Personality and Politics: The Untold Story of Robert S. McNamara and Curtis E. Lemay
AIR UNIV MAXWELL AFB AL MAXWELL AFB United States
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Over the course of the past century, the United States US rose from a fledgling nation to a global hegemon. This transformation occurred on the backs of countless individuals whose sacrifice and human capital paved the way for US success. Two of the great men who toiled through these challenges were Curtis E. LeMay and Robert S. McNamara. Both during WWII and in the midst of the Cold War, these individuals came together to deal with some of the greatest threats the US ever faced. Although the nation achieved success in both situations, the relationship between these two was not as fortunate. Beginning successfully during their first encounter in WWII, they worked to innovate and transform airpower in Europe and Asia. Combining their personal traits, these two developed the most efficient and devastating air campaign the world had ever seen. After a decade apart, however, when they returned to face the Soviet threat together in the 1960s, their interpersonal relationship failed. Over the span of five years, these two would find themselves on opposing sides of almost every strategic issue. This essay aims to explain why two such great men could so drastically fail to cooperate after previously having such great interpersonal success. In addition, this treatise seeks to understand how this failed personal relationship affected the strategic stance of the US. Finally, and most importantly, this paper will highlight why, unlike what some may believe, this failed relationship ultimately did not result in strategic failure for the US.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
- Military Forces and Organizations