Fast Tanks and Heavy Bombers: Innovation in the U.S. Army, 1917-1945 / Edition 1

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Overview

The U.S. Army entered World War II unprepared. In addition, lacking Germany's blitzkrieg approach of coordinated armor and air power, the army was organized to fight two wars: one on the ground and one in the air. Previous commentators have blamed Congressional funding and public apathy for the army's unprepared state. David E. Johnson believes instead that the principal causes were internal: army culture and bureaucracy, and their combined impact on the development of weapons and doctrine.

Johnson examines the U.S. Army's innovations for both armor and aviation between the world wars, arguing that the tank became a captive of the conservative infantry and cavalry branches, while the airplane's development was channeled by air power insurgents bent on creating an independent air force. He maintains that as a consequence, the tank's potential was hindered by the traditional arms, while air power advocates focused mainly on proving the decisiveness of strategic bombing, neglecting the mission of tactical support for ground troops. Minimal interaction between ground and air officers resulted in insufficient cooperation between armored forces and air forces.

Fast Tanks and Heavy Bombers makes a major contribution to a new understanding of both the creation of the modern U.S. Army and the Army's performance in World War II. The book also provides important insights for future military innovation.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"David Johnson has written a must-read for anyone following today's Pentagon debates concerning the culture and budgets of the United States military. He has provided one of the most insightful analyses of the development of the U.S. Army and Air Force between the World Wars with a special set of lessons to be learned about how a bureaucratic military system precludes the best decisions for the good of the nation's overall national security missions."—William A. Owens, Vice Chairman of the Board of Teledesic and CEO of Teledesic Holdings, Ltd.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801488474
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 3/15/2003
  • Series: Cornell Studies in Security Affairs Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

David E. Johnson is a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation. He is the author of Modern U.S. Civil-Military Relations: Wielding the Terrible Swift Sword and Hard Fighting: Israel in Lebanon and Gaza.

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Table of Contents

Introduction

Part I. Soldiers and Machines: 1917–1920
1. America, the Army, and the Great War
2. The Tank Corps
3. The Air Service
4. The Army in the Aftermath of the Great War

Part II. Inertia and Insurgency: 1921–1930
5. Peace and Quiet
6. Infantry Tanks
7• The Failed Revolution and the Evolution of Air Force
8. The War Department

Part III. Alternatives And Autonomy: 1931–1942
9. From Domestic Depression to International Crusade
10. Alternatives for Armor
11. Autonomous Air Power
12. A Crisis in the War Department

Part IV: Dying for Change: 1942–1945
13. The Arsenal of Attrition
14. Armored Bludgeon
15. Air Force Triumphant
16. Coequal Land Power and Air Power

Conclusion

Notes
Primary Sources
Index

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