{Free eBook} Command Culture: Officer Education in the U.S. Army and the German Armed Forces, 1901-1940, and the Consequences for World War IIAuthor Jörg Muth – Albawater.co

Command Culture is a fascinating book that I ran across one day while perusing the titles at Barnes Noble The subject is one I found to be quite novel The author compares the US and German militaries during the first half of the 20th century The scope of the book is largely the officer selection process, service academies, and approaches towards leadership As mentioned, the time frame is during the 20th century, but the author slips back in time even further in order to provide additiona Command Culture is a fascinating book that I ran across one day while perusing the titles at Barnes Noble The subject is one I found to be quite novel The author compares the US and German militaries during the first half of the 20th century The scope of the book is largely the officer selection process, service academies, and approaches towards leadership As mentioned, the time frame is during the 20th century, but the author slips back in time even further in order to provide additional context and supporting information I enjoyed the book muchthan I thought I would and I learned a lotthan I anticipated The sharpest and most devastating weapon the U.S Army could possess today in the War against Terror is not a new computer system, a sophisticated unmanned aerial vehicle, or a smart artillery shell it is rather a carefully selected, aggressive hard core battalion or brigade commander who was exposed to a large dose of military history, is trusted by his superiors to conduct his own operations, and oversees them wherever the bullets fly Note Although this book finds fault in the US and German armies, these characteristics can be found in just about any military organization to one degree or another In addition, it may appear that the book speakscritically of the US Army but the book was quite balanced It just so happens to lookcritical of the US side simply based on the selections I highlight AGGRESSION Weigley noted that American commanders often complained about the lack of aggressiveness of their soldiers yet he never made explicit the connection with the lack of aggressive leadership in the U.S Army Troops fight the way they are led TACTICAL PROWESS He generally noted a tactical inferiority vis vis the Germans and that even when all that was required was a modicum of speed and determination, to finish off a distinctly groggy opponent the Allied commanders, and specifically the Americans, showed themselves as being incapable of doing so OPERATIONAL PROWESS In Millet s opinion, the American armed forces often compensated for their operational flaws, caused by a below average officer corps, with logistical abundance He asserts that army ground combat divisions depended on the advantage of numbers and that attacks against the Germans were generally only successful if a 4 1 local infantry superiority was in place STRATEGIC PROWESS In Germany in WWII Above the corps level and in the higher staffs, excellence was no longer common PRIDE ESTIMATION OF ENEMY The German high ranking officers continuous historical underestimation of the U.S military would cause the most serious consequences in two world wars The other main reason for the defeat of the Wehrmacht is the sheer boundless arrogance of its officer corps TRUST German cadets being five oryears younger than their American counterparts were entrusted with regular leave and holidays All the others first had to show that they could hack it in real life before becoming lieutenants and they would remain officer aspirants for some time AUTONOMY OF ACTIONS BY SUBORDINATES As early as 1858 he remarked at the annual Great General Staff war games, which were traditionally held in a different part of Germany every year, that as a rule an order should contain only what the subordinate for the achievement of his goals cannot determine on his own Everything else was to be left to the commander on the spot The exercise assumed the officer was out of contact with higher headquarters and had now to decide whether to follow the original order or create an entirely new mission for himself and his unit because the circumstances had changed It shows clearly that initiative and decisiveness were hallmarks of the education of a German officer The German military culture put in contrast to the American a high value on young officers Whereas in the United States the officer was one cog among others in the huge machine, one member of the vast team, in Germany the officer was considered the switch to the machine or its whole power source AUFTRAGSTAKTIK The whole German professional military educational system paved the way for the famous Auftragstaktik The entire concept is inappropriately translated in American English into mission type orders The discussion about an ongoing revolution in command philosophy the Auftragstaktik completely escaped the attention of visiting American officers, as did other important traits that made the German officer corps the efficient group it was The basic concept of Auftragstaktik means that there is direction by the superior but no tight control Task tactics, or mission tactics, may be a closer but still insufficient translation The best version seems to be mission oriented command system The