Military Bases Named for Confederates: Renaming Suggestions From Military HistoriansHistorians in the News
tags: military history, memorials, Confederacy
We wondered why the bases have these names in the first place, so we checked with eight military historians. The historians were unanimous that the base names should be changed, and they offered a panoply of possible honorees. (Here’s a full list of the 10 bases and their current namesakes.)
Why were these bases named for Confederate generals in the first place?
An irony is that, except for Gen. Robert E. Lee, most of these Confederate generals "were undistinguished, if not incompetent, battlefield commanders," David Petraeus, the former Army general and CIA director, wrote recently in the Atlantic.
The naming of bases after Confederates stems from both prosaic and weightier factors, historians said.
The base namings came first during World War I and then during World War II. In both cases, the military was scrambling to ramp up its forces after peacetime lulls. And at the time, the South offered the fastest path for expansion.
In this context, getting the political support of local politicians by choosing a name they liked "was paramount," said Lance Janda, a Cameron University historian. In the South, the military often took its cues from local and state politicians, historians said.
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