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5 US Wars Rarely Found in History Books

May 11, 2020 in History

By Jessica Pearce Rotondi

History is full of forgotten conflicts that are commonly overlooked in U.S. history.

You’ve heard of the Vietnam War, but what about the “secret war” in Laos? Over 16 million members of the Greatest Generation fought in : The Philippine-American War, 1899-1902, writes that the Philippine-American War “was our last war of manifest destiny and western expansion and our first imperial land war in Asia. It was the United States testing out what role it would have on the world stage and bringing with it all the complicated racial and cultural attitudes that shaped American society at home.”

2. The Korean War: ‘The Forgotten War’

As U.S. infantrymen pass a line of fleeing refugees during the Korean War, circa 1950.

The Korean War (1950-1953) was the first military action of the Cold War, though it’s often overshadowed by the victory of the Allies in World War II, earning it the nickname “the Forgotten War.” It began when soldiers from the communist North Korean People’s Army crossed the 38 parallel into the pro-Western Republic of Korea (today’s South Korea). American troops were sent to support the South and by the time a ceasefire was proclaimed in 1953, over five million soldiers and civilians had died. To this day, a formal peace treaty has not been signed.

Sheila Miyoshi Jager, professor of East Asian Studies at Oberlin and author of Brothers at War: The Unending Conflict in Korea, writes, “Most histories of the Korean War stop with the armistice; the fact that no peace treaty was ever signed is presented in most history books as an unusual fact and that is all. However, the absence of a final conclusion to the Korean War has kept it alive as a major influence on Asian affairs.”

3. The ‘Secret War’ in Laos

Bomb craters dating to the Vietnam War are seen in Xiang Khwang province of Laos, photographed in 1991.

Laos is the most heavily-bombed country per capita in the world. The U.S. bombing of Laos (1964-1973) was part of a clandestine attempt by the CIA to wrest power from the Pathet Lao, a communist group allied with North Vietnam and the Soviet Union during the Vietnam War. Laos was critical to Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Domino Theory of keeping communism at bay, and presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon all escalated the …read more


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Teddy Roosevelt’s trip to San Francisco is captured on film

May 11, 2020 in History

By Editors

On May 12, 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt’s trip to San Francisco is captured on moving-picture film, making him the first president to have an official activity recorded in that medium.

READ MORE: 7 Little-Known Legacies of Teddy Roosevelt

A cameraman named H.J. Miles filmed the president while riding in a parade in his honor. The resulting short move was titled The President’s Carriage and was later played on “nickelodeons” in arcades across America. The film showed Roosevelt riding in a carriage and escorted by the Ninth U.S. Cavalry Regiment, which was unusual for the time, according to the Library of Congress and contemporary newspapers, because it was an all-black company.

Roosevelt was the first president to take advantage of the impact motion pictures could have on the presidency. The photogenic president encouraged filmmakers to document his official duties and post-presidential personal activities until his death in 1919. He purposely played directly to the camera with huge gestures and thundering speeches. The Library of Congress holds much of the original film footage, including that of his second inaugural ceremony in 1905, a visit to Panama in 1906 and an African safari in 1909. Roosevelt appeared on camera with many notable people of his time, including European kings and queens, as well as Hopi Indians and Masai warriors in Africa. In 1912, Roosevelt’s unsuccessful campaign for president on the Progressive ticket was also captured on film. Later that year, Roosevelt again made two presidential “firsts.” On October 11, 1910, he became the first (former) president to not only fly in an airplane but also to be filmed while flying in an airplane.

Even Roosevelt’s funeral in Oyster Bay, New York, in 1919 was memorialized on camera. The filmmaker documented the procession and memorial service, and included shots of Roosevelt’s successor, William Howard Taft.

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