Re-introduction to Term Paper Sources

The more research I conduct on my topic, the repatriation of Korean and Chinese POWs during the Cold War, the more information I obtain. This should go without saying. However, this leads to one of the major problems I have with my sources, namely too much information. In class I remember the emphasizes put on the importance of context. Context, which answers the big question, “So, what?”. Why is your paper relevant. My topic being part of the Korean War (that occurred during the early 1950’s) two other major issues that would give my topic some context came to mind: the Cold War and civil rights. The Korean War saw two different presidents in the White House. I found two books, one entirely devoted to President Truman and civil rights and the other Eisenhower and the Cold War. After reading through these I found that the Korean War did effect the Civil Rights Movement. However, the Cold War was the bigger issue on the minds of Americans at the time. So, I found another book by Gaddis (we read a book earlier this semester by him for class) entitled The Cold War. This is my problem at hand now. How much context is too much context? I feel as though I could right eight pages of my ten page paper entirely on events that were effected or affected by repatriation but not repatriation itself. This is a something Dr.Ward brought up in class, students have a problem cutting out information. This is very true. I found loads of awesome information that give my topic context. I know that I will have to cut the majority of this information out of my paper. I do not want to do it. But, it has to be done. Also, my arguments are becoming more focused and they seem to be multiplying. I know I will have to cut out many of my supporting arguments which will be hard to do as well. Basically, too much information. Now it is time to condense and pick out the best information possible, 

Plagiarism

Plagiarizing is basically the act of a person using someone else’s thoughts, material, writings and/or work and not giving the creator credit. For example the recent speech and some writing of Senator Rand Paul were not properly cited and he has now been accused of plagiarizing material from such sources as Wikipedia. Plagiarism is apparently a large problem among students in university settings. Every syllabus I have received during my college experience has mentioned plagiarism and the consequences that would result if a student were to plagiarize. These consequences can be as serious as expulsion from the college. Plagiarism is viewed so negatively as it is an act of academic dishonesty. A person knowingly using somebody else’s material and using it as their own. What can be done to prevent plagiarism? Well, a good start is to properly cite material created by others in your own work. Including a bibliography and footnotes is a good method of properly giving credit. However, a professor may find it acceptable to simply use brief end of paragraph or quoted material citations only. Usually, this is appropriate when only allowed to use a single source or sources that have been discussed within the classroom. So, plagiarism is using other people’s material in a way that it may be perceived as your own original material. To avoid plagiarism give credit where credit is due using proper citations. 

Primary Sources Concerning Korean POWs

I have found three different primary sources for my paper concerning Korean War repatriation. The first primary source I located is a speech given by Senator Douglas to President Eisenhower, only twelve days before the United Nations Command (UNC) gave their final position for repatriation of Korean and Chinese prisoners held by UNC forces. In this speech Senator Douglas picks apart the plans for repatriation presented by communist countries. Douglas builds his argument with examples of forced repatriation from previous wars, concrete examples of promises of protection made to Korean prisoners, and instills a fear of the possibility of communism spreading if we were to accept the terms communist had proposed.  All the points brought up by Douglas are great and will prove valuable in writing my term paper. I find the fear of communism spreading to be the most interesting. It gives some context to public concerns, which Douglas uses to his advantage, during the early part of the Cold War. In a separate primary source Scheck writes a news article about events that took place in UNC prisons located on Koje-do and Pusan. Scheck writes about problems between anti-communist and communist prisoners within the same prisons. There were frequent riots in which the prisoners often fought with weapons including homemade grenades. Once the prisoners managed to capture a Brigadier General and held him until their demands were met. The problems Scheck gave concerning communist and anti-communist prisoners showed the possible outcome for prisoners who may be forced to repatriate. My third primary source is a news article written by Neufeld. In the article Neufeld writes about more problems between the Korean prisoners. He also writes about Operation Little Switch and Operation Big Switch. Both operations centered on prisoner exchange, which was very interesting to read about and will prove useful in my paper. I am still searching for more useful primary sources, but I am happy with the ones discovered thus far. 

