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Justin Q. Olmstead

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About Justin Q. Olmstead

  • Birthday 07/19/1970

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  • Location
    Winfield, Kansas USA
  • Interests
    I am a history teacher currently working on my masters degree. I have also created an on-line American History course for my school district. While I currently teach about lthe US Constitution, American History and Middle Eastern Studies, I have always been very interested in the 1860's to 1990's time period in European history. I am also a member of the National Council for History Education. I own a small cattle ranch and coach soccer. In this respect I am a huge ManU and Reading fan but follow European Football as a general rule.

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  1. While I am not trying to take away the role of the Soviet Army in defeating Hitler, or the role of the British or American soldiers in doing the same, I don't think that we can discount Hitler's meddeling in the Wehrmacht's business. believe that most military historians agree that Hitler caused every soldier from his Generals on down the line headaches because of his insane orders, to hold a certain line or to attack when regrouping was what was needed. In fact his tactics tend to parallel the French and British tactis of the First World War. Additionally, one can argue that the Nazi decision at Wansee to destroy the Jewish population of Europe cost the Germans additional manpower that could have been used at the front. Along this same line of thought, the brutality with which the military dealt with the civilian population in the east turned many who welcomed the German Army as liberators into enemies that tied up countless supplies behind the front lines. So while the Soviet army did eventually destroy 150 German divisions, we have to remember Hitlers blunders played a rather large part in the Wehrmacht's defeat.
  2. Very well done! The fact that it is interactive is wonderful. This is the type of thing that "hooks" students and invites them to look at history in a new way. By actively engaging students in this excercise they will be able to understand the small details that are often over looked in grade 10-11 classes here in America. I also like the worksheets, in particular the International relations chart. I will be beginning WWI this week and look forward to seeing who well this web site works. Again, Good Job!
  3. If there is a moral imerative, as George Monbiot has suggested (and for the record, I believe there is), then individuals bear as much of a responsiblity to change global worming as much as governments. Individual's must learn to recycle, or not wast. The important piece of this, is that many people do not view this as really making a difference. Along this same line, it is important for business and governments to make it not neccessarily easy but at least a bit more convienent for people to do their part. Tax breaks for companies that are engaged in actually cutting waste or recycling will go a long way towards new or companies/businesses that are "making a difference." Now don't get me wrong, Government's have their role in the process by passing laws or adopting laws that are "green" friendly. The problem is that many people don't believe that they can make a difference. Is this due to the adds of ExxonMobile, or Philipmorris? Maybe, but here in the cultural and intillectual wastland of Kansas, the main complaints are that: 1. It is hard to find somewhere to actually recycle. 2. It is very, very inconvienient (while I personally think this is a weak argument it is still an argument I hear often) 3. Many people believe that they are being lied to about the worth of recycling and that the items that they believe they are recycling are in fact being dumped into a landfill. Another issue that must be dealt with is the subborn position of the US government and corporations. A year ago or so I read an article in Utne magazine, where US corporations were doing everything that they could to thwart the attempts of European countries to impliment environmentally favorable laws. Needless to say I was embarrased to be an American before I was finished reading. I came to the conclusion that other countries, in particular those in Europe and large trading partners elsewhere must take the stand and place sanctions on the US in an attempt to force it to take a responsible role in dealing with global warming.
  4. Wonderful work Andy! I am just about to begin lessons on World War II and look forward to trying your lessons out. I do have two questions though. First, on the plenary, is there a way for them to print it out in order to either turn it in or keep it? Secondly, what program (s) did you use to create the plenary? My school uses moodle and I have yet to be able to create something like this. The same goes for the interactive diagram. I love both exercises and commend you for your work. I would also like to applaud your commitment to sharing your work. For the most part I have found teachers willing to share, but upon occasion some refuse to share "their" work. Thanks for helping better the education of students around the world.
