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Partial Register of the Ronald MacArthur Hirst papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Accruals
  • Biographical Chronology
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Arrangement
  • Separated Material

  • Title: Ronald MacArthur Hirst papers
    Date (inclusive): 1929-2004
    Collection Number: 93044
    Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Archives
    Language of Materials: In German and English.
    Physical Description: 177 manuscript boxes, 6 card file boxes, 5 oversize boxes, 1 oversize folder, memorabilia (80 linear feet)
    Abstract: The Ronald MacArthur Hirst papers consist largely of material collected and created by Hirst over the course of several decades of research on topics related to the history of World War II and the Cold War, including the Battle of Stalingrad, the Allied landing at Normandy on D-Day, American aerial operations, and the Berlin Airlift of 1948-1949, among other topics. Included are writings, correspondence, biographical data, notes, copies of government documents, printed matter, maps, and photographs.
    Physical location: Hoover Institution Archives
    Creator: Hirst, Ronald MacArthur, 1923-


    Collection is open for research.
    The Hoover Institution Archives only allows access to copies of audiovisual items. To listen to sound recordings or to view videos or films during your visit, please contact the Archives at least two working days before your arrival. We will then advise you of the accessibility of the material you wish to see or hear. Please note that not all audiovisual material is immediately accessible.

    Publication Rights

    For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Ronald MacArthur Hirst papers, [Box no.], Hoover Institution Archives

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in increments between 1994 and 2004


    Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. To determine if this has occurred, find the collection in Stanford University's online catalog Socrates at http://library.stanford.edu/webcat . Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in Socrates is larger than the number of boxes listed in this finding aid.

    Biographical Chronology

    1923 Born, Evanston, Illinois
    1941 Graduates, Wausau High School, Wausau, Wisconsin
    1944 June 6 Lands with Allied forces at Omaha Beach, Normandy
    1944-1945 Serves in 60th Infantry Regiment, 9th Division, U.S. Army, in campaigns in France, Belgium, and Germany [?]
    1945 March Participates in battle and is wounded [?] at Ludendorff Bridge, Remagen
    1948 Marries Inge Zindel in Wiesbaden
      Moves to Detroit, where continues military career with U.S. Air Force, in military intelligence
    1962 After relocation to Germany, begins research on the Battle of Stalingrad
    1992 Completes work on his history of the Battle of Stalingrad, Three Scenes from Barbarossa
    1995 Completes history of Lindsey Air Base, Wiesbaden, Germany, titled Ninety Years at Lindsey

