaper research exercise. Choose at least four articles, editorials, or other items, about the fighting in Vietnam, and/or the political disputes in the United States over the Vietnam War, published during August 1969. Write an essay of about two pages (typed double spaced), or more, about what you found. What was there in the articles that you found interesting or surprising?

Evaluate the attitudes of the authors. Is there anything that leads you to distrust them, or to think that the facts may be being distorted to fit the author's viewpoint? Notice the source; did the reporter say that something was true, or only that somebody else had said it was true? If you say there is bias, please make it clear exactly what was said, that you consider biased. What kind of bias was it (false statements, or use of emotionally loaded language, or just careful selection of facts so that only facts favorable to one side get mentioned)? Notice what you are reading:
    --A news article is not supposed to have too much of the reporter's own opinions in it, but there is nothing inherently wrong with the reporter quoting the opinions of other people. If a reporter is quoting some very opinionated person, try to judge whether the reporter agrees with the person's opinions.
    --An editorial is supposed to present the opinions of the newspaper; there is nothing inherently wrong about it being opinionated. But you can still complain about bias if the editorial is illogical or deceptive in the way it pushes that opinion.
    --The same applies to an opinion piece written by someone who does not represent the newspaper.

Notice whose opinions you are reading. Was the item written by a journalist? If not, mention what sort of person the author was. If it was written by a journalist, was the journalist presenting his/her own opinions, or summarizing or quoting other people's statements? If a journalist was summarizing or quoting other people's statements, did the journalist show signs of believing those statements, or doubting them, or did the journalist not show any signs one way or the other?

I want to see one essay based on several articles, not a string of essentially separate mini-essays, each based on a single article. Try to select articles that will allow you to have some unifying themes in your essay.

Please give source notes. I want to be able to tell in each section of your paper which article or articles you are discussing in that section. It is not enough to have a list at the end, if I can't tell as I read the paper which article you are discussing where. Source notes must give page numbers. I don't care about the format of source notes as long as they tell me what I need to know. Any format that allows me easily to discern the name of the author, the title of the article, the title of the publication, and the date and page, is OK.

There is no requirement that you use The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, or The Times of London, but those papers have the advantage that you can access them online through the Clemson Library's Databases Page. There also used to be a huge variety of news articles available through the "archive" section of Google News, but I can no longer find this on the Google News search page. It may still be there, somewhere.

November 11: 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 13: 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 16: The First US-Iraq War: Triumph achieved largely by air power
    >>> Doughty, Warfare in the Western World, pp. 980-994

November 18: The First US-Iraq War: Ground Combat
    >>> McManus, Chapter 8

November 20: Terrorism and the U.S. war in Afghanistan.
    >>> James Dao and Thom Shanker, "Special Forces, On the Ground, Aid the Rebels", The New York Times, October 31, 2001. I
    >>> 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", The New York Times, March 10, 2002.

November 23: 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

THANKSGIVING: No class November 25, 27

November 30: The insurgency in Iraq became extremely messy.
    >>> McManus, Chapter 10

December 2: Progress in Iraq; Problems in Afghanistan
    >>> Dexter Filkins, "Back in Iraq, Jarred by the Calm.", The New York Times, September 21, 2008.
    >>> 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.

December 2: Submit term papers online through Canvas

December 4: Renewed crisis in Iraq and Syria

Final exam: Friday, December 11, 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

Troop levels in Iraq

Troop levels in Afghanistan

Edwin Moïse's homepage

Revised August 31, 2020.