The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 61, July 1957 - April, 1958 Page: 219
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Barbed Wire in Texas
from newsprint of the troubled era of 1871 to 1876 states in plain
1. That the fencing of the United States costs more than everything
in the union, except railroads and cities, and more than either of
2. That the annual repair of fencing costs more than all the taxes
of the country, Federal, State, county, and municipal combined.
Other kindred assertions were made in the same article, and
whether accepted or not, Walter Prescott Webb points out in
The Great Plains that "It is not too much to say that in the middle
and later years of the decade 1870-188o the questions pertaining
to fencing occupied more space in the public prints in the prairie
and plains states than any other issue-political, military, or
Barbed wire matured into a great American institution and
emerged finally as a product of world trade. Unhappily, some
steps in its development have been made to meet the requirements
of wars far more terrible than the fence wars of the late nineteenth
century. Samples of European siege wire and spring steel (con-
certina) entanglements from Korea take their places beside the
earliest inventions and are shown even on the displays as small
pieces in the hub of the half-wheel and across the center of the
state on the map of Texas. They represent experiences of young
men in two widely separated theatres of war who, when con-
fronted with barbed wire, thought of the writer's collection and
brought specimens back with some difficulty and, as a nephew
put it, some cost. "I broke two good pairs of $3.50 paratrooper
pliers on that spring steel," he explained.
Although these are the most recent war types, it should be
noted that since the time of the Boer Wars, barbed wire has been
used in battle to varying degrees. The part it played in two world
conflicts was of considerable significance. Its effects in World War
I were instrumental to the introduction of motorized tanks for
land battles, and in World War II to the training of "Frogmen"
equipped for the underwater work of clearing away barbed wire
sunk in the paths of submarines and ships. Thus, in modern
warfare an American peace-time gadget became again a force with
which to reckon. It is to be hoped that future historians find in
an over-all evaluation that barbed wire has been a force far more
for good than for evil.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 61, July 1957 - April, 1958, periodical, 1958; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101164/m1/275/: accessed February 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.