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Mobilizing for Modern War

The Political Economy of American Warfare, 1865–1919

Paul A. C. Koistinen

406 pages, 6 x 9
Modern War Studies
Cloth ISBN 978-0-7006-0860-7, $45.00

Book Cover ImageAlthough the military-industrial complex became familiar to most Americans during the Cold War, Paul Koistinen shows that its origins actually go back to the dawn of this century. Mobilizing for Modern War, the second of an extraordinary five-volume study on the political economy of American warfare, highlights the emergence of this pivotal relationship. In this volume, Koistinen examines war planning and mobilizing in an era of rapid industrialization and reveals how economic mobilization for defense and war is shaped at the national level by the interaction of political, economic, and military institutions and by increasingly powerful and expensive weaponry.

Covering the Gilded Age and Progressive Era through the Spanish-American War and World War I, Mobilizing for Modern War shows how a partnership evolved between government and business to prepare for and conduct modern warfare. Koistinen traces the origins of the military-industrial complex to the emergence of a modern navy at the turn of the century, when building a new fleet of steel, armor, and ordnance required a production team of political leaders, naval officers, and businessmen. A similar team was brought together again between 1915 and 1918 as the War Industries Board to mobilize the economy for World War I, and it became the model for subsequent industrial mobilization planning.

Koistinen shows how mobilizing for World War I left an indelible imprint on twentieth-century life. By accelerating the emerging Progressive political economy, it strengthened the cooperative planning ethic within business and government and introduced the concept of industrial preparedness, carried out largely under military leadership.

"With this volume, Koistinen hits his stride in conveying his mastery of the history of the political economy of American warfare and military institutions. His work will long remain the principal authoritative study of American economic mobilization for World War I and its long-run impact and implications."--Russell F. Weigley, author of The American Way of War

"A real tour de force. Based on prodigious research, this book provides a thorough and insightful account of the material basis for the United States military in one of the most important periods in American history."--John Whiteclay Chambers II, author of To Raise an Army

"This fascinating analysis of the political economy of warfare in the United States during the Gilded Age, the Progressive Era, and World War I is a major contribution to our understanding of the forces that have shaped American society. It is part of a monumental study of the origins and development of the military-industrial complex. For military historians, economic historians, and scholars of United States history, the notes alone are worth the price of the book."--Ronald Schaffer, author of America in the Great War

"A most impressive book. I am awed by Koistinen's grand design and outstanding research. When completed, this series will be one of the most distinguished feats of scholarship of our time."--Edward M. Coffman, author of The War to End All Wars

PAUL A. C. KOISTINEN is professor of history at California State University–Northridge. His other books include Beating Plowshares into Swords: The Political Economy of American Warfare, 1606-1865; Planning War, Pursuing Peace: The Political Economy of American Warfare, 1920-1939; and The Military–Industrial Complex.

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