Military Doctrine: A Reference Handbook

By Bert Chapman | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 1
U.S. Military Doctrine:
A Selective Post–World War II
History

The six decades since World War II have seen tremendous developments and changes in U.S. military doctrine. These changes have influenced and continue to influence this doctrine as U.S. military leaders and civilian national security policymakers have sought to develop and implement military strategy and doctrine to enable U.S. military forces to achieve desired national objectives.

U.S. military doctrine encompasses conventional military operations, potential military operations involving nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, and unconventional means of warfare, such as counterinsurgency, peacekeeping, and humanitarian operations.

This chapter seeks to provide a selective overview of major U.S. military doctrine developments from World War II to the present. It does not aspire to be a comprehensive history of U.S. military doctrine during this time period. U.S. military historians and scholars of U.S. military doctrinal development may not agree with the importance of the doctrinal developments highlighted in this chapter. It is hoped that this chapter will give those readers interested in U.S. military doctrine a representative sampling and substantive introductory overview to some of the most critical events in post–World War II U.S. military doctrinal trends and development. Such an overview will, hopefully, pique readers’ desire to learn more about U.S. doctrinal development, as well as the military doctrinal development of other countries and international governmental organizations, and provide a comprehensive understanding of how to conduct substantive scholarly research on military doctrine using the field’s primary and secondary sources of literature.

Soon after the successful conclusion of World War II, the United States’ relations with its wartime ally the Soviet Union began to deteriorate for various political, ideological, and military strategic reasons, and a Cold War developed. This conflict would last for over four and a half decades and profoundly influence U.S. military doctrine, national security strategy, and foreign policy. Recognition of the long-term nature of the United States’ rivalry with the Soviet Union resulted

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