The Virginia Tech Undergraduate Historical Review

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The Virginia Tech Undergraduate Historical Review is a peer-reviewed undergraduate research journal published biannually through the cooperation of the History Department at Virginia Tech, Phi Alpha Theta's chapter at Virginia Tech, and a dedicated staff of reviewers and editors. The Undergraduate Historical Review highlights the best research being produced by undergraduate historians here at Virginia Tech. Visit the journal hompage at


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 20 of 47
  • A Brief History of Quarantine
    Drews, Kelly (Virginia Tech Department of History, 2013-05-01)
  • Solidarity, A Look at the Literature of a Social Movement, 1980-1989
    Cardwell, Grace (Virginia Tech Department of History, 2013-05-01)
  • A Propelling Purpose, A Look at the Motives Behind Group Supplying Aid to Renamo
    Bolton, Emily (Virginia Tech Department of History, 2013-05-01)
  • Executive Exploitation, Richard Nixon, Administrative Policy, and the Vietnam War
    Burton, Luke (Virginia Tech Department of History, 2013-05-01)
  • Help on the Homefront, The Women of the USO
    Bolt, Carmen (Virginia Tech Department of History, 2013-05-01)
    When General Eisenhower described the “cooperative, voluntary undertaking” on the home front, he was referring specifically to the role and actions of the United Service Organization(s) (USO) during World War II. Established in 1941, the USO –a voluntary organization made up of an original six independent agencies –provided aid, both on the home front and overseas. Eisenhower put special emphasis on “the people at home” because of the constant aid and support generated by women remaining on the home front.1 Over the course of the Second World War, women experienced a shift in their gender roles as they stepped forward to maintain the American “War Machine” while many men were overseas. Women provided the necessary labor in mechanical jobs and volunteer organizations, such as the USO... Women were never simply "given” the right to work, or vote, or stand side-by-side with men socially. It would be a long, hard-fought war, a war where they once more would have to break the norm, step out of the households, and confront their typical reality with the hope and determination to achieve something more for themselves. Organizations, such as the USO, provided a vital stepping-stone to propel women toward greater gender equality. By allowing women to labor alongside men within the workplace, the USO got women out of the household, out of the kitchens, and into a more equal society.
  • Virginia Tech Undergraduate Historical Review (Vol. 7, full issue)
    Hemmingson, Grace; Furrow, Heath A.; Ebersohl, Courtney; Brenner, Talia; Keillor, Genevieve; Chehade, Nala; Mastakas, John Mark; Kapinos, Andrew; Megargee, Andrew (Virginia Tech Department of History, 2018-04-23)
    Welcome to the Seventh Volume of the Virginia Tech Undergraduate Historical Review! Our team of undergraduate and graduate editors work to present the best available original undergraduate historical research from Virginia Tech and institutions across the East Coast. The Review seeks to provide undergraduate researchers with opportunities to improve their historical skills, experience the publishing process and, ultimately, to know the joy of seeing their hard work appear in print. Our board of undergraduate editors employs a blind review process, scoring each work according to a standardized rubric which emphasizes the author’s engagement with the secondary literature on their topic, ability to create an argument from their primary source base and ability to clearly articulate their ideas. The excellence of the articles included in this volume stems from our author’s hard work, dedication and willingness to accept and employ constructive feedback, as well as the long hours of analysis, proof-reading and effort on the part of our undergraduate, graduate and faculty editors. For volume Seven we have expanded the scope of the Review in ex-citing new directions. This marks the first year that the Review will include historiographic articles in addition to pieces of original re-search. This represents an exciting opportunity to help undergraduates engage in and write about historical conversations. We have also included the winners of the Department’s awards for Best Paper and Best Digital History Project.
