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Freedom’s Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War II’s Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War II2018-08-01T04:00:00Z,<div class="ExternalClass81F275CB9C854A69927627D23B3ADFCF"><img src="" alt="" style="margin-left:4px;margin-right:4px;float:left;" /> <h2>Freedom’s Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War II</h2> <p><strong>Author(s):</strong> Arthur Herman<br> <strong>Publisher:</strong> Random House<br> <strong>Copyright Date:</strong> 2012<br> <strong>ISBN:</strong>978-1-4000-6964-4<br> eBook 978-0-679-60463-1<br> <strong>Hard/Softcover:</strong> Both, 413 pages<br> <strong>Reviewed by:</strong>Dr. B. F. Cooling, Professor of National Security Studies, The Eisenhower School, National Defense University</p> <hr /> <h2>Summary</h2> <p>Remarkable as it may seem today, there once was a time when the president of the United States could pick up the phone and ask the president of General Motors to resign his position and take the reins of a great national enterprise. And the CEO would oblige, no questions asked, because it was his patriotic duty.</p> <p>In <em>Freedom’s Forge</em>, bestselling author Arthur Herman takes us back to that time, revealing how two extraordinary American businessmen—automobile magnate William Knudsen and shipbuilder Henry J. Kaiser—helped corral, cajole, and inspire business leaders across the country to mobilize the “arsenal of democracy” that propelled the Allies to victory in World War II.</p> <p>“Knudsen? I want to see you in Washington. I want you to work on some production matters.” With those words, President Franklin D. Roosevelt enlisted “Big Bill” Knudsen, a Danish immigrant who had risen through the ranks of the auto industry to become president of General Motors, to drop his plans for market domination and join the U.S. Army. Commissioned a lieutenant general, Knudsen assembled a crack team of industrial innovators, persuading them one by one to leave their lucrative private sector positions and join him in Washington, D.C. Dubbed the “dollar-a-year men,” these dedicated patriots quickly took charge of America’s moribund war production effort.</p> <p>Henry J. Kaiser was a maverick California industrialist famed for his innovative business techniques and his can-do management style. He, too, joined the cause. His Liberty ships became World War II icons—and the Kaiser name became so admired that FDR briefly considered making him his vice president in 1944. Together, Knudsen and Kaiser created a wartime production behemoth. Drafting top talent from companies like Chrysler, Republic Steel, Boeing, Lockheed, GE, and Frigidaire, they turned auto plants into aircraft factories and civilian assembly lines into fountains of munitions, giving Americans fighting in Europe and Asia the tools they needed to defeat the Axis. In four short years they transformed America’s army from a hollow shell into a truly global force, laying the foundations for a new industrial America—and for the country’s rise as an economic as well as military superpower.</p> <p>Featuring behind-the-scenes portraits of FDR, George Marshall, Henry Stimson, Harry Hopkins, Jimmy Doolittle, and Curtis LeMay, as well as scores of largely forgotten heroes and heroines of the wartime industrial effort, <em>Freedom’s Forge</em> is the American story writ large. It vividly re-creates American industry’s finest hour, when the nation’s business elites put aside their pursuit of profits and set about saving the world.</p> <hr /> <h2>Review</h2> <p>Writing readable acquisition history can be difficult. Often the province of official histories that provide the first cut from a data bank, products can be mundane and factual but hardly exciting. In the hands of an accomplished writer such as Arthur Herman, however, it can be scintillating. Such is the case with <em>Freedom’s Forge</em> although Herman, associated with the American Enterprise Institute at the time of publication, trumpets the party line that every success traces to private enterprise. In this case, he advances that key elements and people from the business community won the Second World War. The question is, what can be learned from this approach? By introducing readers to corporate giants like automobile maker William Knudsen and shipbuilder Henry Kaiser, to name but two, Herman suggests a public spirit induced by Pearl Harbor, the winsome cajolery of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and opportunity for a generation of captains of industry to set aside profit, politics and competition to respond to the needs of a government and its military in time of peril. The story begins with aid to France and Great Britain standing alone against Nazism and Fascism before Pearl Harbor. It moves through conversion process from consumer to military need, touches upon wartime introduction of improved technology application whether artillery fuses, introduction of napalm or something as prosaic as Liberty cargo ships. It concludes with the reverse conversion of demobilization and a bright new postwar world carried forward on the waves of America’s industrial victory.