US Naval history book – “The Free Sea” (Naval Institute Press, 2018) – James Kraska interview – MHIO Episode 17

James Kraska was a Judge Advocate General for the US Navy and has extensive experience on defense issues and Freedom of Navigation issues. He’s currently a visiting Professor of Law at the Naval War College. He has co-authored a book on the history of US enforcement of Freedom of Navigation and we spoke about the book.

1:56 – Professor. Kraska was a Navy Judge Advocate lawyer and in this capacity he learned and practiced the law regarding Freedom of Navigation. He taught at the Naval War College and completed a degree on the subject. Raul Pedroza, the other author, is also a retired Navy JAG and a professor of law.

3:55 – It has been imperative for the US to protect the sea for economic and security purposes. The book is a mix of history and law on Freedom of Navigation. The book starts with the Quasi-War with France and continues all the way through the current Chinese attempts to assert unlawful control of regional seas.

6:55 – The US defends Freedom of Navigation globally because no one else will do it. Many countries depend on the US to maintain order at sea. The Dutch enforced freedom of the seas in the 1500s and then the British took over enforcing these global rights.

8:57 – The US took over from the British around the 1880s. By 1945, the US had fully assumed the role of protecting freedom of the seas.

11:00 – Freedom of navigation is a continuous struggle to maintain these freedoms. The Gulf of Tonkin and Pueblo incidents are examples of violent conflict involving freedom of navigation.

12:37 – Political will and military capability are needed to maintain freedom of navigation. Territorial seas are part of the global commons. The US has operated on territorial seas and also on high seas to protect navigation freedoms. Surveillance aircraft are also used to maintain freedom of navigation on the seas.

17:31 – Using international airspace to protect the seas has been developing for the last hundred years. The International Civil Aviation organization also supports airspace use to protect Freedom of Navigation.

19:00 – The threat of piracy greatly declined by the 20th century as states have cohered into stronger entities. Piracy existed around Somalia because it was a failed state. Before the Treaty of Paris in 1856, many states used privateers to attack enemy shipping. After the treaty, states agreed to stop using privateers. Since then, threats to freedom of navigation come from nation states.

21:40 – Chinese actions now are the greatest threats to freedom of navigation since Germany’s U-boat wars. During the Cold War, the US and Soviet Union worked in tandem to preserve navigational freedoms.   The Soviet Union needed it more than the US due to the location of their bases. China wants to undo parts of the international agreements on freedom of navigation and keep others out of the waters close to their territory. They want to dominate the seas within the first island chain including the South China Sea and the East China Sea.

27:56 – During WWII, Japan wanted to control the seas around East Asia through war. China is trying to achieve the same goal but through a “Finlandization” of its neighbors. China has used fishing claims to try to assert control in these areas but that doesn’t work within the existing international agreements.

32:57 – The main focus of the book is that freedom of the seas is not a condition that [exists] can exist without promotion and protection. If the US stops exercising rights over global seas, then these rights will erode for all nations.

34:45 – Wilson called for a protection of freedom of navigation by all nations and for all nations. Roosevelt also insisted on maintaining these global rights. A group of united nations met during WWII to maintain rights and later they met after the war to form the United Nations.

37:27 – Both authors have extensive experience in this field especially for events over the last 15 years and beyond. They used CIA archives and presidential libraries to do some research.

39:00 – Washington saw the US as a liberal actor that supported all nations and conducted trade with all as well. But European politics continued to drag the US into conflict and affected trade.

42:50 – He was most moved by the sacrifices made to protect US interests. John Negroponte made an impassioned speech on freedom of the seas to remind people how much US security depended on freedom of the seas.

44:58 – His next writing project might be on the free seas from the British perspective. He’s also working on a project about Japan’s relationship with sea.

45:35 – Many of his articles are on the SSRN.


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Guests: James Kraska

Host: Cris Alvarez

Tags: military, history, military history, conflict, war, interview, non-fiction book, freedom of the seas, freedom of navigation, China, US, Britain, Germany, Japan, East China Sea, South China Sea, Quasi-War, Pueblo incident, WWII

US Civil War history book – “Ambivalent Nation” (Louisiana State University Press, 2018) – Hugh Dubrulle interview – MHIO Episode 16

Dr. Hugh Dubrulle is a Professor in the Department of History at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire. He has studied British history and US Civil War history extensively and has written a new book about British attitudes towards the US Civil War. I interviewed Dr. Dubrulle about the book and his findings.

