ARMS AND POLICY by Hoffman Nickerson


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Nickerson is known for his opposition to the conception of conscript armies -- of which the public had first knowledge in his book The Armed Horde (1940) a history of mass armies and their disastrous effect on Europe. Because of his standing as an ex-member of the General Staff in Washington, his attitude on this score will comfort the war weary and carry some weight. But this book bears witness to his objections being based, not in a respect for individual liberties, but in an arrogant militarist contempt for what he terms ""slovenly conscript militias"" -- and a deep rooted antagonism to various aspects of true democracy. The present world conflict has awakened him to certain changes in military technique, but has made no dent on his ideological isolationism and prejudices. In this evaluation of World War II and its post war implications, there are indications of as complete a collection of buga-boos as the worst Christian Front tradition could supply. Barely disguised as rationalism, we meet white supremacy, anti-semitism, anti-heathen-Chinese, anti-Soviet, anti-world cooperation, anti-government 'meddling', extreme nationalism -- evidence all of a hostile militaristic caste mind. We exalts the Prussian military product as endowed with Christian virtues of loyalty, self-sacrifice, discipline, and deplores the crude canalizing of these virtues into mistaken directions. A large slice of the book develops the thesis that technology plays an increasingly important part, with mechanization on the war fronts. Perhaps it is fortunate that this concentration on the technical aspects of armed might will result in this book appealing to a fairly limited and specialized market. We trust future peace does not lie in such hands.

Pub Date: Nov. 19th, 1945
Publisher: Putnam