Soldiers and Statesmen

Soldiers and Statesmen : The Proceedings of the 4th Military History Symposium United States Air Force Academy, 22-23 October 1970

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This symposium, the fourth in the series sponsored jointly by the Department of History and the Association of Graduates of the Air Force Academy, was of particular interest to those of us charged with responsibility for professional education in the military services. Especially at the National War College, most of whose graduates move on to high staff and command responsibilities, the value of so enlightened a discussion of the relationships between soldiers and statesmen cannot be overemphasized. Statecraft through the ages has called upon the soldier and the statesman to play vital roles in attaining the preeminent goal of national security. There has been a tendency, particularly in recent years, to separate and often dichotomize the two professions. In part this can be attributed to scholarly commentators who, for legitimate analytical purposes, often separate the two elements. This intellectual division is further compounded by the increasing degree of functional specialization required of the modern soldier and diplomat. Today's national security policy-maker, as compared to his predecessors of only a generation ago, requires much greater technical knowledge and expertise. It is little wonder then that a type of myopic egocentrism develops as the soldier or diplomat wrestles with the complex problems of the "here and now." Inundated with data, beset by the conflicting advice of subordinates and demands of superiors, and inexorably constrained by compressed decision time, he has little opportunity to reflect on the wider implications of his decisions. Yet it is not an exaggeration to insist that in our age and in the foreseeable future the soldier and the diplomat must work together more closely than ever before. Nuclear weapons and Vietnam have demonstrated both the strength and the limitations that can be placed on the use of military force; the Cold War and containment have provided a similar demonstration for diplomacy. The development of a new modus vivendi poses challenges of the highest order as new power configurations emerge to displace the old and as increased demands for solution of domestic problems attain higher priority in the competition for limited national resources. The challenge, however, is not limited to the practitioners of statecraft. It is here that the scholar must lend his talents, not only to provide the elongated perspective of history, which helps free us from generational egocentrism, but also to collect, distill, and collate the wisdom of the giants upon whose shoulders new pygmies will build. The scholars, both guest and resident, at the Fourth Military History Symposium of the United States Air Force Academy have more than met their challenge. For this reason, therefore, I commend to statesman and soldier, as well as to other interested scholars, this, the record of their proceedings.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 218 pages
  • 178 x 254 x 12mm | 386g
  • Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
  • United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1508674329
  • 9781508674320