Research Strategy

For my term paper, I am writing about prisoners of the Korean War, namely Koreans and Chinese, that the United Nations Command held captive. I began my research when Dr. Ward gave an assignment to write on a primary source document. I was given the topic of Korean War POWs. I have been familiar with the EBSCOhost online resource data base since high school. I have used this data base in the past to find primary sources. So, I began searching the data base with the subject of Korean War POWs, and constricted the search to the time period of the Korean War. In doing so I found many great primary documents. One in particular was very interesting, a speech by Senator Douglas given to President Eisenhower concerning repatriation of our Korean War prisoners. I am also taking speech class this semester. When choosing a topic for my informative speech, I picked the same subject as my term paper. Thus, allowing me to do more research. Inspired by the speech Douglas gave, I decided to focus specifically on repatriation. I turned to Wikipedia to obtain more ideas on possible subjects to search that  concerned repatriation of prisoners. I used this information to search the library catalog and to search EBSCOhost once again. I found a good reference source within the government documents in the library and several online articles that were interesting and gave good statistical information. Using this information, I formed my informative speech and presented it. Then, we as a class met with Bret Heim. In his discussion with the class, he provided information about many different ways to research and introduced several search engines I did not know existed. Heim also provided each student with sources concerning our own individual topics. Although I have not had the chance to examine the sources he suggested to me, I am sure they will prove to be useful. In class, we also discussed Turabian’s chapter on research strategies. The information given in our meeting with Heim and the discussion on Turabian has shown many different ways of research, note taking, actively creating bibliographies, and examining sources. I also found Dr. Ward’s system on note taking and gathering information on sources to be very efficient. I plan on using this newly obtain knowledge to enhance future research concerning my term paper and other research in the future. 

Secondary Source

For my term paper I am writing about prisoners of the Korean War. Specifically, I am focusing on our Korean prisoners of war namely both the Chinese and Korean prisoners American forces held captive. Repatriation played a huge rule during the war or in other words many of the prisoners we held captive stated they would violently resist returning to their country of origin. Centered on Korean prisoners of war and the problems of repatriation, I have found numerous primary sources, such as news articles and speeches of the time of the Korean War that have been very interesting and informative. Notably, thus far I have found one secondary source that held an excellent description of the steps that led to resolution of prisoner repatriation and of the resolution itself. This secondary source is Schaff’s essay “1953 Korean War Armistice”. I have to admit, it did take a while to locate an article that dealt with the resolution of the Korean War. Many of the sources I found dealt with the conditions of the prison camps, riots within the prison camps, problems between the separate groups within the camps, and statistics pertaining to the prisoners within the camps. I was delighted to finally find Schaff’s article. Within it Schaff focuses more on the political aspects that led to the resolution of prisoner repatriation, such as the National Nations Supervisory Commission, the National Nations Repatriation Commission, the United Nations Commission’s final proposal and the tension and formations occurring between these important happenings.  Schaff’s article will be very crucial part of my term paper. 

Group Debate Prep

Our assignment this week in class involved two debates on completely different subjects. The first debate centered on if Robert E. Lee was a brilliant commander or not. The second debate, of which I am a part of, focuses on the idea that surgical air power alone cannot win wars. My group was assigned the affirmative argument to this topic. Plenty of debate prep went into this assignment. Truthfully, the first time we met all of us did not have the time to thoroughly read over the sources within the book. After a brief discussion in which we decided to meet again, read over the sources, and find some outside sources, we parted ways. The second time we met to discuss the debate, we were more prepared.  A rough draft of an outline was already prepared by one of our members and outside sources from all were being discussed, plus the sources assigned in class.  During this meeting we also discussed points the opposing side may argue and how we could counter them. In the third and final meeting, a plethora of additional sources were discussed and added. The outline for the argument became complete, as well as the bibliography. An introduction to our debate was drafted as well as a flexible conclusion. The lineup of who would present which part of the four part debate was decided. A very productive final meeting! I enjoyed working with everyone in my group. I feel that we each contributed a great deal to our overall argument. This class assignment was definitely different than what I have experienced in previous history classes. Overall, it has been a pleasant assignment. 

Fort Morgan

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Fort Morgan is located 22 miles west of Gulf Shores, AL and also reachable via the Mobile Bay auto ferry located on Dauphin Island (notably, the same auto ferry President Obama rode while visiting the gulf coast after the BP oil spill disaster). After the War of 1812 with the threat of British and Spanish invasion, the U.S. reexamined its national security. In 1815 Congress allotted 8.5 million dollars to the construction of fortifications on the coastal regions of the U.S. The construction of Fort Morgan began in 1818. After a work force of mostly slaves placed over 40 million bricks, the fort was completed in 1834. Fort Morgan played a key role in the Civil War during the Battle of Mobile Bay. After two weeks of being under siege from Union forces the fort finally surrendered.            

 Fort Morgan, Civil War Battle of Mobile Bay

The fort was also active in the Spanish-American War, World Wars I and II. During 1895-1904 concrete artillery batteries were added to the fort and additional military building were added from 1899 to 1910. A museum of Mobile Point American military history that includes details from 1845 to 1945 is located within the fort. Many of the exhibits feature items from the soldiers that served at the fort. The site offers such experiences as guided tours and a yearly reenactment. The fort is also part of a bird sanctuary, and contains both a fishing pier and picnic area. 

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Why am I a History Major?

First off, I have a passion for and thoroughly enjoy learning about, interpreting and representing the past.