2:00 – Dr. Dubrulle’s family grew up in France during WWII. The stories they told of that time inspired him to study history. When he grew up in the US, his family took trips including one to Vicksburg when he was a small child that inspired him. He then began studying British history and eventually became interested in studying British history alongside the American Civil War.

5:00 – He wrote a dissertation on this subject some time ago and that began to turn into the book.

7:17 – Past scholars have divided the British into two factions – pro-North and pro-South. Dr. Dubrulle wanted to write about the complexities of British attitudes towards Americans and the war. During the war, America was still heavily dependent on Britain economically and in other ways. The war was very disruptive to British trade.

10:47 – John Bright, pro-North, was one of the few British leaders who were whole-heartedly behind one side. But most leaders were of two minds during the war.

13:38 – Some British thought that middle-class Yankees would just pay Irish and Germans to do their fighting for them. They thought that the American middle class reflected their own middle class.

16:25 – Many British people thought New York was the financial and cultural capital of the US.

18:52 – The British were very concerned with Canadian security during the Civil War. They worried that if the North lost, they would turn north and attack Canada.

20:44 – Several British military missions traveled to the US during the war to observe. These were overwhelming Army officers and few Navy officers.

22:52 – The UK contemplated getting involved in the war on the side of the South at various times.

25:23 – After the war, the British were worried about what the US would do next. The US had raised an army larger than any that could be sent to protect Canada. But some British also worried the US would become a military dictatorship. They wondered if it would pay its debts and so on.

27:04 – Many British people were critical of Lincoln. But many lower class British people liked that a working man could become President. The British press liked Jefferson Davis. They saw a Northern middle class attacking a government of gentlemen in the South.

29:37 – British people were ambivalent about Sherman’s campaigns. They admired the military maneuvers but they were also appalled by the material destruction of the campaign. Sherman was liked more than Grant was.

31:32 – Dr. Dubrulle read many books and newspapers that were contemporary to that period. He also read personal correspondence. He found materials all over Britain for documents. The British Library has a huge collection of historic newspapers.

33:40 – The London Times was the most important newspaper at the time right before the war. But then paper became cheap and then a number of newspapers for the middle and working class rose up during the war. The Illustrated London News was the pioneer newspaper in the UK for illustrated news. Their artist worked in the North at first and then in the South afterwards. Emory University has a lot of his work.

38:48 – Dr. Dubrulle found a number of Southern newspapers and a diary of a British person who visited New York during the war.

40:49 – Dr. Dubrulle was surprised at how divergent British opinions were in public and in private.

42:31 – Frank Lolley was a very pro-South British person in public but in private he was very troubled about the Confederacy.

48:37 – The British had a problem with Northern nationalism. They didn’t believe there was a basis for American unity. They thought it was all based on the size of the country.

51:45 – He’s hoping that the discussion of British attitudes towards the US Civil War will focus more on the bigger picture than on who thought what.


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Guests: Dr. Hugh Dubrulle

Host: Cris Alvarez

Tags: military, history, military history, conflict, war, interview, non-fiction book, US, Civil War, Grant, Lincoln, Sherman, Davis, North, South, London, New York, antebellum

WWII history book – “Advocating Overlord” (Potomac Books, 2018) – Phil Padgett interview – MHIO Episode 15

Phil Padgett has worked as a political scientist in the field of security studies for much of his career. He turned his skills to writing a book on the WWII Operation Overlord, the atomic bomb, and the relationship between the US and UK during the war.

2:21 – Phil Padgett is a political scientist and has long been fascinated by a meeting between Churchill and Roosevelt during WWII.

4:30 – Phil found a letter by a Naval officer who said big things were being discussed by Roosevelt on a small boat on a lake in Canada during WWII.

6:15 – The book goes over Overlord more than on the discussions for cooperation between the US and UK on the Manhattan Project.

8:10 – The crux of the book is about the UK and the US reestablishing trust during the war.

10:00 – The US Joint Chiefs of Staff had to deal with many military leaders turning against Overlord in favor of a Mediterranean strategy.

12:45 – The US wanted a quick war and a quick strike in order to then move against Japan.

14:48 – Phil talks about the secrecy and knowledge of all parties about atomic bomb research.