</p> <p>Again, just what can today’s acquisition professionals learn from a total war distant in time and space? For one thing, typical of such triumphalism, Herman’s popular history simplifies the difficulties of mobilization and production, war financing, concern for wartime excess profits, ethics and corruption and labor difficulties that also attended the Second World War enterprise. The corps of government civilian bureaucrats as well as military logisticians hardly receive their due in this paean to private industry. Other equally conversant students of this wartime miracle by “the Greatest Generation” are more judicious in suggesting that public-private partnership of government and industry lay behind victory. Paul Koistinen, <em>Arsenal of World War II: The Political Economy of American Warfare 1940-1945, Paul </em>Kennedy, <em>Engineers of Victory</em> and Maury Klein, <em>A Call to Arms: Mobilizing America for World War II</em> are superior in that regard while A. J. Baime, <em>The Arsenal of Democracy: FDR, Detroit, and an Epic Quest to </em>Arm<em> an America at War </em>and even Jim Lacey, <em>Keep From All Thoughtful Men; How U.S. Economists Won World War II</em> or chapters in a more obscure <em>The BIG L; </em>American<em> Logistics in World War II</em> edited by Alan Gropman almost twenty years ago also merit a visit. Herman under appreciates the fact that public funds and contracts, mobilization and procurement planning and execution are inherently government functions then and now. They start the wheels of production and underwrite private sector achievement in the first place. It is called teamwork whether in World War II or today.</p> <hr /> <h2>Multimedia</h2> <iframe frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe> <hr /> <h2>To print a PDF copy of this article, <a href="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Professional%20Reading%20Program/Freedoms-Forge-Book-Review.pdf">click here</a>.</h2></div>string;#/library/professional-reading-program/blog/Freedom’s-Forge--How-American-Business-Produced-Victory-in-World-War-II
Engineers of Victory: The Problem Solvers Who Turned the Tide in the Second World War of Victory: The Problem Solvers Who Turned the Tide in the Second World War2018-07-17T16:00:00Z,<div class="ExternalClass187745BA977E414C9EC75E4CBBA9F6DC"><img alt="enginners-of-victory-book" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Professional%20Reading%20Program/Engineers%20of%20Victory.jpg" style="margin-right:4px;margin-left:4px;float:left;width:132px;height:200px;" /> <h1>Engineers of Victory: The Problem Solvers Who Turned the Tide in the Second World War</h1> <p><strong>Author(s):</strong> Paul Kennedy<br> <strong>Publisher:</strong> Random House Trade Paperbacks<br> <strong>Copyright Date: </strong>2013<br> <strong>Available Online: </strong><a href=""></a><br> <strong>Hard/Softcover:</strong> Softcover, 480 pages<br> <strong>Reviewed by:</strong> Dr. Glen R. Asner, Senior Historian, Historical Office, Office of the Secretary of Defense</p> <hr /> <h1>Summary</h1> <p>Paul Kennedy, award-winning author of The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers and one of today’s most renowned historians, now provides a new and unique look at how World War II was won. Engineers of Victory is a fascinating nuts-and-bolts account of the strategic factors that led to Allied victory. Kennedy reveals how the leaders’ grand strategy was carried out by the ordinary soldiers, scientists, engineers, and businessmen responsible for realizing their commanders’ visions of success.</p> <p> </p> <p>In January 1943, FDR and Churchill convened in Casablanca and established the Allied objectives for the war: to defeat the Nazi blitzkrieg; to control the Atlantic sea lanes and the air over western and central Europe; to take the fight to the European mainland; and to end Japan’s imperialism. Astonishingly, a little over a year later, these ambitious goals had nearly all been accomplished. With riveting, tactical detail, Engineers of Victory reveals how.</p> <p>Kennedy recounts the inside stories of the invention of the cavity magnetron, a miniature radar “as small as a soup plate,” and the Hedgehog, a multi-headed grenade launcher that allowed the Allies to overcome the threat to their convoys crossing the Atlantic; the critical decision by engineers to install a super-charged Rolls-Royce engine in the P-51 Mustang, creating a fighter plane more powerful than the Luftwaffe’s; and the innovative use of pontoon bridges (made from rafts strung together) to help Russian troops cross rivers and elude the Nazi blitzkrieg. He takes readers behind the scenes, unveiling exactly how thousands of individual Allied planes and fighting ships were choreographed to collectively pull off the invasion of Normandy, and illuminating how crew chiefs perfected the high-flying and inaccessible B-29 Superfortress that would drop the atomic bombs on Japan.</p> <p>The story of World War II is often told as a grand narrative, as if it were fought by supermen or decided by fate. Here Kennedy uncovers the real heroes of the war, highlighting for the first time the creative strategies, tactics, and organizational decisions that made the lofty Allied objectives into a successful reality. In an even more significant way, Engineers of Victory has another claim to our attention, for it restores “the middle level of war” to its rightful place in history.