Guard Wars

Guard Wars

The 28th Infantry Division in World War II
Michael E. Weaver
Distribution: World
Publication date: 10/5/2010
ISBN: 978-0-253-00493-2
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2011 AAUP Public and Secondary School Library Selection
An inventive study of relations between the National Guard and the Regular Army during World War II, Guard Wars follows the Pennsylvania National Guard's 28th Infantry Division from its peacetime status through training and into combat in Western Europe. The broader story, spanning the years 1939–1945, sheds light on the National Guard, the U.S. Army, and American identities and priorities during the war years. Michael E. Weaver carefully tracks the division’s difficult transformation into a combat-ready unit and highlights General Omar Bradley's extraordinary capacity for leadership—which turned the Pennsylvanians from the least capable to one of the more capable units, a claim dearly tested in the Battle of the Hürtgen Forest. This absorbing and informative analysis chronicles the nation's response to the extreme demands of a world war, and the flexibility its leaders and soldiers displayed in the chaos of combat.

Author Bio

Michael E. Weaver is Associate Professor of Comparative Military History at the U.S. Air Force Air Command and Staff College.


"A significant contribution to understanding how the U.S. Army organized, trained, and prepared for war." —Edward G. Miller, author of Nothing Less than Full Victory: Americans at War in Europe, 1944–1945

"Weaver has written an excellent account of the Pennsylvania National Guard's role in the European campaign. He has also demonstrated that there is still much important work to be done on the U.S. Army's participation in the 'good war.'" —The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography , April 2011

Guard Wars is an excellent addition to any World War II library. The book is a study in preparedness, and many of its lessons are relevant today." —Journal of Army History , Fall 2011

"Weaver has written an absorbing book that includes fascinating details about the pre-war National Guard, its relations with the Regular Army, and the uncomfortable amalgamation of the two caused by the national emergency. Weaver's research is wide-ranging and his writing skill is admirable; his analyses and conclusions are all reasonable and supported by the evidence he presents." —
The Journal of America's Military Past

"Micheal E. Weaver's Guard Wars does a fine job of bringing the Twenty-Eighth Infantry Division to life." —H-Net Reviews Humanities and Social Sciences

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Table of Contents

List of Maps
1. Introduction: Background and Issues
2. Relations with the Army and State Identity
3. Readiness and Training: 1939—1941
4. Peacetime Maneuvers: 1939—1941
5. The Pennsylvania National Guard and American Society
6. Social Class, Recruiting, and Ideology
7. The October Purge
8. Stateside Training: 1942—1943
9. Training in Wales: 1943—1944
10. From Normandy to the West Wall
11. Battle of the Hürtgen Forest: A Leadership Failure
12. Battle of the Bulge: Stubbornness and Flexibility
13. Winter Battles
14. Conclusion
Appendix 1: The Execution of Private Slovik
Appendix 2: The Reestablishment of the Pennsylvania National Guard