World War Ii Essay

2505 words - 10 pages

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 enemy. This would than reduce the need for land and naval forces in order to achieve strategic success (WWII Selected Readings - Emerson, 6). Churchill agreed with the proposition and stated in 1940 that “There is one thing that will…bring [Germany] down, and that is an absolutely devastating, exterminating attack by very heavy bombers from this country upon the Nazi homeland (Millett, 305).”

It is understandable that Churchill advocated for the use of bombing as the primary offensive, since the Allies did not yet have the ability to strike back with land forces. However, as the war continued over the next four years, it became apparent that victory against the German homeland would not result from strategic bombing alone. Despite the massive effort by the allies, by 1944 Nazi war material production only dropped 10% and Germany would continue to fight until the very end (Douglas, NWC Lecture). Clausewitz states that “War is thus an act of force to compel our enemy to do our will (Clausewitz, 75).” Churchill and the allies were lured by the new technology of strategic bombing, and developed a strategy to convince Germany to surrender through coercion rather than compelling them to surrender with the brute force of a...

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