Source: GSA Today (Geological Society of America)
For centuries, natural philosophers, their scientific successors, and theologians alike sought to explain the physical and natural world. The now common cultural narrative of perpetual conflict between science and religion simplifies the arguments and struggles of the past and overlooks cross-pollination between those who embraced faith and reason as the keys to understanding earth history. When geologists unequivocally dismissed the idea of a global flood and recognized Earth’s antiquity, many conservative theologians acknowledged that there was more to the past than literally spelled out in Genesis, the opening chapter of the Bible. But some Christians—those we now call creationists—rejected this perspective and chose to see geology as a threat to their faith. In so doing, they abandoned faith in reason and cast off a long-standing theological tradition that rocks don’t lie.
Source: RAND Corporation
War has always been a dangerous business, bringing injury, wounds, and death, and — until recently — often disease. What has changed over time, most dramatically in the last 150 or so years, is the care these casualties receive and who provides it. Medical services have become highly organized and are state sponsored. Diseases are now prevented through vaccination and good sanitation. Sedation now ameliorates pain, and antibiotics combat infection. Wounds that once meant amputation or death no longer do so. Transfers from the field to more-capable hospitals are now as swift as aircraft can make them. The mental consequences of war are now seen as genuine illnesses and treated accordingly, rather than punished to the extreme. Likewise, treatment of those disabled by war and of veterans generally has changed markedly — along with who supplies these and other benefits. This book looks at the history of how humanity has cared for its war casualties, from ancient times through the aftermath of World War II. For each historical period, the author examines the care the sick and wounded received in the field and in hospitals, the care given to the disabled veteran and his dependents, and who provided that care and how. He shows how the lessons of history have informed the American experience over time. Finally, the author sums up this history thematically, focusing on changes in the nature and treatment of injuries, organization of services on and off the battlefield, the role of the state in providing care, and the invisible wounds of war.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
In January 1913, when the U.S. Department of Labor was formed, the buffalo nickel would soon replace the Liberty Head nickel, women were protesting for the right to vote, and a family could buy a pound of potatoes for less than two cents. Fast forward 100 years to January 2013, when the U.S. Department of Labor is a century old, credit cards and online purchases are the more common forms of payment than the cash purchases of 1913, a record number of women are elected to Congress, and a pound of potatoes now costs 62 cents. These historic comparisons show how much has changed in the United States, and food prices have changed as well.
To examine prices over time, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has Consumer Price Index (CPI) data going back to January 1913 and a few average prices going back to at least that far.1 This article summarizes some average food prices over the last century. Table 1 lists selected food average prices a century apart.
Source: RAND Corporation
Debates over the U.S. global defense posture are not new. As policymakers today evaluate the U.S. forward military presence, it is important that they understand how and why the U.S. global posture has changed in the past. Today’s posture is under increasing pressure from a number of sources, including budgetary constraints, precision-guided weapons that reduce the survivability of forward bases, and host-nation opposition to a U.S. military presence. This monograph aims to describe the evolution of the U.S. global defense posture from 1783 to the present and to explain how the United States has grown from a relatively weak and insular regional power that was primarily concerned with territorial defense into the preeminent global power, with an expansive system of overseas bases and forward-deployed forces that enable it to conduct expeditionary operations around the globe. This historical overview has important implications for current policy and future efforts to develop an American military strategy, in particular the scope, size, and type of military presence overseas. As new and unpredictable threats emerge, alliance relationships are revised, and resources decline, past efforts at dealing with similar problems yield important lessons for future decisions. The author draws recommendations out of these lessons that touch on the importance of strategic planning; the need to think globally; the desirability of a lighter, more agile footprint overseas; and more.
Source: U.S. Army Military History Center
The Civil War Begins: Opening Clashes, 1861 is the first in a series of campaign brochures commemorating our national sacrifices during the American Civil War. Author Jennifer Murray examines the successes and challenges of both the Union and the Confederate forces during the early days of the Civil War. Notable battles discussed include: Fort Sumter, South Carolina; Bull Run, Virginia; Wilson’s Creek, Missouri; Cape Hatteras, North Carolina; and Port Royal, South Carolina. This brochure includes six maps and three tables.
EconSouth Looks Back at Evolution of Economic Indicators
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
Economic policymakers today have massive amounts of data at their disposal. Their circumstances are drastically different from those faced by their counterparts during the Great Depression. Indeed, armed with little more than stock indices, freight car loadings, and industrial production figures, policymakers struggled to monitor the economy’s pulse during the worst economic contraction in modern history.