19:53 – Both the US and UK knew the atomic bomb was a very powerful weapon and both were concerned about who would control atomic bombs after the war. Nations also felt that strategic bombing could have strong political effect on warring nations.

22:42 – Churchill liked to feed information to Roosevelt before the US joined the war that British bombing was having an effect on Germany.

23:55 – Canada is involved heavily in Overlord. General thinking about the[n] war was that a major amphibious assault would not work.

29:49 – His quid pro quo idea is very controversial. He used primary records at the US National Archives and at the British National Archives.

31:54 – Phil found one of Churchill’s papers with a scorch mark from a cigar burn and it brought him to the moment when history was happening. He also enjoyed going to the war rooms, Hyde Park and being on the battleship Texas.

34:45 – Phil was surprised by the amount that WWI influenced WWII. Especially with air power and a fear of repeating trench warfare.

36:16 – There didn’t seem to be a contingency plan if D-Day didn’t go well. If it failed, they probably would only have been able to conduct a Mediterranean operation afterwards. In late 1943, there was a US threat of a railroad strike over wages and hours. If it occurred, D-Day would have been delayed six months.

39:33 – Roosevelt was pretty much his own Secretary of State on these issues. The Secretary of State ran day-to-day diplomatic operations.

43:33 – Transcripts of the phone calls between Churchill and Roosevelt would be useful to historians. The Germans had cracked the allied system from 1940 to 1943 and kept transcripts of the calls. The records were kept in Berlin and appear to have been destroyed during the bombing of Berlin.

46:42 – Phil is happy he’s started the conversation about the quid pro quo idea.

48:44 – Phil has a website at for the book. The website also has answers to frequently asked questions plus it has more photos.


For more “Military History Inside Out” please follow me on Facebook at warscholar, on twitter at Warscholar, on youtube at warscholar1945 and on Instagram @crisalvarezswarscholar

Guests: Phil Padgett

Host: Cris Alvarez

Tags: military, history, military history, conflict, war, interview, non-fiction book, WWII, world war 2, D-Day, Normandy, Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin, US, UK, Soviet Union, Berlin, scientists, Joint Chiefs of Staff, war plans

WWII history book – “No Forgotten Fronts” (Naval Institute Press, 2018) – Lisa Shapiro interview


Professor Lisa Shapiro holds masters degrees in literature and management and teaches at San Diego Mesa College. She has previously taught creative writing. She’s written a book based on thousands of archived letters sent by San Diego State students who were in WWII to their professor Dr. Post. I interviewed Professor Shapiro about the book titled “No Forgotten Fronts.”
1:54 – Professor Shapiro talks about her first historical project. It dealt with European medieval historical fiction. Her interest in WWII came out of her work with community college students in San Diego.
3:57 – She began studying war literature and got a second degree in that subject. In the school archives she found letters written to a professor during WWII.
5:46 – Professor Shapiro explains the basis and details of the book. It’s a collection of student letters written to their professor, Dr. Post. He turned the letters into a regular newsletter. He did this through the entire war.
10:16 – Several hundred students participated in writing to Dr. Post. This includes men and women and many wrote repeatedly. People also provided funds to support him. The original documents are in the San Diego State college archives.
12:16 – Professor Shapiro discusses how the US military censors worked with Dr. Post. He took care to keep out sensitive information out of his newsletters.
16:35 – Sometimes students wrote things only for Dr. Post and not the newsletter.
17:16 – Dr. Post was also able to connect two brothers, one of whom was a prisoner of war during the war. Dr. Post even visited their mother to provide reassurance about her sons. One student who was at Anzio wrote that he had lost his marbles and Dr. Post knew he needed some mental comfort. Dr. Post notified a nearby chaplain in Europe from San Diego State to visit this soldier and also gave comfort to the student’s father.
22:54 – Professor Shapiro explains how Dr. Post got information on killed or injured students and how he dealt with that information. Dr. Post would also update information he had published.
27:57 – Dr. Post didn’t have any children. Professor Shapiro discusses how Dr. Post met his wife in college. But both were active in the lives of their students. He also did trick roping and performed for his students. His wife was a singer. Dr. Post did have a nephew in the Marines who would write to Dr. Post.
30:36 – There don’t seem to have been any other people who collected letters from specific groups during WWII. Others have created letter collections after wars.
34:43 – The students loved getting the newsletters.
36:07 – Professor Shapiro focused on the letters that captivated her. The emotion of the letters touched her. She was able to track the stories of specific individuals.
40:28 – Professor Shapiro reads a letter from Herman Adelson who nicknamed himself Little Geronimo since he was a paratrooper. He and the others really believed in what they were fighting for. For good, freedom and democracy.
43:22 – A letter arrived for Dr. Post saying that Herman had died during D-Day and included a eulogy for him. San Diego State lost three members of their championship basketball team during the war. But the community found comfort in knowing what their loved ones had been doing.
48:29 – Professor Shapiro did a lot of reading to brush up on her knowledge of WWII and current events at the time the letters were written. She used Anthony Deevers’ history. She also read a lot of San Diego history. San Diego had a lot of women participate in the war. A lot of San Diego State students became pilots.
53:40 – Professor Shapiro had few problems getting the book published. She had to shorten the book since it was very long at first.
55:02 – Grif Williams was one of the students and was famous for being on the Doolittle Raid. He was taken prisoner eventually and he was eventually a cellmate with another San Diego State student who had been captured in Germany.
59:26 – The website for the book is

