Writer's Guide to Government Information

Resources to inject real life detail into your fiction

Archive for the tag “racism”

Marines and Military Law in Vietnam: Trial by Fire

Marines and Military Law in Vietnam: Trial by Fire. LtCol Gary D. Solis, USMC. 1989. 295 pp

Print – http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/24248654 

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • How long did US servicemembers serve for the murder of noncombatants?
  • What were characteristics of servicemembers found guilty of fragging their commanders?
  • How widespread was marijuana use in Vietnam? How did the military legal system fight it?


A mostly chronological history of the institutions of military law and how they functioned in Vietnam. A number of courtmartial trials, including some for the murder of noncombatants are described. Chapter subheadings are descriptive and there is an index. Some of the subchapters that might be helpful to writers of stories set in the Vietnam War are:

  • From a Lawyer’s Case File: The Marine Corps’ First War Crime
  • Conviction in Vietnam
  • From a Lawyer’s Case File: Pilot to Copilot to Brig
  • Homicide on Patrol; Men. Women, and Children
  • Transportation: Hitchhiking to Court
  • Fragging: Friendly Fire With Malice
  • Racial Conflict: Black, White, and Green
  • Closing Cases Versus Best Defense

The Right to Fight: African-American Marines in World War II

The Right to Fight: African-American Marines in World War II. Bernard C. Nalty 1995. 28 pp.
(Paper: http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/33115741)

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What were the initial assignments for African-Americans in the World War II US Navy?
  • How many enlisted African-American Marines participate in the Okinawa campaign? How many officers?
  • Where can I find pictures of Black Marines from World War II?
  • Where can I find pictures from the Battle of Iwo Jima?


A narrative of the how, why and where African-Americans came to serve in the US Marines during World War II. Well illustrated but lacks either table of contents or an index. Does have a handy table of African-American Marine units on page 30 of the PDF file. The entry for each unit carries the date of activation, unit designation, date of deactivation and where deactivated. This book also provides the valuable information that the Marine Corps did not commission one single African-American officer during World War II. Stories of that era should avoid Black Marine Captains. This bit of info might also come in handy for time travel stories.

Five years of the War Department following the war with Spain, 1899-1903 [Philippine Insurrection]

United States. 1904. Five years of the War Department following the war with Spain, 1899-1903, as shown in the Annual reports of the Secretary of War. Washington, D.C.: The Dept.  – http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/568044050

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What oath were insurgent Filipinos desiring amnesty in 1900 asked to take?
  • How did the US government view the people they called Tagalogs?
  • What sorts of Filipinos were exiled to Guam in 1901?
  • What pest killed off about 90% of Filipino draft animals?


This work should probably be taken with a grain of salt and cross-checked against other resources. This five year compilation of annual reports of the War Department following the War with Spain was not only written by the victors, but by people who felt they had a superior claim of civilization based on the color of their skin.

Nonetheless it will come in handy for writers by serving as a useful chronology of events for the Philippine Insurrection. It may also help sculpt situations and characters, especially ones with the racialist attitudes of the late 19th Century.

For an overview of the United States intended to shape the Philippines, read through President McKinley’s instructions to the civil Philippines Commission, starting on page 407.

This work is divided by year. The order of the subjects covered varies from year to year. Fortunately, there is an index starting on page 495. Aside from using “Philippines” as a starting point, look at “recommendations made concerning” starting on page 519, or for “Philippines” under other headings.

Although this work is being cited here as a resource on the US efforts to suppress Filipino resistance, this volume also documents the US point of view in the following campaigns:

  • The Military Government of Porto Rico.
  • The Development and Establishment of the Republic of Cuba.
  • The China Relief Expedition of 1900.

The book can be freely downloaded from Google Books and is available in paper at many Federal Depository Libraries. The WorldCat link given for this work links to a HathiTrust version that can be read online, but not downloaded.

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