Academic journal article Military Review

Defeating Japan: The Joint Chiefs of Staff and Strategy in the Pacific War, 1943-1945

Academic journal article Military Review

Defeating Japan: The Joint Chiefs of Staff and Strategy in the Pacific War, 1943-1945

Article excerpt

DEFEATING JAPAN: The Joint Chiefs of Staff and Strategy in the Pacific War, 1943-1945

Charles F. Brower, Palgrave MacMillan, New York, 2013, 234 pages

Designing wartime strategies and campaigns is tough business. Civilian and uniformed leaders operating at the nexus of strategic decision making often collide over which considerations--political or military--should hold sway. Should military leaders defer to policy makers or integrate their decisions into their formulations of the best possible expert military advice?

In an insightful new book, Charles Brower takes on a widely held perspective that U.S. uniformed leadership during World War II was often myopic in prioritizing military considerations in their strategic advice to the national leadership, particularly in the European theater of operations. Brower deftly counters that in the Pacific theater, the U.S. Joint Chiefs, including Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall and Chief of Naval Operations Ernest J. King, not only were influenced by political factors but, at times, accorded them primacy.

Brower effectively demonstrates that policy decisions exercised great influence over the conduct of the Pacific War--in particular, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's demand for unconditional surrender, his strong support for a substantive role for China following the war, and insistence that the Pacific war end as soon as possible but no more than one year following the defeat of Germany's Third Reich.

Brower makes a thorough examination of his domain--the "upper case" designated wartime conferences, such as QUADRANT and OCTAGON, as well as military operations, including lesser known Pacific ventures such as ANAKIM, the retaking of Burma from Japanese forces. …

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