World War II

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Since WWII, the superiority of U.S. military technology has enabled operational success, yet history shows that strategic victory has been achieved only through the successful accomplishment of a strategic policy. The dual edged sword of technology can increase combat effectiveness while decreasing causalities, but this has enticed leaders to develop policy based on military technology rather than employing the technology to meet the policy. The examination of three case studies will demonstrate that superior technology does not directly translate to strategic victory. First, the WWII bombing campaign against Germany was initially developed as a part of a strategy to defeat the material and morale of Germany, yet its eventual result was as an operational enabler for the cross-channel invasion. Second, the overwhelming firepower arrayed against the insurgency in South Vietnam was successful in racking up a high body count, but resulted in a disastrous strategic outcome. Third, the invasion of Iraq in 2003 showed the dangers of over-reliance on a light, high-tech force capable of defeating a conventional army, but unable to cope with an insurgency. Next, the claim that the employment of nuclear weapons against Japan solely ended WWII will be refuted. Finally, a bridge forward explores the role of technology in countering the rising threat of China. WWII was the first time that large scale aerial bombing was possible. The industrial revolution combined with the US ability to produce massive amounts of aircraft allowed this new technology to be employed as an autonomous method of war. During the interwar period, the US Army Air Corps developed doctrine which argued that strategic bombing could defeat the material and morale of the... ... middle of paper ... ...s not only a contest of military and economic power, but also a contest of human power and morale (Tse-tung 217).” The US may be able to develop all the right technologies, but the bigger task will be convincing a war-weary US population that it is worth the cost. Finally, Mao seems to have been able to predict the future: “There is no doubt that China will grow in military and economic power...As for our enemy, weakened as he will be by the long war and by internal and external contradictions, his military and economic power is bound to change in the reverse direction (Tse-tung, 218). Though this prediction was made in reference to Japan during WWII, it could very well apply to the US. Despite our current technological edge on the rest of the world, is the military ready to have the tough conversation that acknowledges that the US role in the world is changing?

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