“This will remain the land of the free so long as it is the home of the brave.”
- Elmer Davis -
Throughout history, when our nation has found it necessary to go to war, hundreds of thousands of ordinary young men and women from Wisconsin – our friends, neighbors, family members – have done extraordinary things to uphold the principles our country stands for.
THE FRONTIER WARS
1609-1924 | 1869-1890
The “Army on the Frontier” was created as an extension of the United States Army to act as a principal agent for the country’s expansion into the western frontier. Soldiers were stationed near the frontier settlements and were deemed responsible for ensuring the success of expansion and the containment of Native Americans. Fewer than 12,000 soldiers were assigned to serve in this region which spanned over 2 million square miles and occupied approximately 200,000 Native Americans.
WISCONSIN IN THE SPANISH AMERICAN WAR
The Spanish-American War began in April 1898, when Americans were outraged after the U.S.S. Maine was inexplicably sunk in Havana Harbor. The ship was sent to protect U.S. citizens and property after anti-Spanish rioting in a Spanish-controlled Cuba. Spain was woefully underprepared to combat U.S. advances.
In southeast Europe, tensions began to build between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and smaller countries under its rule that were searching for more independence. Tensions finally came to a boiling point when the heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and his wife, were assassinated by a Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip on June 28th, 1914.
The instability that followed World War I in Europe laid the foundation for another international conflict, World War II. Decades after the first war, Germany was still politically and economically unstable and harbored harsh resentment. This resentment helped fuel motivation from the Nazi Party’s leader Adolf Hitler to seize power and lead Germany in a direction he thought best fit.
THE KOREAN WAR
Originally a part of the Japanese empire, Korea had fallen under the responsibility of the United States and Soviet Union following World War II. As a compromise, the two nations split the country in half, marking the border with the 38th parallel. In the south, the anti-communist dictator Syngman Rhee was supported by the United States and in the north, communist dictator Kim II Sung was supported by the Soviets.
THE VIETNAM WAR
The conflict was intensified by the on-going Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. Vietnam had two oppositional forces battling for government control, Emperor Bao Dai and the newly formed Viet Minh led by Ho Chi Minh. Both sides wanted a unified Vietnam, however, there was disagreement on the foundation of the country.