Articles tagged with: World War Two

Responsibility and Leadership: Eisenhower and Montgomery

No one is perfect and with the hindsight of history, it is a simple matter to question a commander’s battlefield decision or a president’s strategic direction. Given the unmistakable reality of human imperfection, some of history’s greatest figures can be defined by how they accepted their own imperfections and failures. Specifically, comparing Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery’s and General Dwight Eisenhower’s comments regarding some of their greatest battles, two very different pictures of these two leaders emerge with respect to responsibility.

“Neutralize and Destroy:” The USS Texas and Normandy

Alfred Thayer Mahan

Alfred Thayer Mahan

Pearl Harbor marked a change in the employment of battleships in American warfare. Prior to the Japanese surprise attack, large fleet-versus-fleet engagements characterized American war planning in the decades after Alfred Mahan published The Influence of Sea Power Upon History. Early incarnations of War Plan Orange – the battle plan for war against the Japanese Empire – reflected this doctrine and envisioned a decisive naval battle led by battleships. Deprived of the offensive force represented by battleships after the Japanese attack, however, American war planners were forced to focus on the offensive power of aircraft carriers to carry retribution across the Pacific.

Hitler’s Blunders Must Include Africa

I recently came across Jeff Danelek’s article discussing the “Top 10 Greatest Military Blunders of World War II.” The article reviews decisions at Anzio, the reliance on the Maginot Line, the Japanese surprise attack at Pearl Harbor, and other well known episodes.  However, in reading the article, I was struck by the absence of any mention of Hitler’s refusal reinforce Erwin Rommel’s Afrika Korps.

History’s Unneeded Speeches

imageEarlier this week, the British Government released a draft of a speech Queen Elizabeth was to give at the commencement of World War Three. Echoing the words of Winston Churchill during the darkest days of World War Two, the proposed speech calls upon British resolve and urges “families [to] remain united and resolute” so that “our country’s will to survive cannot be broken.”

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