In the late 1800’s, Alfred Thayer Mahan created the concept of national superpowers based on how the British Empire was so successful during most of the 1800’s. He was attempting to get the United States out of it’s isolationist point of view. The United States did not truly become aware of Mahan’s philosophy until the Spanish-American War in 1898.
To become a superpower, Mahan came up with four pillars…they were the creation of a large merchant marine, the creation of a large navy to protect that merchant marine, sea lanes of communication (SLOCs) and the control of strategic coaling stations.
- Explain each of these four pillars and what the United States did in reaction to them.
- What is a SLOC and how does it impact England, the Middle East, Australia and Guadalcanal?
- What happened during the Washington Conferences in the 1920’s in regards to numbers, sizes, and tonnage of battleships?
- How do Mahan’s four pillars apply today (especially with the United States)?
2. During World War I, the American forces almost arrived too late to change the outcome of the war. However, Americans had participated in the war at an earlier stage as flyers with the French in the Lafayette Escadrille.
- Discuss the use of these flyers and their impact on the war. What key aircraft were used by all sides from the beginning the war?
- How did the flyers solve the problem of the use of machine guns firing through their own propellers? Make SURE to discuss at least four different types of aircraft.
- What were Zeppelins and how were THEY used in combat? Name an “ace” from each side….NOT Rickenbacker or…the “Red Baron”. What IS an “ace” anyway?
3. Throughout the entire World War II in the Pacific, there was a constant battle between the US Army and the US Navy on tactics, strategy, and targets. The “combatants” were Admiral Chester Nimitz and General Douglas MacArthur. It finally came down to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the President to somewhat settle this problem. The Navy was given the Central Pacific and the Army was given the Southern Pacific. The US Marines supported both avenues.
- What were the key events and places taken in battle by the Navy and Marines from 1943 to 1945…..and what were the key events and places taken in battle by the US Army and Marines during the same time period?
- Why was MacArthur so fixated on the Philippines?
- Why was the Navy so fixated on Okinawa and Iwo Jima?
4. During WWII, in the North African, Italian and Northern European Theaters, one of the most important moments was, of course, D-Day (6 June 1944). Originally, British Field Marshall Sir Bernard Law Montgomery proposed that the landings in Normandy would be comprised of three beaches struck by four divisions. It was later modified to use 5 beaches with the additional use of three Airborne divisions (two American and one British).
- Why were the landings at Utah Beach so critical to the overall success of Operation Overlord (D-Day)?
- Who was BG Teddy Roosevelt, Jr and what did he accomplish at Utah Beach?
- What was significant about Cherbourg, St. Lo, Ste. Mere Eglise, Carentan and Caen?
- What was significant about the Hedgerow country and how did the allies solve the problem it presented?
5. One of the key events of the Korean Conflict (notice what I called it) was the landings at Inchon.
- What is meant by “South to the Naktong…North to the Yalu”?
- Why were the Inchon landings such a terrible risk for the UN allies?
- What does this have to do with tides?
- Why was General MacArthur relieved of command?
- Did President Truman make a mistake doing this?
- Why did China get involved?
- What is significant about the little town of Panmunjom?
- What is a “MASH”?
6. During the Vietnam Conflict (notice what I called it), a major event took place in 1968. It was called the Tet Offensive.
- What happened?
- How did this impact the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson?
- How did this impact the Vietcong?
- What did North Vietnam do in reaction to this event?
- What was the impact on the conflict of Operations Linebacker I and II?
- What happened at Khe Sanh (Marines)?
7. Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm were executed in reflection of Iraqi Leader Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi Army’s invasion of Kuwait.
- Why did Hussein consider Kuwait to be another province of Iraq?
- What was so significant about Kuwait’s oil to the rest of the world…or was it?
- What was the purpose of Operation Desert Shield? What was the purpose of the United States Marine Corps during the 100 hours of Desert Storm? How were they used and why (be careful here)?
- What is the significance of the “Highway of Death?”
- Why did President Bush stop the entire operation after only 100 hours?
- What happen to Saddam Hussein after Desert Storm?