The Truth Unveiled: An Inquiry into the Reasons for a Lack of US Military Readiness for World War II
Technical Report,05 Jul 2015,26 May 2016
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS FORT LEAVENWORTH United States
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As the military draws down from its commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan, the military is undergoing budgetary and force structure challenges similar to that of the post-WWI period. During the interwar years from 1919 to 1941, the US military conducted detailed mobilization and war plans that encompassed myriad possible threats to the US mainland and its territories, and attempted to achieve US foreign policy goals. However, despite numerous US Army Chiefs of Staff warnings about decaying military readiness, US political leaders were unable and unwilling to provide the political willpower and appropriations necessary to provide a ready force. To avoid some of the same mistakes made during the interwar years, and to prevent tomorrows military catastrophe, it is necessary to understand the reasons behind the US militarys lack of readiness for World War II. These reasons were deeply-rooted within the US society and exacerbated by the Great Depression and the Nye Committee, all of which kept public interests focused on internal issues and staunchly against the idea of a strong military and entanglement in Europe. The post-World War I return to the time-honored principles of peace, isolation, and a focus on economic prosperity indicates foundational principles upon which the United States rests, consisting of deeply-rooted mental models that governed the thoughts and actions of the people of the United States throughout the interwar years. These mental models, including a fear of standing armies, a lack of enmity on the part of the American people, and beliefs in the impenetrability of North American geography and oceans, the Navy as the first and principal line of defense, and in Business Pacifism, combined to comprise a national paradigm of false security that was resistant to change.