For more “Military History Inside Out” please follow me on Facebook at warscholar, on twitter at Warscholar, on youtube at warscholar1945 and on Instagram @crisalvarezswarscholar

Guests: Lisa Shapiro
Host: Cris Alvarez
Tags: war, military, WWII, WWII history, san diego, san diego state, pacific war, d-day, north africa, europe, germany, doolittle raid, anzio

Cold War history book – “More Than A Doctrine” (Potomac Books, 2018) – Randall Fowler interview – MHIO Episode 14

Randall Fowler has studied rhetoric at the graduate level and has written a new book on the Eisenhower Doctrine. I interviewed him about the book.

1:27 – Randall started in religious history and then spent time teaching in English. There he became more interested in the Middle East and writing history.

2:53 – The book started as a study into the Suez crisis. But then he began to dig into Eisenhower’s feelings about Middle East issues.

3:53 – The book focuses on the rhetoric of the Eisenhower doctrine and what it meant for the Middle East region.

6:59 – Eisenhower had several speechwriters who helped him write 17 drafts of the doctrine and speech.

9:23 – US was most interested in the region for its oil and how that oil supported European security.

12:59 – The Soviet perspective was to resist the US and promote communism in the region.

16:14 – When the Egyptians made a major arms deal with the Soviets, Eisenhower became worried about the inroads they were making in the Middle East. He pushed religion though Arab nationalism at the time was somewhat secular.

19:53 – As a policy, the Eisenhower Doctrine failed. Arabs didn’t support it.

23:38 – Woodrow Wilson is the first President to really talk about the Middle East at all.

28:23 – Iran was the anchor for US defense of the Middle East during the Cold War until 1979. Arabian oil reserves weren’t exploited until the 60s and on and made Arabia more influential.

32:12 – Eisenhower understood that popular opinion mattered. But US maintained influence through the leaders and not so much the people.

39:59 – During this period, the US had nuclear missiles in Turkey which contributed to the Cuban Crisis. Domino theory also made the US worry about the Soviets taking Middle Eastern countries.

45:53 – Eisenhower tried to work to keep the US from having a large standing army. He saw it as wasteful and a threat to democracy.

51:51 – Randall was surprised at the number of foreigners he found in Middle Eastern countries.


For more “Military History Inside Out” please follow me on Facebook at warscholar, on twitter at Warscholar, on youtube at warscholar1945 and on Instagram @crisalvarezswarscholar

Guests: Randall Fowler

Host: Cris Alvarez

Tags: military, history, military history, conflict, war, interview, non-fiction book, Middle east, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Eisenhower, Suez canal, UK, Soviet Union

19th C Naval Warfare book – “Progressives in Navy Blue” (Naval Institute Press, 2018) – Scott Mobley interview – MHIO Episode 13

Dr. Scott Mobley studied history at the US Naval Academy and stayed in the Navy until retirement. He then went to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to earn a PhD in history. The work for his PhD led to the publication of his book “Progressives in Navy Blue.”

1:23 – Scott talks about how he got into writing and history. He majored in history at the US Naval Academy. He stayed in the Navy until retirement and then got a PhD in history afterwards at the University of Wisconsin. He became interested in the book’s subject matter while pursuing his PhD. The book comes from his dissertation.

3:55 – The main themes of the book are maritime strategy, American Empire and the transformation of US Navy professional culture from 1873 to 1898.

