Subtitled A Study of American Military History -- this is actually an examination of the philosophy behind the changing...

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Subtitled A Study of American Military History -- this is actually an examination of the philosophy behind the changing scene in America's military history, rather than a closeup of wars and battles, strategy and tactics. Of that there is enough to illustrate the major premises, as he goes from the day when farmers pulled their triggers at Lexington and Concord to the stalemate of atomic war today. The American revolution was a triumph of improvisation, not only in war but in government, finance, opinion, and it was won because the British were fighting an armed populace, a loose knit democratically organized administration, over a huge terrain- and fighting with an outmoded mercenary army. The conception of militia obligation of the citizenry came into being after that, the war making machinery power with the national government, with state troops the nucleus. Successive periods of military insecurity gave birth to a spate of military legislation, but it was actually the industrial revolution that brought drastic change in 25 years of technical development, spurred on by expansion and emigration in the period following. The Civil War was the next major turning point; in scale of participation it exceeded all earlier wars; technology was responsible for the mounting intensity in a war that was first in many counts. By the '70's, the philosophy of war underwent another change in the ""managerial revolution"". Germany led the way with the conception of the General Staff system. Mahan became the spokesman here with his emphasis on sea power. American imperialism began to stir. The Spanish-American war, the Russo-Japanese war, the Mexican ""punitive expedition"" were dress rehearsals for the First World War and conversion to large scale intervention. The ""scientific revolution"" had arrived- and war became an affair for technicians, scientists, as well as army, navy and air forces. The mechanical revolution triumphed over manpower. Or as World War II seemed to prove, until the Korean War demonstrated the impossibility of discounting total war- men and machines and experts- total war of the centralized modern state. The significance of the atomic bombs lay in the future. Successive post war crises -- the Berlin airlift, the nuclear armament race, the inconclusive ending of the Korean war spelled confusion for military policies:- NATO -- the Summit Conference-the recognition of a major war as unacceptable. The old hope of total disarmament yielded to the still nebulous neutralization of armament proposal. The ""hypertrophy of war"" as a basis of survival is unacceptable.... This is a valuable survey-for students of war and politics. It is a ncessary basis for a new turn of military philosophy, though Millis does not attempt to present the answer. His name will carry this beyond the ordinary market for such books. But the text demands reader concentration as well as interest.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 0813509319

Page Count: -

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1956