Early history and origin
The first trained American army was the Legion of the United States, which was established in 1791 and disbanded in 1796. It was created because the Continental Congress saw a problem with the Native Americans. Having said this, the colonists and the Continental Congress gathered in 1775 a temporarily army, the Continental Army, under the command of George Washington, to win the Revolutionary War against Great Britain.
The Continental Army won, with support from the French, the Dutch and the Spanish. The decisive battle was fought at Yorktown, and with the Treaty of Paris, the independence of the United States was acknowledged.
In 1812 the British forces went ashore in the east-coast, and since the U.S. troops were busy failing an invasion of Canada, the British burned down the new capital of Washington D.C., however, the Regular Army prevailed against the British army, under the command of General Winfield Scott and Jacob Brown, in the Niagara campaign of 1814.
The Mexican-American war between 1846 and 1848 was a defining event for both countries. The Manifest Destiny (a belief many Americans had that the USA was destined to expand across the continent) was an excuse the Democrats used for the series of skirmishes and battles against the Native Americans and the war against Mexico.
The Confederate States of America was formed in 1861 by most of the south-states, and CSA troops started the American Civil War when they opened fire on the Union-held Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina. The Confederate forces had clearly the upper-hand for the first two years, but after the decisive battles at Gettysburg in the east and Vicksburg in the west, Union troops fought a brutal campaign through Confederate territory, and the Confederate surrender took place at Appomattox Courthouse in April 1865. The combination between superior numbers and industrial might strengthened the U.S. troops. This war was to be the deadliest conflict in American history, resulting in the deaths of 620 000 soldiers; 8% of all white males between the ages 13 to 43 died in the war.
From 1916 to 1917 U.S. forces fought the Mexican rebels and the Mexican federal troops after a major rebel leader attacked Columbus, New Mexico.
The United States joined the World War 1 alongside with Britain, France, Russia and other allies in 1917.
After the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, the U.S. Pacific naval base, the United States joined the World War 2 on Allied side. Their troops formed a significant portion of the forces that captured North-Africa and Sicily. Millions of U.S. Army troops were deployed at D-Day which resulted in the liberation of Europe and the defeat of the Nazis. U.S. Marines and army soldiers captured the Pacific Islands from Japanese control.
During the final stages of World War 2 in 1945, the United States conducted two atomic bombings against the two Japanese cities. For six months before the bombings, the United States intensely fire-bombed 67 Japanese cities. Together with the United Kingdom and the Republic of China, the United States called for a surrender of Japan in the Potsdam Declaration on July 26, 1945. This ultimatum was ignored by the Japanese government. By executive order of President Truman, the U.S. dropped the nuclear bombs on the cities of Hiroshima (6th of August, 1945) and Nagasaki (9th of August, 1945).
On the 15th of August, Japan announced its surrender and officially ended World War 2 after signing the Instrument of Surrender on the 2nd of September, which Germany had signed on May 7.
During the Cold War, American troops and their allies fought Communist forces in Korea and Vietnam.
The Korea War began in 1950, when the Soviets walked out of the U.N. Security meeting. Hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops fought to prevent the takeover of South Korea by North Korea. They have now returned to “status quo” (1953).
The Vietnam War (1955-1975) has been discussed, and is still being discussed, whether the U.S. did more harm than good. This is also one of the few wars the USA did not win through military power. U.S. troops fought with the Republic of Vietnam against the communistic North Vietnam.
After the attacks on the 9th of September, 2001, U.S. and NATO forces invaded Afghanistan (2001), displacing the Taliban government. They later invaded Iraq in 2003.
Excused or executed?
When you look at all these facts, the U.S. Army may seem very professional and that the USA takes responsibility for a lot of things that are happening around the world, but is this really a good thing? If we count all the wars that the USA has been involved in, only two of them, excluded the Revolutionary War, has been on U.S. soil. What does this tell us? That USA is like a big brother who takes care of us? Or maybe a curious kid who sticks his nose in things that are not his business?
I think the USA is acting before they have thought the situation through. I think that they should calm down, and start building their own country, because there are a lot of problems inwards in the USA. But let’s focus on the army, and to make it even more interesting, let’s focus on the war-crimes they have been accused for.
During world war 2
Canicattì Massacre: Lieutenant Colonel McCaffrey was responsible of killings of Italian civilians. McCaffrey was never charged with an offence relating to the incident. The incident remained virtually unknown until Joseph S. Salemi of New York University, whose father witnessed it, publicized it.
The Dachau Massacre: Killing of surrendering SS soldiers at the Dachau concentration camp
The Biscari Massacre: U.S. troops of the 45th Infantry Division killed roughly 75 prisoners of war, mostly Italians.
Operation Teardrop: Eight of the surviving, captured crewmen from the sunken German submarine U-546 were tortured by US military personnel.
Major-General Raymond Hufft with the U.S. Army gave instructions to his troops not to take prisoners when they crossed the Rhine in 1945.
The Vietnam War: The Vietnam War Crimes Working Group Files is a collection of formerly secret documents compiled by Pentagon investigators in the early 1970s, confirming that atrocities by U.S. forces during the war were more extensive than had been officially acknowledged. The documents detail 320 alleged incidents that were substantiated by United States Army investigators – not including the My Lai Massacre.
The My Lai Massacre: On 16th of March, U.S. Army forces conducted the mass murder of 347 to 504 unarmed citizens, most of them women and children. Some of them were sexually abused, tortured, and some of the bodies were found mutilated. Of the 26 soldiers charged with criminal offences of war-crimes for the actions, only William Calley was convicted. He served four and a half months of his two-year sentence.
These are just a few cases about war-crimes where the USA is involved. Other things that are discussed all over the world are the nuclear bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the napalm bombings in the Vietnam War, and the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. The interrogation methods that the U.S. forces are using are also sensitive topics and amongst many, the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, a high secured military prison located in the Guantanamo bay, Cuba, has been criticized for its way of treating the prisoners. It has been shut down several times by the Democrats, but reopened by the Republicans. Obama is now trying to shut it down, and to move the prisoners to other prisons, and, if necessary, to other countries.
I believe this shows us that there are a lot of things that can be changed about the U.S. Army and their way of thinking. However, the question isn’t when they make the change, but how, and I can unfortunately not answer that. But I know this, it ought to happen soon, or else we will regret it.
Ecosia search engine: http://www.ecosia.org/
“United States war crimes” by Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_war_crimes August 27, 2011
“United States Army” by Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Army September 13, 2011
“Confederate States of America” by Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confederate_States_of_America September 11, 2011
“Grenada” by Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grenada September 10, 2011
“Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki” by Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nagasaki_and_Hiroshima August 22, 2011
“Nuclear weapon” by Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_weapon August 25, 2011
“World War II” by Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II September 9, 2011
“Attack on Pearl Harbor” by Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attack_on_Pearl_Harbor September 13, 2011
“Manifest Destiny” by Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manifest_Destiny September 14, 2011