Bates student awarded Marshall Scholarship

Bates College junior Joshua Baschnagel of Etna, N.H., is the first Bates student to be named a Regis Maine Scholar of the Marshall Undergraduate Scholars Program, announced Martha C. Crunkleton, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty.

The grant provides for one Bates student annually to conduct thesis research in Lexington, Va., at the George C. Marshall Archives, a home for original document, manuscript, poster and photograph collections relating to the career of General George C. Marshall, a former secretary of state (1947 49) and secretary of defense (1950-51).

Marshall Scholars may select any topic in 20th-century diplomatic or military history and political affairs for which the library’s extensive holdings are suitable. Most often, students study Word War II, The Marshall Plan or U.S. diplomatic history and policy.

Baschnagel’s thesis will focus on U.S. involvement in the French-Viet Minh War (1946-54). “During this period, the U.S. made monumental decisions that would have a profound effect on later policies in Southeast Asia,” Baschnagel said. He believes that “Secretary Marshall played a key role in developing U.S. policy and initiatives. As secretary of defense, he played an instrumental role in defining the amount of military assistance that would be needed to combat the Viet Minh and help the French.”

“This scholarship offers Josh a unique opportunity to deal with primary sources of someone who played a key role in the formulation of U.S. foreign policy,” said Christopher Beam, of the history department and director of the Edmund S. Muskie Archives at Bates. Beam will serve as Baschnagel’s thesis adviser.

After a Marshall Scholar is selected, his/her research paper is presented to the Marshall Archives, where it is entered into the permanent collection of research papers. A monetary grant is offered upon completion of the paper, and if it is judged the finest among the 20 to 25 papers submitted during the academic year, an additional award will be presented to the student.

As a member of the Bates lacrosse team, Baschnagel won the 1995 Robert C. Best Award given to an underclass lacrosse player for dedication and desire. He completed a Ladd Summer Internship with X-mark, a subsidiary of The Xerox Corporation, in 1996. A graduate of Hanover High School, he is the son of William and Frances Baschnagel.

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