The lack of data spawned a push for more and better data collection on the U.S. economy, explains staff writer Lela Somoza in “Part Chart, Part Science: The Evolution of Economic Indicators.” As a matter of fact, gross domestic product (GDP), one of the most closely followed indicators, has its roots in the Great Depression. Over time, however, it and other indicators have evolved to keep pace with the changing U.S. economy, which has grown in size and complexity.
Just as indicators have evolved over time to reflect the increasingly complex U.S. economy, their relative importance has waxed and waned also, Somoza notes, pointing to monetary aggregates as a prominent example.
To read more about the evolution of economic indicators since the Great Depression, see the full article in the third-quarter issue of EconSouth. The article also includes a survey of some of the more offbeat indicators economists and others turn to for a more nuanced view of the U.S. economy.
Source: U.S. Institute of Peace
Despite interesting patterns from the past and at least superficially striking parallels with the present, policies on Afghanistan have not been adequately informed by an understanding of the country’s history. Nor has the extensive academic literature on Afghan history been translated into policy; on the contrary, much that has been attempted in Afghanistan since late 2001 has been remarkably ahistorical. This report identifies broad historical patterns and distills relevant lessons that may be applicable to policies during the 2011 to 2014 transition and beyond.
Transgenerational transmission of trauma and resilience: a qualitative study with Brazilian offspring of Holocaust survivors
Source: BMC Psychiatry
Over the past five decades, clinicians and researchers have debated the impact of the Holocaust on the children of its survivors. The transgenerational transmission of trauma has been explored in more than 500 articles, which have failed to reach reliable conclusions that could be generalized. The psychiatric literature shows mixed findings regarding this subject: many clinical studies reported psychopathological findings related to transgenerational transmission of trauma and some empirical research has found no evidence of this phenomenon in offspring of Holocaust survivors.
This qualitative study aims to detect how the second generation perceives transgenerational transmission of their parents’ experiences in the Holocaust. In-depth individual interviews were conducted with fifteen offspring of Holocaust survivors and sought to analyze experiences, meanings and subjective processes of the participants. A Grounded Theory approach was employed, and constant comparative method was used for analysis of textual data.
The development of conceptual categories led to the emergence of distinct patterns of communication from parents to their descendants. The qualitative methodology also allowed systematization of the different ways in which offspring can deal with parental trauma, which determine the development of specific mechanisms of traumatic experience or resilience in the second generation.
The conceptual categories constructed by the Grounded Theory approach were used to present a possible model of the transgenerational transmission of trauma, showing that not only traumatic experiences, but also resilience patterns can be transmitted to and developed by the second generation. As in all qualitative studies, these conclusions cannot be generalized, but the findings can be tested in other contexts.
The Vault: Watergate
Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
On June 17, 1972, several people broke into the Democratic National Committee Headquarters; they were discovered by an on-site guard and were arrested by local police. Subsequent investigations by the FBI, Congress, and the media showed that these intruders were connected to the campaign staff of President Richard Nixon. The White House under Nixon worked to cover-up this connection, and subsequent revelations of the cover-up led to Nixon’s impeachment and resignation in 1974. These files, released many years ago, document the FBI’s investigation into the break-in and related issues between 1972 and 1979.
NASA Offers Guidelines To Protect Historic Sites On The Moon
Source: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NASA and the X Prize Foundation of Playa Vista, Calif., announced Thursday the Google Lunar X Prize is recognizing guidelines established by NASA to protect lunar historic sites and preserve ongoing and future science on the moon. The foundation will take the guidelines into account as it judges mobility plans submitted by 26 teams vying to be the first privately-funded entity to visit the moon.
NASA recognizes that many spacefaring nations and commercial entities are on the verge of landing spacecraft on the moon. The agency engaged in a cooperative dialogue with the X Prize Foundation and the Google Lunar X Prize teams to develop the recommendations. NASA and the next generation of lunar explorers share a common interest in preserving humanity’s first steps on another celestial body and protecting ongoing science from the potentially damaging effects of nearby landers.
NASA assembled the guidelines using data from previous lunar studies and analysis of the unmanned lander Surveyor 3′s samples after Apollo 12 landed nearby in 1969. Experts from the historic, scientific and flight-planning communities also contributed to the technical recommendations. The guidelines do not represent mandatory U.S. or international requirements. NASA provided them to help lunar mission planners preserve and protect historic lunar artifacts and potential science opportunities for future missions.
