View Full Version : Transforming for Atomic War with Elvis and the US Army

05-03-2016, 11:39 AM
A Kings War Studies podcast (45 mins) with Professor Brian Linn talking on this period of history:https://soundcloud.com/warstudies/transforming-for-atomic-war-with-elvis-and-the-us-army

I saw him in person @ Birmingham University give this talk and it was excellent, Elvis was a good vehicle to narrate the story. Alas his slides are not available.

The summary:
What kind of army drafts the king of rock-n-roll? What kind of nation expects him to go from millionaire to soldier? Why did Elvis’ decision to serve as a simple GI turn him from rebel to respectable? Today, all the American armed forces boast they are transforming for the post-Cold War “information revolution”. But their definition of transformation—radical change in equipment, organization, and doctrine—often ignores the importance of personnel. The 1950s offer an important counterpoint to this limited view; they saw the greatest peacetime military and social experiment the US has ever attempted. On the one hand, the army tried to adapt to the revolution in warfare initiated by nuclear weapons. It not only assimilated a radically new way of fighting, but also fundamental changes in its equipment, concepts, and training. At the same time, the Fifties Army became the nation’s most racially and economically egalitarian institution, the only place where black and white, college graduates and illiterates, rich and poor, urban and rural had to live, work, and, if necessary, fight together. This lecture explores some of the causes and consequences of the 1950s military transformation, and suggests that personnel may be the crucial roadblock to change.

The author's bio:
Brian McAllister Linn is the Ralph R. Thomas Professor in Liberal Arts at Texas A&M University and a Fulbright Distinguished Chair at the University of Birmingham. He is the author of four books--The U.S. Army and Counterinsurgency in the Philippine War (1989); Guardians of Empire: The U.S. Army and the Pacific, 1902-1940 (1997); The Philippine War, 1899-1902 (2000); The Echo of Battle: The Army’s Way of War (2007)—and over thirty articles, book chapters, and conference proceedings.

Professor Linn has another, earlier podcast on SWC 'American Way of War':http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=23543 There are numerous hits on Linn on SWJ.

02-17-2017, 08:53 PM
A review of the book, in the BJMH which defies "cut & paste", but says it is a seminal work.