A Cross of Iron: Harry S. Truman and the Origins of the National Security State, 1945-1954 / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from BN.com
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $18.55
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 58%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (10) from $18.55   
  • New (5) from $42.33   
  • Used (5) from $18.55   


A Cross of Iron provides the fullest account yet of the national security state that emerged in the first decade of the Cold War. Michael J. Hogan traces the process of state-making through struggles to unify the armed forces, harness science to military purposes, mobilize military manpower, control the defense budget, and distribute the cost of defense across the economy. President Harry S. Truman and his successor were in the middle of a fundamental contest over the nation's political identity and postwar purpose, and their efforts determined the size and shape of the national security state that finally emerged.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Michael Hogan has not only given us—again—an indispensable, superbly done book for our understanding of the Cold War, but a fascinating, original model that provides great insight into the American people's politics and society, as well as into the foreign policy they pieced together to become a superpower." Walter LaFeber, Cornell University

"comumprehensive and compelling account of the crucial months in the Truman Administration when a free-wheeling democracy narrowly avoided becoming a 'garrison state.' Or did it? Michael Hogan is a fair and enlightening guide through the politics and pressures of one of the most important but least-recalled periods of American history." Tom Wicker

"Even-handed, smoothly written, and based on extensive research in recently published documents, this mature account of America's Cold War build-up, the domestic propaganda that accompanied it, and the dissent—on the Right as well as Left—it provoked is sure to command the attention of Truman's admirers and detractors alike." Walter A. McDougall, University of Pennsylvania

"...the author succeeds brilliantly in demonstrating the impact of political culture on the formation of a new American state fundamentally different from that which existed before." Foreign Affairs

"In what is easily the most comprehensive and conceptually innovative study of the institutionalization of the cold war, Hogan makes it painfully clear that we are still living with the massive consequences of the postwar choices that he so expertly describes." Boston Book Review

"...readers will find Cross of Iron at the center of any discussion of the national security state for years to come." Journal of Military History

"Hogan has made use of a wide variety od unpublished and published primary sources to explore important and previously neglected topics, such as the debate over universal military training, and he has combined these with existing secondary studies of better-known controversies to produce a truly outstanding piece of original research, synthesis, and interpretation. Indeed, I find the result even more impressive than his award-winning study of the Marshall Plan." American Historical Review

"...a book that is impressively researched, brilliant, and powerful." Richard S. Kirkendall, Pacific Historical Review

"Hogan does a good and impartial job of detailing the often contentious debates. He adds to our understanding of events by extending his analysis beyond the corridors of power and examining the arguements used in letters to the editors of local papers and in local political demonstrations..." Ronald J. Granieri, The Historian

Foreign Affairs
...[T]he author succeeds brilliantly in demonstrating the impact of political culture on the formation of a new American State fundamentally different from that which existed before.
Library Journal
Hogan, a specialist in American diplomatic and national security studies, has written a complex but interesting work on the emergence of the national security state. To create this state, it was necessary to merge the armed forces, the Defense Department, and scientists into a single unit to enhance the military's capabilities. To a large extent, this unification was accomplished in the 1950s. The driving forces were James Forrestal, Dean Acheson, and powerful members of Congress such as Carl Vinson (D-GA), who chaired the Committee on Naval Affairs, along with presidents Truman and Eisenhower. Hogan presents a compelling case but overemphasizes the importance of Truman and Eisenhower while downplaying the role of Vinson and others in the security state's creation. In fact, both Truman and Eisenhower often seemed opposed to it but succumbed to pressure from Congress and key figures like Acheson. This extremely complex study, which deals with a subject few other books handle, is designed for scholars and informed lay readers interested in the creation of the "military-industrial complex."--Richard P. Hedlund, Ashland Community Coll., KY
Foreign Affairs
...[T]he author succeeds brilliantly in demonstrating the impact of political culture on the formation of a new American State fundamentally different from that which existed before.
Kirkus Reviews
In an important contribution to modern U.S. government and policy studies, Hogan (History/Ohio State University) traces the development of America's national security apparatus in the first decade of the Cold War. For much of its history, the U.S. took to heart the advice of George Washington to avoid entangling alliances and involvement in foreign affairs. Accordingly, as it matured, America pursued a policy of non-intervention in foreign wars (except in Latin America), and enjoyed an anti-statist and anti-militarist domestic culture. While America was becoming an active international power in the years prior to WWII, isolationism still characterized American policy on the eve of that war. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor transformed the domestic policy consensus: isolationism was no longer viewed as a practical policy, and America had to bear the burden of its own defense. Hogan argues that, in the first decade following the conclusion of WWII, advocates of the new ideology of military security came into conflict with proponents of the older values. He contends that the emerging national security state was largely the Presidential creation of Harry Truman, who attempted to reconcile the two camps, and of Dwight Eisenhower, who feared the development of a garrison state but recognized the need to end the isolationist policy of the past. The tension between the two ideologies could play out within the same individual, as was the case with Truman and some others. Often, the tension carved out divisions along party and institutional lines (the national security ideology was associated more with the Democratic party and the executive branch, and the older culture more with theRepublican party and the Congress). What resulted, Hogan concludes, was a compromise: while the political, military, and intelligence organs of the national security state proliferated, the nation's democratic values and principles of civilian control prevented the nation from becoming a total garrison state. An absorbing, provocative study.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521795371
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 540
  • Sales rank: 1,473,460
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 1.22 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface and acknowledgements; 1. The National Security discourse: ideology, political culture and state making; 2. Magna Charta: the National Security Act and the specter of the Garrison state; 3. The high price of peace: guns-and-butter politics in the early Cold War; 4. The time tax: American political culture and the UMT debate; 5. 'Chaos and conflict and carnage confounded': budget battles and defense reorganization; 6. Preparing for permanent war: economy, science and secrecy in the National Security state; 7. Turning point: NSC-68, the Korean war and the National Security response; 8. Semiwar: the Korean war and rearmament; 9. The Iron Cross: solvency, security and the Eisenhower transition; 10. Other voices: the public sphere and the National Security mentality; 11. Conclusion; Selected bibliography; Index.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)