World War II was the largest
and most violent armed conflict in the history of mankind. However, the half
century that now separates us from that conflict has exacted its toll on our
collective knowledge. While World War II continues to absorb the interest of
military scholars and historians, as well as its veterans, a generation of
Americans has grown to maturity largely unaware of the political, social, and
military implications of a war that, more than any other, united us as a people
with a common purpose.
Highly relevant today, World
War II has much to teach us, not only about the profession of arms, but also
about military preparedness, global strategy, and combined operations in the
coalition war against fascism. During the next several years, the U.S. Army will
participate in the nation's 50th anniversary commemoration of World War II. The
commemoration will include the publication of various materials to help educate
Americans about that war. The works produced will provide great opportunities to
learn about and renew pride in an Army that fought so magnificently in what has
been called 'the mighty endeavor.'
World War II was waged on
land, on sea, and in the air over several diverse theaters of operation for
approximately six years. The following essay is one of a series of campaign
studies highlighting those struggles that, with their accompanying suggestions
for further reading, are designed to introduce you to one of the Army's
significant military feats from that war.
This brochure was prepared in
the U.S. Army Center of Military History by Ted Ballard. I hope this absorbing
account of that period will enhance your appreciation of American achievements
during World War II.
GORDON R. SULLIVAN
General, United States Army
Chief of Staff