5:35 – The modern Navy was born at the end of the 19th century from a Navy of mariner-warriors to warrior-engineers.

7:05 – The backdrop of an American empire changes much of what the Navy is about. The role and missions of the Navy changes.

9:46 – During the US Civil War, the US Navy went from a commercial mission to a whole new War Navy but it returns to the commercial mission after the war. But the commercial mission eventually moves to second place in the 1880s and becomes more of a war fighting Navy.

13:26 – Two groups of Navy thinkers emerged after the Civil War. One was based on technology. They were dissatisfied with the direction the Navy went during the 1870s.

17:18 – The other group of thinkers were strategic in focus. They worried more about planning for wars. They focused on policy and strategy rather than technology. Mechanism was the term used in the 19th century for technology.

19:07 – Bradley Fiske was on both sides of this debate. But in the 1890s these factions were fighting for limited resources.

26:06 – Torpedo technology is the one technology Congress supported right after the US Civil War. Technical subjects were taught to Navy officers at the new Torpedo School in Newport, Rhode Island.

30:26 – Fears of international turmoil and advancing technology abroad got Navy officers worried about future war involving the US.

32:05 – The Endicott Board was a joint board between the Army and Navy to discuss coastal fortifications. They discussed how to defend the US against modern mechanized threats.

36:43 – Navy officers embraced progressive methods and ideas quicker than other professionals in the 1880s and 1890s.

38:19 – Peacetime war planning efforts, contingency planning, began at this time for the first time in the US. There was no Naval plan for the US Civil War until the war started.

40:25 – Scott possibly found the first strategic peacetime war plan in the papers of a junior Naval officer. The plan was focused on a possible war with Canada. The plan was read by Mahan and possibly incorporated into Naval War College classes.

45:25 – Scott was surprised to learn that the building of modern warships was not motivated by empire as many scholars have claimed. Naval growth was spurred by a desire to defend the US. Some wanted empire but the majority wanted to protect US shores.

51:46 – The US did not have an empire-focused Navy until after 1898. The US had to quickly acquire gunboats, logistics ships, and other vessels to control its new empire.


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Guests: Dr. Scott Mobley

Host: Cris Alvarez

Tags: military, history, military history, conflict, war, interview, non-fiction book, navy, empire, mahan, civil war

WWII history book – “Seven at Santa Cruz” (Naval Institute Press, 2018) – Ted Edwards interview – MHIO Episode 12

Ted Edwards grew up around WWII veterans and ended up studying history in college. He’s a mountaineer and involved with US Gymnastics and kept journals about his experiences. These varied interests resulted in a meeting with some famed WWII naval aviators and he ended up writing a book about one of them. I interviewed him about the new book.

[Editor’s note: Mr. Edwards mentioned an “A-team” but he meant Lundstrom’s First not A Team. He also mentions Joe Stapp but he meant John.]

1:58 – Ted first discusses how he got into writing and history. He was born in 1945 and grew up around WWII veterans. He became fascinated with military history. He learned how to write history at Stonybrook.

4:31 – He took up journaling and did so when he did mountaineering and was involved with US gymnastics.

5:01 – He attended an event for men who had been on the USS Enterprise and he met a man who who flew on the Enterprise and wrote a book about it. Ted was then introduced to Swede and they spoke a while.

7:21 – Swede had done a lot on the Enterprise but none of the official accounts of his exploits matched. They then discussed what actually happened during his career. Swede then let Ted record and then write about Swede’s career. It was an 8 year endeavor.

10:02 – The book talks about the A-team, which were the first group of pilots who fought the Japanese after Pearl Harbor. The book also talks about leadership failures including those of Admiral Kincaid. There is also a discussion of Medal of Honor politics.

12:20 – Swede saw a report about one of his important missions that was supposed to have been written by him but he said he was certain he never wrote the report. Swede kept his own journal during his life.

15:31 – Swede went on missions right after Pearl Harbor and said that even a month later the devastation was apparent.

18:43 – Bill Birch, Swede’s old squadron commander, had taught Swede and fellow pilots a lot about dogfighting which helped him achieve success.

20:50 – He switched to fighters after success as a bomber pilot.

22:04 – The day before the battle of Santa Cruz might be more important than the battle itself. Swede’s group had a terrible patrol that made the battle that much more difficult.