Auftragstaktik became an essential factor in the tactical superiority of the German Army It was the chief of staff of the army, Generaloberst Franz Halder, who took away the German field commanders traditional right to lead by Auftragstaktik long before Hitler considered such a course That they did not get enough chance to learn the reason why of orders proved to be one of the GIs foremost problems with army authority JUST SAY NO The German and Prussian officer corps are the officer corps with the greatest culture of disobedience with maybe the exception of the French Seydlitz refused the King s order during a battle in the Seven Years War When the Fl gel Adjutant showed up the next time, he told the young cavalry general that the king would have his head if he did not attack immediately Seydlitz answered, Tell the King that after the battle my head is at his disposal, but meanwhile I will make use of it During a high level war game, he gave a young major of the Great General Staff an order to test his abilities Following the order would bring the young officer into a perilous situationWhen the major unhesitatingly relayed the order, a general stopped the officer and reminded him His Majesty has made you a Major of the General Staff so that you know when to disobey an order LEAD FROM THE FRONT It was the place of a German officer no matter the rank to die in front of his men, fighting with them if necessary, and it was exactly this knowledge that inspired the German soldiers in desperate situations They were literally led in battle and not managed from behind RESPECTIVE KEY AREAS OF EMPHASIS manage and doctrine for the U.S Army and f hren lead and Angriff attack for the Wehrmacht SUCCESSFUL OFFICERS BECAUSE OF GOOD UPBRINGING their upbringing in solid families already had formed personalities that gave them the means to survive the harsh military academy regime without doing them intellectual harm the officer of an earlier era had to train himself And for this he needed a belief in himself, an intense desire to know, the capacity to grow, the trait of self discipline, and a compulsion to excel in his chosen field Many of these traits originated from a solid upbringing rather than from any army education INSIDE THE BOX THINKING COOKIE CUTTER PROBLEMSGeorge S Patton has put it that no one is thinking if everyone is thinking alike But in a staged maneuver with a predetermined outcome, the performance of the leaders and their units can no longer be properly assessed it also undermines the trust of younger officers in their senior leadership Future Gen Clarke as a student Clarke was successful in war doing the same thing thing that he was told in a map exercise to be unsatisfactory Just as in the map maneuver, the battalion broke into the town located in the rear area and overran the German headquarters responsible for coordinating the defense of the region Clarke became a four star general and commanded U.S Army Forces Europe He retired in 1962, considered an expert in leadership and ard warfare His career, which was nearly destroyed by inept instructors at Leavenworth, was saved by the war The famous social psychological study of Samuel Stouffer about the U.S Army in World War II describes the existing ambience as rewarding of conformity and the suppression of initiative Stouffer and his colleagues proved that conformity to the officially approved military s was one consideration for the promotion of an officer and those officers who were conformists were the most likely to have been promoted As a young officer, Dwight D Eisenhower wrote an article favoring mechanization of the cavalry The article displeased the chief of infantry greatly and Ike was commanded not only to cease such heretical activities but also to publicly reverse his opinion DOCTRINE During his professional military education, doctrine played a far less important role for German officers than it did for their American counterpartsIn fact, the word Doktrin hardly shows up at all in German Army manuals, training papers, or the letters and diaries of German officers For them, doctrine was discerned as an artificial guideline that could be violated anytime, even by junior officers, when the situation demanded it At Leavenworth, the principle of doctrine reigned, whereas it was the principle of creativity at the Kriegsakademie There is no place in war for doctrine because it harnesses the mind of an officer The German officer left the Kriegsakademie with leadership capabilities and as an excellent tactician Those were the areas where the German officer corps excelled and that is the reason the German Army was such a formidable enemy The post war literature of the German General Staff officers portraying themselves as strategic geniuses is pure fiction The heavy reliance of the U.S Army on doctrine has historically caused nothing but setbacks because new developments on the battlefield are always faster than the creation of new doctrine to combat them In US The officers wanted to prepare for the new war, but resources and doctrine remained rooted firmly in the former FOCUS OF RESPECTIVE SERVICE ACADEMIES The four years of engineering and mathematical training rarely played a role in the martial world of the cadet graduates and any skills in those sectors would often be forgotten because they were hardly ever used.Yet, these technical skills were weighted