What the Great Pacific War Can Teach the U.S. Military Today
By James Holmes
November 30, 2020
From the author: "Itâ€™s hard to amass combat power when itâ€™s needed, where itâ€™s needed, without robust auxiliaries. Itâ€™s also hard to regenerate combat power after taking a blow in action. Such a contestant is brittle."
So Iâ€™m reviewing a collection of Pacific War oral histories titled, weirdly enough, The Pacific War Remembered. Itâ€™s a reissue of a book first published during the mid-1980s. It consists of compact testimonials from American protagonists in the greatest of all sea wars. And a sprightly read it is.
The book is enlightening in several respects. First, letâ€™s wax philosophical. Transcendentalist philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson maintained that â€œthere is properly no history; only biography.â€ In other words, history is the sum of the biographies of all the individuals, living or dead, who make up humanity. If Emerson has it right, the more individual stories come to light, the richer and more textured our understanding of the past.
In military history, though, accenting the words and deeds of senior officers and officials represents the path more traveled. There are practical reasons for this. Junior folk toil away in relative obscurity unless they do something flashy. They typically get short shrift in histories because they leave behind less evidence for researchers to study. What higher-ups say and do is more likely to be documentedâ€”making it easier for historians to research and write about them.https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2020/11/30/what_the_great_pacific_war_can_teach_the_us_military_today_651352.html