  • Meeting a Historian: An Interview with Dr. Geoffrey Megargee
    Megargee, Geoffrey; Kapinos, Andrew; Hemmingson, Grace (Virginia Tech Department of History, 2018-04-23)
    An interview with Dr. Geoffrey Megargee, focusing on his experiences as a historian of the eastern front and the historiographical conversation on this topic.
  • Her Beauty Captivated His Mind and the Sword Severed His Neck! The Changing Depiction of Judith Beheading Holofernes from the Pre-Renaissance Era to Contemporary Society
    Keillor, Genevieve (Virginia Tech Department of History, 2018-04-23)
    This study examines artistic depictions of the story of Judith beheading Holofernes in the Book of Judith from different historical eras. The goal of these case studies is to bring attention to how art has reflected ideas about women in the past using sexist stereotypes. This article treats these ideas and the production of artwork as historically contingent in order to question the misogyny displayed through the history of art. Using historical research and stylistic analysis, this article will argue that Judith was portrayed differently during each era in response to how women were viewed at the time.
  • The Kremlin Kronicle, A Short Reflection
    Mastakas, John Mark (Virginia Tech Department of History, 2018-04-23)
    A short reflection on the 2017 winner of the Virginia Tech History Department's Digital History Prize.
  • We Believed It to Be Honorable Before God, Religion in Enslaved Communities, 1840-60
    Ebersohl, Courtney (Virginia Tech Department of History, 2018-04-23)
    The dehumanization of African people in the United States began with their capture and the exploitation of their labor and bodies, which white people justified through the conviction of their inherent superiority. Collective religious passion was an effective defensive measure, but it did not prevent slaveholders from exploiting black labor. This paper will use testimonies and narratives to argue that religion in the South from 1840 – 1865 offered a social sphere within enslaved communities that relieved experiences of dehumanization under slavery. Although enslaved people did not always intend to challenge the institution of slavery, their actions demonstrated resistance to the objectives of slavery, especially their own dehumanization.
  • Dismantling the Myths of the Eastern Front, The Role of the Wehrmacht in the War of Annihilation
    Kapinos, Andrew (Virginia Tech Department of History, 2018-04-23)
    The English-language historiography of the Eastern Front of World War II is notably sparse until the late 1980s and early 1990s. In the first couple of post-war decades, memoirs written by former generals in the Wehrmacht, the armed forces of the Third Reich, dominated the historical conversation. These memoirs created the myth of the clean and apolitical Wehrmacht, where military operations and genocidal policy were separate. According to this narrative, it was the Nazi leadership and the SS that committed large-scale atrocities on the Eastern Front while the Wehrmacht focused only on winning the war. Anglo-American historians largely accepted these accounts, mainly because of Cold War tensions with the Soviet Union. The experiences of German generals were invaluable insights into Soviet doctrine, and therefore the generals’ tendency to downplay their own complicity in Nazi war crimes was largely accepted. Increasing access to German and later Soviet archives in the 1980s and 1990s revealed that this was far from the truth. Recent historical works have demonstrated that genocidal policy and war strategy were inextricably linked. The question of why the Wehrmacht accepted Nazi ideology is more difficult to answer. Historians have applied this question to both the High Command and to the everyday soldiers, with differing conclusions.
  • Paint and Politics, Analyzing the 2011 Egyptian Revolution through Graffiti
    Chehade, Nala (Virginia Tech Department of History, 2018-04-23)
    This paper will analyze the works of street artists Ganzeer, Zeft, and Ammar Abo Bakr during the Egyptian Revolution in 2011. It will argue that alternative media affected social change more efficiently than traditional digital and print media. Each section will analyze graffiti pieces as belonging to one of three categories: social movements aimed at mobilizing citizens towards a common goal, visions of alternate futures aimed at remedying present problems, or memorials aimed at honoring victims and documenting administrative crimes. Additionally, each section will examine the production and preservation of specific pieces, including audience interaction and distribution, as a factor in the changing perception of national identity during the Arab Spring. The multitude of graffiti pieces complicate the construction of a single narrative by suggesting diversity in political leaders and historical narratives. The graffiti pieces reflect the diversity of citizens and present an acceptance of the multiplicity of national narratives as a solution to the causes of the Egyptian Revolution and wider Arab Spring.
