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The griffin novels tell us more about the lives of the soldiers and their roles in the various wars, than the events of the actual wars. We get to have a look at the background of the officers and their rise in ranks. Griffin tells us of the education that they obtained, and their performance in class. We observe the duties assigned to these officers in the various wars, and their relationship with each other.
The first war that the soldiers engaged in was the civil war in Greece, before joining the war in Korea. Griffin tells us of the relationship that the soldiers have with each other, and the circumstances leading to their bonds.
During the wars, some soldiers were caught and held hostage, and rescue attempts were made. At the same time, we are told of the survival instincts in the soldiers that help to keep them and their companions’ alive (Griffin, The Lieutenants: Brotherhood of War, 1986).
Involvement of the US in world affairs
The united states prior to the Second World War had only used its military forces when threatened. The United States was determined to intervene in the Korean War, which eventually ended in a stalemate. The involvement of the United States in this war provided a clear definition of its might, showing its capability to resist the growth of communism.
The United States military was therefore put into use at all times in the maintenance of peace worldwide, as the country conducted its international affairs. The army was useful in supporting diplomats, when faced with rivals who viewed war as a rational and essential component of politics.
The involvement of the United States in international affairs started in 1953. The American citizens showed support for their government in fulfilling their duty as a global leader, though it would be an expensive process (Griffin, The Lieutenants: Brotherhood of War, 1986).
Introduction of nuclear weapons
At the end of the Second World War, Eisenhower was in charge of the administration. His new task was to come up with effective defense strategies that could prepare the country for any kind of threat imposed by the communists. He aimed at reducing the heavy spending in the defense department, without interfering with their commitments to other countries worldwide.
The solution was an investment in the capacity to retaliate that took advantage of the air force and nuclear technology. In the 1950s, the armed forces had a different focus in their training, and the magnitude of the tactical bombing services of the air force was raised.
The focus on retaliation power was also observed in the navy. They shifted their focus into coming up with submarine-launched nuclear weapons, that could fire onto land, following a set of coordinates (Griffin, The Captains (Brotherhood of War), 1986).
The strategy behind massive retaliation had huge implications on the defense budget, with large sums being allocated to it. Eventually, the heavy spending in defense was opposed, but the then Army Chief of Staff defended the project arguing that it was important that the United States continue their investment in nuclear power, to balance the growing Soviet nuclear capabilities.
The conventional forces had limited funds, which were insufficient to respond in the event of a limited war. Towards the end of the decade, the Americans and the Russians came to an agreement, whereby they observed that a war between the two nations would lead to self-destruction, and therefore decided that mutual massive retaliation was only applicable as a last option (Griffin, The Captains (Brotherhood of War), 1986).
With the end of the Korean War, the United States got the opportunity to develop their communications. They also had to shift their focus to the construction of airfields and roads.
With this taking place, the United States maintained exclusive control of their nuclear power, denying their allies any kind of influence. As a result, Britain and France sought to develop their own nuclear weapons, and avoid reliance on the United States in the future (Griffin, The Captains (Brotherhood of War), 1986).
Colonel Craig W. Lowell
Craig Lowell managed a polo team for Watford, a commanding general. He also served as a constabulary golf pro. Before the game between the French and the Americans, the general ordered Lowell’s commissioning to the polo game; but during the game, the general was killed. His replacement had Lowell transferred to serve as an advisor, since he had little experience as an officer.
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Through this character, Griffin takes us through various officer ranks available in the United States army. Lowell was a young and junior officer, and this made him an ideal person to explore the post war activities of the United States, and their role in the aid of other nations. The reassignment of Lowell to his advisory role in the Greek army saw him rise to more senior positions (Griffin, The Lieutenants: Brotherhood of War, 1986).
There was heavy military action during the Greek civil war that led to the death of many Greek soldiers and officers, and Lowell had to take command. His unit was able to hold their position with him in command. A common strategy in the Vietnam War, Korean War and the Greek civil war was the evacuation of villages, due to the threat of an attack by the communist armies.
Between the period of 1944 and 1947, Britain had spent over 85 million pounds in support of Greece and therefore, withdrew their assistance after the United States got involved. For his efforts while in command of the unit, Lowell received an award for his bravery. This award was the highest that a foreigner could get (Griffin, The Lieutenants: Brotherhood of War, 1986).
After the war, Lowell returned to the United States, and joined the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. He proved to be a good commander of the tank company, and acquired the title of major at 24. While attending school at Fort Knox, he met Colonel Phillip Sheridan who beat him in the class. During that time, we got to know that African-Americans in the forces were facing numerous problems.
Colonel Sheridan had to be the best in everything that he did in order to get the respect of his fellow soldiers. A brotherly bond was formed between the two, and it extended to the incidence where Lowell testified in the defense of Sheridan, who had being charged with murder (Griffin, The Lieutenants: Brotherhood of War, 1986).
Parker was a skilled pilot, and got to fly both rotor and fixed wing air craft’s. During a raid to Vietnam when he was major, his air craft was sabotaged, leading to his capture. The incidence of sabotage was due to jealousy and his black skin, but the friendship that he had with Lowell, was a contributor to the daring rescue mission that the latter led.
Griffin tells us of the mischief that the two soldiers were up to. Both soldiers got into trouble in several occasions, some involving women, but they married and settled down (Griffin, The Lieutenants: Brotherhood of War, 1986).
During the period between 1942 and 1945, the US Marine Corps developed their night combat flying techniques, after observing the usefulness of night attacks as employed by the British royal air force. The navy had 25 night fighting squadrons while the Marine Corps had eight. After the Second World War, the USMC was deactivated, with the exception of two squadrons.
These two were re-designated to night fighting units and focused on enhancing their night detection skills of enemy aircraft. The period between the end of the Second World War and the Korean War was beneficial for the Marine Corps in building their team work and improving their tactical skills.
Through discipline, they worked on new techniques and adapted to the necessary changes in order to stay ahead, and improve their ability to reach decisions quickly, while on their feet (Griffin, The Captains (Brotherhood of War), 1986).
Griffin, W. E. (1986). The Captains (Brotherhood of War). New York city: Jove Books.
Griffin, W. E. (1986). The Lieutenants: Brotherhood of War. New York City: Jove Books.