Article

The New American Militarism

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Abstract

Its roots are in the experience of World War II. The burgeoning military establishment and associated industries fuel it. Anti‐Communism provides the climate which nurtures it. “It” is a “new American militarism.” General Shoup, a hero of the Battle of Tarawa in 1943, who rose to become Commandant of the United States Marine Corps for four years until his retirement in December, 1963, doesn't like it. He has written this essay in collaboration with another retired Marine officer, Colonel James A. Donovan.

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... Under the U.S. government's proactive foreign-policy strategy, this mindset aligns with the characteristics described in the previous section. The second factor incentivizing the adoption of the interventionist mindset is the desire for personal advancement within government bureaucracy (Shoup 1969). As in any organization, those employed in government agencies advance their careers by developing the appropriate skills and reputation and by signaling these abilities to key decision makers. ...
Chapter
This chapter explores the formal introduction of Thucydides at the US Naval War College in 1972 as part of the wider renegotiation within the US military of its attitude toward higher professional military education (PME) in the post World War II era. The shortcomings of the United States’ highly kinetic, technical, and materially focused approach in Vietnam, driven in part by the adherence to systems analysis in the civilian leadership, led to a costly perception of warfare as a measurable science, prosecutable – and winnable – by sound calculation. The return to Thucydides in particular and history in general at the Naval War College represented a repudiation of this overly “scientific” approach to warfare. The new Strategy and Policy Curriculum at Newport, with Thucydides as its flagship module, hailed a more tentative, considered approach to educating officers, on whom the chance and uncertainty of warfare at the highest strategic level were impressed.
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