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Command Culture

Officer Education in the U.S. Army and the German Armed Force, 1901-1940, and the Consequences for World War II

Command Culture by Jorg Muth
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In Command Culture, Jörg Muth examines the different paths the United States Army and the German Armed Forces traveled to select, educate, and promote their officers in the crucial time before World War II. Muth demonstrates that the military education system in Germany represented an organized effort where each school and examination provided the stepping stone for the next. But in the United States, there existed no communication about teaching contents or didactical matters among the various schools and academies, and they existed in a self chosen insular environment. American officers who finally made their way through an erratic selection process and past West Point to the important Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, found themselves usually deeply disappointed, because they were faced again with a rather below average faculty who forced them after every exercise to accept the approved “school solution.” Command Culture explores the paradox that in Germany officers came from a closed authoritarian society but received an extremely open minded military education, whereas their counterparts in the United States came from one of the most democratic societies but received an outdated military education that harnessed their minds and limited their initiative. On the other hand, German officer candidates learned that in war everything is possible and a war of extermination acceptable. For American officers, raised in a democracy, certain boundaries could never be crossed. This work for the first time clearly explains the lack of audacity of many high ranking American officers during World War II, as well as the reason why so many German officers became perpetrators or accomplices of war crimes and atrocities or remained bystanders without speaking up. Those American officers who became outstanding leaders in World War II did so not so much because of their military education, but despite it. “The general message, though controversial and certain to lead to arguments, is buttressed by substantial evidence. Muth’s topic has immediate present-day relevance.”—Gerhard Weinberg, author of A World at Arms “An important and long-lasting contribution to the debate over officer training in the United States.”—Robert Citino, author of The German Way of War “Muth’s challenge to the ‘new military history’ will generate controversy but cannot be dismissed.”—Dennis Showalter, author of Patton and Rommel Jörg Muth received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Utah. He is the author of Flucht aus dem militärischen Alltag: Ursachen und individuelle Ausprägung der Desertion in der Armee Friedrichs des Großen, a study of desertion in the Prussian army during the era of Frederick the Great. He currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah.
University of North Texas Press; June 2011
ISBN 9781574413649
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Title: Command Culture
Author: Jorg Muth
 
ISBNs
1574413643
9781574413038
9781574413649