USAHEC Military History Podcast
About This Show
Military History Lectures and Events held at the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center, brought to you in podcast form. Our lecturers are scholars, soldiers, and authors who are speaking to a U.S. Army audience about military history and the history of war.
Most Recent Episode
The Custer Conundrum - Perspectives in Military History Lecture Series
October 18, 2017 - General of the Army Omar N. Bradley Memorial Lecture - Mr. T.J. Stiles
George Armstrong Custer proved himself a highly capable commander from the battlefields of the American Civil War through the hills of Texas, to his final moments on the Great Plains. In this lecture, Mr. T.J. Stiles, recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, examines the complicated nature of leadership principals in the U.S. Army through the lens of the peculiar combination of Custer's skills as a combat leader and failings as a regimental field commander. Brevet Major General of U.S. Volunteers during the Civil War and later, a Lieutenant Colonel in the 7th U.S. Cavalry Regiment, George A. Custer was a highly skilled tactician and inspiring figure in battle, but failed to manage his men well in non-kinetic settings, whether in Texas in 1865–66 or on the Great Plains over the next decade. He also developed a problematic reputation within the army that complicated his relationship with his superiors, who often assumed the worst about him. Custer’s career sheds light on the U.S. Army itself and its role in the transitional time during the push west across the continent in the Post-Civil War years. The Army represented the leading edge of modernization in the United States, introducing finely articulated organization, professionalization, and technical expertise into an individualistic country that was transforming into a corporate, organizational economy and society. Custer was both a highly trained professional—a technical expert—and a romantic individualist; his volatile nature emphasizes the broader themes of this transition. His self-destructive tendencies lead to a story which highlights the peculiar demands the Army faced in conflict with Native peoples on the Great Plains
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