In This Review

A Cross of Iron: Harry S. Truman and the Origins of the National Security State
A Cross of Iron: Harry S. Truman and the Origins of the National Security State
By Michael J. Hogan
Cambridge University Press, 1998, 480 pp

This study examines in meticulous detail the emergence of a new American "warfare state" in the first decade of the Cold War. Hogan, a historian at Ohio State University and the editor of Diplomatic History, sets the development of permanently mobilized military institutions in the context of a bitter ideological dispute between old republicans and new globalists, who gave wildly incompatible answers to the fundamental question of "how the country could safeguard its security without losing its soul." Conservative isolationists, drawing upon a republican tradition that was antimilitarist and antistatist, feared that the new measures taken for national security would lead to the emergence of a "garrison state" at home that was the mirror image of the totalitarian enemy. Advocates appealed to the same scheme of values but warned that without such measures Americans would find themselves isolated in a hostile world, necessitating a garrison state beyond the darkest fears of domestic critics. Hogan gives insufficient attention to the role that allies and collective defense played in "the new ideology of national security"; the new thinking, too, was less globalist at the outset than it subsequently became. But the author succeeds brilliantly in demonstrating the impact of political culture on the formation of a new American state fundamentally different from that which existed before.