23:36 – Swede was shocked when he heard that Admiral Kincaid was in charge of the carrier task force before Santa Cruz because Kincaid wasn’t an aviator.

25:17 – Kincaid creates a Wildcat strike group to go out 300 hundred plus miles and Swede objected because of the distance but they’re sent out.

27:08 – The patrol found nothing and returned late even though almost none of them was qualified for night landing. Then the Enterprise wasn’t where it was supposed to be and it was dark. They followed an oil slick to find the ship.

33:31 – The US rotated its veteran aviators to train young pilots whereas the Japanese used their best pilots until they died. Swede didn’t like being made an instructor but he did enjoy being an instructor once he started.

37:31 – He was made CO of the Constellation in the 1960s but there was a fatal accident that hurt his career. He took responsibility for it though.

40:31 – Ted interviewed a number of WWII naval aviators for the book.

45:09 – Swede told Ted about John Stapp who was studying the forces on pilots when they ejected from planes.   John used a high speed spinning sled to test this and Swede was offered a ride and declined because John got beat up by the machine. John became famous for this and got seat belts mandated for cars.

51:01 – Ted had to learn the format that Naval Institute Press used for his books before he could finish it.

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Guests: Ted Edwards

Host: Cris Alvarez

Tags: military, history, military history, conflict, war, interview, non-fiction book, stonybrook, corsair, wildcat, enterprise, constellation, aviation accidents, torpedo bombers, dive bombers, combat air patrol

Cold War history book – “Always at War” (Naval Institute Press, 2018) – Mel Deaile interview – MHIO Episode 11

Dr. Mel Deaile attended the US Air Force Academy. He then became a bomber pilot and earned his PhD with the Air Force. He know teaches nuclear deterrence related subjects for the Air Force. He’s written a number of pieces and this is his latest book, Always at War about the Strategic Air Command.

1:30 – Dr. Deaile talks about his early writing. He’s spent 26 years in the Air Force and is retired. During this time he did a master’s thesis on nuclear weapons. Then the Air Force had him get a PhD in the field.

3:30 – In 1984 he reported to the Air Force Academy. He graduated from pilot training in 1989 and then given a B-52. Later he joined Strategic Air Command.

4:36 – The book was focused on explaining what was unique about the SAC’s organizational structure. Curtis LeMay was the originator of much of what made SAC different. He took it over in October 1948 and stayed for almost 9 years. His experience came from being a bomber pilot in WWII. His charge was to create and run strategic level force of bombers carrying nuclear bombs. He decided to create a force that was always ready for war.

8:23 – Competition among his personnel was one way he kept them sharp. LeMay kept a totem pole that ranked all his wing commanders. He also used bomb competitions.

9:46 – Bomber generals tended to be people who led the Air Force. The path to higher level command went through SAC. However, LeMay was opposed to general training and preferred on the job flight training.

11:45 – SAC was stood up in 1946 to do independent strategic bombing. They were to be kept out of the hands of theater commanders. Twentieth Air Force was the first and was converted to SAC.

13:53 – The Soviet Union affected how SAC did its job. They didn’t send their best assets to the Korean War so that the Russians wouldn’t learn what SAC’s best assets were like. They also worried about a US fifth column that would sabotage US national assets, so LeMay created red cells to test base security.

16:40 – When the Soviet Union put up Sputnik, SAC had its first alert under General Thomas Power three days before Sputnik went up. Truman created the Atomic Energy Commission to hold atomic materials for nuclear weapons. Eisenhower transferred custody of the weapons back to the military.

19:16 – Several things happened in 1962 that affected SAC. The Cuban Missile Crisis was one. SAC reached its highest personnel level in 1962. It was a huge part of the Air Force. It’s also the last year that a bomber was built for the US for many years afterwards. Lastly, the US turned to more flexible responses in war.

22:32 – Dr. Deaile explains why SAC had two legs of the nuclear triad. Missiles didn’t perform as well as bombs. Missiles were inaccurate and couldn’t always be fired when needed.

29:24 – He did research at Maxwell Air Force base and used many of the oral histories they have. He used the National Archives in Maryland to look at Air Force administrative records. He also interviewed General Dougherty who had been in charge of SAC. He also attended SAC reunions.

32:26 – Survival training at the Air Force Academy came from programs started by General LeMay for his pilots and crews. Auto hobby shops on Air Force bases came from General LeMay who loved working on cars. Aero clubs on bases also came from LeMay. LeMay also started gun clubs since he enjoyed shooting. He also instituted the dorm system on bases to replace Army style barracks.

