A Cross of Iron: Harry S. Truman and the Origins of the by Michael J. Hogan

By Michael J. Hogan

A pass of Iron offers the fullest account but of the nationwide safeguard country that emerged within the first decade of the chilly warfare. Michael J. Hogan lines the method of state-making via struggles to unify the militia, harness technological know-how to army reasons, mobilize army manpower, keep watch over the security price range, and distribute the price of protection around the economic climate. President Harry S. Truman and his successor have been in the midst of a primary contest over the nation's political identification and postwar goal, and their efforts decided the dimensions and form of the nationwide safety nation that at last emerged.

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The new department would be comprised of three "coordinate branches," including an independent air force, each with a civilian assistant secretary and a military commander who would join the chief of staff to advise the president on military strategy and defense spending. Truman took pains to stress how such a scheme would ensure security without undercutting one of the key attributes of American democracy the principle of civilian control over the military. The service secretaries, he said, had been captives of competing military branches, but under his proposal the armed forces would be accountable to a single secretary and military chief of staff, whose powers would derive from the president.

In theory, the council would be advisory to the president, who would chair its meetings; but in practice, as Paul Hammond pointed out years ago, the president's participation would make it difficult for him to ignore the advice of the council, half of whose members were to come from the military departments. 29 This possibility was very much on the mind of President Truman, whose ideas on how to deal with the military establishment fed directly into the Army-Navy debate. A veteran of the First World War and a charter member of the Tirey J.

For an excellent recent account of Nelson and wartime mobilization see Alan Brinkley, The End of Reform: New Deal Liberalism in Recession and War (New York, 1995), 175-200. For the controversy surrounding Nelson's book see Patterson to George W. , 10 September 1946; Patterson to General Brehon Somervell, 11 September 1946; Julius H. Amberg to Patterson, 16 September 1946; Somervell to Patterson, 16 September 1946; Floyd Odium to Donald Nelson, 18 and 23 September 1946; and Patterson to Odium, 26 September 1946, all in Robert P.

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