Legions or legends : assessing U.S. Army and Marine effectiveness in the Korean War, 1950-1951
Author(s)Eastman, Michael Richard, 1969-
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Political Science.
Barry R. Posen.
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This study compares the military effectiveness of the United States Army and United States Marine Corps during the first 10 months of the Korean War. Representative battles selected from the Pusan Perimeter, the Liberation of Seoul, and the Retreat from the Yalu are analyzed using a process-tracing methodology to identify variations in performance between the two services and to determine the source of these differences when they exist. Predictions drawn from functional and cultural theories are employed to determine which theory provides the best explanation for variations in battlefield performance. Based on this historical analysis, there is little evidence to support general claims of superior Marine Corps effectiveness. When operating under similar conditions, the military effectiveness of both organizations was roughly the same. Those variations in battlefield performance that did exist were largely the result of idiosyncratic geographic conditions combined with physical advantages gained through superior weaponry and organic close air support. Differences in organizational culture had marginal impact. Popular perceptions of Marine Corps achievements based on combat during this period resulted from an organizational strategy that emphasized battlefield exploits as part of a conscious effort to maintain a positive public image.
Thesis (S.M.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Political Science, 2001.Includes bibliographical references (leaves 92-97).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Political Science.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology