America and War since 1900


This is a survey of modern American military history, but in the modern era it is more than that.  Since 1900, war has reshaped the way America is governed.  It has shaped industry and innovation.  It has spawned a vast intelligence establishment with military capabilities of its own.  The experience of war and narratives about it have colored popular culture in every generation for more than a hundred years.  

The course will concentrate on the major episodes and, for each, address four basic questions.  Why did the United States go to war?  How did the United States choose to wage war?  Why did the war turn out the way it did?  What impact did the war have?

This course is also a kind of sequel to HIUS 2051, Gary Gallagher's fine course on "U.S. Military History, 1600 to 1900."

This is a lecture course with discussion sections.  Class size will be limited to 60 students.  There will be a midterm and a final exam.

Required readings include book excerpts and articles, especially for some of the recent conflicts.  The following books will be required:  David Kennedy, Over Here:  The First Wold War and American Society; Samuel Hynes, The Soldiers' Tale:  Bearing Witness to Modern War; David Kennedy, The American People in World War II; Graham Allison & Philip Zelikow, Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis; and Ronald Spector, After Tet:  The Bloodiest Year in Vietnam.

Corcoran Department of History
University of Virginia
Nau Hall - South Lawn
Charlottesville, VA 22904


(434) 924-7147
(434) 924-7891
M-F 8am to 4:30pm
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