37:42 – Dr. Deaile’s favorite part of the research was talking to old SAC members. They really respected General LeMay. They also loved all things Boeing.

40:11 – Dr. Deaile was surprised by how much in SAC came from what General LeMay learned in WWII.

44:17 – SAC was a command created to form a deterrent force. This book should be able to educate us how to create and hone a deterrent force.

49:55 – Dr. Deaile explains his record setting 44.3 hour bombing mission after 9/11.

54:14 – The book can be pre-ordered through Amazon or Naval Institute Press. You can order a signed copy through facebook or linkedin. He will also be teaching advanced nuclear deterrence studies.


For more “Military History Inside Out – Serious history for the critical thinker” please follow me on Facebook at warscholar, on twitter at Warscholar, on youtube at warscholar1945 and on Instagram @crisalvarezswarscholar


Guests: Dr. Mel Deaile

Host: Cris Alvarez

Tags: US Air Force, air force, bombers, B-52, Strategic Air Command, General LeMay, nuclear deterrence, Sputnik, airmen, air force bases, nuclear triad

19th C Warfare book – “British Battleships of the Victorian Era” (Naval Institute Press, 2018) – Norman Friedman interview – MHIO Episode 10

Norman Friedman is a physicist and historian who has written extensively on naval matters especially the US and UK navies. I interviewed him about his latest book.

1:27- Mr. Friedman has been interested and writing about navies for some time. He’s written about 40 books, 30 of them in history.

3:29 – He had written on later battleships and became interested in the ships that came before the world wars. One of the themes in technological surprise.

5:14 – The French tried to beat the British with technological change but the British simply didn’t want to spend money. Steam propulsion is an early technological race between the French and British.

7:29 – For much of this period, British statesman didn’t believe war would happen. But the Franco-Prussian war shocks them. In 1877, the British think they have to fight the Russians when Russia goes to war with Turkey.

9:14 – The British find they can’t man the fleet properly and that their intelligence service is weak.   But they still scare the Russians by sailing into the Black Sea in a storm. But the British are unable to keep a fleet in the Baltic Sea.

12:32 – The British financial sector had great sway over British politics. Their influence affected the British Navy. They wanted parts of China, Argentina and the United States protected by the British Navy for trade reasons.

16:44 – Underwater weapons have a great effect on worldwide naval strategy in this period. They’re cheap weapons that can destroy expensive ships. In 1885, people begin to wonder if the sea can be controlled by anyone. These weapons help fleets escape from their own ports easier and it’s harder for big fleets to control smaller fleets. The British try to tabulate information and learn their fleet isn’t big enough for sea control.

19:29 – Steel comes in between 1870 and 1880. The French build new ships in 1875. Sails disappeared in the 1880s.

21:36 – British engineers say that sails should be discarded but many people fear that coal won’t be available in sufficient quantities abroad at coaling stations to get rid of sails.

23:15 – The British made their own steel. But the French made better steel at the time. Most countries bought British steel for armor and guns. Krupp in Germany made excellent steel and excellent guns.

26:14 – He extensively used documents from the British Archives. The National Maritime Museum has ship covers.

31:04 – In 1882, the US formed a naval intelligence organization that wrote about information from abroad and that included UK material.

33:44 – reading technology books contemporary to that period was helpful.

35:08 – The French held a World’s Fair where naval capabilities were one thing showcased.

37:43 – He was most surprised about the effect of underwater weapons on how worried naval thinkers were about them. He also didn’t feel he fully understood the development of heavy guns and on the effects of exports. He’d like to know who was buying British heavy guns and why.

48:31 – His works can be found on Amazon and Seaforth publishes his books in the UK.

49:32 – The Victorian period is an interesting time that a lot of people have forgotten. There are a lot of parallels between that period and now. It also tells us about where the modern world came from.


For more “Military History Inside Out” please follow me on Facebook at warscholar, on twitter at Warscholar, on youtube at warscholar1945 and on Instagram @crisalvarezswarscholar


Guests: Norman Friedman

Host: Cris Alvarez

Tags: military, history, military history, conflict, war, interview, non-fiction book, victorian era, UK, Germany, Russia, France, steel, armored hulls, steam, coaling stations, coal, Franco-Prussian war – Russo-Turkish war, trade