No number of sources specifically required, but they should be used, and internet sources need to be vetted.
Topic is your choice as long as it’s american military history related
The dialectic essay is a basic and vital assignment. Your goal is to review, in an objective fashion, two interpretations of a single historical topic. You will, in effect, present two sides of an argument. This is accomplished by identifying a significant historical question and explaining two, mutually exclusive, historical theses, each of which represents an attempt to answer the central question. Do not be intimidated by the title (multi-syllabic) or length (approximately 10 pages) of this assignment. It is a simple paper to organize and, once your purpose is understood, a relatively minor drain upon your valuable time.
The first order of business is to explain the significance of your topic and to introduce the reader to the nature of your historical question. It is strongly recommended that you state the historical question, rather than merely imply it. State your question clearly and precisely. Do not leave the reader to work this out by inference. The reader may make a mistake, but you will receive the grade.
It is also recommended that you use the introduction to describe briefly the two interpretations (theses) your paper will cover. This prepares the reader for the two perspectives to be evaluated and begins to define the scope of your effort. From this point you are ready to summarize the first thesis or interpretation.
The first side’s interpretation should be explained in a clear and organized format. Their thesis should be summarized in a single sentence and the basic points should be summarized in separate, sequential, paragraphs. Do the same for the second side of the argument – the antithesis. Make it explicitly clear that these are NOT your arguments. In combination, the summaries of the two sides will constitute more than half of the essay.
Next, evaluate the two sides. Tell the reader whether or not the points (arguments) were supported by evidence. Evaluate the logic of each. Do they, in combination, prove the overall thesis? Repeat this process for the other side of the argument (the other thesis).
After you have evaluated both sides of the dialectic, you are ready to summarize and to synthesize the two interpretations. Briefly review the points contained within the two interpretations. Evaluate them. Assess their proof; judge their evidence and logic. Be fair, but critical. Objectivity is vital, but do not worry if you find that one side possesses a stronger case. The important thing is to be able to explain why this appears to be so. As long as you can cite specific differences in the quality of evidence and logic, you are on firm ground.
Admittedly, your evaluation will be subjective; all human evaluation is based upon value judgments. At the same time, however, it is crucial that you explain your assessment in a manner which can be understood and appreciated by others. To achieve this end, logic and reference to specific information are vital.
The final result of your evaluation will be your own answer to the historical question. This will be your thesis and, because it will arise out of an evaluation of two previous theses, it will be a synthesis. It may agree totally with one of the original theses or it may be a blend of the two. Support this
interpretation with specific points, combined in a logical sequence, to prove your thesis. Be concise, clear, and generally brilliant. Your thesis is your conclusion.