at West Pointheavily than leadership abilities, an obvious flaw in the system Correct behavior at a Kadettenschule did not mean the absence of punishment as at West Point, but the gaining of rewards, which were important for teenagers young German man who excelled in leadership but was weak on the scholarly side would be eligible for promotion or even promoted ahead of one with better grades in mathematics or French CONTINUING EDUCATION A career officer is going to school as long as he lives GENERAL MATTHEW BUNKER RIDGWAY Gen George C Marshall had realized, and tried to demonstrate to his flock, that reading is one of the most important acts of an officer The intense desire to grow manifested itself in avid readership Rather than relying on the mediocre education the U.S Army offered, talented, gifted officers could and did see to their own professional educations PROGRESSIVE REALISTIC SCHOOLS When the applicatory method reached its high point at Leavenworth, it had already been phased out at the German war academy and replaced by extensive role playing and war games the reformers at Fort Leavenworth remained surprisingly ambivalent and at times even hostile to technical knowledge and technological solutions Whereas in Germany students fought through a whole engagement, including sudden changes of assignments and tactical surprises, the American students task would end after the main forces had made contact Officers who solve map problem after map problem will gain the false confidence of thinking that the map will reveal to them all that they need to knowMap exercises, map maneuvers, and map problems, however, constituted seventy percent of the total instruction time at the CGSS One can do in war only what one has learned in peace HAUPTMANN LATER GENERALLEUTNANT ADOLF VON SCHELLDESIRABLE ATTRIBUTES IN AN OFFICER German character They did not look for a standard officer person but for an individual who was able to use his personal character traits in an officerlike manner and for accomplishments in war and battle 66 Paramount among the capabilities were Willenskraft willpower which covered the will to become a role model of an officer, the will to succeed in any given task, the will to force a tactical decision, the will to speak his mind, and the will to remain steady under pressure the inadequacy of many American officers came from their advanced ages, inflexibility of mind, and lack of modern and practical training Gen George C Marshall It is no coincidence that two of the greatest chiefs of staff ever, Moltke the Elder and George C Marshall, were lauded for a trait they shared common sense INTERESTING FACTOIDSHauptmann is a German word usually translated as captain when it is used as an officer s rank in the German, Austrian and Swiss armies While haupt in contemporary German means main , it also has the meaning of head , i.e Hauptmann literally translates to head man , which is also the etymological root of captain from Latin caput head During Revolutionary War The Hessian soldiers were not mercenaries as is so frequently incorrectly claimed Often conscripts and regular members of the Hessian Army, they do not fit a historical understanding of the definition of mercenaries or a modern one In a later interview, Moltke laid the groundwork for the fame of a book that would become equally a curse and a boon for officers and military historians alike When asked from which books he had profited the most and which would he consider the most important, he named as one of them Carl von Clausewitz s Vom Kriege On War Clausewitz had been director of the Kriegsschule the then Prussian War College when Moltke attended it as a junior officer from 1823 to 1826 The Germans acquired the other nickname, Hun, from the British, after Emperor Wilhelm II s infamous Hunnenrede Hun speech , which he delivered in Bremerhaven on July 27, 1900, when sending off the Ostasiatische Expeditionskorps East Asian Expeditionary Corps to quell the Boxer Rebellion in China The United States Military Academy at West Point, founded in 1802, was intended particularly to equip the army with engineer officers For those advancing to higher classes despite lacking scholarly skills, the term on the graduating paper carried the Latin phrase propter barbaram close to being uneducated This book is a cautionary tale about the dangers of converting Ph.D dissertations into books Muth, whose native tongue is German, takes on a worthy topic but his committee, which was probably not conversant in military history, lets him down Similarly, his publisher the same university could have sprung for a good copy editor with salutary effect Whether he wrote in German and suffered from a poor translator, or he wrote in English using German idiom and structure, the result is disappoint This book is a cautionary tale about the dangers of converting Ph.D dissertations into books Muth, whose native tongue is German, takes on a worthy topic but his committee, which was probably not conversant in military history, lets him down Similarly, his publisher the same university could have sprung for a good copy editor with salutary effect Whether he wrote in German and suffered from a poor translator, or he wrote in English using German idiom and structure, the result is disappointing Paragraphs often begin with an excellent thematic sentence and end with perplexing non sequiturs