Chris Gehrz and Fletcher Warren have launched a fine new web site: A Digital History of a Christian College in a Century of Warfare. Find it here: Bethel at War 1914 – 2014 | A Digital History of a Christian College in a Century of Warfare
For Veterans’ Day: Bethel at War 1914 – 2014 | A Digital History of a Christian College in a Century of Warfare11 Nov
To cling to the History That Matters is to make real learning impossible. Yet for academics to critically engage the HTM in a way that might affect public understanding of the past requires a revival of fields that have become decidedly unhip. The HTM is essentially a war and politics narrative, and the present-day historical profession does not emphasize political, diplomatic, and military themes. Today it’s race, class, gender, and sexuality that claim pride of place. The effect, whether intended or not, is that comforting fantasies go unchallenged and lodge themselves ever more deeply in the public consciousness. So the “Good War” remains ever good, with the “Greatest Generation” ever great.
So opines historian Andrew J. Bacevich in a challenging article at The Chronicle of Higher Education. The entire article is here: History That Makes Us Stupid – The Chronicle of Higher Education
Historian Allen Guelzo offers some thought-provoking musings on religion, the Civil War, and developments since. You can find his op-ed at The Atlantic here: The Civil War and the Corruptive Effects of Religious Absolutism – The Atlantic
Jan Grenci of the Library of Congress provides a brief history of Memorial Day, with some helpful visual illustrations: From Decoration Day to Memorial Day | Picture This: Library of Congress Prints & Photos.
The Veterans History Project of the Library of Congress (LOC) is something worth knowing about–and worth participating in. Taylor describes the project here: Making Veterans Day a Meaningful One | Library of Congress Blog.
For the record, here at Northwestern College, we have a related, far-less-comprehensive project than that of the LOC: The Northwest Iowa Vietnam Veterans oral history project.
Through considering photographs of World War I, the Crimean War, the Civil War, and the conflict in Israel & Gaza today, Calvin College English professor Sarina Gruver Moore raises a very important question at The Twelve blog:
Where do we draw the line between information and exploitation, between the legitimate use of war photography to document and commemorate on the one hand, and the manipulative use of war photography to inflame and incite on the other hand?
These terrible events in Gaza have a claim upon our attention, but I also am wary of becoming desensitized to the real humanity of the subjects of that photography.
For Moore’s entire post, see here: the12 – Jennifer Holberg – Hashtag War.
War tales and memories are nothing new for churches. Nothing that happened this Memorial Day weekend was particularly jingoistic or bellicose. Rather, it was all somewhat matter-of-fact. The marriage of church and military seemed comfortable and affectionate.
It reminded me of the sermons of Gilded Age evangelist Dwight Lyman Moody.
So notes San Diego State University historian Edward J. Blum at The Christian Century. His discussion of the 1870s situation of revivalist D.L. Moody–the Civil War, Reconstruction white-on-black violence, and the suppression of the Plains Lakota fresh in the minds of most Americans–is worth remembering, not only in connection with Memorial Day, but also in connection with current considerations of violence in other parts of the world, with drawing down in Afghanistan, and the 150th anniversary of the bleakly bloody year of 1864 during the Civil War and the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I.
Blum’s entire piece can be found here: War and tales of war: Dwight Moody’s preaching and Memorial Day in church | The Christian Century.
(Reader’s note: I’ve just started reading Drew Gilpin Faust’s This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War. In her view, “the work of death” among Americans because of the Civil War led to, in the words of Frederick Law Olmstead, a veritable “republic of suffering” that fostered the inextricable intertwining of “sacrifice and the state” [p. xiii].)