Facts for Features Special Edition — 1940 Census Records ReleaseSource: U.S. Census Bureau
On April 2, the National Archives and Records Administration will make individual records from the 1940 Census available to the public for the first time. The 1940 Census was conducted during a momentous time in our nation’s history, as the Great Depression was winding down and not long before our entry into World War II (although the war was already raging in Europe). It marked the only census conducted during the lengthy presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt. It was also notable for many other reasons, as detailed below. In this edition of Profile America Facts for Features, we compare notable 1940 Census facts with corresponding information from the 2010 Census. Included is an early look at plans for the 2020 Census.
Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs Release of Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XV, Soviet Union, June 1972-August 1974
The Department of State released today Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969–1976, Volume XV, Soviet Union, June 1972–August 1974. Continuing the practice established in recent Foreign Relations volumes on the Soviet Union, this volume places Soviet-American relations in the global context of the Cold War, highlighting the conflicts and collaboration between the two superpowers.
The volume includes numerous direct personal communications between President Richard Nixon and Soviet Leader Leonid Brezhnev covering a host of issues, including clarifying the practical application of the SALT I and AMB agreements signed in Moscow. Other major themes covered include the war in Indochina, arms control, the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), commercial relations and most-favored-nation status, grain sales, the emigration of Soviet Jews, Jackson-Vanik legislation, and the October 1973 Arab-Israeli war. High-level meetings and summits, both in the United States and the Soviet Union, are documented in detail, including Assistant for National Security Affairs Henry Kissinger’s conversations with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko leading up to Nixon’s final visit to the Soviet Union in June 1974.
Department of State Announces Publication of 29th edition The World Military Expenditures and Arms Transfers Report
The Department of State’s Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance is pleased to announce its recent online publication of the 29th edition of the State Department’s World Military Expenditures and Arms Transfers (WMEAT) report, covering the years 1995-2005, on the State Department’s website at
Credit Availability and the Collapse of the Banking Sector in the 1930s
Source: Federal Reserve Board
This paper examines the mechanism through which banking sector distress affects the availability of credit. We use the experience of the United States during the Great Depression, a period of intense bank distress, to conduct our analysis. We utilize previously neglected data from a 1934 survey conducted by the Federal Reserve System of both banks and Chambers of Commerce regarding the availability of credit, and examine which aspects of the banking system collapse affected credit availability as indicated by the survey. A number of scholars have posited different ways that bank distress constrained credit availability and impacted economic activity during the 1930s; however, the empirical evidence regarding these channels is modest. In this study, we find that bank failures had the most dominant impact, but there is also some evidence for the importance of funding constraints from deposit outflows and of protracted deposit liquidation.
+ Full Paper (PDF)
Complete Pentagon Papers At Last! All Three Versions Posted, Allowing Side-by-Side Comparison
Source: National Security Archive
For the first time ever, all three major editions of the Pentagon Papers are being made available simultaneously online. The posting today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University (www.nsarchive.org), allows for a unique side-by-side comparison, showing readers exactly what the U.S. government tried to hide for 40 years by means of deletions from the original text.
To make the most of this new resource, the Archive is unveiling a special contest inviting readers to make their own nominations for the infamous “11 words” that some officials tried to keep secret even this year!
Today’s posting includes the full texts of the “Gravel” edition entered into Congressional proceedings in 1971 by Sen. Mike Gravel (D-Alaska) and later published by the Beacon Press, the authorized 1971 declassified version issued by the House Armed Services Committee with deletions insisted on by the Nixon administration, and the new 2011 “complete” edition released in June by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).
Accompanying the posting is the National Security Archive’s invitation for readers to identify their own favorite nominees for the “11 words” that securocrats attempted to delete during the declassification process for the Papers earlier this year, until alert NARA staffers realized those words actually had been declassified back in 1971. Best submissions for the “11 words” — as judged by National Security Archive experts — will appear in the Archive’s blog, Unredacted, and on the Archive’s Facebook page. National Security Archive senior fellow John Prados wrote the introduction and analysis for the posting. Archive analyst Carlos Osorio coordinated the data processing for publication. Archive staff Wendy Valdes and Charlotte Karrlsson-Willis did the input, indexing and cross-referencing, and the Archive’s webmaster Michael Evans managed the online publication of the Pentagon Papers.