Cicero once stated, “To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child.” I believe Cicero’s statement is correct. Those who do not know history do not know where they have come from and are thus childlike in nature, naive (this is a little harsh sounding, but reality is not always a field of lilacs). It is important to understand how we have developed into the civilization we are today. We must know and understand our failures so as to avoid future failures. We must look to our successes to see what we have achieved and understand what it took to achieve. History is interesting in  this sense and that it is not so black and white. Since history is a representation and not a replication, there seems to be grey areas in which historians can only argue their point without knowing for a guarantee what or why something actually occurred. Maybe unable to put this idea into this exact statement at the time, this is a big reason I changed majors to history. For three semesters I was a biochemistry major. I enjoy science and it is now more of a hobby than a career choice. It is two black and white, however. In the classes I have taken you are either right or wrong. Not much creativity involved. Instead of spending hours in lab, writing tedious lab reports, and calculating copious amounts of data, I am now learning more and more about history and representing it in my own way. Tasks I find much more enjoyable. 

Different Conclusions

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In order for history to be 100% accurate historians would have to replicate it instead of representing it. Gaddis describes this as an impossible task. From this one can perceive how it is not unusual for historians to view the same events and end up with different conclusions. Historians unable to replicate must represent smaller parts of history. For example, in representing the motives for continental soldiers enlisting and remaining in the military three respected historians, Lender, Royster and Knouff, deduce different conclusions. Lender insinuates that continental soldiers enlist for patriotic reasons, but once this fades they remain enlisted to obtain their own self-interest. Royster attacks Lender’s ideas stating that Lender’s representation is inadequate. Royster concludes that patriotism which does not fade, not self-interest, was the key motive for continental soldiers enlisting and remaining enlisted. Knouff gives credit to both Lender and Royster, but asserts they have missed the true key motive of continental soldiers. Knouff states that a since of localism drove civilians to enlist. Also, those continental soldiers felt a need to fight as enemy forces threatened the communities in which they, the continental soldiers, lived in. Through the thesis set up by Lender, the antitheses written by Royster and Knouff’s synthesis we can see the basic form of academia at work. These historians choose to represent facts and sources that would best persuade readers to accept their individual theses. Through adding and excluding information that would or would not assert their representations as correct or others representations of the same event as incorrect, different conclusions were inevitably formed. 

The Reality of Time Travel: A Historic Perspective

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When the notion of time travel pops up I immediately think of a certain DeLorean  with that capability. Time travel is an exciting idea, but more than likely should be left up to the more adventurous, such as Michael J. Fox.  At first thought a historian’s dream would be to time travel. The ability to transverse all periods of time,  to accurately record historic events and shed new light on standing controversies would be fantastic. Then reality punts the historian in the face.  A historian is a human. John Gaddis in his book The Landscape of History points out two obstacles immediately restraining the typical time traveling historian. The “everyday life” of that time in which the need for survival may occupy a majority of the day. Also, Gaddis makes obvious the limited perspective of which a single human is capable of recording history as perceived through their own senses (Gaddis 3-4). In addition to not having to face these obstacles, present day historians have three additional advantages over time travelers.

A time machine may allow someone to control the destination they arrive at in terms of the time and location in which they arrive. However, they will have no control of the outside world at their destination. A historian basically has control of everything. Gaddis uses the term “selectivity” to describe this and states that historians, “impose a significance on the past, not the other way around.” Historians have the ability to select and focus on whatever they deem relative, important and/or interesting. They can simply leave out everything that is not. Thus creating a representation of history in their own perspective(Gaddis 22-23).

Simultaneity, something that would require much more than a time machine (perhaps a device similar to the one used to link the brains of rats in the Miguel Nicolelis experiments and multiple identical clones of oneself), is a privilege that historians are bestowed with.  Instead of being limited by human senses, the amount of historical references available allows historians to view many happenings occurring within the same length of time and the development  of a particular point through an extended amount of time. This allows a historian to remain comfortably in his present spot and (although not physically) to be in multiple places and times all at once(Gaddis 24-25).

Unless future time machine developers install a god-like button and a ant-like button, or something of that nature, that would allow the time traveler to become an efficient surveyor of both the macroscopic and microscopic world then historians oust time travel once again. Historians are allowed to scale whenever they so choose. They may observe the smallest, most mundane detail to the largest, most catastrophic anomalies. Something that is of a smaller scale, a time traveler may simply look over or deem insignificant. However, a historian could take this same small detail and possible relate it to a much larger scale proving the great significance of it(Gaddis 25-26). 

Do not time travel in order to become a better historian. Gaddis’ ideas of selectivity, simultaneity, and scale give clear advantages to the present day historian looking back over history as opposed to the time traveling historian fumbling around to survive and to actually make any significant historical writings.