In A Cross of Iron, one of the country's most distinguished diplomatic historians provides a comprehensive account of the national security state that emerged in the first decade of the Cold War. Michael J. Hogan traces the process of state-making as it unfolded in struggles to unify the armed forces, harness science to military purposes, mobilize military manpower, control the defense budget, and distribute the cost of defense across the economy. At stake, Hogan argues, was a fundamental contest over the nation's political identity and postwar purpose. President Harry S. Truman and his successor were in the middle of this contest. According to Hogan, they tried to reconcile an older set of values with the new ideology of national security and the country's democratic traditions with its global obligations. Their efforts determined the size and shape of the national security state that finally emerged.
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(228mm x 152mm x 31mm)
Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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US Kirkus Review »
In an important contribution to modern US government and policy studies, Hogan (History/Ohio State Univ.) traces the development of America's national security apparatus in the first decade of the Cold War. For much of its history, the US took to heart the advice of George Washington to avoid entangling alliances and involvement in foreign affairs. Accordingly, as it matured, America pursued a policy of nonintervention in foreign wars (except in Latin America), and enjoyed an antistatist and antimilitarist domestic culture. While America was becoming an active international power in the years prior to WWII, isolationism still characterized American policy on the eve of that war. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor transformed the domestic policy consensus: isolationism was no longer viewed as a practical policy, and America had to bear the burden of its own defense. Hogan argues that, in the first decade following the conclusion of WWII, advocates of the new ideology of military security came into conflict with proponents of the older values. He contends that the emerging national security state was largely the presidential creation of Harry Truman, who attempted to reconcile the two camps, and of Dwight Eisenhower, who feared the development of a garrison state but recognized the need to end the isolationist policy of the past. The tension between the two ideologies could play out within the same individual, as was the case with Truman and some others. Often, the tension carved out divisions along party and institutional lines (the national security ideology was associated more with the Democratic party and the executive branch, and the older culture more with the Republican party and the Congress). What resulted, Hogan concludes, was a compromise: while the political, military, and intelligence organs of the national security state proliferated, the nation's democratic values and principles of civilian control prevented the nation from becoming a total garrison state. An absorbing, provocative study. (Kirkus Reviews)
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