A pity because Muth goes where most angels fear to tread and asks how the world s most notorious totalitarian regime could produce a command philosophy Auftragstaktik that granted unprecedented latitude to its subordinate commanders while the world s most egalitarian democracy produced its opposite a risk averse way of war governed by a reflexive need to check with higher before proceeding This paradoxical dichotomy produced a Wehrmacht which, in the opinion of many military analysts and historians was the most tactically and operationally proficient armed force in the 20th Century Fortunately for freedom loving people everywhere, the Germans failed to complement the Wehrmacht s excellence with a similar strategic vision Muth s case is strong that the German system of officer education was the key to this difference He describes in both German and American armies the officer education process in great detail and arrives at generally fair conclusions for the era he s discussing Although I think he discounts the contextual role of culture in our respective societies the German officer corps was beloved and embraced, ours, even after WWI, was feared and ostracized , his phase by phase description of an officer s path from cadet to commissioning and beyond paints a stark picture of why our WW II era leadership was often found wanting In an example of overreach, Muth attempts to stretch these shortcomings into the present but with unsatisfactory results Using the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the 3d Infantry Division s run into Baghdad as a case study, he scores the US Army for being overly cautious in the operation and for the failure of the V Corps leadership to be at the point of the action Muth s description is incomplete, however, not only because he fails to take into account the operations of the rest of the Corps notably the 1st Marine Division , but he again underplays the important aspect of US military culture to wit, no tactical level commander wants a two or three star general helping with the operation In fact, the two division commanders involved in the fight were brimming with aggressiveness the other one was a guy named Mattis and would have regarded the JTF commander s presence as an intrusion, if not an insult In short, command presence is a double edged sword that must be wielded intelligently by seasoned commanders More importantly, it s very easy to give wide latitude to a junior officer when one is not concerned with collateral damage, civilian casualties, and the non blinking eye of the 24 hour news cycle WWII era commanders on both sides especially the Germans could downplay these factors with relative impunity.And yet, there is little doubt that today s officer training can be improved byemphasis on leadership, history, and cognitive psychology Muth rightfully applauds the passing of ritualistic hazing at the US Military Academy but avoids the obvious follow up If it was so influential in hobbling the majority of WWII era American officers, why has its decline not produced a salutary effect on the performance of US Army officers who were commissioned in the 1980s and beyond Even as the Army s stature in society has grown since its post Vietnam nadir, toxic, narcissistic, self absorbed leadership remains a troubling issue To this end, another recommendation one not offered by the author would be to psychologically evaluate officers being nominated for battalion command and higher The evaluation would not be disqualifying, but those officers who scored poorly in it would be subject to additional climate surveys and so called 360 degree evaluations In sum, although I recommend this book and applaud the author s detailed description of officer recruiting and education practices, I found the conclusions not fully convincing In this fascinating book, Muth presents a relentless attack on the US Army s system of officer education, constantly contrasting it negatively with the equivalent approaches in the German Army.In essence, Muth argues that the system at both West Point and similar officer cadet institutions such as VMI and Fort Leavenworth was based on the twin beliefs that the best education for officers was through a mathematical engineering paradigm, coupled with rigid peer discipline and total submission In this fascinating book, Muth presents a relentless attack on the US Army s system of officer education, constantly contrasting it negatively with the equivalent approaches in the German Army.In essence, Muth argues that the system at both West Point and similar officer cadet institutions such as VMI and Fort Leavenworth was based on the twin beliefs that the best education for officers was through a mathematical engineering paradigm, coupled with rigid peer discipline and total submission to hierarchy This led to a reliance on rote learning of school solutions , with any alternative solution to a problem being by definition incorrect, and vicious hazing of junior cadets by their seniors This reliance on rote learning led to there being minimal pressure for instructors to be experts in their subjects or for the syllabus to reflect modern trends in warfare.Muth contrasts this model with the cadet schools and war academy in the German Army Here, he argues, great efforts were made to prevent bullying and to promote flexibility of thought Instructors were selected