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The Employment of Negro Troops Special…
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For a decade or more after World War I the American public as a whole was little concerned with the peacetime Army. It was considerably less concerned with the Army's plans for the current or future use of national manpower. For a time in the middle and late twenties, war memoirs, fiction, and drama enjoyed a vogue, but the general interest in contemporary military matters was aroused mainly by war revelations, public controversies such as that surrounding Brig. Gen. William Mitchell's advocacy of an autonomous air force, and changes in the high command of the services. Demobilization, disarmament, international agreements for peace, and economy in public expenditures were successively central to the thinking of the times. They deflected public interest from serious concern with the internal problems and needs of the armed forces. There was a general idea abroad that in the event of a national emergency the Army, backed by the civilian population, should be prepared. But the likelihood of a national emergency seemed remote indeed in an era devoted to arms reduction and treaties of peace and friendship.
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As in the case of some other titles in the United States Army in
World War II series, Ulysses Lee's The Employment of Negro Troops has
been long and widely recognized as a standard work on its subject. Although
revised and consolidated before publication, the study was written
largely between 1947 and 1951. If the now much-cited title has an
echo of an earlier period, that very echo testifies to the book's rather
remarkable twofold achievement: that Lee wrote it when he did, well
before the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, and that its reputation—
for authority and objectivity—has endured so well.
The U.S. Army Center of Military History thus takes pleasure in
publishing this first paperback edition of a landmark study in military
and social history. As a key source for understanding the integration of
the Army, Dr. Lee's work eminently deserves a continuing readership.
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