The War of 1812 was a watershed moment in the nation’s development of a strong national defense system, a military historian said this week, as it provided justification for building up the Navy and changed the nation’s attitude toward strengthening the central government. Michael Crawford, a senior historian at the Naval History and Heritage Command, made that observation 7 FEB during a “DOD Live” bloggers roundtable. At the roundtable discussion Crawford provided the following overview of the war and its impact on National Defense:
“ The United States declared war against the United Kingdom because it wanted to end impressments of its citizens into the Royal Navy. The new nation wanted to obtain recognition of the maritime rights of its merchantmen against illegal blockades, searches and seizures, and it wanted to stop British support of hostile Native Americans against the United States. At the time, President James Madison and his war planners developed a strategy to achieve these goals. That strategy largely focused on a land-troop invasion of British-owned Canada, ignoring a naval strategy. It was expected to be a quick and decisive victory for the Americans, Crawford said, as British attention was focused on engagements with Napoleon. But as the Canadian campaign began, it became clear that it wouldn’t go as Madison and his war planners had hoped it would.
By 1815, two and a half years after the initial engagement, all attempts to invade and occupy Canada had failed. During that time the United States adopted a largely defensive posture against the British. The U.S. military had repulsed major invasions at Plattsburgh, N.Y, and in New Orleans. But the United States suffered a ravaging of the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, a major agricultural region, and the capture and burning of our capital. A tight British blockade of the American coast had brought the U.S. government to the brink of financial collapse.” The war eventually ended with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent, which restored America to its prewar conditions with no loss or gain.
The War of 1812 played a major roles in strengthening the Navy. At the onset of the war the Navy had a small fleet and focused largely on harbor defense. However it became increasingly apparent that the United States needed to develop naval power to avoid defeat. Early in the war, we lost an army. And so the people in Washington — the war planners — quickly came to understand that the conquest of Canada depended on control of the waterways, especially Lake Ontario. The result was a build-up of Navy vessels on the Great Lakes. By late 1814, the Navy had 400 men on ships at sea and 10,000 men on ships on the Great Lakes. This buildup allowed for some important victories during the war but those victories also drew attention to losses that that resulted from insufficient naval power. The conflicts at Lake Champlain and along the Chesapeake Bay were examples. The British had an army of 10,000 invading upstate New York. An American naval victory in Lake Champlain threw that army back into Canada because without control of Lake Champlain, British supply lines were vulnerable. But a lack
of U.S. naval power allowed the British to wreak destruction up and down the Chesapeake Bay, he added.
All of these events convinced the nation’s leaders, as well as the nation’s people, that we needed both an adequate navy and an adequate army if we wanted to be an adequate nation. But before the end of the war, congressional Republicans didn’t support building a strong Navy believing that an ocean-going Navy would draw the United States into war unnecessarily and require high taxes that would corrupt the political system, benefit mainly financiers, and hurt the common people. But by the end of the war people of all political stripes witnessed the importance of having a strong, centrally controlled military. Many Republicans and all Federalists were committed to a strong Navy, an adequate, professional Army, and the financial reforms necessary to support them.
After the war, Congress … approved an ambitious naval expansion program and a regular Army of 10,000 men. They raised taxes to pay for these, and they created the Second National Bank as a tool for government financing.
The War of 1812 also changed the U.S. position on the global stage, Crawford said. Before the war the United Kingdom considered the United States to be a commercial rival and potential enemy, to be thwarted through confrontation wherever possible. After the war, the United Kingdom sought accommodation with the United States, considering the friendship of the United States as something to be curried as an asset. This change in thinking, was a direct result of the British recognizing that the United States had newfound political unity, a strong Army and Navy, and sound fiscal underpinnings.” [Source: DoD Live Bradley Cantor article 9 Feb 2012 ++]
Military History Anniversaries: Significant March events in U.S. Military History are:
Mar 16 1802 – The Army Corps of Engineers is established to found and operate West Point Academy.
Mar 16 1935 – Adolf Hitler orders Germany to rearm herself in violation of the Versailles Treaty.
Mar 16 1942 – WWII: The first V-2 rocket test launch. It explodes at liftoff.
Mar 16 1945 – WWII: The Battle of Iwo Jima ends but small pockets of Japanese resistance persist.
Mar 16 1968 – Vietnam: In the My Lai massacre, between 350 and 500 Vietnamese villagers: men, women, and children are killed by American troops.
Mar 17 1776 – American Revolution: British forces evacuate Boston, Massachusetts.
Mar 17 1942 – WWII: Holocaust: The first Jews from the Lviv Ghetto (western Ukraine) are gassed at the Belzec death camp (eastern Poland).
Mar 17 1945 – WWII: The Ludendorff Bridge in Remagen, Germany collapses, ten days after its capture.
Mar 17 1973 – Vietnam: First POWs are released from the "Hanoi Hilton" in Hanoi, North Vietnam.
Mar 18 1945 – WWII: 1,250 U.S. bombers attack Berlin.
Mar 19 1944 – WWII: The German 352nd Infantry Division deploys along the coast of France.