on the basis of their educative and professional skill, there was an emphasis on the need for each unique tactical problem to have its own unique solution, with the solutions of the students treated as seriously as those of the instructor, and students were given responsibility based on their professional development, rather than simply their time seniority.A particular contrast, resulting from these different traditions, Muth suggests, is that US Army officers tended to see battlefield problems as technical challenges, to be solved through mechanical application of staff doctrine, with minimal engagement with the troops, usually from the rear, whereas German officers sought to identify the crux of the situation, place themselves personally at that point and lead their men from the front.While the book is relentlessly once sided, Muth emphasises that he has had a love of the US Army since childhood and that current practice is very different from that he describes.The work has several flaws First, despite the title, the focus of the assessment of the German Army is largely based on the Reichswehr period between the two world wars, whereas much of the US evidence is taken from the period up to the First World War Second, there might have been value in comparing the West Point experience with that of a British public school, where the emphasis on discipline and logical thinking through the study of Classics rather than maths may have led to similar narrowness of thinking, but which it can be argued did produce generations of subalterns demonstrating enormous personal bravery and commitment to their men Third, the examples of combat performance feel somewhat limited, such the Muth s sweeping statements are not always fully evidenced Finally, the limited evidence for the German Army prior to 1914, and the limited treatment of the negative perspectives of the cadet schools, suggest that the superiority of the German system may be overstated at times The Reichswehr was an exceptional force, in a very special context.In summary, a challenging and thought provoking work, unlikely to win many friends in the US, but a very welcome investigation of a key area of performance that has previously been explored to only a limited extent A great book that gives leaders a better understanding of the origins of Mission Command It also provides insight into what a command climate should look like within our units. This is an interesting comparison of officer selection and training in the United States and Germany in the interim years between the World Wars.The author is harshly critical of the American system of officer education, in which military academies produced conformist, cautious leaders with little knowledge of tactics and even less understanding of actual soldiers At West Point, cadets were taught to memorize the numbers of windows in their buildings but not how to maneuver a platoon or call fo This is an interesting comparison of officer selection and training in the United States and Germany in the interim years between the World Wars.The author is harshly critical of the American system of officer education, in which military academies produced conformist, cautious leaders with little knowledge of tactics and even less understanding of actual soldiers At West Point, cadets were taught to memorize the numbers of windows in their buildings but not how to maneuver a platoon or call for artillery There were tactical problems, but each had an official solution By contrast, German officer candidates participated in a system that was competitive and deeply grounded in practical learning along with theoretical learning German lieutenants regularly performed sand table exercises acting as division commanders, and learned to exercise aggressiveness and initiative that far exceeded American officers.There are some claims in this book that do not seem to be fully backed by the endnotes, but overall I really enjoyed this read The myth of American invincibility in WWII is thoroughly debunked in this book, and one comes away thinking that many lives were probably lost by insufficient American leadership at the tactical level If it were not for excellent, self driven leaders like George Marshall, Hap Arnold, and Dwight Eisenhower, those failures might have continued at the strategic levels Over the course of six chapters, the author makes the argument that prior to WWII Germany had a superior system of education for it s army officers a system that resulted in true leaders who were taught to think creatively, improvise and lead from the front By contrast, the author details how the American army officer education system was mired in a stiff legacy that expected army officers to manage their subordinates and adhere to strict doctrine while leading from a tent far from the batt Over the course of six chapters, the author makes the argument that prior to WWII Germany had a superior system of education for it s army officers a system that resulted in true leaders who were taught to think creatively, improvise and lead from the front By contrast, the author details how the American army officer education system was mired in a stiff legacy that expected army officers to manage their subordinates and adhere to strict doctrine while leading from a tent far from the battle Where the German officer education system would resemble a liberal