Under the Shadow of Napoleon
French Influence on the American Way of Warfare from Independence to the Eve of World War II
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: NYU Press
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List of Figures
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Many individuals and institutions helped in writing this book, and I am deeply indebted to all of them. I would like to thank Dr. Donald D. Horward for introducing me to the Napoleonic era and mentoring me as a Napoleonic historian. I would also like to thank Dr. Fritz Davis for becoming my major professor and seeing...
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Since the 1960s, Americans’ attitudes toward France have involved a wide array of emotions, from suspicion to anger and even, at times, betrayal. France’s withdrawal from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s integrated military command in 1966 and its refusal to allow American military aircraft to enter...
1 A French Way of Warfare
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Thus the day passed away: the French stood immovable, Kellermann having taken also a more advantageous position. Our people were withdrawn out of the fire, and it was exactly as if nothing had taken place. The greatest consternation was diffused among the army. That very morning...
2 Bringing French Warfare to America, 1814–1848
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The American Revolution left the military tradition of the fledgling republic with a variety of European influences. The colonial wars of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries made Americans intimately familiar with British warfare, including tactics, discipline, administration, and organization. Additionally, the frontier...
3 American Adaptation of French Warfare, 1848–1865
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With a string of successes for the U.S. Army in Mexico, the fundamental elements of the French combat method remained at the center of the army’s intellectual framework of the battlefield. However, changes in technology led to a reevaluation of the American system of tactics and general regulations in the 1850s. The War Department...
4 German Professionalism and American Warfare, 1865–1899
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If continuity characterized the period from 1814 to 1865, the rest of the nineteenth century was a period of change for American warfare and was inspired not by French culture but by German culture and institutions. German innovation in industry, science, and education made a great impression on American society, which...
5 American Warfare in the Progressive Era, 1899–1918
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If German cultural and military influence transformed the army and its institutions leading up to the Spanish-American War, the Progressive Era completed the transition to a professional army. Progressives believed in the importance of education, and this encouraged the continued improvement of West Point and the Fort Leavenworth...
6 The End of French Influence on American Warfare, 1918–1941
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Although the officer corps as a whole considered the army’s intellectual framework of the battlefield based on the fundamental elements of the French combat method validated in WWI, the experiences of the war led to a period of experimentation. WWI was in effect an anomaly, and while the French combat method provided...
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The intellectual development of the American army from the War of 1812 through the beginning of WWII followed the general outline of Kuhn’s scientific revolution. In the period from the American Revolution through the War of 1812, no clear consensus existed among the armies of the United States concerning tactics...
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About the Author
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Michael A. Bonura is a major in the U.S. Army stationed at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, as part of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Test Division. A 1997 graduate of the United States Military Academy, he served in armor...
Publication Year: 2012