  5. It is interesting indeed. Here in the states, at least in the Mid-West, Churchill is portrayed as one of the great men in history, and he is. The problem arrises from the fact that we are not allowed to see his "bad side." I would say that John's initial position that these documents could change the way we see Churchill, will be dulled by the fact that many will claim that anyone who writes about this aspect of Churchill is a revisionist. Much in the same way Howard Zinn is seen in this country. People won't, or don't want to find fault in someone they have been taught is infallable. Interestingly, Franklin Roosevelt is seen in much that same way in the U.S. Most are taught that the man could do no wrong, and was loved by all, when in fact many people blame him for making them go hungry, during the depression due to his farming policies. While doing oral histories with members of my family that were alive during the depression, most of them adore FDR and credit him for saving them and America. But a few, blame him for their remaining literally hungry during the depression. Oddly enough Teddy Roosevelt is almost always shown in this "perfect light" as well, despite the fact that he was a proponent of eugenics. I would love to see more books, articles, etc. written discussing the "alternative" views about some of these great men.
  6. Indeed, from the little information I have, the course work at Crichton campus within the University of Glasgow (yes, Terry you were correct) would be 100% research, while the U.S. coursework is approximately 50/50 course to research. Is one better than the other? My understanding is that in the U.S. the programs are designed to be broad early and narrow your focus as you progress, while in Europe you begin with your primary focus and then broaden your view after you have compleated your PhD. I have asked this question of a former professor of mine here in Kansas and her response was that she would be hesitant to hire someone with a PhD from Europe because her fear is that they would want to do nothing but research and no teaching. Personally, I think this is a false view, but this is something that I would have to deal with. I have also been told that the supervisor makes a real difference, but I am a little limited (I think) to my research into the different programs because of my distance from Crichton campus. I have to admit that if I can get the funding, I am leaning towards Crichton campus. Secondary question: How does one choose their dissertation? I have a great interest in history in general, but my focus goes from anything dealing with the age of empire to WWI and WWII, the Cold War, etc. My masters thesis is dealing with Eisenhowers decision to allow the U-2 flight that was shot down over the USSR, but I have such an intense interest in these other areas that I am finding it hard to try and narrow it down. Additionally, I wonder if the topic of my dissertation will have an impact on my ability to get hired. Do you have any info about Crichton Campus within the University of Glasgow?
  7. This may or may not be the place for this but I wanted to get more opinions before I proceed. I will be finishing my MA in American History this coming May and I intend on pursuing my PhD hopefully the following Fall. I have been in contact with a couple of local Universities (Kansas State University and Oklahoma State University) but I have also been afforded the opportunity to study at Crichton University in Scotland. My masters advisor and another of my professors say that it would be a mistake to get my PhD from a European University, for a variety of reasons. Another professor, who received his PhD from Sheffield, argues that while the process of gaining the PhD is different, there is essentially little difference when it comes time to look for a job. I would like your input in this matter if possible. What is your opinion? Does it matter where one receives his/her PhD as long as he/she has earned it? The more info. I get the better decision I hope to make so please don't hold back. Additionally, I think this could turn into a great discussion about educational programs on both sides of the Atlantic.
  8. It occured to me the other day that maybe our leaders have learned the wrong lessons from the Munich pact. Since the end of the Second World War, American Presidents have sent young Americans into battle under the guise of not appeasing a tyrant, the latest example being President Bush's claim that we needed to invade Iraq and stop appeasing Hussein. But was the lesson of Munich really that appeasement leads to a massive war? Could it be that leaders for the last fifty years have led their countries into battle from a bad position? In reality the question should be what did appeasement achieve. Did it buy time for those opposed to Hitler and Germany's ambitions to prepare their countries for war? Did it buy time for Germany? This then raises other questions, would Hitler have continued without the appeasement? Did the allies prepare their countries for war? Hitler's record is pretty clear, he would have continued his policy of expansion regardless of the outcome of Munich. Americans tend to forget that they never saw the carnage the First World War left on the landscape of Europe, and the mindset of both the leaders and people of all countries involved. Having first hand knowledge of this carnage, it is clear that the leaders of Britain and France were hoping to spare their populations from having to survive a second war being fought on their soil. So then the question is, what was the real lesson of Munich? Could it be simply that one should not announce "Peace in our time" or is there a lesson to learn at all.
