Journal of Military History
Vol. 87, No. 3
July 2023


“Celtic Military Equipment in the Ancient Mediterranean: Innovation, Imitation, and Empire, 400–25 BCE,” by Michael J. Taylor, Journal of Military History 87:3 (July 2023): 577–98
This article examines the diffusion of military technology in Europe, North Africa, and Western Asia from the fourth to first centuries BCE. Arms and armor initially associated with Celtic peoples spread across the Mediterranean and beyond, a process hastened by the adoption of the panoply by the Romans in the century prior to their explosive conquests. This case study in the “globalization” of military technology in the pre-modern world highlights the agency and influence of groups commonly considered subaltern in the geopolitical history of the Mediterranean and its continental environs.
“‘The Great Doctrine Disaster’: Reform, Reaction, and Mechanization in the British Army, 1919–1939,” by Alaric Searle, Journal of Military History 87:3 (July 2023): 599–632
Historians have argued that Britain lost its early lead in developing mechanized formations in the interwar period due to financial pressures, inter-arm rivalry, poor tank design, and the misjudgments of tank enthusiasts. A systematic examination of armor doctrine, however, demonstrates that British approaches were coherent and innovative until 1935. Progress was derailed by the suppression of the “Tank Training” (1935) manual and the decision to mechanize the cavalry rather than expand the Royal Tank Corps. Coordination between manuals of arms of service and the field service regulations was abandoned, moreover, in favor of multiple training pamphlets. The result was the “Great Doctrine Disaster” caused by fallacious assumptions about tank design, tactics, and the future battlefield.
“Searching for Supply: Australian Air Force Expansion and United States Operational Aircraft, 1935–1941,” by Liam Kane, Journal of Military History 87:3 (July 2023): 633–74
When Japan attacked European and U.S. possessions in the Asia-Pacific region in December 1941, the Australian government had on order more combat-ready operational aircraft from American firms than from Australian and British industries combined. The U.S. was thus critical to the equipping and expansion of the Royal Australian Air Force. This article demonstrates that the framework of imperial defense provided a means by which the Australian government sought to secure American supply, although pressures on U.S. industry ultimately delayed the Australia air force's modernization and expansion program in 1940–1941. The war with Japan nonetheless created the potential for a more direct Australian-American relationship.
“‘Our Problem Children’: Masculinity and its Discontents in American Parachute Units in World War II,” by R. F. M. Williams, Journal of Military History 87:3 (July 2023): 675–702
Despite popular images that depict World War II paratroopers in idealized terms, the U.S. Army’s creation of these units unleashed a culture of masculinity predicated on aggressive elitism with significant side effects on the battlefield. This article examines American efforts to create airborne units in World War II and the concomitant effects on these units’ treatment of prisoners and sexual violence. The article discusses the difficulty of using fragmentary and inconclusive sources in reconstructing the dark side of warfare. It also offers a reconsideration of popular memory by restoring the harsh reality of war to narratives of American involvement in World War II and the paratroopers.
“A Tale of Two Grand Strategies: The Bay of Bengal and Allied Operational Planning in Southeast Asia, 1942–1945,” by Charles J. Burgess, Journal of Military History 87:3 (July 2023): 703–732
Studies of the Allies’ grand strategy for the defeat of Japan in Southeast Asia usually focus on the discussions over Burma. This article examines the roles envisioned for the Bay of Bengal. It argues that operations within and based on the Bay of Bengal formed the basis of Allied strategy in Southeast Asia, but plans quickly diverged. The U.S. and China pushed for amphibious operations as part of the broader Burma campaign. Britain, however, wanted to use the Bay of Bengal as a springboard for operations into broader Southeast Asia. No party got what it wanted. Scrutinizing these strategic developments, however, provides a clearer understanding of the evolution of Southeast Asia’s place in the Allies’ grand strategy.
“Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion, or the Billion-Dollar Debacle,” by Neil Oatsvall, Journal of Military History 87:3 (July 2023): 733–64
From 1945 to 1961, the United States spent over a billion dollars attempting to develop an airplane powered by a nuclear reactor. Such an aircraft seemingly offered nearly limitless performance capabilities, especially in terms of range, but numerous technical problems existed from the outset. The plane would have required an overly hefty radiation shield, scientific knowledge of the involved materials was insufficient, and any plane crash would create a legitimate nuclear disaster. This article examines the nuclear plane project and what it reveals about the application (or lack thereof) of scientific knowledge by policymakers charged with developing nuclear technologies. Even though scientists and engineers were clear about the attendant technical issues, policymakers focused on the potentiality of any nuclear airplane to the detriment of the project’s development and its ultimate demise.
“Army of Peace: American Military Ambitions for the United Nations and the Origins of the Cold War,” by Ian Ona Johnson, Journal of Military History 87:3 (July 2023): 765–94
In March 1946, President Truman decided to second roughly an eighth of all U.S. military forces to the United Nations. The New York Times declared the same month that the international police force initially proposed by U.S. planners would number “perhaps 2,000,000 men” and that it would “enforce the rules and regulations for world order.” This article explores American visions of the postwar order through the lens of the UN military project. In particular, it analyzes how the UN military project played a major role in the American reassessment of Soviet intentions, and with it, America’s global military strategy.
Book Reviews:
Tsushima, by Rotem Kowner, reviewed by John C. Hanley and by Timothy C. Dowling, 795–99

