A historian's comments on current events, foreign and domestic.
Mount Greylock Books LLC has published my autobiography as an historian, A Life in History. Long-time readers who want to find out how th...
Professor:Thanks for this reference. Great to see it out!It seems ironic, to me, reflecting back on waxings and wanings of military preparedness, perhaps a party of one, that while we have, in recent years, reduced our conventional military capability, the events that might unfortunately require conventional military activities have grown, in recent years.This is not meant to indicate a hawkishness, really, but rather an indication of institutional cluelessness about what multilateral threats might crop up nowadays, and about zigging when one should perhaps have zagged.Your recent post, for example, merely hints at East Asian issues that have not yet even hit American public opinion imagination, really, as military challenges.all the best
A compelling review David. Will put it on my Wish List as I try get through three other compelling reads simultaneously. :-(
Congratulations on a good book! That period is indeed fascinating. One of my favorites is "Intrepid" by George Stephenson, which details the incredible coordination between Churchill and FDR mainly effected by repeated back & forth visits by the brilliant wealthy young Englishman, Stevenson (different man), who became a master spy and strategist, who established Anglo-American intelligence operations (1937-41) prior to OSI and MI5, located in three floors of Rockefeller Center in NYC, London's Whitehall, and a clandestine laboratory-farm in Canada. This too is an exciting, well-written book with ample documentation which reads like a spy novel. Churchill and FDR had special courage and insight which enabled them to overcome American "isolationalism", much of which was orchestrated by Nazis and pro-Nazis. Both men rose to the challenge of history and lead our two nations to victory. We shall always be indebted.The other amazing thing was the extent to which the US, once we became committed to victory, mobilized industry, civic groups, and the entire population toward a unified war effort. Within months, factories converted from cars & trucks to tanks & planes, ships and weapons. Today's US military quagmire is a dire contrast to that heroic era. We suffer from almost complete disconnect between our "volunteer" Army and the rest of the citizenry. We need National Service for all 18-20-yr olds without exemption.
"Another thing covered very well in the book is the extent to which government had to both control and cajole industry and labor to get them behind the effort of switching from civilian to war production. This is something that is presented as a matter of course in most histories and this book exposes that for the hard effort that it was."I can confirm this from my source reading from "History of Technology" in 5 volumes in German language. It was a special American effort not comparable in Europe to get cooperation between govt., academia and industry. This created unfortunately the basis for the famed "Military-industrail complex" which has "made America great". So the cold war began. A "what-if-History without US participatiion in WWI and WWII would be interesting. Unfortunately having taken on such a mantle of repsonsibility it is impossible to put it off. This is similar to Caesar's crossing the Rubicon. Empire is for a dmocratic republic a contradiction in terms and destroys the substance of democratic values. The Monroe doctrine and other adventurism like WWII and regime changes through CIA and current torture practices just document how bad it has become. Global power stands in contradiction to our basic values as it means military occupation against the will of peoples, ideological warfare, etc. Projection of basic values is of course "responsible behaviour" but it has its price.
I look forward to reading the book. Having been fascinated by WW II since stumbling upon S. E. Morrison's multi-volume history of the USN in my high school library in the 50s, perhaps the major "What if" question I have is how long it would have taken FDR to maneuver the Congress into declaring war on Germany if Hitler had not rashly declared war on the USA a few days after Pearl Harbor.
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