</p> <hr /> <h1>Review</h1> <p>Paul Kennedy’s Engineers of Victory offers a nuanced, multicausal explanation for the outcome of World War II. Across five lengthy chapters, the author identifies what he considers the key decisions, battles, technological advances, and operational achievements that account for ultimate victory against Germany and Japan. Each chapter focuses on a different major operational challenge the Allies had to overcome to turn the tide of World War II in their favor: halting the U-boat menace to ensure safe passage for supplies and troops across the Atlantic; knocking out the Luftwaffe to gain control over the skies of Germany; countering the Wehrmacht’s Blitzkrieg (“lightening war”) strategy to reverse German advances on the Eastern Front; seizing an enemy-held shore in the Normandy invasion to open up the Western Front; and fighting across a great expanse—the Central Pacific—to reach Japan and destroy its war-making capabilities.</p> <p>While Kennedy acknowledges that the Allies’ tremendous advantages in output of war material beginning in 1943 partly explain the outcome of the war, he contends that Allied victory also rested on differences in how each side approached geographic challenges and differences in the culture and organization of their “war-making systems.” The Axis powers badly overreached, most egregiously on the Eastern Front and in the Pacific, while the Allies were more sensitive to the role of geography and, most importantly, were better at learning from mistakes, transmitting and circulating knowledge, and encouraging innovation in all endeavors.</p> <p>Readers unfamiliar with the war will appreciate the tightly packed overviews of key battles and campaigns, as well as helpful summaries of major operational challenges, such as amphibious landings or strategic bombing sorties, juxtaposed across the larger history of warfare. Knowledgeable readers will be frustrated by factual errors that plague the text and how much is left out of the story, particularly in the discussion of the Pacific campaign. Those looking for insights on engineering and acquisition during World War II will be disappointed. The author pays tribute to the role of technology and production, and to those who called forth, designed, built, and improved upon critical weapon systems, but only in a cursory fashion and without providing much insight on how technological advances occurred.</p> <p>Yet, this book is a worthwhile read, primarily for the author’s ambitious effort to show how all aspects of the war—from high diplomacy and the factory floor, to the training and equipping of troops and the battlefield—were intimately linked and interdependent. For politicians, war planners, soldiers, weapons developers, and acquisition professionals, Kennedy’s main argument is worth remembering: the Allies won “because they possessed smarter feedback loops between top, middle, and bottom; because they stimulated initiative, innovation, and ingenuity; and because they encouraged problem solvers to tackle large, apparently intractable problems.” Founded on strong educational and economic systems and a culture of innovation, these attributes are no less important today for military and political advantage than they were 70 years ago.</p> <hr />To print a PDF copy of this article, <a href="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Professional%20Reading%20Program/engineersofvictory.pdf">click here</a>.</div>string;#/library/professional-reading-program/blog/Engineers-of-Victory--The-Problem-Solvers-Who-Turned-the-Tide-in-the-Second-World-War
A Fiery Peace in a Cold War Fiery Peace in a Cold War2018-07-17T16:00:00Z,<div class="ExternalClass9B6FF48B9E3E4D09A147CC53E33E6CA5"><img alt="a-fiery-peace-book" src="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Professional%20Reading%20Program/A%20Fiery%20Peace%20in%20a%20Cold%20War.jpg" style="margin-right:4px;margin-left:4px;float:left;width:129px;height:200px;" /> <h1>A Fiery Peace in a Cold War</h1> <strong>Author(s): </strong>Neil Sheehan<br> <strong>Publisher:</strong> New York, Random House<br> <strong>Copyright Date:</strong> 2009<br> <strong>ISBN: </strong>0679422846<br> <strong>Hard/Softcover:</strong> Hardcover, 560 pages<br> <strong>Reviewed by:</strong> James H. Dobbins, Ph.D., Esq., Principal Multidisciplinary Engineer, MITRE McLean, VA <hr /> <h1>Summary</h1> <p>From Neil Sheehan, author of the Pulitzer Prize—winning classic A Bright Shining Lie, comes this long-awaited, magnificent epic. Here is the never-before-told story of the nuclear arms race that changed history–and of the visionary American Air Force officer Bernard Schriever, who led the high-stakes effort. A Fiery Peace in a Cold War is a masterly work about Schriever’s quests to prevent the Soviet Union from acquiring nuclear superiority, to penetrate and exploit space for America, and to build the first weapons meant to deter an atomic holocaust rather than to be fired in anger.