education, the American officer education system revolved around rote memorization, hazing and the notion that in tactical situations there was only one true solution the school solution As a result, in WWII, the German military was fareffective in seizing initiative and sweeping through Europe However, only owing to a huge unmolested industrial base the Allies were able to gradually steam roll the Axis.There is no doubt that the author believes that the German officer education system is clearly superior However, this argument is undercut by one wildly obvious question one that you may already be thinking about how could officers educated to think independently and ethically be sucked into the Nazi party How could the atrocities of WWII occur at the hands of such an educated group Where the author should have dedicated at least a chapter to this clearly important question, he instead dedicates approximately 3 paragraphs page 202 203 If there were three important points to be made in this book this should have been one.From this book I found myself learning a few leadership lessons lead from the front, hire smart then make your directions contain objectives and boundaries and that s it, there is no value in hazing in education at all, value independent thinking and creativity in education and leadership.Overall, not a bad book, but could have been shortened to a third the length If you are going to read this book you will likely enjoy it but also likely find it getting repetitive around chapter 4 and beyond Do not skip the prelude it sets the stage and without it you would miss a lot of context Further, the author s notes at the end of the book should likely be read first as it also adds some context In Command Culture, Jorg Muth, a German scholar of the American military, compares the officer education systems of the U.S Army and the German Armed forces from 1901 to 1940 and explains the consequences of those systems for officer performance in battle in World War II Command culture is Muth s useful term for how an officer corps collectively understands its roles and options on the battlefield, solves tactical and strategic problems, and interacts with people above or below in the chain of In Command Culture, Jorg Muth, a German scholar of the American military, compares the officer education systems of the U.S Army and the German Armed forces from 1901 to 1940 and explains the consequences of those systems for officer performance in battle in World War II Command culture is Muth s useful term for how an officer corps collectively understands its roles and options on the battlefield, solves tactical and strategic problems, and interacts with people above or below in the chain of command In Chapter 1, Muth reviews the relationship between the German and American armies He establishes that the U.S Army, like many armies in this era, saw the German Army as the cutting edge of military strategy management and tried to imitate many institutions from the Germans, such as the General Staff However, he argues that cultural blinders caused the Americans to deeply misread what made the German system successful and fail to incorporate crucial concepts like Aufstragtaktik or the German officer education system The bulk of the book describes the officer education systems in the American and German and evaluates how these systems created distinct command cultures Muth uses SOURCES In Part 1, he unfavorably compares American education of cadets at West Point to German cadet education at the Kadettenschulen Muth finds that West Point did a poor job educating cadets for leadership He identifies myriad shortcomings an undemanding admissions process, a curriculum that was narrowly focused on math, science, and engineering at the expense of leadership training, rote and unimaginative pedagogy, unskilled and detached instructors, a prevalent culture of hazing that corroded leadership abilities, and obsolete military training In contrast, Muth argues that the Kadettenschulen did a far better job cultivating leadership qualities in German cadets These schools had higher admissions standards, a broader andmodern curriculum that included advanced language training,personal relationships between instructors and students, greater emphasis on developing the character of cadets,effective regulation of hazing, and realistic military training Even though German cadets did not receive commissions upon graduating and Americans did, Muth believes that the young Germans were vastlyprepared for leadership than their American counterparts In Part 2, Muth compares advanced military education in the U.S and Germany to see how they further cultivated command cultures in officers He sees many West Point s flaws being replicated at the Command and General Staff School CGSS in Fort Leavenworth He criticizes the CGSS for its simplistic training exercises and narrow minded practice of teaching officers to seek the approved school solution to complex tactical problems 165 Muth finds some redemption for advanced American officer education at The Infantry School in Fort Benning, Georgia In contrast to the CGSS, the Infantry School encouraged officers to think critically and creatively and gave themhands on training in weapons, tactics, and leadership Nevertheless, Muth shows that the Infantry School mainly excelled because of George Marshall s excellent leadership