Articles On War

Democracies at War?
Whether or not democracies will go to war with other democracies is an intensely debated topic in the study of international relations. Acceptance of this philosophical assertion might have important ramifications for the policies of democratic leaders and the future of warfare.

Peace in Palestine
Looking at the Israelis and Palestinians today, it is obvious that peace is not that important to either party right now. They would rather haggle over fine print. In essence, they don't agree, don't expect to agree, and are merely exploring the extent of their disagreement, which is far from looking for a lasting settlement of their dispute or peace.

Global Military Domination
Since the US-led intervention in Iraq, a lot has been written about American intentions to make use of its massive military superiority, resulting from the end of the Cold War, to somehow dominate the world.

Intervention in Iraq
International interest in Iraq prior to the US-led intervention in 2003 arose from the exceptional status this country occupied in the decade since the Gulf War 1991. The Bush administration made a concerted effort to build an international consensus on a forcible regime change in Iraq.

Target Iran: American Options
Published discussions have suggested everything from diplomacy to sanctions to air strikes to a limited ground war to a regime changing war on Iran to prevent its acquisition of nuclear weapons. Even the use of tactical nuclear weapons has not been discounted.

Principles of the Gulf War 1990-91
The Gulf War was one of the few wars in history fought specifically over a principle, respect for borders. It was a war fought against the idea of allowing the use of military aggression to resolve a territorial dispute.

Dresden Burning
Bombing Dresden had no impact on the outcome of World War II in Europe but it highlighted nagging doubts in the Allied camp over the morality of the strategic bombing campaign.

Women and the Military
To suggest that a statistical variation in upper body strength or the like is all that underlies the historically evident exclusion of women from battle seems rather trite. Evidence of female fighting ability is not enough to overcome the long-standing exclusion of women from battle.

Five Million Others?
Relatively recently it has become fashionable to speak of the 11 million victims of the Holocaust. But while there is general agreement on the death of 6 million Jews it is not at all clear who exactly is to be counted as the 5 million others that perished through systematic extermination. Claims to systematic extermination most often seem to be justified on the basis of a group's presence in the Nazi concentration camp system or claims to mass executions by the Einsatzgruppen, the mobile death squads the Nazis employed.

Allied and Axis GDP
A well established predictor of military victory in great power warfare is GDP. This analysis shows that while by 1942 there was a substantial Allied economic advantage, measured in GDP, this did not exist at the beginning of the war in 1939.

Lest we... forgot
It is perhaps important to remember that the way we got here was through a vicious bloodletting known as World War II. Perhaps that was necessary and inevitable because we have found no better way of altering established power relationships to reflect reality.

The Assault Rifle
Combat experience on the Eastern Front during 1941-42 caused the German Army to reconsider the basic armament of an infantry soldier. What the German engineers eventually produced was the MP-44.

Madame Chiang
Madame Chiang, media darling and the power behind the Nationalist leader, Chiang Kai-shek, was so prominent in the Chinese war effort against Japan that General Stilwell recommended, only half jokingly, that she be appointed Minister of Defense.

Strange Bedfellows - Chiang and Stilwell
At the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the Nationalist Chinese led by Chiang Kai-Shek were in desperate need. Help was at hand through the Allies but it arrived with American General Joseph Warren "Vinegar Joe" Stilwell.

From Nazis to NASA: von Braun
His boyhood was characterized by a passion for rockets. In the Second World War his work became known world wide with the development of the V-2 rocket. Operation Paperclip was mounted with intent of securing samples of the world's most advanced rocket for the US. Bringing the designer along seemed like the only viable option. Von Braun was quite willing. After the war he was instrumental in putting a man on the moon.

Vengeance Weapons
During the latter days of the war, the Germans conducted a renewed terror bombing of London. This blitz was not carried out by waves of Heinkel, Junker and Stuka bombers, but by mindless robots, the Vergeltungswaffen -- vengeance weapons.

Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo
In the spring of 1942, Americans needed a victory -- no matter how slight. Nothing but continued losses were anticipated for the immediate future and thus emerged the daring plan to bomb Tokyo. Hollywood would immortalize this raid, the "Doolittle Raid," on film.

The Razor
Hideki Tojo led Japan into the Second World War and was ultimately responsible for its conduct of the Pacific war until mid-1944. He remains almost completely unknown in the West. In contrast, an enormous quantity of information is available regarding Emperor Hirohito. It is as if historians had chosen to focus on King George of England and disregard Winston Churchill's role in the war.

Il Duce
Benito Mussolini, the man who made the Italian trains run on time, created his own unique brand of politics: Facism. He was heralded worldwide as a statesman of genius.

F.D.R.
After the outbreak of World War I Roosevelt became a strong supporter of preparedness for war, a direct contrast to his country's isolationist policies. By 1940 overt defense preparations and "all aid short of war" to the European Allies were underway.

Uncle Joe
His birth name was Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashivili. His party name was "Koba"-- the name of a Georgian folk-hero rather like Robin Hood. The world remembers him as Stalin -- derived from the Russian word for steel.

Winnie the Warmonger
Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill has been described as the second most influential person in the World War II, eclipsed only by Adolf Hitler. But his influence did not arise in a vacuum. His political and military career spanned nearly four decades prior to the war.

