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Sympathy for the Neville

IN MOST ACCOUNTS of the 1930s, he’s the patsy, the slightly daft gent carrying his signature umbrella, a weakling willing to do anything to appease Adolf Hitler and prevent the Third Reich from launching...

The Kasserine Complex

The U.S. Army was the 11th army to fight the Germans in World War II and, like the others, it got some rough treatment the first time out. A battle in February 1943 at an obscure hunk of rock in North Africa...

Back to the Future

Major conventional warfare seems to have gone out of style. Strategic analysts peering into the future see wars with shadowy “non-state actors” like al-Qaeda, or international crime syndicates like the...

Lucky Break

I've been thinking a lot lately about the endgame of the war in the European Theater, early 1945. For the Germans, things had fallen apart. The Soviets were slashing deeply into East Prussia and crossing the...
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Tiso in the Wolf’s Lair

Last time out we began a discussion of a seemingly insignificant event. Near the end of May 1944, Monsignor Jozef Tiso, the wartime leader of Slovakia, paid a visit to Adolf Hitler at the latter's headquarters...

Deception

Last time out we discussed an Allied deception operation called Starkey. Designed to simulate a landing in the Pas de Calais in 1943, and thus to draw off German strength from Italy (where the Allies...
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Diversion

It's a familiar figure of speech: "What if they gave a war, and no one came?" I am old enough to recognize this slogan. I was born in 1958, the youngest of five, with my older siblings in college....
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Why Anvil Gets No Respect

Last time out, I wrote about a forgotten campaign: the Allied landing in the south of France in August 1944. The planners first called it Operation Anvil, then renamed it Dragoon just days before it took...
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No Respect

Life isn't fair, and neither is history. Indeed, some historical events—no matter how vast or significant—seem destined to be forgotten. And World War II is full of them. Let's say you are...
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Typo

I am all thumbs. Put me at a computer keyboard, and I am trouble. I am the lord of the typo. Put my on an iPhone and things get exponentially worse. Put me on an iPhone with that quaint function known as...
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Oh What a Lucky Man, III

The theme of this column lately has been the way that Americans are keeping alive the memory of World War II. The results are in, and the verdict is "wow!" The recent exhibit at the Museum of Fine...
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Oh What a Lucky Man, II

    Last week I told you about the incredible photo exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts of Houston. "War/Photography:  Images of Armed Conflict and its Aftermath" was a...
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Oh What a Lucky Man I Am

I've said it many times: I'm a lucky guy. Beautiful wife. Wonderful family. I get to live in Texas. (No offense to the other states. I've lived in a few and they're not bad at all.) Another way I'm lucky is...
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Hollywood’s War: Beginnings and Endings

I have been writing this column for years, and if your attention hasn't drifted, you probably know that I am not that fond of war movies. I say it every year at this time. Don't like them, don't watch them,...
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Unique: the Pacific War, Part 2

Last week I made a startling claim about the uniqueness of the Pacific War. Well, startling for me, anyway. I've come up in a school that distrusts the very word "unique." Most historians eschew the...
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Unique: the Pacific War

No historian is supposed to use the word "unique." After all, everyone knows that nothing is completely unique. Human beings have been living on planet earth for a long time, and every historical...