</p> <p> </p> <p>Sheehan melds biography and history, politics and science, to create a sweeping narrative that transports the reader back and forth from individual drama to world stage. The narrative takes us from Schriever’s boyhood in Texas as a six-year-old immigrant from Germany in 1917 through his apprenticeship in the open-cockpit biplanes of the Army Air Corps in the 1930s and his participation in battles against the Japanese in the South Pacific during the Second World War. On his return, he finds a new postwar bipolar universe dominated by the antagonism between the United States and the Soviet Union.</p> <p>Inspired by his technological vision, Schriever sets out in 1954 to create the one class of weapons that can enforce peace with the Russians–intercontinental ballistic missiles that are unstoppable and can destroy the Soviet Union in thirty minutes. In the course of his crusade, he encounters allies and enemies among some of the most intriguing figures of the century: John von Neumann, the Hungarian-born mathematician and mathematical physicist, who was second in genius only to Einstein; Colonel Edward Hall, who created the ultimate ICBM in the Minuteman missile, and his brother, Theodore Hall, who spied for the Russians at Los Alamos and hastened their acquisition of the atomic bomb; Curtis LeMay, the bomber general who tried to exile Schriever and who lost his grip on reality, amassing enough nuclear weapons in his Strategic Air Command to destroy the entire Northern Hemisphere; and Hitler’s former rocket maker, Wernher von Braun, who along with a colorful, riding-crop-wielding Army general named John Medaris tried to steal the ICBM program.</p> <p>The most powerful men on earth are also put into astonishing relief: Joseph Stalin, the cruel, paranoid Soviet dictator who spurred his own scientists to build him the atomic bomb with threats of death; Dwight Eisenhower, who backed the ICBM program just in time to save it from the bureaucrats; Nikita Khrushchev, who brought the world to the edge of nuclear catastrophe during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and John Kennedy, who saved it.</p> <p>Schriever and his comrades endured the heartbreak of watching missiles explode on the launching pads at Cape Canaveral and savored the triumph of seeing them soar into space. In the end, they accomplished more than achieving a fiery peace in a cold war. Their missiles became the vehicles that opened space for America.</p> <hr /> <h1>Review</h1> <p>With an attention to detail seldom encountered, coupled with penetrating psychological explorations into the minds and motives of many of those involved, Pulitzer prize winning author Neil Sheehan provides a comprehensive look at the Cold War development of the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), written around the story of the life and career of Gen. Bernard Schriever, commander of the Air Force Systems Command, the brilliant man who brought the ICBM to life. He does this while exploring the birth of the United States Air Force and the formation of the Strategic Air Command. The importance of the ICBM among U.S. weapon systems, and how the people involved came together to give it birth, is masterfully recounted.</p> <p>Schriever’s influence was palpable. He had battled the likes of Curtis LeMay, first commander of Strategic Air Command, who believed bombers were the ultimate strategic weapon. Sheehan shows how they lacked the vision to see how useless bombers would be in the event of a strategic nuclear war where the ICBM, capable of striking a target continents away in a matter of minutes, would be the primary—and deciding—weapon. By 1963, Schriever controlled 40 percent of the Air Force budget.</p> <p>Sheehan captures in fascinating detail the relationship between Schriever and the head of the U.S. Army Air Force, Henry “Hap” Arnold, and shows with clarity seldom seen elsewhere the influence a visionary leader like Arnold is able to exert to shape the career and open the doors to advancement of someone as brilliant and visionary as Schreiver. He shows how Schriever’s vision and strategic thinking ability enabled him to see with absolute clarity the need to develop the ICBM to protect his adopted country from the growing menace of the Soviet Union, in spite of encountering resistance from LeMay at every turn. Sheehan also describes how Schriever set up research and development labs as a critical element in the advancement of weapon systems, while addressing the problems with Soviet spies who had infiltrated the research labs. He was able to stay on target, to continually shift tactics to reach his strategic goal, working through and around challenges from people, budgets, family obligations, and Air Force top brass.<br> All those who worked with Schriever really did walk with a legend whose story deserved to be memorialized. For this, we owe Sheehan a debt of gratitude.</p> <hr /> <h2>Multimedia</h2> <p><strong>NPR podcast 2009:</strong> <a href=""></a></p> <p><strong>WNYC podcast 2009:</strong> <a href=""></a></p> <p><strong>C-Span Book Discussion 2009:</strong><a href=""></a></p> <p><strong>National Press Club 2009:</strong> <a href=""></a></p> <hr /> <h2>To print a PDF copy of this article, <a href="/library/defense-atl/DATLFiles/Professional%20Reading%20Program/fierypeace.pdf">click here</a>.</h2></div>string;#/library/professional-reading-program/blog/A-Fiery-Peace-in-a-Cold-War
