Cover image for A cross of iron : Harry S. Truman and the origins of the national security state, 1945-1954
A cross of iron : Harry S. Truman and the origins of the national security state, 1945-1954
Hogan, Michael J., 1943-
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Publication Information:
Cambridge, UK ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 1998.
Physical Description:
xii, 525 pages ; 24 cm
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E813 .H58 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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In A Cross of Iron, one of the country's most distinguished diplomatic historians provides a comprehensive account of the national security state that emerged in the first decade of the Cold War. Michael J. Hogan traces the process of state-making as it unfolded in struggles to unify the armed forces, harness science to military purposes, mobilize military manpower, control the defense budget, and distribute the cost of defense across the economy. At stake, Hogan argues, was a fundamental contest over the nation's political identity and postwar purpose. President Harry S. Truman and his successor were in the middle of this contest. According to Hogan, they tried to reconcile an older set of values with the new ideology of national security and the country's democratic traditions with its global obligations. Their efforts determined the size and shape of the national security state that finally emerged.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Historian Hogan, editor of the journal Diplomatic History and author of several books on U.S. foreign relations in the twentieth century, offers this study of the post^-World War II debate within the U.S. about what the nation's world role should be and how our institutions should change to meet that role's demands. The debate pitted supporters of a new national security ideology (e.g., Acheson and Kennan) against representatives of an older political culture (e.g., Taft and Hoover) whose values were antistatist, antimilitarist, and isolationist. Tracing the face-off through many issues--from the National Security Act and universal military service to defense reorganization and budget priorities--Hogan sees both Truman and Eisenhower as figures of compromise. Like congressional Republicans, both presidents wanted to avoid turning the U.S. into a "garrison state," but they shared the national security proponents' conviction that that could be prevented only by a policy of internationalism. In the end, Hogan suggests, "the most important constraints on the national security state were those built into the country's democratic institutions and political culture." --Mary Carroll

Library Journal Review

Hogan, a specialist in American diplomatic and national security studies, has written a complex but interesting work on the emergence of the national security state. To create this state, it was necessary to merge the armed forces, the Defense Department, and scientists into a single unit to enhance the military's capabilities. To a large extent, this unification was accomplished in the 1950s. The driving forces were James Forrestal, Dean Acheson, and powerful members of Congress such as Carl Vinson (D-GA), who chaired the Committee on Naval Affairs, along with presidents Truman and Eisenhower. Hogan presents a compelling case but overemphasizes the importance of Truman and Eisenhower while downplaying the role of Vinson and others in the security state's creation. In fact, both Truman and Eisenhower often seemed opposed to it but succumbed to pressure from Congress and key figures like Acheson. This extremely complex study, which deals with a subject few other books handle, is designed for scholars and informed lay readers interested in the creation of the "military-industrial complex."¬ĎRichard P. Hedlund, Ashland Community Coll., KY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Preface and acknowledgements
1 The National Security discourse: ideology, political culture and state making
2 Magna Charta: the National Security Act and the specter of the Garrison state
3 The high price of peace: guns-and-butter politics in the early Cold War
4 The time tax: American political culture and the UMT debate
5 'Chaos and conflict and carnage confounded': budget battles and defense reorganization
6 Preparing for permanent war: economy, science and secrecy in the National Security state
7 Turning point: NSC-68, the Korean war and the National Security response
8 Semiwar: the Korean war and rearmament
9 The Iron Cross: solvency, security and the Eisenhower transition
10 Other voices: the public sphere and the National Security mentality
11 Conclusion
Selected bibliography