there starting in the late 1920 s, not because the US military education system had fundamentally reformed by this time Once again, Muth finds American advanced officer education inferior in compared to the German Kriegsakademie The Kriegsakademie built on the principles and practices of the Kadettenschulen, but it particularly excelled at getting officers to think flexibly about tactical problems and develop a sense of independence from doctrine that would allow them to adapt to the various frictions of combat Muth s thesis, explored in Part 3, is that the German officer education system contributed to a command culture whose prototypical officer independently and creatively solved tactical problems, led his soldiers from the front, and acted effectively in the chaos of war German command culture, for example, prepared its officers to execute Aufstragstaktitk in battle, which was an essential factor in the tactical superiority of the German Army 183 In contrast, the American system contributed to a command culture marked by inflexible doctrinal thinking, poor adaptation to changing conditions, and passive and ineffective leadership Muth argues that these command cultures led to German tactical superiority in World War II Excellent American officers did arise in American military in World War II, but they did so as a result of their own efforts and largely in spite of their outdated and ineffective education Muth achieves two goals in this book First, in historiographical terms, he adds to consensus of scholars like Russell Weigley and Martin van Creveld that the U.S officer corps performed poorly in World War II and added little to Allied victory Muth supports this thesis but contends that examining the American military education system is crucial for understanding why the officer corps performed so inadequately Second, Muth contends that the positive German example and negative American example offer much usable material for the modern U.S military s training of officers Although he admits that the U.S has certainly improved its educational system since World War II, he finds many of the same problems in a brief account of the ard thrusts into Baghdad during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, including excessive hesitance to delegate command decision to local levels and too much reliance on school solutions over creative improvisation Although readers should question the extent to which standards of effective leadership from World War II still apply in 21st century counterinsurgencies, military historians and professionals will benefit greatly from Muth s critique of the U.S Army s past and present command cultures Army leadership training This book was very clear on the attention that needs to be focused on during the initial education of officers at any academy. Selected by General Raymond Odierno, th Army Chief of Staff, for the US Army Chief of Staff s Professional Reading List, for The Army Profession, MarchSelected by General James F Amos, Commandant of the US Marine Corps, as required reading for all senior enlisted men and all Majors and Lieutenant Colonels, January Selected by Major General HR McMaster at the Maneuver Center of Excellence, Fort Benning, for the Leader Development Study Program, DecemberWinner of the Army Historical Foundation Distinguished Writing Award,In Command Culture, J rg Muth examines the different paths the United States Army and the German Armed Forces traveled to select, educate, and promote their officers in the crucial time before World War II Muth demonstrates that the military education system in Germany represented an organized effort where each school and examination provided the stepping stone for the next But in the United States, there existed no communication about teaching contents or didactical matters among the various schools and academies, and they existed in a self chosen insular environment American officers who finally made their way through an erratic selection process and past West Point to the important Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, found themselves usually deeply disappointed, because they were faced again with a rather below average faculty who forced them after every exercise to accept the approved school solution Command Culture explores the paradox that in Germany officers came from a closed authoritarian society but received an extremely open minded military education, whereas their counterparts in the United States came from one of the most democratic societies but received an outdated military education that harnessed their minds and limited their initiative On the other hand, German officer candidates learned that in war everything is possible and a war of extermination acceptable For American officers, raised in a democracy, certain boundaries could never be crossed This work for the first time clearly explains the lack of audacity of many high ranking American officers during World War II, as well as the reason why so many German officers became perpetrators or accomplices of war crimes and atrocities or remained bystanders without speaking up Those American officers who became outstanding leaders in World War II did so not so much because of their military education, but despite it Well written book I could not put it down I find some holes with his argument but he makes sense in some aspect.