The Decline and Rebirth of the American Military
November 12, 1918 to December 6, 1941
Because the United States military undertook its first World War II offensive operations in the Pacific within only eight months of Pearl Harbor, most historians and readers of the war’s history depict and perceive the quick transition in 1942 from defensive war to offensive war as a miracle.
In the miraculous narrative Americans have written for themselves, the peace-loving and ill-prepared sleeping giant, the United States, is suddenly struck by enemies who use her peace-loving ways against her, while a mere sprinkling of gallant, dedicated soldiers, sailors, and airmen fight overwhelming odds to barely hold the line against an unremitting backdrop of tearful defeats. Meanwhile, U.S. industry suddenly—instantly—becomes a magical “Arsenal of Democracy” that produces uncountable tanks and ships and guns, not to mention trained soldiers, sailors, and airmen in their legions, fleets, and air armadas that will smash the wiliest and most powerful enemies ever before confronted. The appearance of all that materiel, and all those battle-ready young men so soon after the Pearl Harbor attack, looks exactly like a miracle.
There was no miracle.
Celebrated military historian Eric Hammel’s cool appraisal of the facts reveals that America's stunning and overwhelming moral response to German and Japanese aggression in the mid- and late 1930s, a response that eventually brought a huge portion of the globe within its embrace, was far less a miracle than an inexorable force of nature. America was a sleeping giant. But the decision to turn the entire force and will of a hard-working, innovative nation to arming for war was not made in the wake of Pearl Harbor. By Pearl Harbor, an alliance of the American government, American industry, and the American military community was already close to complete preparedness. The real story of America’s preparations for World War II had begun in mid-November 1938.
The Forge was previously published as How America Saved the World.
Included are Admiral William S. Sullivan's account of the problems involved in clearing Manila Harbor of some five hundred wrecked vessels left by the departing Japanese and Admiral Thomas C. Kinkaid's description of the communications breakdown at the Battle of Leyte Gulf. There are also the very personal recollections of humor and horror told by the unknown actors in the war: the hospital corpsman, the coxswain, and the machinist's mate. Originally published in 1986, this volume is an unusual and lasting tribute to the ingenuity and teamwork demonstrated by America's forces in the Pacific as well as a celebration of the human spirit
Victory is won or lost in battle, but all military history shows that adequate logistic support is essential to the winning of battles.
In World War II, logistic support of the fleet in the Pacific became a problem of such magnitude and diversity, as well as vital necessity, that all operations against Japan hinged upon it. The advance against the enemy moved our fleet progressively farther and farther away from the west coast of the United States, from Pearl Harbor, and from other sources of supply, to support our fleet we constructed temporary bases for various uses, and we formed floating mobile service squadrons and other logistic support groups. These floating organizations remained near the fighting fleet, supplying food, ammunition, and other necessities while rendering repair services close to the combat areas, this support enabled the fleet to keep unrelenting pressure upon the enemy by obviating the return of the fleet to home bases.
Because of the knowledge gained during his South Pacific service and particularly from his experience as Commander of Service Squadron Ten, the largest of the mobile squadrons, Rear Admiral W.R. Carter was chosen to write this history of logistics afloat in the Pacific. The opinions expressed and the conclusions reached are those of the author.- Secretary of the Navy, Dan Kimball
World War II changed the course of history. Douglas MacArthur changed the course of World War II. MACARTHUR AT WAR will go deeper into this transformative period of his life than previous biographies, drilling into the military strategy that Walter R. Borneman is so skilled at conveying, and exploring how personality and ego translate into military successes and failures.
Architect of stunning triumphs and inexplicable defeats, General MacArthur is the most intriguing military leader of the twentieth century. There was never any middle ground with MacArthur. This in-depth study of the most critical period of his career shows how MacArthur's influence spread far beyond the war-torn Pacific.
Strategy is a many-sided word, connoting different things to different people. The author of any work on strategy, therefore, owes it to his reader to define at the outset his own conception of this ambiguous term...
In the present volume, the author has viewed strategy broadly, including within it not only the art of military command-the original meaning of the term-but all those activities associated with the preparation for and the conduct of war in the Pacific.
Viewed thus, the arena of Pacific strategy is the council chamber rather than the coral atoll; its weapons are not bombs and guns but the mountains of memoranda, messages, studies, and plans that poured forth from the deliberative bodies entrusted with the conduct of the war; its sound is not the clash of arms but the cool voice of reason or the heated words of debate thousands of miles from the scene of conflict...It deals with policy and grand strategy on the highest level-war aims, the choice of allies and theaters of operations, the distribution of forces and supplies, and the organization created to use them. On only a slightly lower level, it deals with more strictly military matters-with the choice of strategies, with planning and the selection of objectives, with the timing of operations, the movement of forces and, finally, their employment in battle.
Strategy in its larger sense is more than the handmaiden of war, it is an inherent element of statecraft, akin to policy, and encompasses preparations for war as well as the war itself. Thus, this volume treats the prewar period in some detail, not in any sense as introductory to the main theme but as an integral and important part of the story of Pacific strategy. The great lessons of war, it has been observed, are to be found in the events preceding the outbreak of hostilities. It is then that the great decisions are made and the nature of the war largely determined.