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Everywhere one looks you see sadness these days. The other day on the train a woman sat counting the fingers on her hand. One, two, three, four, five she said, then began the counting again. She repeated herself over and over. Some of us riding the car couldn't help but to start smiling at her. Her husband then spoke in a soft voice. Ladies and gentlemen, please don't laugh at my wife. She has lost all five of her sons in battle defending our fine nation. Now she is gone in the head and I am taking her to the asylum.
Letters from the Front
A Special Christmas Story
Music from World War One
War One, Between the two world wars
A strong impulse toward the
development of international studies in universities came in the
1920s. New centers, institutes, and schools devoted to teaching and
research in international relations were founded. Courses were
organized and general textbooks on the subject began to appear.
Private organizations were formed, and large grants of philanthropic
funds were channeled to the support of scholarly journals, to the
advancement of citizenship in world affairs through special training
institutes, conferences, and seminars, and to the stimulation of
Initially, three subject
areas commanded the most attention. All three had roots in the
period of World War I. In the revolutionary upheavals at the end of
the war, great portions of the government archives of imperial
Russia and imperial Germany were opened and made public in a series
of documentary publications. Very exciting scholarly work began to
appear that pieced together the theretofore-unknown history of
prewar alliances, secret diplomacy, and military planning. These
materials were integrated to provide explanations of the origins of
World War I. The two decades between the two great wars were the
heyday of diplomatic history, and the most famous of the students of
international affairs were historians. With great ingenuity and
industry, they presented the world with superb examples of the art
and science of diplomatic history.
The second subject that
captured attention was bound up with the hope and expectation of a
new world order in the making through the League of Nations. Some of
the schools of international relations that were founded in the
1920s had the explicit purpose of preparing civil servants for what
was expected to be the dawning age of international government. Thus
the genesis and organization of the League, the history of earlier
plans for international federations, and the analysis of the
problems and procedures of international organization and
international law were investigated with enthusiasm.
The third study of
consequence during the early part of the interwar period was an
offshoot of the peace movement and was concerned with scholarly
investigations of international warfare: its cause, its costs, and
its sociological and psychological aspects. In addition to the data
and the interpretations dredged up in the study of war, the interest
in the question "why war?" brought a host of new social
scientists--economists, sociologists, and psychologists--into active
participation in international studies for the first time. They were
pioneers in what later came to be known as the "behavioral approach"
to international relations.
The breakdown of the League,
the rise of the aggressive dictatorships, and the coming of World
War II in the 1930s caused a reaction against the international
government and peace-inspired themes in the study of international
relations. Idealism and moralism were criticized, and "realism"
became the new thought in the field. The image was built at that
time that the first stage of academic development of international
studies was the handiwork of starry-eyed idealists and peace
visionaries who ignored the hard facts of international politics.
This characterization is untrue, the fact being that the scholarship
on world affairs of the '20s and the '30s was extensive and sound in
the organization of data and in the development of some fundamental
In the European tradition
since early modern times, the knowledge of international relations
had been loosely ordered in two branches of learning. The first is
diplomatic history, which has been considered to reflect the variety
of political experience, the particularity of events, and the
contingencies in the actual practices of diplomacy and war. The
second is international law, which has been viewed as registering
the "residue of history"--the fundamental principles of conduct, the
uniformities in international phenomena, and the permanent aspects
of practice. The effect of the new field of international relations
was to broaden the traditional organization almost beyond
Some of the topics that today
are considered novel and of recent origin were being explored
vigorously in the two interwar decades; by the time of World War II,
they already had acquired large bibliographies. It is instructive to
recall a few of those topics in order to correct the stereotype that
moralist teachings were then entirely dominant: the relationship of
problems of racial and ethnic minorities to international affairs,
the effects of the population explosion on foreign policies, the
linkage between raw materials and other of the "life-support
systems" of the planet with the actions of nations, the effects of
imperialism and colonialism, the strategic aspects of international
relations including the effects of geographical location and space
on military power and the influence on governments of what has come
to be called the "military-industrial complex," the economic
inequalities of nations, and the role of public opinion, national
differences, and cultural orientations in world affairs. If these
studies tended to be short on theory and long on description,
nevertheless the topics investigated remain relevant.