  9. A fellow teacher of mine will be teaching higher level U.S. history covering the Civil War by the first week in December. If this will work, feel free to e-mail him at brad_wall@usd465.com. He is the advanced placement teacher for our history department.
  10. Two other books that are pretty informative on the subject of Historiography are Ernst Breisach's "Historiography: Ancient, Medieval and Modern." and Georg Iggers' "Historiography in the Twentieth Century: From Scientific Objectivity to the Postmodern Chanllenge." While I found Breisach easier to read they are both informative.
  11. The unfortunate truth of the matter is that many of my fellow countrymen have such a lack of knowledge in their own history that they don't know the truth. Most U.S. history classes (until more recently) only made it to World War II. Many students didn't learn about Watergate, Korea or Vietnam due to the way U.S. schools view the importance of history. As far as "the U.S. saving Europe and the World" I think that most Americans feel that WWII was not the first time it had happened. Most believe that it happened in WWI as well. Again, while I personally, don't agree with this view, I think it comes from the fact that American history classes run at a fast a furious pace to cover Jamestown to current events. Many students don't like history because so many teachers are lecturing to them so all they hear is " The Germans were winning, Blah,blah,Blah, U.S. enters the war, Blah. Blah, Blah, we win." Please do not view this as an excuse for my countries lack of historical understanding, but as an explaination for it.
  12. It is my understanding that while LBJ was truly in love with the Great Society he was never willing to give it the full funding it needed. Not so much because of the war in Vietnam but because of politics. LBJ was such a politician he knew, or at least thought he knew, that his programs would have to start out on smaller budgets. Sargent Shriver, who was pulled off of the Peace Corps and placed in charge of some of the Great Society programs commented many times that LBJ would ask him to do great things on shoe-string budgets. I have also read where the LBJ had said that to get re-elected and to get the Great Society off the ground he could not afford to look soft on Communism. If you think about it, Truman was tagged as loosing China and if Johnson pulled out of Vietnam then he would be tagged as lossing SE Asia. Part of this does fall on the domino theory, which I think we would all agree was false. Although I have heard arguments that state that since we fought in Vietnam the communists did not move into Maylasia and the Philipinnes as was feared. While I can see where this argument comes from, I for one, don't buy it.
  13. My name is Justin Quinn Olmstead and I hold degrees in both political science and history. I am currently working to complete my Masters degree in U.S. history. I teach at Winfield High School covering both U.S. Govenment and U.S. History, and I try to spend a week covering Nixon and Watergate.
  14. My name is Justin Quinn Olmstead and I hold BA's in both Political Science and History and am currently working on my MA in U.S. History. I teach U.S. Government and U.S. History at the high school level, which includes a week long look at Nixon and the Watergate scandal.
  15. Tomorrow, April 5, 2005, the state of Kansas will join the mounting group of states in voting to ban gay marriage or simply redefine marriage as a union between a man and a woman. I find this tampering with any form of constitution quite troubling for several reasons: the first being that any amendment that takes away individual rights abrogates the founding fathers intentions. Secondly, I have problems with the arguments used by those who are attempting to tamper with the state constitutions, "Protect Marriage, vote yes," to amend the constitution. The questions that comes to mind for me is, how can people who claim to be good christians vote to deny someone's rights? Doesn't the bible not say "thou shall not judge." I also look at history and these incremental steps to limit individual freedoms remind me of the moves of Joseph McCarthy as well as the moves made by the Nazis in the 1930's. These are indeed scary times we live in.
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