Given that I generally try to concentrate on the German Wars of Unification when I do any serious research I thought I would toss this link out there.  I ran across the following article about the Battle of Lundby in 1864 today.  It is probably the best description of any single action from the Danish War of 1864 I have ever seen.  What makes it so great for my purposes is that it is in English and I can direct my readers to it.  The first of the German Wars of Unification, the Danish War of 1864, is practically ignored in English scholarship and thus finding something like this is a treasure as it sheds light on the development of Prussian tactical and operational methods that is not generally open to the English speaking world.

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…

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…

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. … Read more…

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…

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. … Read more…

The Actual Writing of a Thesis

I am about 20 pages into writing my thesis and it is killing me.  I generally really enjoy writing, especially writing about history.  I have studied my topic for about 3 years now and actually visited the battlefield twice.  I find myself wanting to hurry writing the introductory chapters so I can get to the good stuff.  It is getting increasingly difficult for me to motivate myself to write, I suppose I will struggle through it somehow though. Writing my thesis is exciting and boring at the same time. The best comparison I can think of is sitting on a screen line in Iraq overwatching a known insurgent mortar firing … Read more…

Today is the Day

Well, today is the day my final theses class starts. I have already looked at the syllabus and am very curious how this is going to go. I have exactly 16 weeks to submit a proposal, get approval, write a draft, make revisions, and submit a final thesis for defense. I have been looking forward to this for at least 4 years and working towards it for the past 3. I guess I am both nervous and excited. Nervous because I am not quite sure if my proposal will be accepted without some major reworking and excited because I am getting ever closer to being done with college.  At least … Read more…

Learning a Language

I was thinking this morning about how important learning a second language is to good scholarship. It hit me because I was not required to learn a second language for my undergrad, I wish I had been. My chosen historical specialty is 18th – 19th century Prussian history. It is kind of hard to see how I could do any really good research without learning German and maybe French. Luckily, I am married to a German woman and had no choice but to learn German if I want to talk to any of my in-laws since most of them don’t speak a lick of English. How could I expect them too since they all live in Germany?
Learning German has stood me in good stead the longer I have been studying history and especially in conducting research for my thesis. I have made several trips to archives in Germany and Austria conducting research for my thesis and these trips would have been completely wasted with no knowledge of German. I probably would not have made them in the first place. … Read more…

Königgrätz-The battlefield

I went to Königgrätz this past weekend for one final trip before I start writing my thesis and to refresh my memory about what the terrain looks and feels like.  I have found that is difficult to really understand a battle and the course it took unless I have been to the actual battlefield or seen a very good terrain model.  Terrain determines much more about the course of a battle than many people realize.  Of course, rivers and mountains make a difference but so do small terrain features.  Anyone who has ever visited Ypres and stood on top of Passchendaele Ridge looking into the salient can instantly see why … Read more…

My MA Thesis-The Battle of Königgrätz -3 July 1866-Part # 3

Memorial on edge of Swiepwald # 1

the present.  This episode is about my visit to the Königgrätz Battlefield in the fall of 2009.  I had actually been bugging my wife to make this trip since we moved to Europe in the summer of 2008 and she finally relented in August of 2009 and surprised me by giving me the itinerary for the trip on our wedding anniversary.  I have dragged my wife many battlefields in both America and Europe during our marriage but I was triply impressed because she actually volunteered to go on this one. We went to Königgrätz the weekend of 26 September, 2009 and it was an adventure the whole way.  We left … Read more…