The General and the President: A Conflict in Strategies
ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
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With his inauguration as President in January 1953, Eisenhower initiated a change in the nations national military strategy which emphasized defense of the nation and containment of communist aggression through the threat of massive retaliation with nuclear weapons rather than by use of conventional military force . This policy resulted in a reordering of priorities in the Defense Department and a significant reduction in Army force structure and funding. General Ridgway, Eisenhowers Chief of Staff of the Army from 1953 to 1955, strongly opposed Eisenhowers New look military structure and the strategy of massive retaliation. He thought that this strategy was militarily unsound and immoral. Ridgway preferred a more balanced warfighting strategy which would provide the Army with the capability to meet the nations worldwide defense commitments at all levels of conflict. This study examines these two conflicting strategies in the historical context of the period. It also compares and contrasts the military experiences of Eisenhower and Ridgway to develop a possible explanation of why these two great military leaders had such divergent views on how best to defend the nation. The manner in which Ridgway viewed and dealt with his opposition to the policies of his civilian leadership is also examined. The study draws an analogy between the situation faced by Ridgway and the Army in 1989 and 1990.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics