Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The American System of War in World War II

War is waged in three elements; but there is no separate land, naval, or air war. Unless all assets in all elements are efficiently combined and coordinated against a properly selected, common objective, their maximum potential power cannot be maximized.

- General Dwight D. Eisenhower

The American emphasis was not so much on creating a fierce individual warrior, bound with strong ties of loyalty and honor to fellow men of arms (although the GI was often just that), as on making sure that he was supported with enough materiel, and acquired sufficient expertise, to defeat any adversary he faced, and to reassure him that he had a good chance to survive the conflict. The system rather than the man was what would win the war. It was in some ways a throwback to the first centuries BC and AD when standardized and far better-equipped Roman legionaries near the Rhine and Danube occasionally tangled with Germanic tribes that put a much higher premium on individual warriors' weapons prowess, courage, and skills, but eventually lost.

- From The Second World Wars by Victor Davis Hanson

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