Waging a Good War: A Military History of the Civil Rights Movement, 1954–1968, by Thomas E. Ricks, reviewed by Paxton Stover and by Charles Pellegrin, 799–803

Armada: The Spanish Enterprise and England’s Deliverance in 1588, by Colin Martin and Geoffrey Parker, reviewed by Jack Abernethy, 803–5

The Company’s Sword: The East India Company and the Politics of Militarism, 1644–1858, by Christina Welsch, reviewed by Sunit Singh, 805–7

Rebels in Arms: Black Resistance and the Fight for Freedom in the Anglo–Atlantic, by Justin Iverson, reviewed by Claire M. Wolnisty, 807–9

The Wandering Army: The Campaigns that Transformed the British Way of War, by Huw J. Davies, reviewed by Gordon Bannerman, 810–12

Contest for Liberty: Military Leadership in the Continental Army, 1775–1783, by Seanegan P. Sculley, reviewed by Harold Selesky, 812–14

The Lion at Dawn: Forging British Strategy in the Age of the French Revolution, 1783–1797, by Nathaniel Jarrett, reviewed by Jeremy Black, 814–16

Storm and Sack: British Sieges, Violence and the Laws of War in the Napoleonic Era, 1799–1815, by Gavin Daly, reviewed by Luke Reynolds, 816–18

Prisoners of the Bashaw: The Nineteen-Month Captivity of American Sailors in Tripoli, 1803–1805, by Frederick C. Leiner, reviewed by Robert J. Allison, 818–20

Making Maine: Statehood and the War of 1812, by Joshua M. Smith, reviewed by Matthew Goetz, 820–22

Who Owned Waterloo? Battle, Memory, and Myth in British History, 1815–1852, by Luke Reynolds, reviewed by George Satterfield, 822–24

Henry Dunant: The Man of the Red Cross, by Corinne Chaponnière, reviewed by Peter van den Dungen, 824–26

Mercy: Humanity in War, by Cathal J. Nolan, reviewed by Pauline Shanks Kaurin, 826–28

Military History for the Modern Strategist: America’s Major Wars Since 1861, by Michael O’Hanlon, reviewed by Brian M. Linn, 828–30

Small but Important Riots: The Cavalry Battles of Aldie, Middleburg, and Upperville, by Robert F. O’Neill, reviewed by Arnold Blumberg, 830–32

Managing Sex in the U.S. Military: Gender, Identity, and Behavior, edited by Beth Bailey, reviewed by Heather M. Haley, 832–34

