Military Innovation in the Interwar Period

In This Review

Military Innovation in the Interwar Period

Edited by Williamson Murray and Allan R. Millett
Cambridge University Press, 1996
428 pp. $64.95
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The editors have produced similar works before, and as in the past, they are doing so in response not merely to historical curiosity, but to a contemporary imperative -- hence their introductory thanks to Andrew Marshall of the Defense Department. There are few questions as pressing for defense leaders as how military organizations innovate, and the interwar period is of particular interest as a period of limited financial resources and yet rapid technological evolution. As in any edited work, the essays are of mixed quality. But Alan Beyerchen's essay on German, British, and American work on radar is alone worth the price of the book and is a splendid demonstration of how a cultural and scientific historian can make a major contribution to military history. The description of how culture, organization, and strategic predicament shape a military's reception of a new technology is simply brilliant.