Dunn, Walter Scott, Jr. 1928-
DUNN, Walter Scott, Jr. 1928-
PERSONAL: Born April 5, 1928, in Detroit, MI; son of Walter Scott (an automobile worker) and Minnie M. (Van Lahr) Dunn; married Jean Wendeberg, July 11, 1959. Education: University of Durham, B.A., 1951; Wayne State University, M.A., 1952; University of Wisconsin—Madison, Ph.D., 1971.
ADDRESSES: Home—N6539 Peck Station Rd., Elkhorn, WI 53121-3246.
CAREER: Detroit Historical Museum, Detroit, MI, curator, 1953-56; State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Madison, chief curator, 1956-63; Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, Buffalo, NY, director, 1963-79; Des Moines Center of Science and Industry, Des Moines, IA, director, 1979-84; Museum of Transportation, St. Louis, MO, director, 1984-86; Dog Museum of America (now AKC Museum of the Dog), St. Louis, MO, director, 1987-89. African Cultural Center, Buffalo, president, 1964-66; member of Erie County Historical Federation and Puerto Rican Cultural Center. Host of television series about military history and the history of Buffalo, NY, and Madison, WI. Military service: U.S. Army, 1946-47.
MEMBER: American Association of Museums, Association of Military Historians, Civil War Roundtable, Midwest Museum Conference, Walworth County Historical Society (president, 1996).
(With William O. Shelgrin) Ansley Wilcox House N. H. S., U. S. Office of Archeology and Historic Preservation (Washington, DC), 1969.
(Editor) History of Erie County, Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society (Buffalo, NY), 1971.
Second Front Now: 1943, University of Alabama Press (University, AL), 1980.
Hitler's Nemesis: The Red Army, 1930-1945, Praeger (Westport, CT), 1994.
The Soviet Economy and the Red Army, 1930-1945, Praeger (Westport, CT), 1995.
Kursk: Hitler's Gamble, 1943, Praeger (Westport, CT), 1997.
Frontier Profit and Loss: The British Army and the Fur Traders, 1760-1764, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1998.
Walworth County, Arcadia (Charleston, SC), 1998.
Soviet Blitzkrieg: The Battle for White Russia, 1944, Lynne Rienner (Boulder, CO), 2000.
The New Imperial Economy: The British Army and the American Frontier, Praeger (Westport, CT), 2001.
Opening New Markets: The British Army and the Old Northwest, Praeger (Westport, CT), 2002.
Heroes or Traitors: The German Replacement Army, the July Plot, and Adolf Hitler, Praeger (Westport, CT), 2003.
People of the American Frontier: The Coming of the American Revolution, Praeger (Westport, CT), 2005.
Contributor to What If? Strategic Alternatives of WWII, edited by Harold Deutsch and Dennis Showalter, Emperor's Press (Chicago, IL), 1997. Contributing editor of Niagara Frontier, 1963-78, and Museologist, 1975-78.
SIDELIGHTS: Walter Scott Dunn, Jr., once told CA: "Despite the fact that military expenditures take as much as fifty percent of our national budget in peacetime, and during frequent wars take our entire national effort, the study of recent military history has been left mostly to the military and to participants who seldom have a broad view. My work has been directed at relating the economic and administrative elements to military events. My experience in historical agencies and my concern for adequate evidence results in my work being generally heavily documented. Future revisionists will probably find my work more interesting than will the general reader."
Dunn's detailed investigations of World War II military strategy and history have won him the attention of academics and war historians. A Stone & Stone Second World War Books Web site reviewer commented that the author's first book on World War II, Second Front Now: 1943 was notable for its "well-researched, carefully-documented, and closely-reasoned argument regarding the feasibility of an Allied landing in France in 1943." Instead of reviewing well-known wartime debates or imagining what might have happened if alternate strategies had been pursued, "Dunn presented a mass of carefully digested and organized information on the strengths and capabilities of the opposing forces and concluded that not only would the landings have been feasible, but they would have resulted in a quicker defeat of Germany at a lowered cost in Allied casualties."
Dunn covered another aspect of World War II in his next book, Hitler's Nemesis: The Red Army, 1930-1945. According to R. L. DiNardo, a contributor to New York Military Affairs Symposium Newsletter, this volume fills "some important gaps in our knowledge" about the Soviet army. Dunn carefully analyzes German intelligence documents on the Soviet forces as well as investigating recent Russian works on the subject, to form his own synthesis on matters such as the training, organization, and personnel system of the Soviet army. DiNardo predicted that Hitler's Nemesis would "become a standard reference source for anyone interested in the eastern front," despite a few weaknesses in the text, such as a "choppy" writing style. The reviewer for Stone & Stone Second World War Books Web site commented, "This is not a book about battles or campaigns, but rather the nuts and bolts of what Dunn calls 'institutional' military history: how and why units were formed, their function, and how well they performed." The reviewer credited Dunn with providing "enormous amounts of information in charts and tables as well as text, detailing manpower, organization, weapons, etc.," and concluded, "This book is packed with useful information and thought-provoking material."
Kursk: Hitler's Gamble, 1943 focuses on a turning point in the war: a little-studied battle at Kursk, in Russia. Though it was a fierce and significant engagement, Kursk has been largely ignored by American, British, and even Russian historians. Milton Goldin, a reviewer for H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online, pointed out that Dunn "does not answer the question: why the lack of interest in Kursk?" but found the book useful for its details and its fresh perspective. Most of the previous studies of Kursk were based on German information and so give the impression of a poorly-trained Russian force, but Dunn's work shows that the Russian army was, in fact, very well prepared. Goldin stated that Dunn's book highlights Russian tactics and "the incredible combination of fatalism and fanaticism that characterized Russian soldiers."
Heroes or Traitors: The German Replacement Army, the July Plot, and Adolf Hitler tells of the possibility that some German army officers were plotting to kill Hitler, seize control of power centers, and bring a speedy end to the war. To this end, they may have held back crucial troops from the front lines, knowing they would need them in order to stage their coup. Though there is little direct evidence of the plot, Dunn documents that fighting divisions were most certainly being denied extra troops critical for their success. Though the assassination of Hitler was not carried out, the manipulation of the troops may have hastened the end of the war anyway, by compromising German fighting efficiency. Dunn also explores the idea that British intelligence may have been deeply involved in the plot against Hitler. Reviewing the book for Library Journal, Daniel K. Blewett called it "a welcome addition to the literature."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Canadian Slavonic Papers, March-June, 1997, Jonathan Bone, review of The Soviet Economy and the Red Army, 1930-1945, p. 264.
CHOICE: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, April, 1995, G. P. Cox, review of Hitler's Nemesis: The Red Army, 1930-1945, p. 1359; March, 1996, D. Mackenzie, review of The Soviet Economy and the Red Army, 1930-1945, p. 1193; September, 2000, K. D. Slepyan, review of Soviet Blitzkrieg, p. 194; January, 2003, J. D. Born, Jr., review of Opening New Markets: The British Army and the Old Northwest, p. 885.
Contemporary European History, March, 1997, Jurgen Foster, review of Hitler's Nemesis, p. 145.
Europe-Asia Studies, November, 1996, Mark Harrison, review of The Soviet Economy and the Red Army, 1930-1945, p. 1262.
Historian, spring, 1997, David Bradenberger, review of The Soviet Economy and the Red Army, 1930-1945, p. 687.
Journal of American History, September, 2003, Larry Nelson, review of Opening New Markets: The British Army and the Old Northwest, pp. 621-622.
Journal of Economic History, June, 1999, Ann Carlos, review of Frontier Profit and Loss: The British Army and the Fur Traders, 1760-1764, p. 510; June, 2001, Robert Wright, review of The New Imperial Economy, p. 574.
Journal of Military History, April, 1995, John Erickson, review of Hitler's Nemesis, p. 351; October, 1996, David Costello, review of The Soviet Economy and the Red Army, 1930-1945, p. 784; July, 1998, John Erickson, review of Kursk, p. 664; April, 2003, Mark Miller, review of Opening New Markets: The British Army and the Old Northwest, pp. 558-559; January, 2004, Peter Hoffman, review of Heroes or Traitors, pp. 287-289.
Library Journal, March 15, 1980, Joseph Dawson, III, review of Second Front Now, p. 719; June 15, 2003, Daniel K. Blewett, review of Heroes or Traitors, p. 86.
Reference & Research Book News, May, 2005, review of People of the American Frontier: The Coming of the American Revolution, p. 65.
Russian Review, October, 1996, Hubert Van Tuyll, review of The Soviet Economy and the Red Army, 1930-1945, p. 719.
William and Mary Quarterly, July, 1999, Keith Widder, review of Frontier Profit and Loss: The British Army and the Fur Traders, 1760-1764, p. 648; July, 2002, Harold Selesky, "Imperial Wars," pp. 746-766.
Military Book Review, http://www.themilitarybookreview.com/ (September 14, 2004), Michael Peck, review of What If? Strategic Alternatives of WWII.
Stone & Stone Second World War Books, http://stonebooks.com/ (August 6, 1996), reviews of Hitler&s Nemesis: The Red Army, 1930-1945 and Second Front Now; (September 17, 2004), review of Hitler's Nemesis.*