  • The Silent Decade: Why It Took Ten Years to Ban DDT in the United States
    Whitney, Chris (Virginia Tech Department of History, 2012-05-01)
  • Virginia Tech Undergraduate Historical Review, vol. 6, full issue
    Caprice, Kevin; Hemmingson, Grace; Stewart, Emily; Leep, Parker; Cooper, Kelly; Smith, Bekah; Urquidi, Cristina; Shank, Ian (Virginia Tech Department of History, 2017-10-01)
    Volume Six of the Review begins with Emily Stewart’s “Take Cover” which examines the implementation of the National Civic Defense Program in Montgomery County during the Cold War. Next, Cristina Urquidi seeks to explain American media reaction to Hitler’s rise to power in the 1930s through the use of media framing theory in her essay “American Media Coverage of the Rise of Hitler.” Then, in “Roman Corbridge and the Corbridge Hoard,” Parker Leep analyzes how archaeologists and classic historians reconstruct the past through looking at the case of the Roman Corbridge. Afterwards, Bekah Smith, in her article “Freedom in the Night,” reexamines the lives of African American slaves in the Antebellum South and considers how the nighttime impacted slaves’ lives by giving them more freedom. She also questions why slave owners feared the nighttime. Kelly Cooper then looks at art conservation efforts during World War II and why some communities went to great lengths to preserve artwork from the Medieval and Renaissance Periods. Her article “Saving VanEyck and Leonardo Da Vinci” asks how the power of art influenced people to act and save it. Lastly, Ian Shank’s article “Home to Port” reflects on the experiences of Italian soldiers during the African Campaign in World War II.
  • America Rock's Education, Presenting National Narratives on American Television
    Brenner, Talia (Virginia Tech Department of History, 2018-04-23)
    In 1995, Schoolhouse Rock Live! opened off-Broadway and went on to enjoy a successful run. As a “jukebox” musical, its score comprised selections from all the classic Schoolhouse Rock genres, ricochetingbetween Science Rock (“Interplanet Janet”), America Rock (“ElbowRoom”), Math Rock (“Three is a Magic Number”), and Grammar Rock (“Unpack your Adjectives”). Since then, the musical has become a popular choice for amateur theater companies around the United States.A large factor in the musical’s success is the strong influence of nostalgia. In the case of Schoolhouse Rock, this nostalgia is not too surprising: the cartoons were a 1970s and ‘80s childhood classic, a family-friendly collection of songs that adult audience members can now pass on to their children. This nostalgia can reverberate generationally as a generation of children develop their own memories of their parents’ childhood television. Schoolhouse Rock’s status as a classic remains unclear, since the generation of children of parents born in the 1960s and ‘70s is only now developing its own culture of nostalgia. Yet Schoolhouse Rock remains strong for the present, in part because it is tied so deeply to the acculturation to U.S. history that has contributed to a generation’s national identity. As such, these stories often receive an uncritical reception from students and grownups remembering their childhoods. Examining these stories in relation to the historical understanding of the time may help to break down the implicit messages in these beloved cartoons. America Rock presents a fairly familiar story to anyone who went through the American public educational system in the late twentieth century. The story of the United States’ founding and expansion in both land mass and population depicted in these videos are central to our idea of American national identity.
  • Take Cover, Nuclear Preparations in Montgomery County
    Stewart, Emily (Virginia Tech Department of History, 2017-10-01)
    A nuclear weapon is an explosive device the destructive potential of which derives from the energy that is released by the splitting or combining of atomic nuclei. The use of nuclear weapons became a threat to the world with the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end World War II. The United States federal government worked to aid nuclear preparations throughout the nation. Throughout approximately forty years of American history, tensions between the United States and Russia led to civil defense programs that prepared for a nuclear attack. The government set federal restrictions in order to establish guidelines for states to follow when preparing for a nuclear crisis.
