May 12, 1948

Report Outline
Military Influence in Postwar Period
Basis for Current Fears of Militarization
Anti-Military Tradition in the United States
Future Place of Military in the United States

Military Influence in Postwar Period

Military Preparedness and the Threat of Militarism

Traditional fears of militarization have been sharply revived in recent months by administration demands for a. stronger peacetime military establishment to back up the hardened Truman-Marshall policy toward Russia. Anti-war groups have expressed mounting concern over the strong influence which the military has exercised in Washington and in the country as a whole since V-J Day. The President's dramatic appeal to Congress, Mar. 17, for a peacetime draft and universal military training, and his subsequent request for a $3 billion increase in appropriations for the armed services, have raised the spectre of even more pervasive military control.

American public opinion undoubtedly favors adequate preparation for defense under present world conditions, but it has always opposed militarization of the country. President Truman insists that his rearmament proposals are the minimum necessary for security. “We must be prepared,” he told Congress, “to pay the price for peace or assuredly we shall pay the price of war.” He sees no threat to civilian liberties in “a sound military system.”

To some other prominent Americans, on the other hand, the threat of militarization seems very real. For more than a year the President has been under attack for placing military men in important civilian posts and relying on military advisers in the formulation of administration policies. Many persons have convinced themselves that the military are engaged in a tacit conspiracy “to retain and consolidate the position they won during the war.” A committee headed by Albert Einstein warned in a statement issued in January that “America cannot remain democratic if the present trend toward military control of our institutions continues.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
U.S. Military
Oct. 04, 2019  Veterans' Struggles
Sep. 23, 2011  Military Suicides
Sep. 05, 2008  Rise in Counterinsurgency
Aug. 31, 2007  Wounded Veterans
Nov. 19, 2004  Treatment of Veterans
Jun. 25, 2004  Privatizing the Military
May 30, 2003  Reforming the Corps
Apr. 26, 1996  New Military Culture
Jun. 08, 1990  Downsizing America's Armed Forces
Jul. 20, 1966  American Forces in Europe
Jan. 15, 1964  American Troops Abroad
May 21, 1958  Military Reorganization
Feb. 28, 1952  Benefits for Korean Veterans
May 12, 1948  Militarization
Nov. 06, 1946  Veterans' Bonus
Jul. 17, 1946  War Veterans in Civil Life
Nov. 27, 1941  Government Aid to Ex-Service Men
Sep. 27, 1932  The Bonus After the 1932 Elections
Oct. 06, 1930  Veteran-Aid Policies of the United States
Jan. 07, 1924  Congress and the Bonus
General Defense and National Security