Six Frigates Frigates2018-07-17T04:00:00Z,<div class="ExternalClassE42EE29D594A42B9B8400596A73EE5B2"><img alt="six-frigates-cover" src="" style="margin-right:4px;margin-left:4px;float:left;" /> <h1>Six Frigates: The Epic History of the Founding of the U.S. Navy</h1> <strong>Author(s): </strong>Ian W. Toll<br> <strong>Publisher:</strong> W. W. Norton & Company<br> <strong>Copyright Date:</strong> 2006<br> <strong>Available Online:</strong> <a href=""></a><br> <b>ISBN-10:</b> 039333032X<br> <b>ISBN-13:</b> 978-0393330328<br> <strong>Hard/Softcover:</strong> Softcover, 592 pages<br> <strong>Reviewed by: </strong>Thomas Hone <hr /> <h1>Summary</h1> Before the ink was dry on the U.S. Constitution, the establishment of a permanent military became the most divisive issue facing the new government. The founders—particularly Jefferson, Madison, and Adams—debated fiercely. Would a standing army be the thin end of dictatorship? Would a navy protect from pirates or drain the treasury and provoke hostility? The decision to build six heavy frigates quickly ran into conflicting congressional interests and political infighting among the shipyard commanders that made the program far more complex than the technical requirements demanded. <hr /> <h1>Review</h1> <p>Six Frigates focuses on the building of the first powerful warships—USS Constitution and her sisters—of the United States and their operations in peace and war. As Ian Toll reveals, however, the story of how the ships were created is just as interesting as how they served at sea. It might surprise readers of Six Frigates to learn that the sorts of problems that challenge today’s acquisition professionals also plagued their predecessors of the 1790s.</p> <p>President George Washington asked for the ships in 1794 to force the Barbary States of North Africa to stop capturing American merchantmen and enslaving their crews. Because at that time there was no United States Navy, Congress gave the task of procuring the ships to Secretary of War Henry Knox. Knox, however, was not given a free hand. The authorizing legislation required four of the ships to have 36 guns and two 44 guns; the law also specified the numbers of officers and enlisted sailors for the frigates, as well as their ratings. Congress “laid out details of pay and rations” and gave President Washington the authority to appoint the ships’ captains.</p> <p>Finally, the authorization required the Secretary of War to halt construction of the ships if the Barbary States agreed to cease capturing American vessels. No builder could have confidence that work once begun would be completed.</p> <p>Secretary Knox began by choosing to build new ships instead of converting existing merchant ships. He rejected the argument that conversions would be more (to use current terminology) cost-effective. But he then had to accede to President Washington’s decision to construct the six ships in six different ports in order “to spread the financial benefits” and to prevent the shipwrights in Philadelphia from monopolizing warship construction. Knox was aware that spreading the work as Washington wished would increase the cost of the six-ship program, but he proceeded to lease six available shipyards and then hired “master builders” to oversee the work in each. There was no way that Knox could avoid managing his “industrial base.”</p> <p>How should the ships be designed? Ideally, they would be well armed, fast enough to run away from more powerful ships, and handy enough under sail to outmaneuver their opponents. Joshua Humphreys, a Philadelphia shipwright, proposed building ships “superior to any European frigate,” and put forward his own design. But other shipwrights differed with Humphreys, leaving Secretary Knox with the unenviable task of making a difficult choice in a field where he was anything but an expert.</p> <p>Once begun, construction of the ships was hampered by a lack of the right building materials, adequate guns, and the lack of a “well-established principle to guide shipwrights in the masting and sparring of ships.” As a result, no two ships were identical. Each captain selected “mast and spar dimensions for the frigate under his command,” and each also learned through trial and error how best to sail his particular ship. “Configuration management” didn’t exist.<br> Six Frigates documents classic acquisition dilemmas, from how to manage competition among potential vendors to shielding actual work from interference by members of Congress intent on pressing for their own special agendas. The book also goes on to cover the operational histories of the ships. It is indeed “an epic history,” and the first 200 pages are of special interest to those engaged in military acquisition today.</p> <hr /> <h1>Multimedia</h1> <iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0"></iframe><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0"></iframe> <p>  </p></div>string;#/library/professional-reading-program/blog/Six-Frigates