Speaker: Grant Golub, Ernest May Fellow in History & Policy, International Security Program

How do the armed forces and executive branch agencies impact U.S. foreign policy and grand strategy, especially during wartime? Before World War II, the U.S. military was consumed by internal strife, besieged by acute interservice rivalry, and suffered from lack of substantive politico-military coordination with other parts of the government, leaving it little time or energy to take an interest in U.S domestic politics. But during the war, the War Department — the executive branch agency running the Army — emerged as a pivotal policymaking nexus because its senior civilian leaders transformed it into a political actor which actively worked to shape U.S. bureaucratic and foreign policy decision-making.

This presentation traces how the War Department shifted from the fringes to the center of U.S. government power during World War II and examines how it sought to influence U.S. politics and grand strategy through its attempts to gain leverage over its bureaucratic rivals and compete to achieve its preferred policy outcomes.  

Everyone is welcome to join us online via Zoom! Please register in advance for this seminar:

For more information, email the International Security Program Assistant at susan_lynch@harvard.edu.