The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 54, July 1950 - April, 1951 Page: 381
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report by General Douglas MacArthur. Nowhere is there even a
slight tinge of the old Air Corps' "Wild Blue." Indeed, a real
distinction of the writing is its hard wording of hard fact.
The story retains much of the auspiciousness of the planning
conference, the tension of the briefing rooms, the precision of the
line, the terrible emotional chill of the missions, the literalness
of the intelligence report. Sometimes these qualities are contra-
dictory; and occasionally mechanical awkwardness results from
compressing unit histories, operations summaries, and all manner
of fugitive accounts. But the details of air warfare come alive on
these pages. Nor is this liveliness lamed by the authors' constant
use of technical terminology, code names for operations, complex
reference to fighting units, and abbreviations (which in military
jargon far outdo the unspelling of words once affected in Wash-
ington). Had all these verbal devices been spelled out, the book
would have been impossibly long.
Concerning the authors' presentation of problems and processes
of interservice cooperation, judgment must wait. The editors are
explicit in pointing out that comparative conclusions have nec-
essarily been sacrificed to deadlines. Nor is this tentativeness
altogether uninstructive. One of the appalling facts about mod-
ern warfare is that most of it is carried on in the darkness of
ignorance-everybody's occasional specific ignorance and nearly
everybody's complete ignorance about almost everything.
Behind much of the contemporary confusion which historians
can now make into sense lies the blunt fact that Pacific forces
often got the tragic short end of support from home during the
early and middle phases of the war. The United States had just
so much to throw against its enemies, and its chief enemy was
the German. By late 1942 the desperation of Pacific defeats
(described with fine candor in the first volume of this series)
had been lightened somewhat, but there was still the urgency
of need. The Pacific commands still needed almost everything.
The later and slightly improved circumstances described in this
book were therefore still shot through with pain and ire for
combat units and their commanders.
It is now popular for military historians to talk of the conduct
of war on "levels," as in some modern inferno. On levels some-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 54, July 1950 - April, 1951, periodical, 1951; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101133/m1/493/: accessed May 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.