Anatomy of Victory: Why the United States Triumphed in World War II, Fought to a Stalemate in Korea, Lost in Vietnam, and Failed in Iraq

Anatomy of Victory: Why the United States Triumphed in World War II, Fought to a Stalemate in Korea, Lost in Vietnam, and Failed in Iraq

by John D. Caldwell


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This groundbreaking book provides the first systematic comparison of America’s modern wars and why they were won or lost. John D. Caldwell uses the World War II victory as the historical benchmark for evaluating the success and failure of later conflicts. Unlike WWII, the Korean, Vietnam, and Iraqi Wars were limited, but they required enormous national commitments, produced no lasting victories, and generated bitter political controversies.

Caldwell comprehensively examines these four wars through the lens of a strategic architecture to explain how and why their outcomes were so dramatically different. He defines a strategic architecture as an interlinked set of continually evolving policies, strategies, and operations by which combatant states work toward a desired end. Policy defines the high-level goals a nation seeks to achieve once it initiates a conflict or finds itself drawn into one. Policy makers direct a broad course of action and strive to control the initiative. When they make decisions, they have to respond to unforeseen conditions to guide and determine future decisions. Effective leaders are skilled at organizing constituencies they need to succeed and communicating to them convincingly. Strategy means employing whatever resources are available to achieve policy goals in situations that are dynamic as conflicts change quickly over time. Operations are the actions that occur when politicians, soldiers, and diplomats execute plans.

A strategic architecture, Caldwell argues, is thus not a static blueprint but a dynamic vision of how a state can succeed or fail in a conflict.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781538114773
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 11/09/2018
Pages: 568
Sales rank: 456,974
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

John D. Caldwell (1940–2019) retired in 2007 after a fifty-year career in defense think tanks and aerospace companies. Trained as a political scientist with a PhD from the University of California, Santa Barbara, he was first posted to Saigon in 1968 as part of a classified research project for the Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Projects Agency. Caldwell joined TRW Space & Defense in 1982 to work on major defense, NASA, and intelligence community programs. He continued as a consultant at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, which acquired TRW in 2002.

Table of Contents

Maps, Figures, and Table
1 Battle of Britain: Winning by Not Losing
2 Battle of the Atlantic: Protecting the Maritime Lifeline
3 Invasion of Russia: Hitler’s Strategic Mistake
4 Battle of El Alamein and Operation Torch: Cracking German Invincibility
5 Battles of Midway and Guadalcanal: Regaining Initiative in the Pacific
6 Strategic Bombing Offensive: Breaking German Airpower
7 Invasion of Italy: Deciding to Fight Somewhere in Europe in 1943
8 D-Day and the Battle for Normandy: Retaking the Continent
9 Battle for the Rhine: Attacking Germany’s Vitals
10 Battle of Okinawa and the Bombing of Japan: Ending the War
11 The Strategic Architectures of World War II
12 Battle of the Pusan Perimeter: Getting the Most Out of a Bad Situation
13 Inchon—Operation Chromite: MacArthur’s Masterstroke
14 Crossing the 38th Parallel and Driving North to the Yalu: The Risks of Overreaching
15 Operations Ripper and Killer: Recovery and Frustration
16 The Strategic Architectures of the Korean War
17 Battle of the Ia Drang Valley: Not Fighting the Decisive Battle
18 Bombing Campaign and High-Tech Initiatives: Operations Rolling Thunder and Igloo White Airpower and Technology Indecisive
19 The Pacification Program (1967–1968): Failing to Change Behavior
20 The Tet Offensive (1968): Strategic Disaster
21 Vietnamization: Never a Winning Strategy
22 The Final Years (1969–1975): The Losing Path
23 The Strategic Architectures of the Vietnam War
24 Iraqi War I, Persian Gulf War: Defeating Saddam, Losing Politically
25 Iraqi War II, Thirteen-Year Air Conflict: The Limits of Airpower
26 Iraqi War III, Invasion of Iraq: Winning without an Endgame
27 Iraqi War IV, the Insurgency and the Surge (2007–2008): Relearning Counterinsurgency
28 Iraqi War V, the Rise of ISIS: A New, More Violent Enemy
29 The Strategic Architectures of the Iraqi Wars
Acronyms and Selected Glossary
Selected Bibliography

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