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Timothy J. Stapleton


In British colonial Nigeria, the military was more heterogeneous than previously thought and British ideas about “martial races” changed depending on local reactions to recruiting. In the early twentieth century British officers saw the northern Hausa and southwestern Yoruba, who dominated the ranks, as civilized “martial races.” The Yoruba stopped enlisting given new prospects and protest, and southeasterners like the Igbo rejected recruiting given language difficulties and resistance. The British then perceived all southern Nigerians as lacking martial qualities. Although Hausa enlistment also declined with opportunities and religious objections, the inter-war army developed a northern ethos through Hausa language and the northern location of military institutions. The rank-and-file became increasingly diverse including northern and Middle Belt minorities, seen by the British as primitive warriors and as insurance against Muslim revolt, enlisting because of poverty. From 1930, military identities in Nigeria polarized with uneducated northern/Middle Belt infantry and literate southern technicians.

The Rise and Demise of the Boys’ Company

From Coup Makers to a Footnote in Ghana’s Political History

Humphrey Asamoah Agyekum


Graduates of Ghana's defunct Army Boys’ Company, a specialized military training institution for boys, participated to varying degrees in all five successful coups in the West African country. Most significantly, their prominent role in the coups of 1979 and 1981 catapulted them into the heart of the Ghanaian political arena. They thus became political actors; a position with far reaching consequences for the Boys’ Company. Coups in Ghana have received considerable academic attention. However, the focus of this body of literature tended to be on the coup leaders with rarely any attention for the soldiers who facilitate the power seizures by conducting the fighting. This article addresses this lacunae by assessing how the so-called “ex-Boys” radicalized politically, while bringing to the fore their experience at the Army Boys’ Company and in the military. Additionally, the article scrutinizes the conditions that led to demise of the Boys’ Company.

Hosub Shim

The Battle of An Khe Pass (1972) was a Pyrrhic victory. The South Korean forces’ conduct in this battle neither frustrated the enemy’s purpose nor minimized Korean sacrifices; and the combination of the Korean’s passive attitude and the pressure to act quickly resulted in poor performance and heavy casualties. This battle revealed the Korean forces’ inherent problems and heightened their pre-existing frictions with the U.S. and South Vietnamese forces during the Vietnamization period (1969–1973). Yet, the result of the battle created the necessary circumstances to justify the Koreans’ further presence in Vietnam. Based on extensive research of various U.S. and South Korean archives, this article explores the Battle of An Khe Pass in the context of the Vietnamization phase of the Vietnam War.

Laurence M. Burke II

Barry Posen’s 1984 book, The Sources of Military Doctrine, is considered to have kicked off the field of military innovation studies. While historians have made contributions to the field, it is the political scientists who have created new models of military innovation, likely because historians avoid the predictive connotations of “model”. This article first reviews the dominant models in the field that rely on the actions and decisions of individuals (as opposed to more diffuse cultural models) and places them in dialogue with each other. Second, it argues that historians should be less leery of “models”, since they create or use implicit models in their own work. Finally, this article proposes that the various models laid out in the first part of the article may be seen as specific cases of a methodology from science and technology studies, “Actor/Network Theory”, which is a promising new tool for analyzing military innovation.

Linh D. Vu


Exploring the construction and maintenance of Nationalist Chinese soldiers’ graves overseas, this article sheds light on post-World War II commemorative politics. After having fought for the Allies against Japanese aggression in the China-Burma-India Theater, the Chinese expeditionary troops sporadically received posthumous care from Chinese veterans and diaspora groups. In the Southeast Asia Theater, the Chinese soldiers imprisoned in the Japanese-run camps in Rabaul were denied burial in the Allied war cemetery and recognition as military heroes. Analyzing archival documents from China, Taiwan, Britain, Australia, and the United States, I demonstrate how the afterlife of Chinese servicemen under foreign sovereignties mattered in the making of the modern Chinese state and its international status.

Kan Lee


The Chinese Mission in Japan, which existed from 1946 until Japan regained its sovereignty as a result of the San Francisco Peace Treaty in 1952, represented the Republic of China in working with the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP) in reconstructing postwar Japan. The original objective of the Chinese Mission was to serve as the government’s agency to carry out the repatriation of Japanese troops and civilians from China in coordination with the Allies, secure war reparations from Japan, and try war criminals. However, as President Harry S. Truman terminated US aid to China in 1947 and Guomindang (GMD) military fortunes in the Chinese Civil War declined under the command of Chiang Kai-shek, the Chinese Mission was given an additional assignment: to lobby General Douglas MacArthur to secure military assistance from SCAP. This essay discusses the interaction between the Chinese Mission and General MacArthur during the Chinese Civil War from 1946 to 1949 and examines the way in which the Chinese Mission persuaded him to play a role in the Civil War. This study argues that although it was in opposition to Washington, MacArthur’s determination to assist Chiang Kai-shek was in great part due to the strenuous lobbying of the Chinese Mission in Tokyo. Although MacArthur’s intervention could not reverse the final outcome of the Chinese Civil War, his anti-Communist outlook was formed and played a significant role during the Korean War a year later.