War has played a key role in the history of the United States from the nation’s founding right down to the present. Wars made the U. S. independent, kept it together, increased its size, and established it as a global superpower. Understanding America’s wars is essential for understanding American history. In the Key Battles of American History, host James Early discusses American history through the lens of the most important battles of America’s wars. James is an Adjunct Professor of History at San Jacinto College in Pasadena, TX. He has published one book and two scholarly articles. He is also the cohost (with Scott Rank) of the Presidential Fight Club, Key Battles of the Civil War, Key Battles of the Revolutionary War, and Key Battles of World War I podcasts.
Born in Virginia, Desmond Doss was a devout Christian and a pacifist who wanted to serve in the war as a combat medic but refused to touch a weapon. After suffering much shame and ill-treatment from his fellow soldiers, Doss proved his heroism in several engagements, most notably in the Battle of Okinawa, in which he saved around 75 wounded American soldiers from being executed by the Japanese. In this episode, James and Sean discuss the 2016 film Hacksaw Ridge, which tells the story of Doss’s life and service in the war.
Parthenon Round Table - What Event Do You Eliminate from History
Letters From Iwo Jima
The companion film to Flags of Our Fathers, Clint Eastwood’s Letters from Iwo Jima narrates the story of the Battle of Iwo Jima from the Japanese perspective. In this episode, you will join James and Sean as they walk the beaches of Iwo Jima and go deep into the caves and tunnels of Mt. Suribachi with the Japanese defenders as they await the American onslaught and struggle with the decision of whether to fight to the death or surrender at the risk of being hated (or worse) by their colleagues and their families back home.
Flags of Our Fathers
One of the most iconic photographs of all time is the famous Joe Rosenthal photo of the raising of the American flag on Mount Suribachi in the southwest corner of Iwo Jima. In Flags of Our Fathers, director Clint Eastwood weaves together the story of the American invasion of Iwo Jima and the struggle to capture Suribachi with the subsequent tale of three of the flag raisers who were sent back to the States to raise money for the war. The movie, while inspiring, can be a bit hard to follow, but James and Sean will guide you through it and help you sort out fact from fiction.
Sands of Iwo Jima
The Battle of Iwo Jima was one of the bloodiest battles of the Pacific Theater for both the Japanese and the Americans. James and Sean will be discussing three movies about Iwo Jima, the first of which is the classic 1949 John Wayne action film Sands of Iwo Jima. Despite its title, Sands of Iwo Jima only devotes 30 minutes to the battle; the rest of the movie shows the Battle of Tarawa, as well as scenes of the Marines training and enjoying liberty. Is Sands of Iwo Jima accurate, or is it just patriotic Hollywood propaganda? James and Sean will let you know!
Bonus Episode - History Unplugged
Love this show and I highly recommend for World War and history movie buffs.
I’ve seen almost all of the movies that are discussed.
From The Thin Red Line, Tora! Tora! Tora!, Mister Roberts, Run Silent, Run Deep and Windtalkers (which I saw 5-6 six years ago). Can’t for more discussions of movies I saw.
A very excellent podcast.
A favorite historical subject of mine is the Pacific theater of WW2, so naturally I binge-listened to that Key Battles series of this podcast. I started becoming very interested in history after the passing of my father, a history buff and army veteran. Now that I’m no longer able to listen to him spout off fun facts, talk about war movies, or just go on and on in general about some war or another I’ve found podcasts like these really help fill that space. James, I enjoyed hearing you speak about your dad during this series as it really added a personal touch that many folks can relate to in some way big or small. I’m no history buff and still have so much to learn so I really appreciate the 10,000 foot view format of your episodes. Other podcasts can offer more detail, sure, but there’s also space for ones like this that have plenty of valuable information that’s a little easier for history newbies like myself. Thank you for recognizing that need and giving people like me a great podcast to learn from. Love the positive energy and humility. Thank you James and all who are featured on the podcast episodes!