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Ronald MacArthur Hirst papers consist largely of material collected and created by Hirst over the course of several decades of research on topics related to the history of World War II and the Cold War, including the Battle of Stalingrad, the Allied landing at Normandy on D-Day, and the Berlin Airlift of 1948-1949, among other topics.
    Hirst, a World War II veteran who landed at Omaha Beach in Normandy on D-Day, began his research while working as a civilian employee of the U.S. Department of Defense, living alternately in West Germany and the United States in the early 1960s. His initial interest in the surviving German veterans of the Battle of Stalingrad led him to contact several of them in 1963, with the intent of collecting enough information from them to assemble a book of biographical vignettes of the various German commanders at Stalingrad. The project expanded in scope over time, as Hirst ultimately researched the fates of over 700 German participants in the battle and contacted hundreds of veterans or their families, regularly attending reunions of Stalingrad survivors and befriending or maintaining extensive contact with several key participants in the battle, such as Colonel Herbert Selle and Lt. General Arthur Schmidt, as well as family members such as the son of Field Marshal Friedrich von Paulus, among others. Hirst completed work on his 2,700-plus page manuscript, Three Scenes from Barbarossa, in 1992, placing copies of this work in the libraries of several military repositories as well as the Hoover Institution.
    While employed at Lindsey Air Base in Wiesbaden, West Germany in the 1980s, Hirst became interested in the history of the Berlin Airlift, and in particular the stories of the 32 U.S. airmen who were killed during the course of that operation in 1948-1949. Hirst had noticed that several of these men were memorialized in streets that were named after them at Lindsey and the nearby Rhein-Main Air Base in Frankfurt, and his attempts to improve upon these street signs led him to research the lives of these men and contact surviving family members in the United States, with the goal of providing fitting memorials for each airman. In addition, Hirst organized trips to Germany for these families during the fiftieth anniversary commemorations of the airlift in 1998-1999. Following his retirement from government service, Hirst remained in Wiesbaden, and began research on further projects related to the Allied landing at Normandy in 1944. In particular, Hirst researched the role of the 9th Air Force in the invasion, documenting the story of its 26 advanced landing grounds in Normandy that were used during the invasion, and compiling a book titled A Guide to the Ninth Air Force Normandy Air Patches. Hirst also organized several tours to Normandy for D-Day veterans during the 1990s, including one during the fiftieth anniversary commemoration in 1994.
    The Ronald MacArthur Hirst papers are arranged in series according to the projects that Hirst worked on, beginning with the Battle of Stalingrad. The Stalingrad series contains a number of different subseries, beginning with the completed version of Three Scenes From Barbarossa as well as manuscript drafts of the same work. This is followed by Alphabetic Name Files of individual Stalingrad veterans. These files contain correspondence and various types of documentation about each veteran, and consist largely of correspondence with surviving veterans or with family members of veterans who perished at Stalingrad or in Soviet captivity. These files are arranged alphabetically by the name of the veterans that Hirst was researching, rather than the names of the people that Hirst contacted (such as family members, etc.), although in some cases this name was one and the same. An additional section of this subseries contains outgoing correspondence from Hirst to surviving generals or their families.
    The Stalingrad series also contains a subseries of Correspondence with historians, archivists, and others he encountered and shared information with during this project, as well as Note Cards that are alphabetically arranged and that summarize the data that Hirst collected on each veteran. The Photographs subseries consists largely of reproductions of photographs that were loaned to Hirst by Stalingrad veterans or their families, and the Subject Files contain various types of materials collected by Hirst and arranged by topic. The subseries on Veterans Associations and Veterans Memoirs contains correspondence, newsletters, documentation of reunions, regimental histories, and first-hand accounts of the battle by veterans.
    The Berlin Airlift Commemoration Files document Hirst's efforts to provide memorials for each of the American airmen who was killed during the course of "Operation Vittles," the airlift that provided food and other scarce supplies to the inhabitants of West Berlin during the Soviet blockade of that city from June 1948 through May 1949. The series is comprised of two parts: Airmen, consisting of individual files on each of the American airmen who were killed during the airlift, including correspondence with surviving family members and research material about them, and Subject Files, which include correspondence from associations of airlift veterans, preparations for the tours that Hirst organized in 1998-1999, and research about crash sites and the airbases that supported the airlift, among other topics.
    The Normandy Operations Files series contains detailed information about each of the Advanced Landing Grounds (ALGs) of the U.S. Army's 9th Air Force, which comprised landing strips that were quickly built as the Allies gained territory around the initial beachhead in Normandy following D-Day. This series is comprised of several parts, beginning with the summaries of each ALG (also known as "air patches"), and then contains individual files on each ALG, made up of background research and correspondence. These are followed by sub-series containing correspondence files, arranged alphabetically by name of individual or organization, but also containing a sub-group of files arranged by individual towns in the départements of Manche and Calvados, in the areas near the sites of the ALGs. In addition, there are subsequent subseries of Subject Files and Veterans Files, with the latter group being further divided by veterans associations, memoirs and unit histories written by veterans, and newsletters of veterans associations. The Normandy series concludes with a group of miscellaneous research materials.
    The last series, Other Research Projects Files, contains material pertaining to other areas of military history of interest to Hirst, and these files are arranged alphabetically by topic. Two areas of special interest to Hirst were the Battle of Remagen (Ludendorff) Bridge, in which Hirst fought in March 1945, as well as Lindsey Air Base in Wiesbaden, Germany, where Hirst was employed in the 1970s and 1980s. Hirst compiled a manuscript on the latter topic, documenting the history of the air base from its origins as a German army barracks in the latter years of the 19th century, up to the years prior to its decommissioning as a U.S. military base.
    Oversized Materials are related to many of the above series, and consisting largely of photographs, maps, and architectural drawings, are shelved separately and listed in the last two boxes of this register.


    The collection is organized into five series, which are in turn arranged largely alphabetically within each subseries.

    Separated Material

    Printed Materials have been transferred to the Hoover Institution Library

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Germany. Heer.
    Berlin (Germany)--History--Blockade, 1948-1949.
    Stalingrad, Battle of, 1942-1943.
    United States--Armed Forces--Germany.
    World War, 1939-1945--Aerial operations.
    World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--Eastern Front.
    World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--France--Normandy.