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Focused vs Broad In World War I: A Historical Comparison Of General Staff Officer Education At Pre War Leavenworth and Langres

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Technical Report,05 Jul 2015,26 May 2016

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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World War I introduced new complexities of warfare to the US Army. These complexities posed unique challenges to the AEFs ability to conduct war. To address these challenges, General John Black Jack Pershing approved the AEFs adoption of the general staff system for divisions, corps, and armies. The US Army officer corps entered World War I with less than 200 Leavenworth Staff College graduates. The shortage of Leavenworth men combined with the plan to create several square divisions and corps presented a problem to Pershing and the AEF GHQ. The solution was to establish a Staff College in Langres, France. The Langres Staff College was Pershings and the AEF GHQs attempt to close the gap between available two-year Leavenworth men and vacant general staff officer positions throughout the AEF. This research examines if a Langres Staff College model offers an effective form of general staff officer education such as that provided by the pre-war Leavenworth Staff College. First, the Langres Staff College curriculum lacked the depth and breadth in the curriculum required to produced flexible general staff officers adept at coping with uncertainty. The Langres Staff College curriculum produced specialized officers proficient in one general staff position for the World War I environment. The broad curriculum of the pre-war Leavenworth Staff College exposed students to military history and theory. The pre-war Leavenworth Staff College curriculum facilitated the students maturation as general staff officers who could solve problems, regardless of the environment. Secondly, the Langres Staff Colleges methods of instruction lacked innovation, which stymied the students growth as reflective practitioners. The pre-war Leavenworth Staff Colleges methods of instruction consisted of innovative methods, which provided students with more opportunities to reflect and synthesis of course material.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Humanities and History

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