Articles in the Journal of Military History, Vol. 77, No. 4

A couple of interesting articles relating to the Second World War have just appeared in the latest edition of the Journal of Military History.

Thomas Bruscino, ‘Naturally Clausewitzian: U.S. Army Theory and Education from Reconstruction to the Interwar Years’

American military theorists between the Civil War and World War II have garnered limited attention in military history, but they developed many ideas about the nature and practice of war. These theorists did not fixate on the writings of Carl von Clausewitz, but they were familiar with his work. But independent of Clausewitz, American military theory emphasized the Clausewitzian concept of the relationships among politics and society in preparing for and fighting wars. This article explores Clausewitz and American military theory, explains how Americans became naturally Clausewitzian, and discusses what their thinking has to do with the conduct of war.

Peter Gray, ‘A Culture of Official Squeamishness? Britain’s Air Ministry and the Strategic Air Offensive against Germany’

Although it waged the largest and most costly of Britain’s Second World War campaigns, RAF Bomber Command was not mentioned in Prime Minister Churchill’s 1945 Victory Speech and its Commander-in-Chief, Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Harris, was left off the Victory Honours List. The crowning insult to Bomber Command veterans was the lack of a campaign medal for the strategic air offensive. This article uses case studies of the campaign medal saga, still very much alive today, and the perceived reluctance of the wartime Air Ministry to acknowledge the RAF’s resort to area bombing to test the argument of some historians that this slight of Bomber Command was due to “official squeamishness” in the Air Ministry and elsewhere in the government in the aftermath of the bombing of Dresden.

Katherine K. Reist, ‘The American Military Advisory Missions to China, 1945–1949’

The Pacific War ended in 1945 before the American government had established a plan for the implementation of its postwar goals for its relationship with China. Although China lacked unification, the Guomindang (GMD), the “allied” government, sought to create a more modern military along American lines, with American equipment, using American advisers and funding. GMD leaders did not want American influence or control, desiring to maintain their culturally organized structures and ways of functioning, including the use of guanxi (personal networks and favors). The Joint U.S. Military Advisory Group attempted to operate within this nexus of conflicting goals, purposes, and missions.

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