Author Archives: Douglas Bristol

About Douglas Bristol

Douglas Bristol is an Associate Professor of History and a Fellow of the Dale Center for the Study of War and Society. In his teaching and research, he focuses on the beliefs, institutions, and strategies that ordinary Americans developed to exercise control over their lives. In his first book, Knights of the Razor: Black Barbers in Slavery and Freedom (reissued in paperback in 2015), Bristol examines the relationship between black barbers and the prosperous white men whose throats they shaved with straight-edged razors from the colonial period to the Great Migration. He co-edited Integrating the U.S. Military: Race, Gender, and Sexuality Since World War II, to which he contributed a chapter on understanding the resistance of black soldiers during World War II. His current book project, Khaki Globe Trotters, explores how black GIs used military service in World War II to claim the New Deal's promise of security. The Art of Manliness podcast and the PBS documentary, Boss: The Black Experience in Business, featured his work.

The Real Threats of Spanish Flu & Covid-19

Historically, the movement of people has always spread disease. We are taught as children about the Black Death that killed a one third of Europe’s population. Those initial introductions to the devastating impacts of epidemics leave lasting impressions upon us into our adulthoods. However, to what extent have the lessons from past pandemics remained in our public psyche? Continue reading

Posted in Covid-19 Pandemic, Medical History, Military history, war and peace, war and society, World War I | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

America First: An Idea with Deep Roots

By Heather Marie Stur, University of Southern Mississippi Isolationism before Pearl Harbor American popular memory of the World War II homefront centers on the notion that U.S. citizens came together to support the war effort. Families planted victory gardens, bought … Continue reading

Posted in American exceptionalism, Covid-19 Pandemic, diplomacy, Donald Trump, Foreign policy, international relations, Post-Cold War, war and society, World War II | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

How Poorer Eastern European Nations Have Largely Kept Covid-19 Cases under Control

Several countries in the Eastern European region have experienced significantly lower numbers of Covid-19 cases than most. At first glance, they appear to be ill-prepared to handle Covid-19. These countries are not known for having robust and healthy economies. They are also not known for the quality or size of their healthcare systems. Furthermore, most of these countries belong to the European Union, so workers and trade move freely in and out of those countries. So, given these factors, how have they managed to contain transmission of Covid-19, and not be as devastated as the rest of the world? Continue reading

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Dancing in the Time of Corona

In times of historic crisis, dancing offers a very visible and whole-bodied display of continued existence and resolve, whether it’s in the face of a dangerous disease or of an enemy leader, or outside a hospital or in a bomb-ravaged street. Through the feelings of fun and joy it bestows, it enables people to dance out or through some of the fear, suffering, and grief, and expresses their hope and their determination to survive. Continue reading

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History Lessons Ignored: The Trump Administration and the Mobilization for World War II

Despite this evidence of a policy shift in the direction of a more World War II-style industrial mobilization, President Trump’s comments in mid-March suggested that today’s leaders remain ignorant, perhaps willfully so, of many relevant historical lessons. During the world wars, the Cold War, and even more recently, US leaders took it for granted that national authorities could and should use the available legal authority—including the National Defense Act of 1916, the First and Second War Powers Acts of 1941-42, and the DPA—to coordinate crash mobilization programs. Continue reading

Posted in Covid-19 Pandemic, Historians, Military history, Mobilization, War and memory, war and society, World War II | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

World War II: When the Government Protected All Essential Workers

If coal miners, mill hands, and auto workers once stood at the iconic heart of our 20th century industrial imagination, this crisis has finally, but decisively, put those who staff the nation’s retail/distribution complex in their stead. Continue reading

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Historians Explore Comparisons between the Covid-19 Pandemic and World War II

By Douglas Bristol, editor of Reflections on War and Society On March 31, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the Covid-19 pandemic is the worst crisis since World War II because the virus threatens every nation.  Other world leaders joined him … Continue reading

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War Stories: The Mississippi National Guard’s 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team Deploys for Operation Iraqi Freedom

By Kevin Green, University of Southern Mississippi Note: This is the fourth in a series of posts about the National Guard and the Reserves. In January of 2005, The Mississippi National Guard’s 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team (155 ABCT) mobilized … Continue reading

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“The New Normal? Heightened Use of the National Guard in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars”

By William Taylor, Angelo State University Note: This is the third in a series of posts about the National Guard and the Reserves. He was many things to many people: a loving husband, a devoted father to seven children, and … Continue reading

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Honors and Officers: The Impact of the National Guard on African Americans in the 369th Infantry Regiment

By Douglas Bristol, University of Southern Mississippi A Surprising Military Parade On February 17, 1919, black soldiers of the 369th Infantry Regiment marched through the streets of New York City past cheering crowds.  The military parade was led by Lt. … Continue reading

Posted in African American soldiers, Military history, Military integration, National Guard, Officer Corps, war and society, World War I | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment