The Center Of Military History (CMH), which reports to the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army, is responsible for the appropriate use of history throughout the United States Army. Traditionally, this mission has meant recording the official history of the Army in both peace and war, while advising the Army Staff on historical matters. In terms of this tradition, the Center traces its lineage back to those historians under the Secretary of War who compiled the Official Records of the Rebellion, a monumental history of the Civil War begun in 1874, and to a similar work on World War I prepared by the Historical Section of the Army War College.
The modern organization of the Army's historical efforts dates from the creation of the General Staff historical branch in July 1943 and the subsequent gathering of a large team of historians, translators, editors, and cartographers to record the official history of World War II. This team began publication of the United States Army in World War II series (the well-known "green books"), which numbers 79 volumes. Since then, CMH has produced detailed series on the Army's role in the Korean and Vietnam Wars and has begun a series on the U.S. Army in the Cold War. These works, supplemented by hundreds of monographs and other publications on a rich mix of topics, have made the Center one of the major publishers of military history in the world.
Since its formation, CMH has provided historical support to the Army Secretariat and Staff, contributing essential background information for decision making, staff actions, command information programs, and public statements by Army officials. Over the decades it also has progressively expanded its role in the vital areas of military history education, the management of the Army's museum system, and the introduction of automated data-retrieval systems. The Center's work with Army schools ensures that the study of history is a significant part of the training of officers and noncommissioned officers. It also supports the use of history to foster unit pride and give today's soldiers an understanding of the Army's past. Much of this educational work is also performed at field historical offices and in Army museums. The Center thus provides all levels of the Army, as well as other services, government agencies, and the public, with a growing awareness of history that goes well beyond publications alone.
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