The Christ of Nations, 1920

In Polish history, war usually comes down to two conflicting scripts. From the Polish side, pushing geographical boundaries out in all directions, as far as possible. From the opposing side: eliminating the irritating roadblock begrudgingly acknowledged as “Poland.” This theme is perennial. It has not only been steel and fire that has determined if the land of the White Eagle was to be a flesh and blood state, or merely a state of mind; it was also the petitioning of the fighting spirit through ideological appeal. Literature in Poland has served such a purpose. Polish literature is not meant to appeal to outsiders. It is generally so nationalistic that neighboring … Read more…

Historical Resources on the Web

Updated 24 June 2014 — Below the fold is a list of historical sources on the internet, this includes both primary and secondary source collections.   I am constantly updating this list when I run across useful sites.   Please point me at sites I miss in the comments section.

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The Actual Writing of a Thesis-Part 9

Well, I figured it is time for another update.  I have made the first round of changes to my rough draft and turned them back in and my thesis made it past my professor and is now in the hands of the second reader.  It went up to the second reader Tuesday and I should get it back sometime next week for corrections, if any.  If there are no corrections needed it will go the department Chair and then I will get a final grade for the thesis and the thesis class.  At that point I will be done with my thesis and should only need to receive word from … Read more…

The Actual Writing of a Thesis-Part 8

I got my rough draft back from my Thesis professor this morning with the first round of requested corrections.  It actually looks much better than I thought it would.  There are not as many corrections as I expected and so I will start working on revising it tonight after I get home from work.  I just quickly glanced at it this morning.  I guess it will take me two or three days to make the requested corrections. After I make corrections and resubmit it as a final version, it will go to a second reader in the history department for a final round of changes.  After the second reader gets … Read more…

Postmodernism and Historiography

I figured I would touch on post-modernism/post-structuralism and my personal opinion of the phenomenon because I am seeing it more and more in contemporary academics.  Let me preface this whole post by saying up-front that I think the whole post-modernist movement is a bunch of hogwash that has little if anything to add to the discipline of history. I was first introduced to the phenomenon of post-modernism/post-structuralism in my very first Graduate level class, which was Historiography.  you can almost say it was hate at first sight because from the get-go I have been struck with the way post-modernists obfuscate and use odd language to describe their concepts.  it also struck … Read more…

I Suppose I Can Consider Myself Published Now

I got my first article published this past week.  I belong to the Society for Military History and in a recent society newsletter, they asked for people who had recently worked in an archive to submit a guide.  I visited the Austrian Kriegsarhive last spring while doing research for my MA thesis and emailed them contact person that I would be interested in providing a guide for the Kriegsarchive.  I got a positive response and pulled out my notes and recollections of my visit and over the next week or so, I wrote up a guide.  It has now been posted on the SMH website at: Österreiches Staatsarchiv- Kriegsarchiv in … Read more…

The Actual Writing of a Thesis-Part 6

I just finished writing the rough draft of my MA Thesis.  It is currently sitting right around 73 pages.  I would guess I will end up adding about 4-5 more ages as I do my final revisions before submitting the rough draft this coming Sunday when it is due.  It was  both easier and harder to write than I thought it would be.  I also am very curious to see what comments my thesis adviser will have.  I already have comments on my intro ad first chapter and will spend the rest of the week incorporating the changes he suggested into the rough draft.  Well we will see. I should … Read more…

The Actual Writing of a Thesis-Part 5

I finished Chapter 2 of my thesis last night, ten days later than I planned, but finished is finished right?  it was the chapter about the opening skirmishes and battles of the Königgrätz Campaign.  It was fun to write but difficult at the same time.  I essentially knocked out a twenty-page paper in two weeks where I normally wrote that much in a month being much more leisurely about it. Now I just have to work extra hard to catch up and get my paper done by the deadline for the rough draft, which is on February 20th.  I should be able to do it because the next chapter and the concluding … Read more…

Book Review: Frederick the Great On The Art of War

Jay Luvaas is a professor at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle Pa.; he coauthored a series of Battlefield Guides of U.S. Civil War battlefields that became almost instant classics. He has authored several books of military history such as “The Military Legacy of the Civil War: The European Inheritance”, “The Civil War: In the Writings of Col. G.F.R. Henderson”, and “Napoleon on the Art of War”. He has also authored many articles in peer-reviewed journals such as Parameters, the Journal of the U.S. Army War College and the Civil War Times Illustrated. Professor Luvaas prefaces his work by pointing out that the book is not a straight chronological … Read more…

The Actual Writing of a Thesis-Part 4

I was getting to the actual writing of a description of the fighting part of my thesis today when something hit me.  I was looking at casualty figures for the various actions and they are decidedly lopsided.  Most historians blame that on the Prussian possession of the Needle-Gun but I just don’t buy that, it’s too pat an explanation.  As I was thinking about it, it hit me that the Prussians and Austrians fought in completely different ways.

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The Actual Writing of a Thesis-Part 3

     At this point, I am well into writing my thesis.  I completed chapter one last night and got started on writing chapter two.  So far, with the introduction and first chapter I have written twenty-six pages out of what should end up being about an eighty pages or so project.      So far that actual writing part has been easier than I thought it would be.  I have never written a paper that is as long as this one is and that had me worried at first.  What I am finding is that the initial getting started writing each day can be difficult but once I really get into … Read more…

Book Review: The Campaign of Germany in 1866

       This work is the Official History of the 1866 Seven Weeks’ War prepared by the Prussian General Staff after the war. I got this book for use in my thesis and it probably would not be of interest to anybody except for hard-core history fans or specialists. That being said, it is one of the better official histories I have ever read.        It is readable and concise and includes a wealth of information. Perhaps the best part of this work from a historian’s perspective is that it is based on primary source documents that are no longer available because they were destroyed in the closing days of World … Read more…

Book Review: Bernard Porter, The Absent-Minded Imperialists: Empire, Society, and Culture in Britain

Porter’s book is in many ways an eye-opener.  It was a surprise to discover that Britain’s empire was not a topic of national discussion until the latter portion of the imperial period.  If porter’s thesis is correct and the people of Britain were by and large ignorant of the empire and willfully so as he makes clear in his introduction then that makes a hash out of most of the post-colonialist arguments he is criticizing.[1] It is Porter’s position that Britain was not “steeped” in imperialism even for the segment of society from which most imperial administrators were drawn until comparatively late in the imperial period itself.The Absent-Minded Imperialists has much to tell us about the way in the British Empire was perceived in Britain itself during the imperial period.  Porter makes an excellent argument that while the empire materially affected the lives of many Englishmen through such things as raw materials, some culinary habits, and trade; these things did not necessarily mean that the average Englishman was consciously aware of the extent of Britain’s empire on a day to day basis.  He also demonstrates why this could be so.  Once he really delves into the ways in which the British Empire affected the British home culture he proves his point quite well.

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The Actual Writing of a Thesis-Part 2

I rediscovered the importance of an outline over the past few days of working on my thesis. Idiot me did not do an outline as I have one for all my papers in the past both undergrad and Graduate level. I have no idea why I thought i could tackle a project as large as Master’s Thesis with only a Table of Contents to use as a guide. I say rediscovered because I started writing and after about 20 pages I realized I have essentially been wasting my time because I tend to ramble when I do not have something to keep me focused.
After I realized I was rambling I stopped and took a brief break to figure out what I was doing wrong and how I could fix it. That is when it struck me that I don’t have an outline. It was definitely a V-8/face palm moment. I then settled down and decided to write an outline.

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