Date of Award

5-2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department

History

Advisor

Andrew, Rod

Committee Member

Grubb , Alan

Committee Member

Meng , Michael

Abstract

The Upper Piedmont of South Carolina is home to a disproportionate number of Army ROTC units and citations for heroism in battle. Within the region, the story of Spartanburg, South Carolina's Wofford College provides a unique perspective on the idea of a southern military tradition. In 1917, Wofford's president Henry Nelson Snyder proved an avid supporter of the American war effort. His support culminated in the formation of an ROTC detachment on Wofford's campus in 1919. After several tenuous early years, Wofford College's voluntary detachment's ranks were filled by the majority of the all-male student body. In competition, the detachment outperformed much larger institutions with a strictly military orientation.
Its success culminated in the disproportionate number of officers that Wofford College supplied for the U.S. Army during the Second World War. ROTC not only produced an exceptional number of officers, but its ROTC unit brought the institution into closer contact with the federal government and shaped perceptions on national security issues. Several other Upper Piedmont colleges are used to draw a contrast with Wofford. The training camp experience is also explored to demonstrate social and political mores of the Upper Piedmont, particularly Spartanburg residents.
Ultimately, the study attempts to prove that ROTC flourished at Wofford College and the Upper Piedmont because of cultural acceptance of military training, financial necessity, a desire to demonstrate loyalty to the nation, and the remnants of the Lost Cause.

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