PalsaHannah Palsa

M.A. Program

Field of study:  20th Century US, Canine History, Public History


I am a first year MA student focusing on the use of dogs during World War II. My research intends to explore the development of Dogs for Defense which was established with the help of AKC Poodle Breeder, Alene Erlanger during World War II. I am intending to focus on not only just Dogs for Defense, Alene Erlanger, but also the methods used to train war dogs, the breed specifications, types of war dogs and the process of demobilization. My goal is to explore the themes of domestication and the use of a working dog to explore how civilians felt about loaning their dogs in the name of Dogs for Defense but also how these acts inspired patriotism in civilians.

Before deciding to become a historian, I had planned to become a veterinary technician and focus on canine behavior. Dogs have always been very close to my heart, and I am very excited about being able to use a historical lens to further my understanding of the domestic dog and the use of dogs in the military. This project has been inspired by not only the brave dogs of World War II, but also all the wonderful dogs I have owned in my life. This is project is dedicated to them.