Arming the Free World
The Origins of the United States Military Assistance Program, 1945-1950
By Chester J. Pach Jr.
336 pp., 6 x 9
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-6579-8
Published: May 2010
eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-5065-4
Published: November 2018
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Awards & distinctions
A 1993 Choice Outstanding Academic Title
Pach demonstrates that the main impetus for the startling growth of military assistance was a belief that it would provide critical political and psychological reassurance to friendly nations. Although this aid was ostensibly provided for military purposes, the overriding goals were insuring goodwill, raising foreign morale, stiffening the will to resist communism, and proving American resolve and reliability.
Policymakers, Pach contends, confused means with ends by stressing the symbolic importance of furnishing aid. They sought additional appropriations with the threat that any diminution or cessation of aid suggested a weakening of American commitment. Pach reveals that civilian, not military, officials were the principal advocates of the expansion of military aid, and he shows how the policies established during the Truman administration continued to exert a profound influence throughout the Cold War.
Some officials questioned the self-perpetuating qualities of military aid programs, but Pach concludes that their warnings went unheeded. Although fiscal restraints in the Truman administration temporarily stemmed the growth of aid, the Korean War exploded budgetary limitations. MIlitary assistance spending expanded rapidly in size and scope, gaining a momentum that succeeding administrations could not resist.
Originally published in 1991.
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"An excellent book on the development of the United States's Military Assistance Program between 1945 and 1950. The subject is important, the scholarship is exhaustive, the exposition is lucid, and the argument is persuasive."--Burton Kaufman, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univesity
"Pach has written the definitive work on the formative years of the U.S. military assistance program. He emphasizes in his impressively and extensively documented analysis the prominence of political and psychological aims over military objectives in U.S. military assistance policy, the bureaucratic battles that pitted the War and Navy Departments against the State Department in shaping the country's military assistance program, and 'the confusion and uncertainty' that characterized most official thinking about military assistance during the early years of the program."--Choice