Conquer We Must: A Military History of Britain 1914–1945, by Robin Prior, reviewed by Christopher Harrison, 834–36

Strategy and Command: Issues in Australia’s Twentieth-century Wars; and The War Game: Australian War Leadership from Gallipoli to Iraq, by David Horner, reviewed by Michael K. Cecil, 836–38

The Decline of Empires in South Asia: How Britain and Russia Lost Their Grip over India, Persia and Afghanistan, by Heather A. Campbell, reviewed by M. T. Howard, 839–40

Dünkirchen 1940: The German View of Dunkirk, by Robert Kershaw, reviewed by Christopher Thomas Goodwin, 840–42

The Pearl Harbor Secret: Why Roosevelt Undermined the U.S. Navy, by Sewall Menzel, reviewed by Robert Citino, 842–44

Holding Their Breath: How the Allies Confronted the Threat of Chemical Warfare in World War II, by M. Girard Dorsey, reviewed by Shelley Castle, 844–46

Stalinism at War: The Soviet Union in World War II, by Mark Edele, reviewed by Matthew Lenoe, 846–48

Storms over the Balkans During the Second World War, by Alfred J. Rieber, reviewed by John Ashbrook, 848–50

Dark Waters, Starry Skies: The Guadalcanal-Solomons Campaign, March–October 1943, by Jeffrey R. Cox, reviewed by William Preston McLaughlin, 850–52

Awaiting MacArthur’s Return: World War II Guerilla Resistance against the Japanese in the Philippines, by James Villanueva, reviewed by Charles Burgess, 852–54

Need to Know: World War II and the Rise of American Intelligence, by Nicholas Reynolds, reviewed by Donald B. Connelly, 854–56

American Defense Reform: Lesson From Failure and Success in Navy History, by Dave Oliver and Anand Toprani, reviewed by John T. Kuehn, 857–58

Empire’s Violent End: Comparing Dutch, British, and French Wars of Decolonization, 1945–1962, edited by Thijs Brocades Zaalberg and Bart Luttikhuis, reviewed by Martin Comack, 858–60

After Nuremberg: American Clemency for Nazi War Criminals, by Robert Hutchinson, reviewed by Fred L. Borch, 860–62

Rise of the Mavericks: The U.S. Air Force Security Service and the Cold War, 1948–1979, by Philip C. Shackelford, reviewed by F. Christopher Ofner, 863–64

Mao’s Army Goes to Sea: The Island Campaigns and the Founding of China’s Navy, by Toshi Yoshihara, reviewed by Xiaobing Li, 865–66

Agents of Subversion: The Fate of John T. Downey and the CIA’s Covert War in China, by John Delury; and Lost in the Cold War: The Story of Jack Downey, America’s Longest-Held POW, by John T. Downey, Thomas J. Christensen, and Jack Lee Downey, reviewed by Charles Kraus, 867–70

A War Born Family: African American Adoption in the Wake of the Korean War, by Kori A. Graves, reviewed by Zachary M. Matusheski, 870–72

America and Vietnam, 1954–1963: The Road to War, by Michael M. Walker, reviewed by Mary K. Laurents, 872–74

The Air War in Vietnam, by Michael E. Weaver, reviewed by James Witkoski, 874–76

The Vietnam War in the Pacific World, edited by Brian Cuddy and Fredrik Logevall, reviewed by Kyle Rable, 876–77

Afghan Crucible: The Soviet Invasion and the Making of Modern Afghanistan, by Elisabeth Leake, reviewed by Matt Mulhern, 878–79

Putin’s Wars: From Chechnya to Ukraine, by Mark Galeotti, reviewed by Jeff Hawn, 880–81

Original Sin: Power, Technology and War in Outer Space, by Bleddyn E. Bowen, reviewed by Nicholas Michael Sambaluk, 881–83

Service Above Self: Women Veterans in American Politics, by Erika Cornelius Smith, reviewed by Travis Salley, 883–85

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