  • American Media Coverage of the Rise of Hitler, an Indicator of Depression-Era American Isolationism or of a False Assessment of the Rise of the Chancellor?
    Urquidi, Christina (Virginia Tech Department of History, 2017-10-01)
    This study seeks to analyze the response of the US media to the rise of Hitler, a process which occurred during the Great Depression, in the 1930s. At a time when the attention of the country was focused on domestic economic problems, assessment of the rise of a leader who became such a prominent figure is an interesting topic worthy of analysis. While his rise could not be wholly ignored, one can imagine that it would probably have been spoken of more in a less tense domestic climate. Overall, this study shows that the rise of the Führer was not described in as critical of a way as should be expected of a democratic nation, especially one that would go on to fight, in an extremely bloody and protracted manner, this man and all he represented.
  • Freedom in the Night, Antebellum Slave Life After Dark
    Smith, Bekah (Virginia Tech Department of History, 2017-10-01)
    The movement of slaves during the night is not an area that seems to have generated much conversation among scholars. The main narrative that slaves fall into is that of the brutality and oppression they endured in the South. While that narrative is important to reconstruct, the movements and actions of slaves after their work hours is just as crucial to our understanding. Looking at slave choices during the night can speak to what male and female slaves wanted for themselves as well as their families. Stephanie Camp and Deborah White both speak at great lengths in their books of the slave’s nights, especially those of female slaves. Larry Hudson’s book, To Have and To Hold, focuses on the nuclear slave family and included descriptions of their activities during the hours of darkness. The topic of slavery brings about many questions, but observing slave movements occurring at night may answer some of those questions. What roles did men take on during the night? What were the responsibilities of women after work hours? Did night play a significant role in slaves attempting or successfully running away? What was the reaction of white Southerners to slave mobility during the dark and did this mobility threaten daytime work? What were the sleeping conditions of slaves? In the antebellum South, nighttime offered slaves more than sleep. Night for slaves allowed them greater freedom such as white men experienced during the day. A sense of freedom existed for slaves, both male and female, during the hours of darkness: freedom not just from exhaustive hours of labor, but the freedom of choice in how to spend their time without the watchful eye of overseers.
  • Roman Corbridge and the Corbridge Hoard, Reconstructing the World of Roman Britain
    Leep, Parker (Virginia Tech Department of History, 2017-10-01)
    The last vestiges of the Roman-British world exist throughout modern day Britain and Scotland, ranging from coin hoards in the countryside to Roman urban remains in modern English cities. In particular, the Roman town of Corbridge in northeastern England played an important role throughout the history of Roman Britain and also is home to a variety of material culture evidence that has helped shape how the modern world views and understands Roman Britain. By examining modern Corbridge, its history, and the Corbridge Hoard, one can reconstruct and better understand the Roman world of Britain during this period both militarily and culturally.
  • From Home to Port, Italian Soldiers' Perspectives on the Opening Stage of the Ethiopian Campaign
    Shank, Ian (Virginia Tech Department of History, 2017-10-01)
    In this article I analyzed the journey of Italy’s soldiers from home to the port of embarkation. Far from a united and uniform fighting force, I showed that Italian soldiers originally conceived of their enlistment in strikingly divergent terms. At the outset of the campaign some were clearly reluctant, suspicious recruits. Others, meanwhile, were broadly enthusiastic about the adventure and adversity that lay ahead. But all–to some degree or another–had yet to take firm personal ownership of the campaign they had been called to serve. Nonetheless, over the course of these soldiers’ journeys south, their first engagements with the country and countrymen that existed beyond the domains of their provincial homes ultimately yielded a crucial measure of national solidarity by the time of their embarkation for the Ethiopian front.
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