Good-bye to All That: Len Shurtleff Goes West

Ambassador Leonard G. Shurtleff, past president of the Western Front Association – US Branch and the World War One Historical Association, passed away at the age of 74 on Jan. 22 in Gainesville, Fla.

LenAmbassador Shurtleff was commissioned as a Foreign Service Officer in 1962 and served for 32 years in a variety of overseas posts including Venezuela, Sierra Leone, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Mauritania, Colombia, Liberia, and the Congo. He served his country as the U.S. Ambassador to Congo-Brazzaville from 1987-1990. In his State Department career, he was Director for African Regional Affairs, Deputy Director of the Office of Central African Affairs, and an intelligence analyst. Ambassador Shurtleff spoke French and Spanish as second languages and was a Chevalier of the Congolese Order of Merit.

After retiring from the Foreign Service with a rank of Minister-Counselor in 1995, Ambassador Shurtleff moved to Gainesville and became active as a volunteer in a number of organizations. He was a Master Mason, a chapter president of the Sons of the American Revolution, an advisor for the DeMolay organization, and an honorary member of Phi Alpha Theta, the National History Honorary Society.

He served as President of the U.S. Branch of the WFA from 1996 to 2004 and was a Vice President of WFA in the U.K. and President of the WW1HA from 2013 to 2014.

Ambassador Shurtleff was an authority on the diplomatic and political history surrounding the First World War, writing and lecturing in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. He contributed to the scholarship on WWI by serving on the Norman B. Tomlinson Jr. Book Prize Committee from 1999 through 2014 and by maintaining his “Len’s Bookshelf” feature of book reviews on the Web starting in 2000. http://ww1ha.org/lens-bookshelf/

His reviews appeared in many publications, including the WFA’s Stand To. westernfrontassociation.com/book-reviews

The depth of his commitment to World War I history organizations is best understood from the memories of his fellow directors of the WW1HA. Sheila Swigert of Staten Island, N.Y., wrote: “Len was such a presence on [battlefield] tours, at seminars, and as president of the WW1HA. On top if that, I really liked him. I shall miss him, as we all shall.”

David Beer of Austin, Texas, commented, “I am really saddened by Len’s death. He was a good friend, a great companion at conferences, and a vital part of our organization. And he really knew books.”

Richard VandenBrul of Livonia, Mich., described meeting the ambassador for the first time: “ I first met Len at a Western Front Association-US Branch meeting at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton. It must have been 1997. I had driven from St. Louis and I arrived at Wright-Patterson in the dark. It Len was holding court and sitting with a few people. I did not know anyone. He was very cordial and invited me to join the group. Over the years we attended many meetings. I shall miss Len. His book reviews were wonderful. Insightful. We were on several Western Front trips together. Len loved what he did and had a great retirement enjoying traveling to and attending WWI Seminars and events. He was our Ambassador at Large!”

Ambassador Shurtleff is survived by his wife, Christine M. Shurtleff, herself a former Foreign Service Information Officer and past president of the Association of American Foreign Service Women.

I knew him as a knowledgeable and entertaining traveling companion and late-night raconteur. He was an invaluable source of insight, especially during the summer leading up to the anniversary of the outbreak of hostilities, detailing the ins and outs – mostly outs – of the diplomacy of those fateful months. I will miss him.

Susan and Len in the Vosges

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The British Journal for Military History

The British Journal for Military History launched on Trafalgar Day 2014 (21st October). Representing a unique vehicle for distributing high-quality military history to an audience beyond academia, the BJMH is open access, applies peer review policies to all the articles we receive and is published three times a year.

Endorsed by Professor Sir Michael Howard and with an editorial advisory board that includes some of Britain’s finest military historians, the first issue showcases some of the journal’s ambitions. Articles consider a number of topics, from the use and abuse of military history, to military promotion, shooting power, memory and war, the evolution of strategy and changing identities.

Future issues include papers by Professors Bruce Collins, David French, Andrew Roberts and Charles Esdaile and consider issues that range from French, British, Dutch and Italian approaches to counterinsurgency to Waterloo, Napoleon and the British Army in the Peninsular Campaign.

Apart from offering a platform for well-established historians the editors are keen to encourage new and upcoming authors – including ABD PhD Candidates – to submit their work. The Editors would be especially pleased to receive papers from authors keen to reach audiences beyond academia.

The Journal’s website is http://bjmh.org.uk/index.php/bjmh, Information about submitting articles can be found at http://bjmh.org.uk/index.php/bjmh/about/submissions

An article of particular interest in the current issue is “Ireland’s New Memory of the First World War: Forgotten Aspects of the Battle of Messines, June 1917.”

http://bjmh.org.uk/index.php/bjmh/article/view/6

“Military history is now too important to be left to the military historians” – Professor Sir Michael Howard endorses the BJMH

 

 

 

The 2014 Tomlinson Prize

Dr. Paul Jankowski, Raymond Ginger Professor of History at Brandeis University, has won the 2014 Norman B. Tomlinson, Jr. Book Prize for his book “Verdun: The Longest Battle of the Great War.”

The prize is offered annually for the best historical work on World War One by The World War One Historical Association. It consists of a check for $3,000 and a bronze plaque. For more information on the programs and publications of The World War One Historical Association, consult our website, ww1ha.org.

The winner is chosen by a panel chaired by Professor Dennis Showalter of Colorado College. Other members of the selection panel are Dr. Michael Neiberg of the U. S. Army War College and Amb. Leonard G. Shurtleff, a former WW1HA president.