Mar 19 1945 – WWII: Adolf Hitler issues his "Nero Decree" ordering all industries, military installations, shops, transportation facilities and communications facilities in Germany to be destroyed.
Mar 19 1945 – WWII: Off the coast of Japan, a dive bomber hits the aircraft carrier USS Franklin, killing 724 of her crew. Badly damaged, the ship is able to return to the U.S. under her own power.
Mar 19 2002 – Afghanistan: Operation Anaconda ends (started on March 2) after killing 500 Taliban and al Qaeda fighters with 11 allied troop fatalities.
Mar 20 1942 – Holocaust: in Rohatyn, western Ukraine, the German SS murder 3,000 Jews, including 600 children, annihilating 70% of Rohatyn's Jewish ghetto.
Mar 20 1942 – WW II: General Douglas MacArthur, at Terowie, South Australia, makes his famous speech regarding the fall of the Philippines, in which he says: "I came out of Bataan and I shall return".
Mar 20 1969 – Vietnam: U.S president Nixon proclaims he will end Vietnam war in 1970.
Mar 20 2003 – Iraq: Invasion of Iraq by American and British led coalition begins without United Nations support and in defiance of world opinion.
Mar 21 1918 – WWI: The Germans launch the ‘Michael’ offensive [First Battle of the Somme].
Mar 21 1943 – WWII: Assassination attempt on Hitler fails.
Mar 21 1945 – WWII: 1st Japanese flying bombs (ochas) attack Okinawa.
Mar 21 1971 – Vietnam: Two U.S. platoons in Vietnam refuse their orders to advance.
Mar 22 1942 – WWII: Heavy German assault on Malta.
Mar 22 1945 – WWII: U.S. 3rd Army crosses Rhine at Nierstein.
Mar 22 1965 – Vietnam: U.S. confirms its troops used chemical warfare against the Vietcong.
Mar 23 1862 – Civil War: Confederate General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson faces his only defeat at the Battle of Kernstown, Va
Mar 23 1942 – WWII: Japanese forces occupy Andaman Islands in Indian Ocean.
Mar 23 1942 – WWII: U.S. move native-born of Japanese ancestry into detention centers.
Mar 23 1945 – WWII: Largest operation in Pacific war, 1,500 US Navy ships bomb Okinawa.
Mar 23 1951 – Korea: U.S. paratroopers descend from flying boxcars in a surprise attack in Korea.
Mar 24 1944 – WWII: In an event later dramatized in the movie The Great Escape, 76 prisoners begin breaking out of Stalag Luft I.
Mar 25 1915 – 1st submarine disaster; a US F-4 sinks off Hawaii, killing 21.
Mar 25 1953 – Korean War: The USS Missouri fires on targets at Kojo, North Korea, the last time her guns fire until the Persian Gulf War of 1992.
Mar 25 1975 – Vietnam: The former imperial capital of Hue fell to North Vietnamese troops along with the entire Thua Thien Province.
Mar 26 1945 – WWII: Kamikazes attack U.S. battle fleet near Kerama Retto.
Mar 26 1945 – WWII: U.S. 7th Army crosses Rhine at Worms Germany.
Mar 26 1970 – 500th nuclear explosion announced by the U.S. since 1945.
Mar 27 1794 – The U.S. establishes a permanent navy and authorizes the building of 6 frigates.
Mar 27 1945 – WWII: Gen Eisenhower declares German defenses on Western Front broken.
Mar 27 1945 – WWII: Iwo Jima occupied, after 22,000 Japanese & 6,000 US killed.
Mar 27 1945 – WWII: Operation Starvation, the aerial mining of Japan's ports and waterways begins.
Mar 27 1952 Korea: Elements of the U.S. Eighth Army reach the 38th parallel.
Mar 28 1945 WWII: Germany launches the last of its V-2 rockets against England.
Mar 29 1943 – WWII: Meat rationed in US (784 gram/week, 2 kilogram for GI's.
Mar 29 1951 Korea: The Chinese reject Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s offer for a truce in Korea.
Mar 29 1973 – Vietnam: US troops leave, 9 yrs after Tonkin Resolution.
Mar 30 1944 WWII: The U.S. fleet attacks Palau, near the Philippines.
Mar 30 1972 Vietnam: Hanoi launches its heaviest attack in four years, crossing the DMZ.
Mar 31 1941 – WWII: Germany begins a counter offensive in Africa.
Mar 31 1965 – Vietnam: U.S. ordered the 1st combat troops to Vietnam.
Mar 20 1945 – WWII: USS Kete (SS-369) missing. Most likely sunk by a mine or a Japanese submarine (perhaps RO 41) east of Okinawa. 87 killed
Mar 25 1915 – USS F-4 (SS-23) sunk after a battery explosion off Honolulu, Hawaii. 21 died
Mar 26 1944 – USS Tullibee (SS-284) accidentally sunk by circular run of own torpedo off Palau Islands. 79 died
Mar 28 1945 – WWII: USS Trigger (SS-237) sunk by Japanese patrol vessel Mikura, Coast Defense Vessel No.33,and Coast Defense Vessel No. 59 in the Nansei Soto. 89 killed.
[Source: Various Mar 2012 ++]