Janine Davidson

Defense in Depth

Janine Davidson examines the art, politics, and business of American military power.

A Century Ago Today, the Age of Industrial Warfare Began

by Guest Blogger for Janine Davidson Thursday, August 7, 2014
ww1-industrial-warfare In this undated photograph, British soldiers prepare to fire a railroad gun. (Illustrated War News, Vol. 1, Illustrated London News and Sketch, London, 1916).

By Emerson Brooking

On August 7, 1914, the French advanced into German-controlled Alscace,  beating back the German divisions with a vicious display of massed firepower and artillery. This was the opening day of the Battle of the Frontiers, a month-long struggle of maneuver in which French, British, and German armies played tug-of-war across a 440-mile front. This was World War I before the trenches, where the visions of nineteenth-century military planners collided with the realities of twentieth-century industrial warfare. The battle saw 670,000 dead or wounded in a month—the highest density of losses in the entire war. This month would shatter a century of military doctrine.

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Weekend Reader: the WWI Centennial, the Future of War, and the A-10 Warthog

by Janine Davidson Friday, August 1, 2014
wwi-centennial Yeoman Serjeant Bob Loughlin walks among the art installation "Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red" marking the anniversary of World War I at the Tower of London, July 28, 2014. The evolving installation by artist Paul Cummins will be formed of 888,246 ceramic poppies, to honor military fatalities during WWI. (Neil Hall/Courtesy Reuters)

World War I began July 28, 1914—100 years ago this week. The articles (and occasionally grasping historical parallels) have been coming fast and furious ever since. I especially recommend three. The Washington Post features an incredible gallery of WWI landscapes, then and now. Graham Allison in The Atlantic offers a clear-headed assessment of the similarities—and differences—between the conditions of 1914 and 2014. Finally, Stephen Walt in Foreign Policy breaks down the most significant lesson of WWI. He argues that historians focus too much on why the war began…and not enough why it lasted so long.

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(Early) Weekend Reader: Women and World War I, ADM Howard Wins Her Fourth Star, and the Future of ISIS

by Janine Davidson Thursday, July 3, 2014
july-4-defense-isis Jeffrey Silverstone, dressed as "Uncle Sam," marches in the Takoma Park Independence Day parade during celebrations of the United States' Fourth of July Independence Day holiday in Takoma Park, Maryland, July 4, 2012. (Jim Bourg/Courtesy Reuters)

Happy Fourth of July weekend! This Reader comes a day early:

How World War I’s tragic course of events also changed the balance of gender equality foreverThe Daily Beast has the story. World War I fundamentally altered the relationship between women and the workplace.  “By the time the Armistice was signed in 1918, a British woman aged 16-32 stood only a one-in-ten chance of marriage.” These “surplus” women entered the workforce.

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Weekend Reader: USA Advances (in Soccer), Syrian Refugee Crisis Worsens, and U.S. Drone Debate Gets Louder

by Janine Davidson Friday, June 27, 2014
usa-world-cup-drones Germany's Mesut Ozil (L) fights for the ball with Omar Gonzalez of the U.S. during their 2014 World Cup Group G soccer match at the Pernambuco arena in Recife, June 26, 2014. (Laszlo Balogh/Courtesy Reuters)

If you were in the United States yesterday, chances are you heard about the gameYou might also have found a way to take a very long lunch. (CFR’s Defense Policy Team did make time for a mid-day pause to “assess” U.S.-German relations) Germany’s hard-won victory made the bout much less of a snooze than the foreign policy/game theory crowd might have expected.

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Weekend Reader: Iraq, Friendly Fire, and the Man Who Could Have Killed Hitler

by Janine Davidson Friday, June 13, 2014
isis-iraq Fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) stand guard at a checkpoint in the northern Iraq city of Mosul, June 11, 2014. Since Tuesday, black clad ISIL fighters have seized Iraq's second biggest city Mosul and Tikrit, home town of former dictator Saddam Hussein, as well as other towns and cities north of Baghdad. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

Iraq: simply a mess. As the Maliki government deteriorates in the face of city-seizing assaults by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants, it has been difficult to keep up. Mosul has fallen; Baghdad is under threat; the Kurds have taken Kirkuk and Iran has deployed Revolutionary Guard forces to defend the Iraqi government. The United States and UN have responded with clear condemnation—but little else. At home, Tom Ricks shakes his head while Senator John McCain calls for the resignation of President Obama’s entire national security team. Meanwhile, as Dexter Filkins chillingly observes in the New Yorker, This is the real legacy of America’s War in Iraq.

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