Certain individual scholarly
contributions of the 1930s deserve particular notice because they
were forerunners of what was to be developed after World War II.
Harold D. Lasswell was making explorations of the relationships
between world politics and the psychological realm of symbols,
perceptions, and images. Abram Kardiner and his associates were
laying the groundwork for a psycho anthropological approach to the
analysis of national behavior and culture, which later became a
popular but short-lived theory of international relations. Frederick
L. Schumann was producing foreign policy analyses that synthesized
analytic comment with accounts of current international events.
Schumann thus set the style that is still followed by government
interpreters of foreign policy developments and by the news analysts
of world affairs.
Quincy Wright was leading one
of the first team research projects in the field and was
investigating numerous aspects of international behavior in a very
broad approach to the study of war. Carl J. Friedrich, Frederick L.
Schumann, Harold Sprout, Nicholas Spykman, E.H. Carr, Brooks Emeny,
and others were developing the main lines of analysis of what became
the power-politics explanation of international relations.
Some 30 years later, one
begins to appreciate that the definition of the study of
international relations and the widening of its scope were the
fundamental contributions of the scholars of the interwar period.
Many of the innovators of the 1930s found their services enlisted by
governments during World War II for work in intelligence,
propaganda, and political analysis. In this respect, the war
stimulated systematic social-science investigations of international
phenomena. On the other hand, World War II became a divide for
academic international relations. The war made a drastic change in
the agenda of world politics. The postwar intellectual climate
shifted away from many of the earlier interests, emphases, and
problems. There was a readiness in the early postwar years for an
analysis that would cut through the details of studies of myriads of
international topics and that would provide a focused view of the
fundamental nature of international politics. An intellectual hunger
for theory existed.
Between World Wars I and
The period between 1918 and
1939 saw strategy once more in process of flux. As an outgrowth of
the experience of World War I, strategy came largely to mean
defense. In France, particularly, a mentality favoring fixed
defenses began to take hold, eventually leading to the building of
the concrete fortifications of the Maginot Line, bordering Germany.
The belief was strong that field fortifications aided by the machine
gun would contain any attack. The huge losses of World War I would
thereby be avoided.
Douhet: air supremacy
Countertrends, however, were soon to dispute this prevalent emphasis
in strategic thinking. One strong challenge came from the new school
of exponents of air power. In World War I the air arm had had its
beginnings. The period between the end of World War I and the
beginning of World War II saw it come into its own; air forces and
air organization expanded greatly. Theorists began to develop the
strategy of warfare of the third dimension. Foremost among these was
the Italian general Giulio Douhet (1869-1930). He first presented
the doctrine that the air arm alone would decide wars of the future.
In his view, land and sea forces would no longer be decisive. On the
ground, armies could act henceforth only on the defensive, since
attack, and with it the decision, could be gained only through the
air. Air power could quickly conquer time and space. The air arm
could circumvent every kind of ground resistance and nullify
fortified positions and obstacles of terrain. It could strike at the
enemy's sources of power before his armies could fire a shot. It
could strike at his capital, industrial centers, and communications.
In short, it could so reduce his ability and willingness to resist
that he would surrender. Douhet proposed to expand the air arm as
much as possible, keep land and sea forces only as support for war
in the air, and gain control of the air by defeating enemy air
forces in battles or destroying them in their airfields. He made
strategic bombing and the industrial objective--strikes at the
opponent's heart--the core of his doctrines.
Douhet's epoch-making ideas found many supporters in other countries. This school of thought generally argued that huge armies would no longer be necessary. The opponent's will, could be overcome even if his armed forces remain undefeated. Some of Douhet's adherents went further and demanded the abolition of land and sea forces altogether. In any event, the rise of air power accentuated the need of thinking of strategy as dealing with something more than the movements of armies on land or of ships at sea.