D-Day 1944
On the morning of June 6th an Allied armada arrived off the coast of Normandy and launched the largest amphibious assault in history. A coup de grâce had been delivered to the Third Reich. An Allied victory in Europe was now certain but that was not the case when the invasion was ordered.

Molotov in Berlin 1940
Molotov, the Soviet Union's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, was in Berlin in mid-November 1940 to discuss a broad range of political and economic issues between the Third Reich and the USSR. During his interview with Hitler, the Soviet Union was invited to join the Tripartite Pact and share in the spoils of the British Empire. Molotov did not dismiss the idea outright.

Ideologies at War
The imperialist world order died on the battlefields of the Great War. From its ashes arose three forms of socio-political organization that would, in the span of twenty years, initiate an even bloodier war aimed at determining which of the competing ideologies would govern the post-imperial world. Under the banners of democracy, communism and facism, armies once again marched into battle.

The Führer
Adolf Hitler, a nondescript Austrian volunteer in the Imperial German Army in 1918, with the rank of corporal, rose to the position of Chancellor of Weimar Germany in the space of 15 years. Roughly six years later he was on Time magazine's cover as "Man of the Year" for 1938 -- a grudging acknowledgment of Hitler's importance.

Pearl Harbor
On December 7th, 1941, at 0755 local time, a Japanese force of carrier aircraft began a surprise attack on the American naval base at Pearl Harbor. It was a brilliant tactical victory for Japan.

Munich 1938
In September 1938, an international crisis developed around the future of a little known area of then Czechoslovakia, populated mostly by ethnic Germans, and known as Sudetenland. The British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, believed he could defuse this crisis through direct negotiations with Hitler.

OKW versus OKH
OKH remained beyond Adolf Hitler's control in 1939. The traditional independence of the Army generals proved to be impossible to overcome and lengthy arguments over policy and strategy were inevitable to bring about Army compliance. Hiter found a willing alternative in OKW.

German Command and Control
One of the most important weaknesses inherent in the armed forces of the Third Reich lay in the peculiar military command structure that evolved during the course of the war. The Byzantine organization that developed under Hitler's leadership created the complete lack of strategic direction that became a hallmark of Nazi militarism.

America Prepares For War
America was engaged in a massive rearmament program, provided military aid to the British and their allies and generally provoked German, Italian and Japanese retaliation before their official entry into the war.

Willing Executioners?
Goldhagen is readable only when he expresses his heartfelt moral outrage towards the "German" perpetrators of the Nazi genocide of European Jews during World War II. When he attempts to provide an analysis of those feelings, however, Goldhagen retreats into an ivory tower language that covers up his sophistry with syllables.

The Battle of Kursk
The greatest tank battle in history occurred at Kursk. It began on July 5th, 1943 and it ended ignominiously eight days later. This was the last major offensive launched by the Germans on the Eastern Front.

Suvorov's Icebreaker
According to Viktor Suvorov, Stalin masterminded the outbreak of World War II and he intended to attack Nazi Germany, probably on July 6, 1941.

The Genocidal Mindset
The psychological distancing individuals achieved through the bureaucratic and technological developments produced during the war made genocidal behavior universally conceivable in the context of a modern industrialized state at war.

The Battle for Stalingrad
German experience during the period leading up to the launch of their second summer offensive against the Soviet Union gave them reason to be optimistic. Their early success forced the Soviets to make a last stand at Stalingrad. Brilliant Soviet street fighting tactics, daring operational thinking and serious German errors combined to reverse Soviet fortune. By the end of November the Soviets had trapped the powerful German 6th Army inside Stalingrad - it was more than they expected.

Battle for the Seelow Heights
Stalin and Zhukov were both determined to capture Berlin. In April 1945 all that stood in the way of the mighty Soviet army was Colonel General Heinrici and Army Group Vistula. In this epic battle, Heinrici demonstrated that even in April 1945 the German army could put up a tough fight. An embarrassed Zhukov ended up racing Konev to Berlin because he failed to anticipate the strength of the German defense.

The Battle for Moscow
German planning for the invasion of the USSR had inherently conflicting objectives. The German generals wanted to strike at Moscow. Hitler did not. This dispute over strategic direction ended with the Battle of Smolensk. Hitler won. Moscow was to be attacked only after the flanks were cleared. This delayed an offensive toward Moscow to the end of September 1941.

Barbarossa or Sealion?
After the fall of France in 1940, Germany faced a difficult strategic choice between invading England or attacking the Soviet Union. The latter option proved preferable.

The German Reaction to Blitzkrieg
The Germans understood Blitzkrieg warfare as poorly as the Allies. Their military leaders tolerated its best practitioners only so long as they were successful and sacked them thereafter.

The Blitzkrieg Revolution
The Third Reich had to defeat its opponents before they could adapt to Blitzkrieg warfare.

Development of the AFV During the Second World War
A brief history of tank design and development during WWII.

Effectiveness of Allied Strategic Bombing in Europe
Did strategic bombing during World War II have a decisive impact on the outcome of the war?

Allied or Soviet Victory in Europe?
There is no doubt that the war in Europe, for the most part, was fought and won on the Eastern Front. While the Soviet Union invested much more blood and treasure, it was the US and its allies that reaped the greatest benefits.