By Roger Peace
What would history look like if the disciplines of diplomatic, military, and peace history were merged?
This could well describe the U.S. Foreign Policy History & Resource Guide website – alias “peace history.” Launched in January 2016, the website examines the major wars and foreign policies of the United States from a peace-oriented, humanitarian perspective and includes substantial coverage of peace movements. Seven of sixteen planned sections have been completed, most recently, “Yankee imperialism,’ 1901-1934,” and “Central America wars, 1980s.” Each entry contains about 80 pages of text, is divided into numerous subsections for easy assimilation, and includes dozens of photographs and images (103 in the Central America essay).
In “’Yankee imperialism,’ 1901-1934,” authored by myself with assistance from Ann Jefferson (Univ. of Tennessee) and Marc Becker (Truman State Univ.), U.S. motives and rationales for interventionism are critically examined, the policies of succeeding U.S. administrations are reviewed, and six case studies of U.S. interventions are presented: Cuba, Panama, Mexico, Haiti, Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua. The eclectic anti-interventionist movement gathered steam after World War I and helped to turn the tide of public opinion against U.S. military occupations in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua as well as to avoid war with Mexico in the mid-1920s.
In “Central America wars, 1980s,” authored by Ginger Williams (Winthrop Univ.), Jeremy Kuzmarov (Univ. of Tulsa), and myself, with assistance from Richard Grossman (Northeastern Illinois Univ.), Brian D’Haeseleer (Lyon Univ.), and Michael Schmidli (Bucknell Univ.), the Reagan administration’s rhetoric and policies toward Central America are placed in historical perspective and critically examined. Historical background is also provided on El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua before proceeding to the 1980s. The Central America movement that rallied in opposition to U.S. interventionism was remarkably creative in fostering transnational activities and cultivating understanding and empathy across national borders.
Peace History Society members and friends – instructors and students – can avail themselves of these essays, as the website is an open public resource. Check out the website and use it! Assign sections to students. Send feedback through the website contact system.
The next essay will focus on World War I, the subject of the excellent PHS conference in Kansas last fall. Chuck Howlett, the unofficial dean of peace movement history, and Jeremy Kuzmarov, co-author of The Russians Are Coming Again (Monthly Review Press, May 2018), are part of the writing team. For those who have expertise in an area not yet covered (see website home page) and would like to help with the planning, writing, or reviewing of future essays, please send me a note. – Roger Peace (firstname.lastname@example.org)