United States Army organizational transformation during the Truman and Eisenhower administrations and its impact on the Army Officer Corps

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Social Sciences


U.S. Army 1945-1960, Army bureaucracy, Army transformation, Cold war history, Organizational transformation, Army Officer Corps

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities | History | Military History | United States History


This dissertation examines the transformation of the United States Army that occurred during the years following World War II and through the end of the Eisenhower Administration. In particular, it examines the shift from an approach to warfare based on mobilization to one based on deterrence and forces-in-being. It also focuses on some of the tools and methods the Army used to articulate the characteristics and skills such a force would require its managerial cadre-the officer corps.

The period under study was one of profound change for the United States, its army and the place it occupied among the nations of the world. Allied victory, collapse of the European and Japanese empires, the rise of the Soviet Union, and the technological revolution epitomized by the atomic bomb combined to radically alter America's defense establishment and the American Army. Throughout the latter years of the 1940's the Army struggled to comprehend and adapt to the changing environment that surrounded it.

During the Korean War, the Army concluded that it would need to move away from its traditional reliance on mobilization and expansion and toward the creation and maintenance of large, peacetime forces-in-being as a means of containing communist expansion across the globe. This shift forced the Army to change not only its approach to warfighting but also its methods of recruiting, training, and retaining its managerial cadre-the officer corps.

As the environment surrounding the Army changed so too did its organizational structure and approach to daily operations. The Army had long wrestled with how it organizes and runs itself to best execute its mission. To provide perspective this dissertation briefly traces the changes the Army experienced in the century prior to the Second World War and ties those changes to the Army's post World War II transformation. The legislative underpinnings of the Department of Defense and the sister services, created during these years, were subjects of intense debate throughout these years and briefly examined.

This dissertation contends that, while not all the choices made at the time resulted in the effects sought, they were made based on the best understanding of what direction the U.S. Army needed to take at that time. It also attempts to examine the context that surrounded the decisions of the time and place them into an evolutionary flow that continues through the transformation efforts continuing to this day.


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