NEWPORT, R.I. (Dec. 17, 2012) Professor Kevin McCranie, Strategy and Policy department, lectures on the Battle of the Atlantic. (Photo by Cmdr. Carla M. McCarthy)
From U.S. Naval War College Public Affairs
Dec. 19, 2012
NEWPORT, R.I. -- U.S. Naval War College faculty and students in the Strategy and War course this week zeroed in on a case study analyzing “Waging Total War: Interdependence of Sea, Air, and Ground Operations.”
The primary stage for this study is the European Theater of war during World War II, arguably the first true test of the integration of air, sea, and land forces on a global scale. An in-depth look at the war in Europe underscores the ability to develop and integrate different forms of military power.
Professor Kevin McCranie, Strategy and Policy department, expanded on this topic in his lecture, “Victory at Sea: The Battle of the Atlantic.” While the Allied success required large armies, naval power made it possible for the United States to project its power in opening new theaters of war in Europe.
“The Battle of the Atlantic showcases the important role of sea power in the European Theater of World War II,” said McCranie. “Particularly, it enabled other Allied operations including the landings at Normandy. Moreover, the Battle of the Atlantic highlights how the Allies fused intelligence, technology, industrial production, and multiple instruments of war into a winning combination.”
According to the course syllabus, World War II was nothing less than a struggle by the Allies for survival against the existential threat posed by Nazi Germany. One of the most powerful countries in the world, led by Adolf Hitler’s extremist regime, was on a mission to conquer the continent of Europe and impose a dark age of genocide and slavery. The threat manifested from Nazi Germany created an environment where Western democracies found themselves working in concert with a totalitarian government in the form of the Communist Soviet Union.
The process of turning back the initial German conquests and destroying the Nazi regime required the allies to marshal a total effort, mobilizing their economies for war, deploying huge armies, navies, and air forces, and enduring immense sacrifices.
In another lecture, military professor Col. Phil Haun, Strategy and Policy department, explored the topic “Victory Through Air Power?” to examine the implementation of strategic bombing campaigns of the allies in World War II Europe.
“The lecture outlines the early development of air power in World War I and the emergence of strategic bombing theorists, Douhet, Trenchard, Mitchell and the Air Corps Tactical School, during the interwar period,” said Haun, who also provided an assessment of the pivotal Battle of Britain and the prolonged allied bomber offensive against Germany.
Air power as an instrument of war became a source of competitive advantage after the fall of France in 1940. Without air power, one can question whether the Grand Alliance could have achieved a total defeat of the Axis in World War II.
This case study provided an opportunity to examine how capabilities in one domain of warfare translate into strategic success, and the importance of pulling together these capabilities to defeat a determined adversary.
In the tradition of the Strategy and Policy department’s “teaching of grand strategy,” moderators led students through seminar discussions of how policy and strategy choices made by the political and military leaders of the great powers ultimately lead to the defeat of Nazi Germany.
Edited by Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Ohl
Posted by Cmdr. Carla M. McCarthy