American Ways of War since 1945

in International Bibliography of Military History
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This essay considers the literature about an American way of war. It pays particular attention to the U.S. in the world since 1945, but also situates contemporary American warfare in its longer historical trajectory. It addresses the early Cold War era, the Vietnam War era, and the post-Cold War era as distinct periods in which different threats, or threat perceptions, shaped American strategy; yet it also shows underlying continuities in the national security ideology, heavy emphasis on technological solutions, and the search for proper operational approaches and doctrine.

International Bibliography of Military History

of the International Commission of Military History / Commission Internationale d'Histoire Militaire




Brian M. Linn, “The American Way of War Revisited,” The Journal of Military History, Vol. 66, No. 2 (April 2002), 501-533 and The Echo of Battle: The Army’s Way of War (Cambridge, MA, 2007).


Richard H. Kohn, “The Danger of Militarization in an Endless War on Terrorism,” in The Journal of Military History, Vol. 73, No. 1 (January 2009), 177-208.


J. Samuel Walker, “Recent Literature on Truman’s Atomic Bomb Decision: A Search for Middle Ground,” Diplomatic History, Vol. 29, No. 2 (April 2005), 311-334.


David Alan Rosenberg, “The Origins of Overkill: Nuclear Weapons and American Strategy, 1945-1960,” International Security, Vol. 7, No. 4 (Spring 1983), 3-71.


David C. Elliot, “Project Vista and Nuclear Weapons in Europe,” International Security, Vol. 11, No. 1 (Summer 1986), 163-183; Douglas Bland, The Military Committee of the North Atlantic Alliance: A Study of Structure and Strategy (New York, 1991); and Simon Duke and Wolfgang Krieger, eds., U.S. Military Forces in Europe: The Early Years, 1945-1970 (Boulder, CO, 1993).


Trauschweizer, Cold War US Army, 195-227.


Linn, Echo of Battle, 193-232.


Saul Bronfeld, “Fighting Outnumbered: The Impact of the Yom Kippur War on the U.S. Army,” The Journal of Military History, Vol. 71, No. 2 (April 2007), 465-498.


Bacevich, New American Militarism, 179-204.


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